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How hard is SpaceX (and others) making KSP 2 development?


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Back when I first started playing KSP the idea of a reusable stage wasn't on my radar. Even trying to 'trick' the game into letting me put an octo on a stage and try to recover it was a lot of work - that often interfered with my ability to Neanderthal my way into orbit. 

However the (currently) highest profile space company (weird to not say 'agency') is routinely landing and reusing stages. There are lots of other agencies and companies going for reusable, too. 

I know that a lot of the development is 'future-tech / end game expansion' - but what's going on with the early-to-mid-game experience, where players are likely to expect to see current tech in action? 

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I certainly would, in some form or another. In an adjacent thread we’ve been talking about the pros and cons of autopilot functions but that could be one one way to have boosters land themselves while you power on with a second stage. There are also mods for ksp1 that assume that stages that hit 25k with chutes are recovered. Thats less satisfying and less space-x-ey but Im sure much easier to implement. 

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This thread asks a great question, and I hope the answer is "You will have the ability to land first stages in game while the rest of your mission completes." That would be a fun addition to gameplay and to KSP's education aspects as well, since it will help demystify how reusable rockets work. 

Hopefully because KSP2 is already being designed with multiplayer in mind, it may be easier to have two independent craft carry out actions simultaneously.

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Thinking out loud, I did try this in KSP1 and encountered that problem that you cannot control two craft at the same time.

I got as far as needing to make the first stage a high enough lob and second stage a high enough thrust to mass ratio so it could quickly make a burn and give me enough time to land the first stage before I had to circularise the second stage orbit. It worked and was doable for fun but was time consuming micro so I reverted to disposable stages, so I could focus on other aspects of the missions and optimise the second stage for flight instead of reusability of the first stage.

 In terms of how this could work in game play, splashdown with chutes or touchdown with chutes assisted by landing legs and last second burn were the ways I did it. Either way you had to engage the full physics sim to get a recoverable landing, since otherwise KSP1 just approximates a collision and you lose the stage.

It strikes me that it would be nice to see a recovery option. You could just set it to recover anything with a chute on it in place of collision which would be OK though thinking like a criminal I mean gamer this is easily cheesed since you could just slap a smallest chute on and would also miss out on the challenge to actually do it for real.

This implies there ought to be some kind of test for reusability. One way would be a simple one off physics calculation for landing velocity, involving the mass of the craft and its total drag with chutes deployed, atmosphere and altitude of impact/touchdown. Powered landers could factor in a dv deduction at the point of "landing" related to the amount of fuel remaining and engine properties.

Another approach would be certification of a specific craft design by an actual mission flight, meaning you could certify a stage as reusable by actually flying it and landing it, Thereafter it could be treated as recoverable so you could just allow it to reenter and it would be recovered instead of collided. 

The reason this might be worth doing is it raises the prospect of a social aspect,  using steam workshop to share certified designs, so others can use the design in their own game, meaning the design would carry its certification with it and be useful to others.

Certification is also open to cheesing because e.g. you could expend fuel in later flights you held in reserve for landing in the certification flight.  So there would still need to be a test for viable undamaged chutes and landing legs and remaining dv for a certified reusable stage to be treated as recovered. It could also be cheesed by reducing payload mass or reducing separation altitude for certification so this would also need to be tested and both recorded at certification and then applied at relaunch and recovery failed if either parameter exceeded.

2c

 

 

Edited by boolybooly
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To get around the "controlling 2 craft" problem, i have been doing such launches from the desert runway launch site.
- Start there with a falcon 9 type of rocket, launch east (maybe slightly to the north, heading 85 degrees about)
- Thrust until the trajectory is a little past the KSC, with an AP around 100km
- By the time you exit the atmosphere, you can decouple the payload an get that into orbit for about +400m/s dv.
  - At this point you have lots of time before having to worry about the booster (but an Ion engine will obviously make this difficult)
- The booster can make a few course corrections before/after the payload is already in orbit
- The booster will get hot during reentry, but it's not going at orbital speeds yet
  - Im using 120% reentry heating, so on normal it shouldn't be a worry
- As long as the booster lands on the KSC continent, you get like 90% or more recovery funds

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/6/2021 at 5:32 AM, Blaarkies said:

To get around the "controlling 2 craft" problem, i have been doing such launches from the desert runway launch site.
- Start there with a falcon 9 type of rocket, launch east (maybe slightly to the north, heading 85 degrees about)
- Thrust until the trajectory is a little past the KSC, with an AP around 100km
- By the time you exit the atmosphere, you can decouple the payload an get that into orbit for about +400m/s dv.
  - At this point you have lots of time before having to worry about the booster (but an Ion engine will obviously make this difficult)
- The booster can make a few course corrections before/after the payload is already in orbit
- The booster will get hot during reentry, but it's not going at orbital speeds yet
  - Im using 120% reentry heating, so on normal it shouldn't be a worry
- As long as the booster lands on the KSC continent, you get like 90% or more recovery funds

I think that's the kind of thing players might end up asking for... especially if KSP2 is going to have boats.  (I've heard there's a dock)

Why else do we need boats, if not to land rockets on them?  Exploration?  Pfaugh.

It could be a 'developmental milestone'.  Player gets to a certain point in the tech tree, unlocks an Octo's ability to normalize (wording?) the orbit once launched, and the player gets to try to stick the landing of the booster.  After enough of these, maybe we automate it (another career unlock?).

Would be a way to advance the career mode - where 'normal tech' ways of getting to orbit with expendable stages suddenly gets cheaper with reusable stages.

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