Rune's Slightly Used Vehicles

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The old thread went up in flames in the great crash of '13, but I was able to salvage something from google. Then, of course, everything got horribly outdated, but in one form or another, here is the good old R-SUV. Building stuff for the forums since 0.19! (I think. I know for sure I started the game on 0.17, just before docking).

It is a work in progress, of course, and new ones will be added as I post them, generally to the top of the sections because newer is usually better. All stock, even if the screenshots show some mods (I do play with them). If you find something I missed, a shout is appreciated and I will clean the download or fix whatever needs fixing. So without further due... the sales pitch! :)


Welcome, fellow space traveller!! Here at R-SUV, only the finest and flight-tested vehicles out of an actual aerospace engineer-in-training. And they even sometimes work!

Disclaimer: Some, but not much, piloting skill required. After all, I can fly them, so they shouldn't be too difficult. :wink:





Simply put, we deal with winged things in this section. Anything that needs a runway to take off belongs here, be it to start a long-range flight, or to put payload in orbit in a cheap way. A very cheap way. So fasten your seatbelts, make sure your seat back and tray are both in the full upwards position, and all your luggage is correctly stowed...




I've been torn for a few days now. On the one hand, the Longsword name is awesome... but on the other, this looks nothing like the Longsword (even though it's built on top of it and shares the basic powerplant), and is actually quite more capable:


~50mT to orbit! That is a whopping >25% payload ratio, and the payload rides in style, inside a humongous bay sporting the latest in ramp technologies... just in case you want to load a nuclear cruise stage and use it without unpacking :wink:

Plus now we support crew! Truly, a hammer that is just begging for a problem to solve. They all look like nails with one of these! And thanks to the efficient part count (151 not counting payload), and the ridiculously simple flight manual, a hammer anyone can use.



It has become practically my go-to cargo SSTO. If nothing else, I can loft a few metric tons of ore up while I do something else... Thanks to the incredibly big payload bay, I just chuck modules inside until I have what I need, then complete with ore not caring much about the payload's CoM... if anything I have a care to put the heaviest things forwards. If the result is under 180 mT at takeoff, I know I am going to have enough to go up. I built with low density payloads in mind, because you are limited by room more often than not, in my experience. BTW, there is a handy unused node where the two bays meet to hang more than one payload without them having to connect to each other.

All in all, it is an incredibly useful "can tackle any job" kind of bird. And sacrificing nothing to aesthetics! I took the "old" Longsword and IMO improved the looks of the thing enormously, while actually saving structural parts, and adding the tail ramp to boot. And the CoM/CoL balance didn't even take a hit! It still can do "Kobras" on reentry to shed speed high up and experience a very cool reentry (even though it's frankly difficult to burn that nosecone off). I think this one will stay with us for a while now, I have no desire to try to improve on this any time soon. I mean, look at it! :)


Just a few parting thoughts... it has solar panels, but the radiators have a bad habit of activating when stowed and draining the power on ascent, fortunately you have a fuel cell in the bay, remember to use it. Also ... you know what? It has a ton of other bells and whistles, but since they are minor and I've been writing for some time, I think I will let you find those out for yourself... I hope you enjoy yourself while doing so!





The latest incarnation of a timeless classic. What can you do with a single RAPIER?




If you have been following me for a while, I bet you already have an idea of what I'm about to show you... if not, know that the White Dart series has been with me since before we had RAPIERs. You could say it's my signature craft. Although it has had many iterations, from the beginning of the line it's distinctive characteristics have been to be light (and part-light, too), have incredible aerodynamics, and perhaps most important of all, look cool as heck. While I can attest to the first two points (46 parts, it has the easiest launch procedure I have ever done, and it can do "Kobras" on reentry!), I think you'd better be the judge of the aesthetics department... I'm too full of myself right now to be anywhere near objective. :P


And you know, just so it is clear how it easy it is to fly, let's just paste the entire flight manual here... such as it is. :)

Flight Manual (AKA: go to orbit in five steps without touching the WASD keys):

1- On takeoff, assume a 5º AoA over the horizon and engage the normal SAS mode.

2- At 7,000m, engage the prograde autopilot until you are again at 5º over the horizon, then back again to normal SAS.

3- When the RAPIER gives less than 50kN thrust, switch modes manually.

4- Once your apoapsis is over 50kms, go back to prograde autopilot until you hit your target Apo, then cut engines.

5- Circularize at desired altitude with a maneuver node.





Presenting the longest-ranged non-SSTA, SSTO in the R-SUV arsenal (that was a mouthful!), this one should be capable of training your crews to level 3, six guys at a time. And it looks pretty nice if I say so myself!




The plan is simple: we want a bunch of guys with three stars, so they can crew our interplanetary missions. But we don't actually want to send them on interplanetary missions, because they aren't leveled up yet adn those take forever. So what do we do? Well, we put them in this thing, and we tour them around the Kerbin system (Kerbin->Minmus Surface->Edge of the SOI->Munar flyby->Kerbin). Turns out that is just enough experience points to get you to lvl 3, and the only really tricky thing is coming back to Kerbin's SOI after you leave it, because the navball switches directions and you lose your reference frame. For that, I just start burning retrograde a minute or so before I exit the SOI, and leave SAS on stability hold (so it doesn't freak out when retrograde changes direction). And thanks to ~3,5km/s in the tanks when you are in LKO, we can even be rather quick about the whole thing! I usually burn about 500m/s in Minmus orbit to reach the edge of the SOI in three or four kerbal days, then over-brake back in to get into a Munar flyby on the way back in less than ten days, which ends up costing that half a km/s I burned leaving Moho, plus a few hundred m/s more (if you change how fast you fall back to kerbin, you can pretty much always find a Mun flyby on your way back).






Probably the best built SSTO in my arsenal, a multitask beauty that is just as comfortable being a SSTA, as it is lifting Big Reds to orbit, or tugging Base Packs around. And did I mention that I built it to drop base modules on Duna? So yeah, it can do that, and it can also build bases on any other rock, other than Tylo and Eve. But it can also do everything else in your space program, including looking like a million bucks.













A true workhorse: a medium sized cargo bay you can fill to the brim (half a Big Red, or in other words, big enough for any of my base modules), and ample cabin to carry passengers and do crew rotations and stuff. And pretty simple to use!


As for payload, most of the cargoes you can fit there, volume wise, will be lighter than a X200-32, and there is enough room in there for a Munar lander or something. Meaning this can fulfil from satellite contracts, to launching Munar science missions, to ferrying tourists onwards to their destinations, or deploying interplanetary probes. The only note of caution would be to remember to turn on the fuel cell in the cargo bay, really. Yes, I know, that means it can't stay up forever, but I actually like that it'll take you resources to stay up long unless you are docked to a station.

Anyhow, the build is really so straightforward that there is really not much else for me to tell you about it. It won't slow down your game at all (60 parts only), it is quite simple to use (action groups explained on the file), and it makes a great general-purpose shuttle. So have fun trying it out if you do, and if not at least enjoy the pretty pictures!












And because this game is about rockets, I should really have a section on them, shouldn't I?








The first of a new breed: Practical cargo chemical SSTOs, with a payload bay and a generous maximum payload. Why would I bother, if I have a ton of airbreathing SSTOs that can do the same thing, for less fuel and cost? Well, airbreathers are not really that much slower than rockets in getting to orbit, but they are slower. And some people just don't like them. Plus, legendary designs like the DC-X and Bono's monsters have always intrigued me. If only our earth was a tiny bit less massive, or our chemical engines a bit better, we could have one of these. Wouldn't that be cool? And isn't that a good enough reason to build such a thing in KSP? Besides, it is actually useful.


And what is a 'generous maximum payload', I hear you ask? Well, in this case, 20mT to 100kms circular, which is nothing to sneer at. Basically, as long as you aren't carrying mostly fuel, you will max out the payload volume long before you max out the payload weight (for handy calculations, the maximum takeoff weight is indicated on the description). Handling is superb, with the powerful RCS system and the almost-empty mass in orbit being relatively low. And once it's time to get back, you won't take any longer than to reenter any capsule: point your butt to the wind, and let the gods of newtonian mechanics carry you down, you will barely see a few temperature gauges turn brownish. Happy launches!


A few notes on flying this. First, for your convenience, the ship is slightly tilted eastwards, so that if you engage SAS (and RCS!) before take off, it will follow a slightly eastwards skewed vertical trajectory at first. By doing so, you can 'fly it' by selecting the prograde autopilot at the right time to initiate a perfect gravity turn. With full load, the magic number that warns you to do so is 85m/s on the surface speed indicator, but with a smaller load you will get more TWR off the pad, and you will have to start it sooner. In any case, once the gravity turn is started, you can take care of any slight inclination misalignment (any imperfection will get magnified as you tilt over), since it a pretty hands-free ascent otherwise. If you happen to find that your apoapsis is rising too fast by the end (meaning you started grav-turning a bit late), you can always throttle down by pressing '2', shutting off one third of the engines. And once you are circularizing, using just that third (press '1' to toggle all engines to switch between 2/3rds thrust and 1/3rd) helps nailing a precise insertion.


Oh, and RCS on at all times, if that wasn't evident by now. The thing barely has reaction wheels, and no engine gimbal, but it has powerful vernors placed strategically so you have decent six-axis control. Which may seem a bit wasteful (and it kind of is), but it gives you a lot of maneuverability, makes docking quite easy, and it isn't that much more wasteful than gimbaling your engine. You can save some fuel by switching on fine controls with Bloq. Mayus., of course. Apart form that, don't worry about the fuel cell, it turns on automatically once you stage, and note that using the docking port through the action group ('6') uses the shiny new feature of 'control from here', to reset the orientation... which shouldn't change once you decouple the payload, but just in case.


Landing is also easy: just focus on targeting KSC (the Trajectories Mod is amazing for that), and do nothing until the things goes subsonic frighteningly close to the ground. Then you can pull the chutes, freak out because it seems like they won't open in time, and breathe a final sigh of relief as speed suddenly drops to ~15m/s a couple hundred meters from the ground. If you get used to all that, you can use that time of heavy aerodynamic deceleration as you drop below 900m/s and get back comms to do some fancy inverted flying to precisely target the landing site (basically all controls work the other way around, you pitch up by pressing 'S', for example). Once the chutes deploy, tough, all that is left to do is turn the lights on, drop the landing gear, and provide a bit of thrust on the last meters to bring speed to a safe 5-10m/s for final touchdown, to ensure nothing blows up. But don't worry too much, a lot of stuff has to explode before you start crashing expensive engines. And with a bit of practice, you too will get 100% recovery rates over the runway!









Going up in luminosity: introducing the Sirius. With the same payload capacity as the Claymore, and the same potential for full reusability, but a much faster launch sequence... at the cost of a steeper fuel bill.


