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What is most important for you when making ships


AmpsterMan
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What it said on the tin. Do you have a specific thing you focus on when making ships? Do you like to minimize launch mass? Maximize payload? Minimize parts? Maximize looks?

I suspect most of us will have a combination of these soo for discussion purposes try to isolate the most important for yourself.

I find myself usually trying to maximise my payload capacity. I try to aim for a 10-15 % payload to launch mass ratio.

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I build a payload (a lander, a probe, a base), and then I build the an upper stage to put it where I want it be. Then I build a lower stage (or 2 or 3) to get the payload and upper stage into orbit.

I do something similar. I have two launchers; one can carry ten tons to LKO, the other 25. Every payload is unique for the mission at hand. Currently, I am trying to find a way to get 50 tons to LKO

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I build all my rockets for function first, then if I can, I try to make staging flashy and cool (usually stuff like attaching separatrons to boosters and lower stages, multi-stage landers where the landing legs fly off, multiple parachutes deploying at once, etc.). Like others, my payload is unique for each mission, but it's rare that I ever make a brand new rocket configuration. "If it works, make it better," but I'm usually too afraid to tinker too much to make the launchers more efficient so I usually go with what works.

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First I lay out a mission plan, i.e. visit a specific spot on Mun or Minmus, etc. It can really be whatever and is only limited by imagination. I then design a payload that can complete said mission, whether it's a lander or satellite or "other". The payload has to look cool but must also complete mission criteria. Then I build the propulsion for the payload (NERVAs :D) Then I build the lifter rocket, and I really couldn't care less what it looks like. It all falls off anyways. This is coming from a guy who absolutely loathes launches.

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I find that I like serial staging more than paralel staging, so I don't like to use SRBs. Also, I never EVER send my Kerbals alone on landing missions so I really enjoy the 3 man pod. Only time I use the one seat is when I am sending a satellite or something.

Keep it opining guys, it's really fun to see what the community considers important in rockets.

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Usually i build mine with High Thrust to weight ratios, SRBs do a good job as one can jetison those fairly quickly, Symetry/Balance is Key at the lower stages for something controllable. Is there a way to edit decouplers to be crossfuel capable?, could be rather interesting to experiment with. Before i forget, Use as many struts as possible in a logical way, X patterns, Triangles when possible. :cool:

Edited by Leonov
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I do it the methodical way others have mentioned: start with the lander (or whatever the mission requires), then do the delta-V math and work backwards. 1) The payload (lander or whatever), 2) a stage which gets the payload from Kerbin orbit to the destination (sometimes this is 2 stages for big payloads or long distances), 3) a stage which gets the rocket from high atmo to Kerbin orbit (because it's usually too big a job to launch with a single stage), and 4) a big brute to get me off the ground and most of the way out of the atmosphere, but then is discarded to save weight and reduce lag. I make the smallest ship that can do the job, plus a bit of a safety margin.

So far in .17 I've only been landing 1-man ships, because currently there's nothing 3 Kerbals can do that one Kerbal can't (except take screenshots standing on each other's heads). Also, there's no need to make a ship that does both the jobs of landing somewhere and returning to Kerbin, since those have conflicting imperatives, so all my landers have been one-way-then-meet-return-ship designs.

And I never use SRBs because I feel that they burn out too quickly to bother with. If a liquid fuel design is under-developed, a little kick in the butt at the start of the mission isn't going to help much. (That's personal feeling, not rigorous design analysis.) Besides, with the larger new parts and their fragility, a high G load at any point in the flight can be dangerous, which I feel is another good reason not to be shoving your ship around with SRBs.

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I build a payload (a lander, a probe, a base), and then I build the an upper stage to put it where I want it be. Then I build a lower stage (or 2 or 3) to get the payload and upper stage into orbit.

I try that, but I only succeed with small payloads like a capsule, some fuel, RCS and such. With a lander with return capability, my lower stages get really huge and don't work well. They usually do the hula, then 'splode. Or the tower strips off a few boosters, then 'splode. Once, it just 'splode on the pad. I have a few that make it to orbit without 'splode, but the Nerva engine can't seem to circularize a Kerbin orbit. I'm trying to keep the Nerva engine through landing, so I can bring the Kerbals back home. I don't like stranding them and like blowing them up even less. Except for the pad boom and one of the scrape the tower booms, all of the other Kerbals were able to make landings due to a generous application of SPAS (SPacebar Abort Sequence). I have gotten better at SPAS, so that I'll turn on and off the engines between stages to keep the capsule above the 'splosions. My latest thoughts are a 3m tank with 6 3m tanks around it with some asparagus planning on dropping the outer tanks. I copied the scenario ships in to the VAB and really like the Kerbal-X design, but it doesn't have enough oomph (even with 18 SRB's) to get my rather large lander into orbit without doing the hula and occasionally 'splode. I think we need a replacement for the struts that is stronger and more Kerbalish, like duct tape. ;)

p.s. Ever since the latest Kerbal trailer with the Command Center at the Kerbal Space Center, my son and I have been saying 'splode for KSP instead of explode because it is so Kerbal.

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I try to make my payloads and rockets as compact as possible. I always use payload fairings, and shroud decouplers. I Like a highly functional rocket with lots of deployable thingamajigs that fits in a nice clean densely packed payload fairing. I spose I maximise the ratio of deployed size to stowed size.

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