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Rocket Design Help?

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So, I am not a rocket scientist.  Shocker!  Because of this, I find myself in the same old habit of creating ships up and down, with no idea how to effectively craft a ship that needs to get wide.  Or use different types of engines (such as the new Hydrogen engines).  So I get what I always have gotten:  a long, slender ship with a crap-ton of solid boosters at the bottom that struggles to get off the launchpad and needs serious help to not spin uncontrollably.  Sure, I can get decent-enough craft to fly to Mun and Minmus.  But my interplanetary rocket design skills leave a lot to be desired.  In KSP1 I can force my way interstellar.  And I could very well turn on infinite fuel...but I feel like that defeats the purpose of the game.  At least for me.

I therefore am coming to the community to ask for tips/pointers/help in designing craft for interplanetary missions.  How do you guys get them to be sleek and working?  How about widening them instead of always going slender and long?  In KSP2, are you taking advantage of being able to build multiple assemblies at once, and if so, how are you able to reconcile that and then put the ship together?

I've viewed the existing KSP1 tutorials, but for some reason none of them really dive into how to build a rocket, rather focusing on "We are going to Eve, so I built this thing here (with sped up video to not bore you), and off we launch".  Which really doesn't help me to understand the HOW of doing it, you know?

Any help here would be awesome and keen.  Until then, I'll keep brute-forcing slender ships!

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Hmmm, that's a very general question. I can link you to this writeup I once did, which is admittedly meant more for newcomers, and also this one, which talks about optimal rocket stage design from a mathematical standpoint. I don't know if either is what you're looking for, but maybe you'll find something helpful.

They were written for KSP1, but 99% of them probably apply just as much to KSP2.

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Here's the list of points I got from your post:

  • Help creating rockets that aren't getting too long. Help with scaling up rocket designs. Advise on rocket width vs length aspects

Try Scott's Video below or hit me up and I would be more than willing to demo a build. There's too much to express in a forum post.

  • Advice on other engine types

Nuclear and Ion are awesome just harder to use. Haven't tried new KSP 2 engines.

  • Help with reducing rotation during launch

Turn off gimbal on all external engines off the core. Put more reaction wheels on the core. Avoid 4x symmetry until necessary.

  • Help designing sleek purposeful interplanetary missions

Practice and build with purpose according to a good plan.

  • KSP1/KSP2 Sub-Assembly usage

I use it for Rovers and avoid redocking for missions when possible. Simulate any scenario in the VAB for your mission plans. The sub-assemblies help with this in KSP 1.


I love building in KSP 1. I really really want to help but there's literally so much to say here it would require actual demonstration. I've been playing KSP 2 a little but it's just so buggy I can't build anything serious. I typed on this for a while and just gave up. Message me I'll give you a personal discord tutorial on my building style methods if you want. Try digging through Scott Manley's video library I'm sure he has something back in the day with some build strategy.

Here's Scott showing some basic and advanced discussion about ascent design. I have no idea your experience or knowledge level so  yeah! Try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZMkQvbk0zw&list=PLYu7z3I8tdEm5nyZU3a-O2ak6mBYXWPAL&index=6


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi ScareCrow,

here are some handy advise: 

1) Try to minimise payload (the actual spacecraft you want to send to other planets) this should be compact and small as can be. 
2) Think of the building backwards: you build the spacecraft, then the tank with engine which it uses in deep space (small like the Pug or Terrier depends on size) then a larger tank and engine you will use to leave Kerbin SOI. Reliant,  Swivel will do it. Don't build it too long though two medium size max. If you have External fuel pipes, you can put on 2-4 fuel boosters (rockets with engines) and feed the EFP to the centre. Finally you build a large lifter from the surface of Kerbin. Orange tank max twice. Maybe fuel boosters. Skipper or Mammuth engines. Then outside attach SRBs if you want. You need stabilisers for keep the whole thing in line. You can use Monopropellants too but consider their weight. Use fins and winglets to control them in the air.

3) Stages triple checked. 
4) use struts to solidify. That helps especially in lower stages. Decouplers usually cause a lot of noodle effect. For example: when put on the SRB decoupler (side) is usually in the middle. Put at least one strut on the to and the bottom near the engine. Also connect the SRBs together for solidity.

4) Use cones on top of the boosters and fairings on the actual spacecraft. Winglets/fins on the bottom near the engine. Lifter stage should have a solid large one. No need to control while in the thickest atmo.

5) Learn how to asparagus fuelling. You can google it.

6) TWR! Figure out the stages TWR. Kerbal Engineer Redux (mod) is the best way to do it. If it is under 1 rocket won't lift, you waste fuel. Over 1.18 is good, higher the better. But! In atmo over 2 is actually create too much drag. 

7) If the rocket start to spin you most likely did built something not aligned properly. Check the build. Use the tools in VAB to align everything.

8) You need around 4500 to leave Kerbin SOI, you have to have it without the Deep Space stage.

Hope these help.

God speed! Brave Kerbonaut! 

Edited by Aldaris5
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