With 50mT of maximum payload, and a very long payload bay, it is certainly a big boy, tipping the scales at launch at almost 500mT. By the time you get to orbit, things are that much better (other than guzzling RCS like there is no tomorrow, if you aren't careful and move around a lot), but thanks to the gimbal of the Vectors (those things sure are OP), it is even more controllable than the Centaur during ascent. Like that one, the Sirius also reenters 'feet first', just like a capsule, for maximum convenience and minimum pilot input required. Literally, most of the phases of flight on this are hands-free, check the spoiler if you don't believe me. And then go build something awesome to lift with this! :)


A few notes on flying this. First, for your convenience, the ship is slightly tilted eastwards, so that if you engage SAS (and RCS!) before take off, it will follow a slightly eastwards skewed vertical trajectory at first. By doing so, you can 'fly it' by selecting the prograde autopilot at the right time to initiate a perfect gravity turn. With full load, the magic number that warns you to do so is 115m/s on the surface speed indicator, but with a smaller load you will get more TWR off the pad, and you will have to start it sooner. In any case, once the gravity turn is started, you can take care of any slight inclination misalignment (any imperfection will get magnified as you tilt over), since it a pretty hands-free ascent otherwise. If you happen to find that your apoapsis is rising too fast by the end (meaning you started grav-turning a bit late), you can always throttle down by pressing '2', shutting off one third of the engines. And once you are circularizing, using just that third (press '1' to toggle all engines to switch between 2/3rds thrust and 1/3rd) helps nailing a precise insertion.


Oh, and RCS on at all times, if that wasn't evident by now. The thing barely has reaction wheels, and no engine gimbal, but it has powerful vernors placed strategically so you have decent six-axis control. Which may seem a bit wasteful (and it kind of is), but it gives you a lot of maneuverability, makes docking quite easy, and it isn't that much more wasteful than gimbaling your engine. You can save some fuel by switching on fine controls with Bloq. Mayus., of course. Apart form that, don't worry about the fuel cell, it turns on automatically once you stage, and note that using the docking port through the action group ('2') uses the shiny new feature of 'control from here', to reset the orientation... which shouldn't change once you decouple the payload, but just in case.


Landing is also easy: just focus on targeting KSC (the Trajectories Mod is amazing for that), and do nothing until the thing goes subsonic frighteningly close to the ground. Then you can pull the chutes, freak out because it seems like they won't open in time, and breathe a final sigh of relief as speed suddenly drops to ~20m/s a couple hundred meters from the ground. If you get used to all that, you can use that time of heavy aerodynamic deceleration as you drop below 900m/s and get back comms to do some fancy inverted flying to precisely target the landing site (basically all controls work the other way around, you pitch up by pressing 'S', for example). Once the chutes deploy, tough, all that is left to do is turn the lights on, drop the landing gear, and provide a bit of thrust on the last meters to bring speed to a safe 5-10m/s for final touchdown, to ensure nothing blows up. But don't worry too much, a lot of stuff has to explode before you start crashing expensive engines. And with a bit of practice, you too will get 100% recovery rates over the runway!







First of all, an explanation on the name: I kept it from early development, to emphasize how little I expected of the airframe. After all, I already had the Heinlein to perform the VSSTO duty, right? But the more time I spent on it, the more in love I fell with its simplicity and looks... and now? Well, somehow it has managed to earn a place on my first interplanetary stack, and an honourable one at that: primary crew lander for Moho (check the album for a pretty cool pic of the stack breaking orbit). And copies of it are planned to pretty much take over every job the Heinlein had, plus small satellite delivery, and general purpose shuttling. A true workhorse, and awesome-looking to boot!




And the key to its versatility is its main difference with the Heinlein: it has a payload bay! That capsule was really killing that design, because this is lighter, has less thrust, carries one more kerbal if configured to do so (like it is in the file), and if you don't need crew, you can always chuck out the crew module and put up to 2.5mT of payload there and still make orbit. Or exchange modules once on orbit! And due to the relatively small launch mass (~50mT), it is a handy chemical lander to take around the kerbin system. Heck, it can handle Tylo if you have a refueling post there...



Of course, you can't really work miracles, and it is rather small (50 parts!), so really, it is SSTO, but only just, and only if you don't ever, under any circumstance, try to lift more than 2.5mT form Kerbin. Even a perfect launch profile will leave you fumes to perform deorbit/rendezvous. But that is something that it shares with the Heinlein, and if you are not the best pilot out there, or plain lazy, the low TWR at liftoff means a couple of SRB will increase the dV enormously, on account of lower gravity losses. Of course, almost anywhere else, the 4km/s in the tanks will be more than enough, even with larger payloads, but that is another thing...

Anyhow, it really is a '"T","Z","SPACE!"' kind of ship, with almost no action groups and no staging events, so really the user manual is basically "do a perfect gravity turn", so not much to tell you guys about how to fly it... just that the reentry is very easy and stable if you do it with the airbrakes out. Oh, I almost forgot, if you plan on maneuvering during reentry, you want to disable the winglets as control surfaces and enable the airbrakes, in order for them to work the right way on reentry when you are going bottom-first. Squad apparently hasn't figured out yet how to make control surfaces work when placed backwards... Other than that, it will survive an unpowered landing, no need to save fuel for the last second. That's why I spent to much time thinking about the fuel routing and such, so you don't have to pay attention to anything but the navball and the "time to apoapsis" reading during ascent. Oh, and it also floats on water without tipping over... that was totally unintentional, but it is very awesome: water landings on Laythe are nothing to be afraid of! :)



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Who said SSTOs have to have intakes? Presenting the Heinlein! Taking off and landing "like Kod and Robert Keinlein meant spaceships to", paraphrasing a little.



Sporting a ridiculous 44 parts, and 4km/s in the tanks, it gives you just enough juice to limp into a 100km circular orbit with three kerbals. Trust me, you will learn a thing or two about gravity turns flying this thing. But, if you can refuel it up there, then boy, the sky is the limit. Being able to SSTO in kerbin means you can do the same on every other body in the kerbol system with the exception of EVE. And you can get yourself there if you have the depots, or course. A true workhorse, designed to work just as fine on the frigid Jool system shuttling Val as it would do on the Red planet, or hop some tourists on a quick orbit in no time flat. Orbit is quite literally halfway to anywhere! And orbit it does, if you know how to handle her. :)





Really, there is not much more to say about her, other than that warning about needing a pilot that knows his stuff (or Mechjeb), in order to make the design benchmark of 100km LKO. And even when flown by its creator, you can see I had all of 100m/s left in the tanks to do all the rendezvousing and coming back. Other than having tight margins, tough, it is very easy to fly in every other aspect. And the action groups... nonexistant, why would you need them? Simplicity itself! (To reuse the chutes, they are actually bound to the abort action group... you know, because they are your abort). The only moving parts are the landing gear and ladders, and they are synchronized. It is stable on the atmosphere going up and down. It can even land on land without using its engines for a powered touchdown! It's a bit rough, though, keeping a few drops of fuel is advised, especially if you are coming into water and hope to recover anything other than the capsule (which would survive horrendous crashes anyway).

So with that advice, I leave you to hone your ascent skills, with a design where you just have to care about flying, and not worry whether something is going to bobble into an explosion, or the whole thing will flip out from under you.

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Yup, rings are cool. They never go out of style. Plus, all those fuselage segments make for a very big fuel reservoir, if you care to select them all. If not... you know, rings. Because we can and they look pretty.


Just like before, every care was taken to minimize part count while building something truly massive. At launch it goes over 200 parts on account of it being so darn big, even though it launches (mostly) empty. But once you finish insertion you are looking at a much more manageable 70.



So how do you launch this... thing... in a realistic atmosphere? Simple, with a lot of care, and some imaginative strutting. If you are careful about dropping the nose part, you can even do it without space littering!



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A surface base inside a box, you say? Not only that! A modular surface base, with configurations only limited by imagination, that can now self-deploy anywhere form Eve to Duna. And not only that, it can even be towed further.



You will notice that in a lot of these pics, there is a kind of ginourmous SSTo parke right next to it. That beauty is the Orca, a SSTO specifically designed to deploy the modules this base consists of on rock of every kind, with or without atmosphere. Of cource, that, though cheap, involves lots of refueling and auxiliary vehicles. However, it is no longer necessary! Tough it is recommended to check out the Orca, a SSTO designed specifically for modular base deployment, the new CRADLE (Container Rated for Atmospheric Descent and Landing on Eve) can do the whole base deployment in a single launch, with or without an atmosphere:


The CRADLE itself also has enough oomph to land on most moons propulsively, if there is no handy atmosphere to brake with. Once landed, disconnect the modules from it, reconnect them in whatever fashion you choose, and presto! A nice modular base!


And if the guys at mission control want more of whatever, well... it's a modular base. Send another pack and make things bigger!



Range: As is, you should be able to get to Mun/Minmus in a single launch. An additional refuel of the upper stage will get you to Duna/Eve. Everywhere else, you’ll need a transfer stage of your own. Note Tylo is not everywhere else.

Getting rid of the box once landed: -Stock: decouple everything, then delete the box from the tracking station.

                                                               -KIS/KAS: reinstall the engines symmetrically around the cargo bay to fly it away.


Album NT2vG will appear when post is submitted






"...We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..."


Well this went easier than expected. I kid you not, I have only flown this once. And it went without a hitch! (well, I had to reload the landing because a cat screwed with it by sitting on my lap :blush:) I am getting really good at this "eyeballing margins" stuff. I do admit that I used KER but... how often do you get something as complicated as an Apollo replica right at first launch? Honestly, this went much better than it had any right to. Even if I had to put the Skippers at 100% rated thrust so get a S-IC tall and powerful enough :wink:. Feast your eyes!



It has an access tower and everything! You can now get your kerbals into the capsule in a proper astrovan and everything. And the lunar stack, I'm really proud at how that turned out, simple yet very accurate at the same time. And I finally have fuel cells for the CSM! The LM, of course, runs on batteries, so don't dilly-dally on the surface too long. The usual rest of accuracy details, minus the interstage ring that would have complicated the build a lot needlessly. This way, the whole thing is a mere 156 parts on the pad (5 of which are the service tower), and it is still very, very accurate (if you don't believe me, wait until you hear about the margins).







Now, a note about flying it. It's further explained in the album, but the margins on everything are really, really tight. Like, I ended TMI with something like 2m/s on the S-IVb tanks (not counting RCS). And I landed with 5m/s on the LM descent stage. About 50m/s on the ascent stage are left for rendezvous operations, too. But don't despair if you are not the best pilot out there! The CSM has a crapton of extra fuel, so it can finish off lunar insertion of the stack after taking the LM out, and not only that, the LM itself has unused tanks in every stage: fill them up before undocking with some of that extra fuel, and not only will you will also have wider margins for the descent, you still have sufficient margin on the CSM tanks for a nice margin on the margin. Also, the RCS is very excessive, so you could tap into that if push comes to shove.

And with that, I leave you with the fully commented mission album, and the download, so you too can emulate the steps of the Apollo crews. Enjoy!


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Because, contrary to popular belief, there is a point to launching all those awesome craft. Putting all this awesome stuff on orbit!







If there was one sub I am proud of, it would be this one. The original one I don't even remember when I built, but this is the updated version, with thermal management and the latest building tricks. Thanks to some careful part placement, it can draw fuel from any of it's docking ports, so you can attach this baby to pretty much anything to give it pretty long legs. And with a minimal part count of 12!





The drive pods are great, but they do need a way to be moved around. Whether it's that, or you need to move an E-class potatoroid around, the Klaw Pod is your friend. With plenty of docking ports to not usually need the bug-prone Klaw, strong RCS and reaction wheels, and minimal part count, a pair of these with handle ridiculously large payloads by placing them on opposite ends, and even the single one can handle more than it looks like. Orbital building is much easier with one of these, and since you don't need to give any piece of your stations independent RCS propulsion, part count for large multi-part builds goes down greatly.





Still, you are not going to leave all the fun of station assembly to a bunch of probes, right? Then this here is just for you! Featuring the absolute minimum amount of parts for such a thing (10!), the Kerbal Mobility Unit will extend the range of your EVAs while not costing you in framerate. And if you have Jr. docking ports around, you can use it to move stuff!





This one is not that useful, really, but in the few emergencies when you'll want it, the ~1.5km/s in the tanks and the ability to glide to a soft landing in any atmosphere will allow your kerbal to safely return to kerbin in the event of any plausible emergency in cismunar space... and maybe a bit beyond. The accommodations are a bit spartan, but you can't beat it in size or part count... it fits a Mk3 payload bay when tilted 45º, and is a mere 16 parts. And more importantly, it looks rather cute, IMO. :)




In order to extend your reach throughout the Kerbal system, you need solid comms to relay your findings back. This is a simple way of doing so! Deploying this babies in a circular constellation in high polar orbit around a rock will ensure global coverage to support your operations, and a solid link back to kerbin.




All you will ever need to mine an asteroid, minus the engines to move it around. A universal port on one end means it can actually serve as a mount for either one or two Drive Pods, so it can actually move the potatoes around to where you want the refuelling operations to take place. It could use a bigger fuel reservoir, but then it wouldn't be as customizable, just by adding modules, or be a mere 20 parts, would it? Best used with a couple of Klaw Pods and the single Drive Pod to wrangle asteroids really cheaply with something that can be taken to space inside a SSTO bay.




Presented for completeness, my standard Ore Tank. It is not coincidental that it is exactly the same size as a X200-32 fuel tank capped with Sr. docking ports, nor is it accidental that it has Jr. docking ports on the sides... you can bunch them in large groups, and they are an excellent platform to bolt Drive Pods on. Not much more to say about them... but just think how much fuel a 3x3x3 arrangement of these would be able to hold, being structurally sound and not that part intensive (10 parts each, for 30mT of propellant inside).

...So there you go. I could have included others, but I thought these were a good selection to get started. Tell me what you think and if you find something obvious that I should have included but I didn't, I am open to adding more crap before I archive this into R-SUV (when I finally get around to updating R-SUV to 1.05... :blush:). In the meantime, here, have a nice RAR with all the files together.


Not yet!




Well, that is all... for now! I will add new ones as I make them, if they are good enough in my opinion. Everything here can go to the stock repository directly if someone links. Feel free to tinker with them, modify, steal ideas, whatever. After all, I do the same! :wink: Also, remembering action groups for every ship is out of the question for me. Check them out on the assembly building before each flight, that's my motto.

Oh, and comments are always appreciated if you test any of them out. :)

NOTE: Most of the outdated craft can be found on a backup post just below if they are from the 0.9-0.25 period, or on page 9 on this thread if they are even older and the gods of the Internet kept the links safe. Go there if you haven't got enough with the ones on this page, most of them still work in the new versions!

Rune. Ad Astra per kaboom!

Edited by Rune
Update! Added the Centaur cargo SSTO to the VAB section.

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What follows are all the designs that 0.25 and 0.90 made completely obsolete. They do still work great on the older version, though:






(Which I loosely define as everything designed to carry modular payloads between orbit and a ground)

- DAO SSTO Shuttle

So, the last serious cargo SSTO I did was the Nodachi. Though act to follow! That thing had gorgeous lines and awesome performance statistics. Can I do any better? Well, I can do the same thing with MkIII cargo bays, and 175 parts. Yeah, I call that progress: :)





It ended up stubby and waaaay smaller (is that a bad thing?), but really, this is one of the most useful SSTOs I've made. It handles great, takes off before the end of the runway, and is as light coming back to it as you would expect of a plane that shed 2/3rds of its mass without the CoM moving in the slightest. And you know, the compact shape is still kind of interesting, I especially like how the winglets came out, makes for a good-looking profile no matter the angle. Props to Mesklin for inspiring the "canard as part of a delta" control surface arrangement.


Performance-wise, it retains the Nodachi's 4 "Turbo-RAPIER" powerplant, and it even achieves slightly greater payload fractions (Max. payload is about 33% of GLOW, and empty weight another 33%, giving a mass ratio of 1.5 to orbit). Only now that the engines arebunched together on the back, the flameout is even less of a thing to worry about, you can perfectly well time your engine switches by waiting for the sparks of total cutoff to come out of the engines (remember, first you switch the RAPIERs to rocket mode at about 1,500m/s somewhere between 25-30kms, then later you cut the turbojets when you are reaching orbital velocity). Note in the album how the "performance proof" picture shows a rendezvous with a station at 100kms circular with all of 10m/s left in the tanks without tapping the payload's fuel, or much of the monopropellant. That's kind of the maximum performance, BTW :P

Aerodynamic handling depends a lot on how close to maximum payload you are. I mean, it will handle perfectly fine at maximum payload, of course, capable of locking on to 45º angles of attack without issues and taking off well before you reach the SPH (at about 70m/s); but when you go with lighter payloads (it will put up anything you can fit in the bay, BTW)... then it maneuvers like a freaking jet fighter! While gliding like a feather. Seriously, incredibly noob friendly for 25mT payloads and smaller. In case you didn't know, the standard red tank payload is about 36mT (slightly more because of all the docking ports). Oh, and note how the tank payload I provide is not secured by struts and instead does a double-dock when you load it: that means you can bring full red tanks down to a surface without them moving around like spaghetti and protruding form the bay.

Oh, and speaking of payloads, I took the liberty of coming up with one set myself: the Exploration Package. 25mT of go-where-you-please modular ship.



Basically, a can lander with 3.5km/s in its tanks and TWR >0.90, and a nuke transfer stage that will give said lander another 3km/s without tapping its fuel at a decent 0.25 TWR. Do you guys like? It should look like this in space, though it's mostly untested other than fuel flow (it is simple enough that I feel confident it'll work, though). Duna-class missions should be a breeze, and I bet this could visit a lot of other places, Eelo included, if you know your navigation stuff. Maybe even Laythe, though I am not sure 3.5km/s is enough to make the ascent there after falling on chutes. Certainly any other sane place (No, Eve, I'm not talking about landing on you and ever coming back).

And just in case you manage to screw things up still (we all do), or for roleplaying purposes (and really, mostly because I was two parts shy of a round 175), I added and escape system (decoupler and chute) that ended up prettyfying the cockpit-hull interface. Check the last pics (or even better, the craft file) to see exactly how that looks, and remember to check the action groups before flying to see how everything works! I don't think I took the time to write a proper description in the file. :blush:


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Dao + Big Red fuel tank

Dao + Exploration Payload

Also, someone asked me to write a user manual, so let's not let it go to waste:

1- Press 'T' for SAS, 'Z' for full throttle, put

in the playlist, and hit '1' and '2' to get the engines roaring.

2- When you are at about 70 m/s, pull back as hard as you want, tailstrike is not a thing that can happen. Continue until your heading is 45º.

3- Listen to the music. Go get coffee, browse the web a bit. This part takes about five minutes with no player input.

4- At about 20,000m, start paying attention to your vertical speed indicator (next to the altimeter on a stock install, but a clearer one is the main reason I use KER). Don't let it go much over 100m/s, and remember the stock one is logarithmic: 'only a bit' to the right of 100m/s can perfectly be 180m/s.

5- Start dropping the nose as appropriate so you bring vertical velocity under 50m/s at about 25kms. No need to completely level off. I find I stay at about 20º over the horizon to do this part, but YMMV depending on how fast you got to this altitude. This is the part were you should get to almost or above 1,500m/s (surface) before the first flameout, and after some practice you also want to let your vertical velocity rise slowly so you get to the end of this stage moving quickly upwards. The faster you can make it here, the better, but once you start seeing sparks on the lower right engine and control becomes weird, you should press '3' to switch the RAPIERs to closed cycle.

6- If you waited till control was hard (greedy!), control will immediately return once you switch the RAPIERS. Keep at a 20º angle thrusting at full throttle and watch you vertical velocity rise. It is important that it rises quickly, having it over 100m/s at this point greatly diminishes aerodynamic drag and saves rocket fuel. At about 30kms and with the indicator either at 1800-1900 (surface) or ~2000 (orbit), you will get the second flameout. It is even more benign that the first, since airbreathing thrust at this point is only a small fraciton of the total. The main thing about catching it quickly is that you can save on drag by closing intakes with the action group '0', and save a few drops of fuel by cutting the non-functioning turbojets with '2'. Note: as B.O.B. points out in the very next post, I failed to find out over the five or so test flights that if you don't drop throttle a tiny bit the RAPIERs can overheat in this mode if they are working together with the turbojets. Sorry! :blush:

7- As you can imagine, form there it is a short push to the desired orbital altitude (I usually shoot for 75kms so drag takes it to the bare minimum, high efficiency 70kms circular). Circularize at apoapsis, deploy solar panels, from now on you have all the time in the world to remember to do things and take pictures. Hope you had a great flight!

You will note that the vertical velocity method I describe here is basically applicable to any SSTO. The only design-related variables are the altitude at which you start the speed run, and the maximum velocity on airbreathers you design can handle, adn those are kind of fixed once you pick an intake-to-jet ratio and maybe vary a tiny bit with TWR (hint: I always use the same ratio, so all my SSTOs fly mostly the same). This just adds the extra twist of switching half my powerplants to rocket power while still using the others for a little (not so little, actually, saves me hundreds of m/s in rocket delta v) extra push, and no crazy flameout spins of death.


- K-33 Venture Star

Another week, another hangover, another release! And yeah, this time... another replica of another shuttle! Only this one wasn't really built in the end. Designed to the original specifications of 20mT in low orbit, but with a really big bay so you don't have any trouble putting your stuff there, let me present to you the shuttle's SSTO successor that never was:





I built it from memory and going by the rule of cool, so probably not 100% accurate, but I think it looks the part: drone controlled, lots of aerospikes in a linear manner... Yeah, I know, that big engine maybe shouldn't be there in the middle. But it decreases part count a lot and makes it easier to use!


That's it's main selling point, actually, simplicity of use. This will take you to orbit in eight minutes flat! With no thrust fiddling during ascent required as the spikes shut off sequentially flattening your thrust curve. In fact, you can trust the autopilot to do the gravity turn for you too: as you go over 10kms, switch to "orbital" in the navball speed indicator, and tell the computer to hold prograde. That's pretty much it! And if you are not trying to land with a full cargo bay (which it can do anyway, but requires a pretty good pilot), it glides like a feather since it's so light.


And not only is it easy to use, it is practical too! You get 20mT to LKO with >250 m/s in the tanks and full RCS for docking, so this very usable as you standard medium launcher, for station modules, probes and the like. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can mount an expedition to most places with 20mT! Be sure to let me know what you are using it for if you like it ;)


And when you are done lifting your stuff, of course, just deorbit and land it for full recovery and lots of √savings. Again, let me reiterate: You are supposed to have left the stuff in the cargo bay in orbit. Then landing is as simple as taking off, and boy is the takeoff simple. But of course I wasn't going to stop attempting it myself to find the limits of the design. If you land with it full... well, then you have my respect, and can boast that you can fly as good as I do. Take that as you want! ;)


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- EAGLE Munar Shuttle

So, some of you may remember my Eagle MkIII Munar Shuttle. Cute little thing, it was one of my most successful sleepers: even though it didn't generate that many comments (and let's face it, it wasn't terribly practical, it had a high part count, fuel consmption, and not so big payload) both it, and especially the base I built with it, have gotten close to 2k downloads, even though they also got pretty outdated a couple of versions ago. I doubt you remember the first one, though: that was like 0.19 or so! Anyhow, the Eagle lookalike has gotten to be one of "my things", which is curious considering I haven't even watched the show it's made from, and the think the whole design, while pretty, is pretty crappy :rolleyes:. But this is KSP, I am pretty decent with the building tools, and the part selection now allows some pretty cool stuff. So without further due, the most sci-fish of my ships yet, and this time it turns out to be damn useful and powerful: meet the Eagle MkV! :)





No launch vehicle this time! Just good old fashioned air hogging, thrust, and lots of fuel. I've got to say, the performance has me a little worried: while getting a more than decent payload of about 20mT and the same payload dimensions as the old one, it is still capable of going to Munar orbit in a single stage to refuel there! The amount of fuel you use to drop the cargo on the Mun and get back up is truly ridiculous, BTW (as in, no need to put any fuel on the two main tanks). And sure, it SSTO'es from kerbin with 20mT loads mainly because of the unrealistic airbreathers, but check this out: it also gets 2km/s with full LFO mix in non-oxygenated atmospheres! So Duna SSTO is also covered, as well as most moons. There are chutes in case you have difficulty nailing good landings on airbreathing engines, too, though you can use the rocket setting on the RAPIERS to have a quicker response time. And of course you can use the nukes for incredible efficiency, so this can actually haul more than what you put in the bay between planets, thanks to the rear-facing docking port. Like, say, a whole base pack (sold separately! right now all you get is the fuel dump):






So you can guess that the testing implied plenty of landings on Mun. I set up a new base there with one of these babies, and made a lot of money in the meantime with all the contracts... only this time I got to a very scenic location. Would you believe I got a kethane deposit right there? Anyhow, if you don't play with that mod, don't worry about the fuel bill that much: so fay I've spent less than one orange tank in dropping three of the base modules! It also has tons of little details like a universal port in the bay, or one hanging from the CoM, so you put all kind of things there to suit your needs, or a landing light system that is synchronized with the landing gear without you doing anything and put in a separate action group so you don't deploy the landing gears in the payload by accident. It helps that I've been playing with it on and off for months! I have gone straight from MkIII to MkV due to game versions catching up on me...


Anyhow, I think it was worth it, and hope you do so too!



And the huge tank size means that when you have a fuel source (and we are getting a stock one soon, right? :)) it makes a more than decent tanker. So a true jack of all trades that will service any needs you space program might have. Want to have a satellite put into orbit cheaply? It might have a huge capital cost, but with an Eagle you only use fuel. Build base on Mun? Just say where and put an orange tank in orbit so it can refuel. take some modules to Laythe to set up a colony there? I've got you covered, just a matter of gas. Need a Kethane tanker to service said colony? Just build a kethane module for it, and this will also do it in it's spare time. Some scientific surveys on Duna's icecaps? Again, just stuff things in the cargo bay and have the depot system set up. If there ever was a definitive ship, ladies and gentlekerbs, I think this is it. :cool:

Oh, and if anyone needs a flight plan, I could write it up... but as a VTOL SSTO, it's pretty darn simple: get quickly to about 25kms up and make a speed run there, to a target flameout speed of about 1,400-1,500m/s at 27kms where you switch the RAPIERS to rocket, then above 32kms or so the jets give out. Play it by ear and don't let it flame out! You have plenty of rocket fuel to spare.


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Yeah, I promised you Christmas presents. Why not a Shuttle replica? Mind you, this is either a craft for seasoned kerbals... or for kerbals that want to learn their stuff the hard way. I salute those who try! Just like the real thing, this is a very demanding ship with little room for error.





Even among the throng of STS replicas out there, I'm still quite pleased with how this turned out. It is moderately useful, and it looks totally like the real thing. And it works like a charm, too! I might write up a couple of flight indications, but really, if you have gotten any other shuttle to orbit, you should manage this one without issues just by remembering to toggle the RCS on on launch. Oh, and it is my usual ridiculously low number of pars, 155 on the pad with the reference 11 part payload, plus it brings half the orbiter's weight up, 20mT (not down, though, it has severe mass limitations for a safe landing).



So, the little details that make it an extremely accurate replica:

-Obviously, it has the same stack as the real thing: an engine-less Extrenal Tank, surrounded by two SRBs (no liquid boosters!) and the Orbiter with the three main engines feeding off the ET.

-A thrust profile for the SRBs. You can tweak it further if you vary the payload, but right now the SRBs vary the thrust during flight, halving it once before the final cutoff. It works just enough to keep the torque in check, forcing the gravity turn actually. Just try to keep it upright facing the right way, and if you panic in the end when you start tilting anyway, just let the SRBs go, you have the margin and it's safe, besides looking pretty. You can ride them until they run out, though.

-Payload is a low-density twenty tons, in this case that half-full orange tank. This is not only accurate to the original, it means this is my first useful shuttle replica. Well that was unexpected.

-A OMS system that runs on different fuel mixture (monopropellant in this case). I know it doesn't look like it, but those Mk55's are there for looks only, they hide the true monoprop engines and simulate their mass. Remember to un-forbid the rear monoprop tank when you turn them on, it's cut off initially so the RCS subsystem doesn't use it during ascent.

-No power generation on the orbiter other than the SSME's alternators (useless in space), so the mission time is constrained by that unless you dock to a station. That is an intentional feature, yes.

-It glides just like the real thing: not very well. Though you have adequate crossrange to line up the runway, you'd better come out of reentry with KSC in sight, and the stable gliding speed is just not survivable on touchdown: you have to save some energy and flare up at the last second to bring the descent speed under a safe 5m/s for the touchdown. And careful with high angles of attack, you can perfectly fine stall it to death on the final approach (ok, I know it's not a true stall because KSP aerodynamics, but it looks like one). Have fun trying, and don't forget to quicksave on final approach!


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You won't recognize this, but let me present to you my take on the most beautiful (IMO) of the original Shuttle Phase A proposals anyway, Lockheed's TSTO, high crossrange variant.

Lockheed's Phase A shuttle proposal


Details are scarce indeed (that picture and the link that's there are pretty much the only references I had), but apparently both set of engines fired at the same time, which allows me to tell a funny development story: while the first test flight ended in orbit (which itself is surprising!), that was in spite of one of the most horrible staging errors I have been able to walk away from: I had forgot to put the orbiter engines on the first stage, so my clever parallel staging arrangement with crossfeed was for nought. :blush: Good thing I had plenty of excess control authority thanks to the Vernors (keep RCS toggled on during launch!), the rest of the flight went without a hitch and thanks to the ample margin I was still capable of making orbit. If you do things right, actually, you end up with about 750m/s out of the the 2500 the orbiter can be re-filled to.





And what else can I say? Not much really, so watch the album, try out the craft if you like it, and in any case, tell me what you think about it!

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The return of a classic, in a new form. Feast your eyes!





So what is the White Dart? Well, historically it is a light SSTO, the best looking one I manage to make, which I offer in several versions. This time, I actually outdid myself on that front: even though there is only one file with a 80 part craft, I am still giving four different White Dart versions: VTOL, Science!, Shuttle, and Scout. Yup, four ships in one. Let me explain that further, and for that I need the picture directly below, so click the spoiler!


THAT is what you load in the SPH looks like. Obviously, it won't fly like that. The idea is that there is a mission module right in the middle of the ship, and you select each one depending on the mission. By default it is configured in the "Science!" version, which includes all science instruments in a downwards-opening bay (so your kerbals have no trouble accessing it on the surface), plus a couple of rocket VTOL auxiliary engines to handle Duna/low gravity landings. But if you want to go further, or explore kerbin being able to land atop mountains, or you want to rescue up to five kerbals stranded in orbit, there is another version of the Dart just waiting for you to take out the middle module, stick one of the ones on the back, and put the engine section back in. Just remember to grab the engine section by the shielded docking port, and you may have to turn on part clipping to get things to connect again, the editor is sometimes finicky. There is an exploded view on the album, BTW, in case you need the diagram to work things out.


That is the most obvious feature of the family, and the one you need to know about the most, but there a ton of others, so let's get to it:

First, it draws fuel from both tanks at the same time. That is not only difficult to do, it also means that the CoM stays put in the same spot for 80% of the flight, and even on almost-empty tanks it doesn't move to where you can't compensate with thrust vectoring and reaction wheels. So perfect VTOL handling from full to empty, whether it is on airbreathing or rocket VTOL engines.

The "Science!" and "Scout" versions sport VTOL rocket engines, and have the delta-V to make a Duna SSTO run, up-and-down or the other way around. So they are more or less designed to be able to land on most places (save the usual suspects, Tylo and Eve) and take off again, if starting from low orbit. The scout, in fact, is mostly just a stripped-down version with the least dry mass and the greatest fuel capacity. Unrefueled, it is capable of Minmus orbital missions, and I have a hunch if you do things very, very well, and burn the monoprop when yo have to (ASAP, since it's the lowest-isp propulsion), it has enough oomph to do a Minmus surface mission (which, done right, takes a lot less delta-v than a Munar landing).

Aerodynamic handling is what you should be expecting on a ship by me with this name: a dream. You can lock pretty much any heading on SAS at any time, and if you drop controls it will still stabilize by itself prograde in almost no time. The low wing loading means it lands on a breeze and takes off at about 50m/s, and it still has the T/W to make a rather fast climb. Having the single engine means that airhogging is simple as it can be, and you milk every last m/s out of the atmosphere before switching on rockets (the RAPIER is on manual setting by default so you can push it further after it flames out by dropping throttle).


Now this is mostly subjective, but the looks have also been a staple of the family: across all versions, the thing that has made the White Dart distinctive in my mind from the other SSTO's I build is, that when I'm done with them I just can't imagine how to build a cooler looking one. Seriously, this is perhaps what took the longest: a hundred little details and tiny corrections in the placement of parts to get the cleanest, coolest lines possible without screwing with the practicality of the design. As a tiny example, consider how the docking port is placed: it faces down, so when you dock you get enough clearance, you kerbal can exit the ship without bumping into anything, it puts the RCS tank close to the CoM to help balance, and it means these things can still dock in pairs to my Medusa class transports and look even better than they did when docked (check the last pic at the album). I hope you guys think the same thing about the aesthetics, because it is the reason I didn't release this weeks ago: I knew I could make it look better.

And finally, part count is plain ridiculous. All versions are between 50 and 55, if I recall correctly. So even if you play KSP on a crappy netbook, this is still a ship you can use. Consider that the whole file with the three extra modules is just 80 parts: I outdid myself there.

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Ladies and gentlekerbs, feast your eyes in this marvel of engineering:





Looking sleek right? No point in doing awesome things if you don't look the part! Every detail has been polished, and every piece clipped with the smoothest finish, to hide all seams and struts and the like. And what kind of awesome things can you do with it? Well, this thing not only has a pretty face, it has legs. In atmosphere it is downright sporty, with low wing loading yet a high-ish TWR, while having a CoL close behind the CoM (that itself stays quite put, if anything it increases in stability as you go lighter to compensate for it) and ample control authority. Meaning it handles like a fighter, yet it will stabilize itself if you let go of the controls (if you have the time for it, of course). At high altitudes, the air routing solution will keep both engines lit as they spool down until one of them goes for good, and the nuke, while having lowish TWR, is more than enough to complete the push to orbit, and it makes the best out of the ample supply of fuel to give over 4km/s of delta-v from low orbit. With that kind of propulsion system (and I'll freely admit, some sorcery is involved), you can visit petty much any rock, if only to fly by it, and you can actually plant flags in a lot of places, including Laythe and Duna. Though I'm doubtful about safely landing on Duna without an additional VTOL system or some chutes, there is ample delta-v and TWR to try (note that the RCS system is placed where the CoM is, and it hardly moves).





And you do all that with ample crew space, at a ridiculous cost in fuel and with minimal part count! I actually use this obscene delta-v to perform what I call "rapid crew assembly" in my career save: train a lot of crews to lvl 3 really quick because I have launch windows to make and infrastructure to service. Goes like this, if you are interested: you take two standard crews (pilot, scientist, and engineer), zip off the runway, and if you burn the excess delta-v in a smart way (i.e: you do a fast-ish initial transfer to Minmus, but not too much into hyperbolic territory, and then you try to cut the travel time by flooring the pedal to the floor going outside kerbin's SOI and, especially, on the way back), have them put boots on Minmus, zip to outside kerbin's SOI, then turn around and scream back to base flying by Mun with all the m/s you can manage while timing it right so the Mun is in the right place when you cross its orbit. I've completed such a tour of the kerbin system in about two weeks, kerbal time, which is somewhere between three and four Earth days. Minimal delta-v Minmus missions are longer than that!


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So yeah, if you have seen the Avengers, or Agents of SHIELD, this might perhaps remind you of something. Here, a picture is worth a thousand words:





And that is a dramatic picture indeed. But why is it so squat? And does it work like the thing in the movies? Well, for that I have to show you the hardest thing of this build: the stock cargo bay with working ramp to offload and recover the included rover. Yup, it carries a rover. And up to six kerbal in pressurised compartments, and I only put two seats in the cargo bay, but you can of course increase that number, plenty of room there:






And yeah, it gets high, as in orbit high. So I guess with enough fuel depots, you could perfectly use this on Laythe. Efficient airbreathing jets as lift engines mean that Duna is off the table, but I'm working on that for another "slightly bigger" design. Suffice to say I have yet to find a way to move battle tanks around the system! But that one will probably end up using KAS to secure the payloads, so in the meantime, have fun deploying your scientists/troops at any point where they can breathe the air.


That should give you and idea of its capabilities, so let's talk user manual. The bay is perfectly workable (I have done rover contracts with this, for 100% recovery at the runway), but it is finicky. You should deploy both stages of the "ramp lowering mechanism" (AKA the landing legs) in sequence. If both engage at the same time, the ramp actually works as a misaligned kraken drive, so be careful with it! If the Quinjet starts floating, disengage the rear landing legs quickly and try again, it should work if you take your time and look up the action groups in the description. The good part is, when they disengage, the bay bounces back into a very clean dock with the locking docking port, so the RCS engine for pulling the ramp up is not really necessary.

Also, getting this to orbit is tight. Your rocket delta-v is kinda limited, and this isn't the most arihogging of designs, so you can't go much over 1,500m/s without switching to rocket power. And even though I tried to get both engines to flame out at the same time by having a thought-out intake placement, the small differential you can't get rid off is enough to screw with you due to the engines being placed so far apart, so let them switch automatically when they want to. You have ample T/W on rocket mode, too, but in airbreathing mode, it is nothing to write home about, just enough to climb too quickly and run out of air before getting to sufficient speed if you are not careful. And while I am talking about the ascent, a word of caution. Everything is completely misaligned! Not in a bad way, though, but you thrust 10º below centreline, and the main cockpit is angled down 15º. The end result is that, if you control from the cockpit, you are thrusting in space about 5º higher than the navball tells you. Which is kinda cool, since in low level flight that means you velocity vector likes to stay in the same place you are pointing at. Yup, the way I worked things out, when you think you are horizontal the engines are thrusting 5º upwards and the wings see a 15º angle of attack. Like real planes! (short off) However, when you are on VTOL flight, you have to keep an eye on that: unless you point yourself 15º below the horizon, the VTOL engines are thrusting slightly backwards, and you don't want to go backwards on a VTOL designed to actually work like a conventional plane.

And come to think about it, I almost forgot about that part! The VTOL system is a total aesthetic choice: rip it out, and this still works just fine, lifting off about halfway into the runway, at about 70m/s. Or you know, replace it with efficient rocket engines to create your own Duna-rated STOVL version.


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And now, for a shuttle that never was! This one comes form the other side of the world, a very original concept from the russkies to make use of the world's largest plane (the An-225 Mriya, already in production for the Buran program, for those living under a rock) to launch a small shuttle using a disposable external tank. And not being happy with that much revolution in a single design, the shuttle itself utilized revolutionary tripropellant engines that could run on a kerosene/LH2/LOX mix, increasing thrust at the beginning of the burn and decreasing tankage size and weight, then switching to pure LH2/LOX mode for the highest efficiency possible (and throttling down in the process). But really... what could be more kerbal than launching a rocket form a big plane? That was reason enough to build it in my opinion.






Again, it was a tough balancing act. The Mryia is horribly unbalanced while it has the heavy spaceplane on top, so as soon as the air starts getting thin and you can't use the ton of lifting surfaces on the tail to stabilize, it'll pitch up because of the engines. That, turns out, is kind of a feature: this is the time you want to pitch up to light the rockets up anyway. Afterwards, it's kind of a standard climb to orbit, but keep in mind that T/W is kind of tight at first, so make sure you pitch up slightly to 60º until you time to apoapsis has climbed to at least 30 seconds. The fuel in the external tank runs out just as you get an apoapsis outside the atmosphere, which is handy, and afterwards you need to turn off the main engines and allow the fuel to be drained from the orbiter tanks. Orbit is really tight, unlike in the shuttle, so even if it has a payload bay I wouldn't put anything there much fatter than the MMU already in place. And other than that... yeah, nice pics and the file you've been waiting for:

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Yup, Spaceplane Plus totally made this possible. And THIS is what the MkII cargo bay was made for:





I've got to say, the guys at Reaction Engines do know how to design a bird. I had to cheat a bit because KSP aerodynamics, but only a TINY bit (two clipped control surfaces on the back to bring CL backwards). Other than that, no hidden magic: two intakes, two fuel lines, no other clipping at all anywhere and just a couple of struts to keep it firm. And it draws fuel perfectly fine! CoM doesn't move at all during all the flight, and cares not about the payload you put in there since it's right in the middle of the bay. The 5.1mT test payload means that for very little fuel, you can lift a considerable fraction of your takeoff weight to orbit (>25% of GLOW as cargo!). The only difficult thing about the design was actually lifting off: rotation speed might be ~70m/s, but actual liftoff with the clearance it has takes about 105m/s, the clearance to get enough angle of attack is a couple millimeters (if the tail wasn't raised, you wouldn't be able to take off before the lip of the runway), and I was insisting on doing it by hand.

Very true to the original of course, which also has an insane wing loading when full, and taking off at similar speed! Which might be great for the replica part, but the number of tailstrikes before I convinced myself I just wasn't a good enough pilot was horrifying. In the end I added an extra wheel on the tail to make it impossible to leave parts on the runway... fortunately for my test pilots it's unmanned!! :)


Having said that, I did it mostly because the new parts were screaming at me to do it. I just had to. Now I only need to find an excuse to incorporate it in my space program. Hope you guys like it! Here, have some more pics:




The test flight was priceless: I didn't have to load once, and even though I undershot KSC by about the whole KSC continent (I was dropping short of the mountains), the remaining ~40l of fuel lasted me to within a couple kms of KSC at a couple hundred meters, so I could also test another thing: it can be landed with a full load and no engine power at all if you run the tanks dry. And I was so close, with the remaining momentum I made it to the runway. Yay me! Sadly, this is an updated file, so if you want to check how I did with the experimental bird, check this thread.


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After much anticipation and a couple of requests, here is the SSTO pack I promised, comprised entirely of old designs that I never got around to release in the end (I did test them on 0.24 and made some minor changes). Lets take a look at each one, shall we? Prepare for a lot of pictures!



If you follow me and my SSTOs, you might have noticed that I always name those I release after pointy objects, particularly swords and such. Well, it's not that I didn't come up with the Longsword name in the line, but I was saving it for something truly special. So this is it, this thing performs too well not to give it the coveted name. Plus, it kinda fits, it's a general-purpose craft that is perfect to take a single kerbal around, yet it doesn't have any particular attribute in which it excels. A balanced generalist, IMO... but one that feels like a sports car in terms of performance and handling, and all of that looking awesome.


It won't take you extremely far (though 1.2km/s in the tanks upon reaching orbit is nothing to be sneered at, you could go cismunar or set it down on Minmus), but it will do so in style. The TurboRAPIERâ„¢ powerplant gives it awesome T/W on all stages of flight, being capable of verticlimbing and still having a more than respectable vacuum T/W while keeping engine mass to a minimum. And the atmospheric handling is just a dream, it handles better than the Dart even though it's almost twice as heavy! It also carries a STOVL rocket assembly to handle airless landings, and a cabin for passengers or as additional living space for long flights. Check it out, because words don't really convey the feeling of going under KSC's bridge before continuing on your way to orbit to rescue that stranded kerbal. :)

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This one comes by direct request, and so rushed that it doesn't even have the name of some pointy object. And after the last paragraph, that can stand for long! Perhaps you might want to help me with suggestions? Anyhow, 0.23.5 and it's OP ions got me into electric SSTOs, and this one is a beast.


It may not be able to land anywhere without an oxygenated atmosphere on account of the ridiculous T/W without the turbojet, but it burns 100 out of 360 units of liquid fuel to make orbit, so in oxygenated atmospheres you could go up and down 3 times, probably even four! And in space, you have more than 3km/s to play with, and that's lugging all that excess liquid fuel around, if not things improve beyond the 4km/s barrier and start being quite ridiculous. Oh, and it is also a very fast verticlimber that allows for quick rendezvouses in LKO, that comes as a bonus because the turbojet comes in such a big minimum size (I want a 0.625m stock airbreather!).

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This one is more of an exercise in aesthetics that turned into an exercise on general rocketry. See, the idea going into this build was to make a big SSTO that looked good. Perhaps with a hint of the Valkyrie bomber in there. With a cool side-looking cabin to stick a shielded port laterally. But midway into the build, I started to think that with that much fuselage, I could explore the limits of the RAPIER engine. So, I exchanged the extra cabin for even more fuel, and I got a very good looking all-chemical SSTO that still managed to do 3km/s after making orbit! Considering the logarithmic nature of the rocket equation, that's impressive at least to me. It isn't lacking on T/W or wing loading either, I reckon I could slap a couple of drop tanks and/or ion propulsion systems and perhaps do a Duna mission from runway to runway.


Or alternatively, You could get a very cool looking two-kerbal transport that can take them to the Mun's surface without using nukes. That's also something :D.

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Anyhow, excuse the lack of images, this thing hasn't seen many flights, but as a compensation, you get both craft files: the good looking, two seater Javelin and the extreme performance Javelin LR.



Javelin LR


To complement the magnificent Broadsword (which you can see below, in the Shuttle section), the finest minds at R-SUV recreated some of its most successful aerodynamic qualities, and coupled them with another tricks in their bag (like the uneven number of airbreathers offering flameout protection) to bring about the crew transfer complement to that wonderful cargo SSTO. This is what they came up with!


With the same elegant wingform as it big cousin, the Spatha has, however, slightly worse aerodynamics qualities when unloaded (i.e: since all the fuel is in the back, it'll want to fall like a lawndart), which get negated somewhat by the interesting main engine arrangement. The central RAPIER is positioned under the centerline, offering an upwards torque that makes the vehicle behave perfectly fine while under thrust. To compensate, the Spatha has much higher fuel margins all around than the Broadsword, making it capable of accessing most medium orbits with ease, while still being able to perform a safe return to launch site under power. It is recommended to fool around with switching the central engine on and off, and into and out of airbreathing mode, to milk the most performance out of it, but by default the RAPIERS are toggled on automatic mode in case you don't want to mess with that. I usually switch the central one to manual toggle, just so it keeps on when the others go into rocket mode. Then I have them staggered, and pressing 2 to switch modes will get me the two lateral ones in airbreathing mode and the central in rocket mode. Then when I get the second flameout, two again changes it around, allowing me to milk air a bit further, then I just let the central engine flame out and switch it off because the thrust is not on the center of mass and you don't really need the extra thrust by then.... That sounds much more complicated than it actually is. Anyhow, it'll work without those shenanigans, too! And then you won't even get asymmetric thrust at any point, just a smooth if a bit less efficient climb to orbit. Point and forget, almost.


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- Longbow

For Scienceâ„¢ and profit! It got most of the comments on the SSTO thread preview when I showed it there, so there, here you have it, now you can take it apart and learn how I crammed a full science-equipped rover inside a cargo bay and manage to make it recoverable, put a science lab on the plane, and still have 2.9km/s left in the tanks after reaching LKO. But before I get into details, it's only fair I show it properly so you get a sense of what I'm talking about. Here, the beauty shots:




Note the large amount of building tricks to get a cool-looking fuselage, including the white underside. Lots of clipping and liberal use of Ed Tools during building, but the result looks good, and as an added bonus you don't have to clip the camera inside the build to select any of the tanks, they all have at least part of them visible form the outside. The engines are another thing, but you will use those through action groups,a s well as the landing legs, and the release of the rover (mapped to abort, in case you want to try a risky drop without landing).

As to flying characteristics, with nothing but LFO and a 80l liquid fuel reserve on the tanks she can make 4km/s at T/W 0.4, which in plain terms means she has the legs to make a Duna mission with surface sample return if you refuel on LKO before departing. That in turn also means Laythe should be a breeze, and of course anywhere closer in terms of delta-v is trivial. The kerbin system doesn't even need refueling, both moons are well within its capabilities and the auxiliary landing legs are placed so that landing on the tail is both easy and safe, for those places where you don't have an atmosphere to glide with.


But all of that performance is not free, of course. First, by the time you can build this on a career save, you don't need it (as usual). It uses pretty advanced nodes, though I suppose it could be somewhat simplified (i.e: substitute RTGs by solar panels). Not the point of the build. I guess with the new contract you might very well do this for the √ (BTW, √188k on the runway, but the idea is to recover pretty much all of it). Second, it is pretty deep on the low side of T/W. The climb to orbit is looong, and you have to know your airhogging stuff to make orbit at all, the nukes alone can't cut it unless you are already going over 1,800m/s, and you can't really go that fast on jets alone, so the final speed run is done on a combination of half the jet engines and all the nukes blasting at full thrust. Still, only 4:1 intake ratio, four jets, and three nukes, for what it does, it is pretty efficient.

Also, some balancing magic went on in the build. The low altitude benign flying characteristics when full come from the engines actually giving a slight pitch torque keeping your nose pointing up, but when you go ballistic at high altitudes, you have to shut off the inboard jets of said torque will flip you out of control or at the very least mess with your vertical velocity management. Good thing that starts to happen when you have to shut off a pair of jets due to low air and open up with the nukes, but this is definitely not a ship for beginners , you have to manually correct her at several points, fighting her a bit at times. Don't worry, once in space she is perfectly balanced on nukes alone, and she glides great.

Now I'll leave you with a couple more pics, and the download link. Enjoy!


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- White Dart

As I promised, four more versions of the legendary (to me at least!) Dart are finally released! I was going to put them in the old Dart thread, but considering they were built from the ground up and share little with the original prototype, I thought they deserved their own place. So here they go!

First, a family overview. Basically, the stuff that they have in common is that they use the same wingform (the old one, slightly tweaked) and a single RAPIER. That is kinda important now, since it means you can put one of these one the runway for less than 45K Funds (Whatever those are!). Well, except the Science edition, those delicate instruments sure are expensive, but even that is <70K, and none of the part counts goes over 65 (or under 50). Most action groups work the same, so check them out in the description before flight.



As I said before, you get four models: from left to right, Duna edition, Laythe edition, Shuttle edition, and Science!â„¢ edition. Let's look at each one, shall we?


Basically the best performer, it has the greatest fuel load with the least auxiliary systems mass. It clocks in at over 2.5km/s in the KER simulation when loaded with 100% LFO mix (standard load leaves some oxidizer out to account for the ride out of kerbin's atmosphere), which makes it capable of landing on Duna under rocket power and then taking off again to orbit, with a big margin. And I say "land under rocket power" because it is a rocket VTOL, with enough T/W to actually fly on kerbin, so lowering speed to safely put her down on Duna should be a breeze. The VTOL system also comes in handy to put her down on airless moons on its wheels, and the added weight is minimal.


The downside is that the craft does little else other than carrying a kerbal around, but that is what this game is about, ain't it? And that this does, in style.


The most airbreather of them all. The VTOL system is completely overhauled, with the successive weight reductions in the family allowing a single jet to take the place of the rocket VTOL system, and giving unprecedented autonomy in hover mode. Explore at leisure the planetary surfaces with oxygen, taking as slow a look as necessary at interesting places and setting down wherever you want (if you are good at looking into the future, the jet engine lag takes a bit to get used to in VTOLs).


Seriously, it handles great. Sadly, all that performance in air comes at the expense of performance in space. It is the model with less delta-v in space, by far, and does little else than the Duna version at that, carrying the single kerbal and no payload of note. But have I told what a joy it is to fly? There is a reason I haven't uploaded a standard boring 100% airbreather plane in ages... they don't fly as good as this SSTO. (She can, of course, make all the bridges in KSC)


That is all good and proper, but sometimes you need your ships to actually do useful stuff. Like rescuing stranded kerbals, for example (my first fulfilment of a contract in 0.24, BTW :)). In those cases you want an empty seat, and flying the ship there by remote control (all Darts are equipped with on board computers capable of autopilot) either feels cheaty, or you just want some extra room to roleplay extended missions or whatever. In any case, here comes the double seater, sporting an interesting passenger cabin arrangement (works without a hitch every time).


I especially like the way you get a side window on the plane which is actually functional. In all other respects, this version is functionally identical to the Duna edition, other than the added weight of the passenger cabin both decreases delta-v somewhat (Duna orbit-land-orbit missions are dubious if you have to dip into the fuel to land too much) and T/W to the point where this is the sluggiest one to get to orbit. Just leave it on a 45º climb and go for coffee.


Now for a bit extra money (it's actually true now! :o), you can take all that payload capability of these models, and use it for the highest purpose a kerbal can aspire to, the gathering of Science!â„¢ Sporting one of each scientific instrument available to kerbalkind, you will be able to get all that Science!â„¢ that you don't really need since this thing requires most of the tech tree already unlocked. But it is viable to hoard more for the mods that required extra points, or to complete it. And you know, crossing boxes, I need my surface samples from every body in the kerbol system. :D


It is actually difficult to see, but trust me, everything sciency is there, and you still get almost 2km/s in the tanks on pure LFO, so it could do a Duna science run from LDO. The only places it wouldn't be able to explore would be the usual suspects, i.e. Tylo and Eve.

Aaand that's pretty much it. Here go the dowloads and a link to a very cluttered album (the last thread's pictures are also there, so in case you see differences in the last pictures, ignore them)


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-Duna Edition

-Laythe Edition

-Shuttle Edition

-Science!â„¢ Edition


Hey guys! The iest addition to the SSTO fleet is here (in my humble opinion, of course), and because the design went so well, the engineers at R-SUV went ahead and modified the prototype to create two three different serial models to appeal to the discerning customer, a VTOL, a nuclear powered long-range scout, and a RAPIER version with rocket VTOL capabilities. Not that the prototype is short range (flown right, there is enough for a KSO mission and return to runway), but the nuclear version is equipped with landing gear to allow tail landings on airless moons. But, you know, the discerning customer, mostly wants something that looks good and fast. This achieves both objectives with a minimal part count and awesome performance. And I seriously don't really know how I got it to look to... well, clean. I just love it. Ladies and gentlemen, the SSTO previously known as Mk XIX:



With the latest in Stabojet Technology to avoid flameout disasters, the whole family is an atmospheric airhogger that can get to terrifying speeds and altitudes thanks to the good T/W ratio on jets. As such, the main rocket propulsion should only be used to provide 200-400 m/s on the climb to orbit: Milk those turbojets as long as you can! The prototype also has amazing T/W on rocket power, so if you don't like tedious waits on the way to orbit, that is definitely your version. It also has somewhat cleaner lines, with less parts due to the missing subsystems. But if you are after efficiency or plain VTOL awesomeness, the other two versions get the added performance at the cost of a low T/W ratio outside of the atmosphere, so remember to make sure you keep your apoapsis in front of you during the climb to orbit with them.

Update! HatBat has been so kind as to make a Showcase video featuring all variants of this craft. Big kudos to him! It is also kind of awesome because it is a showcase not done by the builder, so you get to see the reaction of the average kerbal upon first getting this craft :D

A few comments on the video:

-Yes, I will give you the military version, but only if you ask for it, since that belongs, at most, to my skunkworks thread. R-SUV is pretty much a whiny hippie about not selling weapons of war.

-Hatbat makes a nice job piloting, but there is some room for improvements (sorry! ^^'). Specifically, he makes the climb to orbit too steep above 20km, you should use that time to build more speed with atmospheric engines.

-Have I already mentioned he is a great guy for doing this? I find it quite annoyingly difficult to do videos myself, but I think you guys will enjoy it being done. So like his video or subscribe to his channel or something!


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White Dart Prototype - Beginners and casual flights up to KSO.

Munar version - Nuke powered! Likely interplanetary in fact, but you know, cramped cockpits. Remember to airhog like there is no tomorrow.

VTOL version - LKO only, advanced players. You could switch the jet engines with LV-909's to achieve low-gravity or Duna VTOL landings.

(NEW!!)0.23 version - 0.23 version equipped with RAPIER engines. Much lower T/W on jet power, but slightly better delta-v than the original prototype. Can't hold a candle against the old nuke version, but it has almost no clipping going on, and it's only 50 parts. I'll call it progress, grudgingly. Oh, and it's a rocket-VTOL under kerbin gravity. For the lolz.


- Bat'leth Shuttlecraft

So, with ample inspiration from the SSI thread, I went about creating the kerbal equivalent of a shuttle from Star Trek. And if I may say so myself, the results were great! The test flight was from runway, to VAB, then 120 circular orbit, then back to VAB roof. Because of reasons. I must warn you all, it's a complicated and demanding ship, and it's still not perfectly balanced. The reaction wheels allow full control at all times, even ignoring assimetrical flameouts and unbalaced fuel loads, but the ship has a tendency to not stick to exactly where you are pointing. Lots of manual flying to be precise on burns. Also, although I added boost engines, the full potential of this craft on range is very dependant on a good climb to orbit. The way this works best for this craft, is to level at about 25kms, build speed more or less horizontal until 1,500m/s, then light the rockets (I did so at 27,000m, see the album for details) in a soft climb to build vertical speed with good T/W, and then hope you can reach 1,800m/s or thereabouts before flameouts force you to go under 50% thrust (at around 30kms). Then turn off the jets and throttle back up, this is where you might turn on the boost engines, but I had a good trajectory so I didn't bother in the test flight.



When coming back down, there was a hairy moment when I turned on the VTOL engines where the craft pitched up like a wild bronco. I got scared as hell, but apparently all it wanted to do was to bleed off horizontal speed, and fast. So since it is a decent glider, I would advise to transition back to VTOL at low speeds, and with a decent clearance to the ground. Don't worry, I made it to the VAB in the end without quickload, so you should be able to do so too, I'm no piloting genius and I use a keyboard to play (and an unfamiliar keyboard this time). Without further due, the pics to prove my exploits, and the file I know you are waiting for. From pic 4 onwards on the album, that's the test flight, chronologically ordered, and without quickload used (but a jump to the SPH to fix a fuel line issue on the boost engines once on orbit). Oh, one final detail, I got around to pin a name on it. Putting my naming scheme next to obvious Start Trek inspiration yielded one equally obvious solution: ladies and gentleman, I am proud to present, the Bat'leth Shuttlecraft.



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- Nodachi SSTO shuttle

Bigger, Better, Badasserer... here comes something I have been sneak-peeking for a while, the Nodachi!


The biggest one I've made so far (that works), it is also one of the most well balanced I have done, which is doubly surprising considering its size. First, a few of the numbers so you see I'm not kidding around. GLOW is 100mT almost exactly, so it is easy to translate into percentages. Well, 69.5% of that makes orbit. Yup, mass ratio 1.5 if you want to see it that way. About half of that (>36mT, or 36% of GLOW) is naked payload (the big red fuel tank with docking ports), so the plain payload ratio isn't bad either, putting most rockets to shame. And that counts the crew of three, the two MMUs to move the payload around and dock it, and the payload bay door (completely aesthetic), as structural mass and part of the SSTO. Of course, all of it is able to be reused. Notice how I developed for it a nifty engine assembly of 1:1 RAPIER/Turbojet ratio that works beautifully giving you just the right T/W ratio for each leg of the flight, and a smooth rocket transition.

You get 3 flameout events, BTW. Don't worry! They are pretty benign, you get fair warning and a couple of seconds to press the appropriate action group. First one, you switch the RAPIERS to rocket mode and leave the turbos on (4). Then the outer jets go out (cut 'em with 1), and then finally it's 100% rocket power when the last pair go (2), closing the intakes to cut drag (0), and lowish T/W, but by then you are already bringing your apo over 70 kms and don't need it. You can also recover from relatively big deviations , ~30º is not an issue you can't recover from.

The whole time after you climb over 20kms and level out, you don't have to raise the nose over 20-30º to get sufficient vertical velocity, so it turns out pretty efficient getting the speed. Getting to altitude with a full load, however, can take a long time, so you know, leave it at a 45º climb and go websurfing, or admire the cool (stock) exhaust my TurboRAPIER gives:


Update! Now also a version with the exploration payload shown in the last album picture already integrated. With 4.8km/s on the tanks fully laden, and carrying a 2.8km/s lander, that's like most of the kerbol system in range of exploration. Plus, it's lighter by about 10mT so the ascent is much easier. More details on this post


"And speaking about reusability, what's that you said about reloading?" some of you might think. Well, the payload rack thingy that doubles as payload bay door isn't just to close it and make the whole thing more pleasing to the eye (as well as role playing reentry protection for payloads... have I mentioned this thing can land full on reasonably even terrain?). No, it is mostly there so you can have a base when building your own payloads for the bird. See, when you load the ship in the SPH, you get something like this: [spoiler=]


See the big rover protruding from the payload bay? That's the Crawler/Tanker/Reloader. Not only can it taxi the big bird around, it is perfectly aligned so that payload rack mounted on the decoupler docks inside the bay when you drive it in. So you can:

1- Throw away an empty payload rack after you land it (you can "recover" it too!)

2- Load a crawler+payload of your design (save a payload rack+Crawler as subassembly by grabbing them from the payload bay, then build the payload to your liking, as long as it fits inside the docking port outline it'll fit the bay),

3- Refuel your Nodachi's consumables and tow it back to the start of the runway before decoupling the crawler.

4- You are ready for takeoff! Remember to retract the Crawler's landing gear before detaching it from the Nodachi for a smooth disengage (Abort action group).

Also, some glitchiness when you dock, you usually end up with one of the Nodachi's landing gears clipped to the ground. Just cycle the landing gear and don't mind the bumps, perfectly normal and harmless*.

You can in fact spawn a new crew while you do that, too, but don't expect a lot of effort put into making the crawler anything other than functional. And I "might" have forgotten to put RCS to refuel the plane, too, so just the 30 units on the pod. If someone has a stab at beautifying it, please give me a shout! I might include it if you want for others to use. Anyhow, some pics of the servicing process:






*Remember to quicksave before attempting a servicing operation, the kraken never sleeps.

Ok, so a few last details before I leave you with the mission album and download... but first, a look at my MMUs! I'm rather proud of them:


Just 10 parts! (solar panel is optional) And they look just the right size for your kebals, too, not to mention they allow me to handle dumb payloads just by sticking a couple docking ports on the sides, something much more part-friendly for bigger builds than giving each section independent RCS controls for docking. Also, a nice shot of the reference payload (the benchmark of all kerbalness, the Big Red) being released, this time by remote control:


The orbit shots on this look cool, right? Anyhow, don't worry about the RCS groups being so far back. That reaction wheel can compensate if you put fine controls on and take things slow, but I heartily recommend using Navyfish's docking alignment indicator. Once you master docking (and not before), it greatly cuts down on the time and frustration required to make a multi-dock like the one the payload rack uses to secure itself firmly.

Finally, refer to the mission album for more screenshots, including a couple with the UI up so you guys can check out my payload ratio claims and such. You can also check out how the older version without payload door did (in case you want to get rid of it to put another custom payload), as well as notice I didn't use my usual 70km orbit with this, I went for the full 100kms circular... and I still had a healthy margin. So if it fits the bay, it'll take it to orbit, I can say that with confidence. Now enjoy the rest of the pics, and if you like it, leave a comment!


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Nodachi with Big Red

Nodachi with Exploration Payload

- Broadsword SSTO shuttle

Hello there! 0.23 came, and with it the awesome RAPIER engine. Time to get some SSTOs going! I went for elegance and utilitarianism on this one: It is not only beautiful, but it actually does something useful! It carries with it up to 12mT of payload in a bay that is very accessible and spacious. In fact, to show this usefulness while I was testing the hell out of it, I went ahead and designed a bundle of subassemblies (included) to assemble a deep-space vessel/station with modular parts, and we will talk more about those a bit further down. I even documented it quite extensively, check out the imgur album for a somewhat chronological graphical account. Plenty of MMU action in there, since I designed the payloads without any kind of control to save on parts, and just a couple of docking ports to grab it with MMU's for assembly: I think I get points for "NASA style"!



Now some juicy details, because I'm proud at how well this all worked out: it's simple, it's elegant, and it performs brilliantly.

The traditional wing+tail arrangement gives it very good handling characteristics, and a low wing loading means it is an excellent glider, maintaining the agility of much smaller crafts. Combined with the clearance the raised tail gives you, it's very easy to take off and land, and flying it is a dream. The new ASAS doesn't always stick perfectly, but after a few tries I can usually lock >45º pitch headings with ease at all altitudes, and land her almost on a pin's head (I usually stop on the runway before the third perpendicular dotted line).

The fuel is a bit on the tight side, though, with the maximum payload: make sure you airhog below 30kms as much as you can before letting the RAPIERS transition to rocket power! That happens a bit after 30kms always, and by then you should aim to have >1600m/s speed, with a healthy vertical component (but RAPIERS give it such an awesome T/W on rocket power, you don't have to worry too much about that last one). Also, the part count is about 150 without payload, so pretty good on that front for potato computers.


Some more interesting details on the payloads... See the little docking ports along the spine of the broadsword? That's because the payloads are only supported by a double dock, so you can actually put them out and then back in, and return them to the runway without them wobbling to death or whatever. That means that if you design new ones, you either keep to the distance I use on one of the three different ones, or place another yourself (which is a bit tricky which ever way you go about it). You could, of course, add a few struts to forgo all that and be even more rigid, but you would lose the really nice feature: the Broadsword can be really reused! The second file here is called "Broadsword support crawler" for a reason: it can reload and refuel a parked Broadsword. Awesome right? Well, it's actually not the most practical thing, but I recommend trying it at least once because it's really cool. And I bet someone finds a reason to modify the crawler and put it on top of a rocket so you can load modules on Laythe or something.

The payloads are also really part-limited, so the resulting space station/deep space vessel is also quite light, while still fulfilling pretty much any role you want from it, form fuel depot to crew transfer station and orbital laboratory, complete with full science suite. You could also use the skeleton of the one with the nuke to place other smaller components, or you know, whatever you want really, it's a very flexible set of parts... perhaps lacking a good lander in there to fulfil all roles, but hey, I've got to leave something to the imagination, don't I?

Also note that while the payload capacity of the Broadsword is only around 10-15mT, one of those payloads is a humongous orange tank. Obviously, it's not full, and in fact it is there as a yardstick so you can see what the maximum payload is (and length, with that inside, you have to use the drop at the end of the runway to pull up without scraping the runway with the payload). You are actually have to move some liquid fuel to the front of the ship, since the climb takes so long! But it will still manage 1,600m/s in the end, and make orbit just fine with excess liquid fuel on the red tank and not having touched the oxidizer in there. The rest of the payloads, it takes to orbits with ease without touching their fuel supply. Have fun running a reusable space program!

IMGUR ALBUM: (Full example space station assembly)

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Broadsword Mk II SSTO shuttle

Broadsword Support Crawler (Includes all the example payloads attached to the back, remove the ones you won't use before launching)


So yeah, this took a while, and it is a very complicated release, since I'm giving 6 different, files, to build (and service!) modular bases in two different ways, in pretty much any rock in the system. So before I get into the gritty details, and there will be many, perhaps it is better that I show the finished product (and take a while to prepare yourself from the truly lengthy post, sorry but there is lots to tell! :blush:):



"Ok, that's all fine and dandy... but just how exactly do you land those modules? You seriously have a dedicated launcher for each?" ... I hear you think. Well, this is where the "two different building methods" comment applies. I should have said "delivery methods", actually. See, I first built a rocket to launch a bunch of modules in one go. A very ugly, jumbled together rocket, with excess delta-v, and upper stage that doubled as universal skycrane and could be refuelled, and ugly as sin. It sometimes fails spectacularly during liftoff even! Very kerbal. That is how I built Munbase in three launches, two of the file I labelled "Base Basic Pack", which has the Node, Hab, Fuel Dump, and construction rover; and one launch with the "Base Science" file, which carried the lab module and the pressurised rover. Pretty functional, and it did the job. It is expedient and I anticipate it will be the most used one. This is the biggest thing to launch of the files I provide, and paradoxically the easiest way to expand bases, because quickload and exploding runaway boosters are cheap in KSP.

However, once I got that to work (mostly), I started to get fancy. I though to myself this may be a very convenient way to set up a test munar base, but it would be a very big bother to, say, resupply one on Laythe. You would have to refuel it a lot of times to get the modules there, including on Laythe orbit, and end up with too many copies of one module and not enough of others. No, the best way to go about this would be a single-stage skycrane, that could accept any kind of module, especially a Fuel Dump, and deliver it (relying heavily on orbital refuel, I'm not that crazy) to any place where you could ever want a base. Tall order, and I knew before I started that I wouldn't be able to get Eve and Tylo in there. But I did manage to get a skycrane that can lift either a big red partly fuelled, or two of the other modules, form kerbin to orbit in a single stage. And it looks awesome.


This here is the "Skycrane" file, and it could deserve its own post by itself. Its alternate configuration you will have to build yourself from the other files, one with the Hub+Hab+Rover bundle (which weights pretty much the same as this light lab+pressurised rover pack), and the other with a Fuel Dump. Fun fact: it does not, in fact, have T/W>1 on jet engines, you need to turn on the spikes to lift off after you spool up the jet engines. Once you get to 2000m, toggling on and off the spikes to remain under terminal velocity, turn them off and turn the nukes on: they have higher isp by then and are enough to keep accelerating slowly. From then on airhog your way to just-before flameout as you would with another SSTO, then its away with the jet engines and in with the aerospikes. Complicated as boop, but it works beautifully. It's either a rocket-assisted airbreathing SSTO skycrane, or an airbreathing-assisted rocket skycrane. In any case, it looks cool with that trilateral symmetry and clean lines for such a big clearance for payloads, and it can drop any of the three bundles in any place with atmosphere (and many without it), and make it back to orbit from all but Eve and Tylo. A feat, IMO, and it means I could slap the "reusable" sticker on this. Oh, it's equipped with a universal docking port, BTW.

Ok, that makes three files out of six. The other three? Well, two are the other bundles you can take with the skycrane (Hab+Hub+Constructin Rover, and Fuel Dump), only mounted in a much more reasonable 50mT parallel-staging crossfed rocket. What other would call "asparagus staging". To save a lot of time and lag, and to keep on reusing the same skycrane to drop modules on an expanding base. Also, they are the perfect file to get any of the individual modules to convert into a subassembly or modify. Convenient, right? Something had to be! :D

And last but not least, this should definitely get its own post, but I am giving it away with the pack just so you have all the pieces together. A six kerbal, VTOL, airbreathing SSTO with enough delta-v under rocket power to SSTO from Duna and capable of docking to the base modules or be refuelled by the pressurised rover... ladies, gents, and kerb, I present the "Heinlein". Because it lifts off and lands as Kod and him intended spaceships to. :wink:


In some pictures you will see the test version, where the intakes are much more visible and ugly, but don't worry, the file is the new one. A shame I still think the old shuttle looks better, if only this one wasn't so much better! Now, here is the (commented) imgur album, and all the files, labeled. Enjoy your construction projects, and send postcards of your bases!

Oh, and an extra, combo bonus. If you are savvy, you will immediately see how I'm modifying Medusa-class motherships to carry base bundles to set up basically copies of MunBase on Duna and Laythe for starters. If not, look up the last picture on the Medusa album, or just ask if you are interested and still don't get it ;)


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Base Shuttle

Base Basic Pack


Base Skycrane

Hub+Hab+Construction Rover bundle on rocket

Fuel Dump on rocket

For more information on this big, complicated build, I urge you to check out its thread.






Rune. For posterity's sake. Beware of the deceptively small-looking spoilers!

Edited by Rune
Repurposed as a repository!

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I'm getting good at this KSP thing! (About time!). This took a mere one hour and 116 parts, including the single test flight. Much better than I expected... I only had to F9 once! Which is actually due to the only inaccuracy that sneaked in, BTW: since I couldn't get SpaceX's awesome tankage mass fractions, a single "Merlin" (LV-T45s) just can't give TWR over 1 going down, so you have to go with three like in the retro-burn. In any case, I then further polished it with suggestion, so here is Dwagon v2:





But what is it that I like enough to put it out there so quickly? Well, mostly the fact that I eyeballed the fuel level on the first try to the point where staging the (empty) second stage after landing the core (no mods and all done in one go sequentially) leaves the Dwagon on a 99x70km orbit while the second stage goes back to a disposal 55x80km orbit (two big decouplers working on such small weights can do wonders). Talk about nailing it! The Dwagon itself is clipped to kingdom come, of course, but it has 500m/s, TWR 1.3, and the four (pressurised) seats baselined for NASA. I have yet to land it, though, and I didn't put chutes in the prototype (truth be told, I didn't expect to make orbit without something going wrong). Maybe I'll regret that when I get around to testing reentry... I threw in a couple when I revised the action groups for you guys, though, so that should pose no problem. Also, check out the trunk, plenty of room in there for... ... ...well, it's not really functional ^^'. But get KAS, and you can clip containers in there and stuff!


Oh, now that I think about it, you probably need a flight plan too. It's quite simple, really, though it has its challenging moments if you want to go all reusable on the sucker, and it is also written in the file, but:

-Straight up until 10kms, throttling down a notch once you reach 130m/s to keep aerodynamic efficiency hovering at about 95%, According to KER.

-Pitch about 2.5º towards the 90 (half a line on the navball), and burn the core until your apoapsis reads about 60kms. This will leave the core falling mostly over KSC. Then cut throttle and stage, you need that remaining fuel to land!

-Stage again to turn on the upper stage, throttle back up (slowly, it clips a bit), and burn horizontal until you run the second stage dry.

-Switch back to the core now, it'll be dropping quite close to KSC. Hit "brakes" to turn off the excessive engines, and do the correction burns to put you as close to KSC as you dare (the trajectories thingy helps a lot). Landing gear is "G", of course. Good luck with the landing burn, there is margin in there, but I wouldn't drop under 50 m/s until I was really close to the ground. Also, even though I set her up at a 6.2 slope (!), I wouldn't try more than 5º: I landed at 1.5 m/s, and kept her pointing skywards with RCS while I hurriedly locked suspensions on the legs on one side, then proceeded to be very surprised when that kept it from toppling over. Plenty of control authority and stability, though, if you are a good pilot you will be able to do it without any problems.

Also, excuse the crappy images. For some reason, even though I see it gorgeous, the damn game stops applying all my awesome graphical effects to the screenshots. Sigh! :( Anyhow, there you have it:


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Dwagon v2


So, we all do stations. And we usually even intend to use them as refueling depots. But you know what also usually happens? We think that they don't look cool enough just being a bunch of tanks with a crew hab on top... and in the end we end up using dumb tankers just like that because our glorious stations are lag monsters, where time seems to stand still. But still, they look awesome right? And the second main problem would be, no matter how big or small you make your station, you are bound to make a ship the next week that is just big enough, so that the depot you just set up has not almost but not quite enough fuel capacity to fill it in one go. So, how to actually have a useful space station that looks good and is fun to play around? Well this is my answer to that!





It was clearly influenced by the classic "wheel" space station designs of... well, pretty much everybody. You can't deny it looks pretty, and you also can't deny those are probably more crew spots than you will ever need. 101 kerbal seats! But still, the whole core (basically, everything above the top Big Red) is a puny 75 parts. That's right, 75, not 175. And it carries no fuel tanks itself, I know, but just because that way you can choose exactly how many Big Reds is enough for you. The guys that kind of follow my designs will recognize the fuel tanks as my standard Big Red assembly, which stack laterally as well as vertically, and that can be found in my Modular Propulsion System. Also there you can find the Klaw Pods and Drive Pods that complete the picture, and it is heavily recommended to use these two craft files together: this kind of configuration has everything you might need, can self-deploy to anywhere with not-so-awful TWR, has two construction Klaw drones that together can move pretty much anything, and, best of all, is a mere 122 parts: probably less that the ships you want to dock to it.


So what exactly comes in the file? Well, the nice core of course. Plus a dedicated launcher. Something like this when it takes off:


And by the time you are reaching orbit, this is all that's left. Should be enough to circularize anywhere up to 100km and still deorbit the upper stage.


The tiny upper stage has a probe core and a forbidden battery so you can deorbit it afterwards, even if you forget about it initially (no trash!), and the station sports a ton of ports for every need: four standard for visiting ships (you never really have more than four missions on the same spot, right?), a couple of Jr. to store MMUs and/or Klaw drones, and a single Sr. port where you can start the fuel tank assembly with whatever your fuel tugs bring up. Might be a lonely NASA tank to have a fully functional fuel station under 80 parts, might be your favorite tanker design you already use, might be anywhere from one to dozens of my Big Red assemblies. Hint: if you dock my fuel tank assemblies in a 3x3 grid, they stiffen themselves thanks to the side connections.

And best of all... you get a very nice view! Your kerbals will sure be happy you spent the extra funds to give them such awesome, spacious, transfer stations, where they can acclimate themselves to whatever gravity they require for the next mission, with plenty of room for long duration flights.


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I bring to you the sum of all cuteness. It was so tiny and cartoonish, I had to steal a name from Erfworld (if you don't know that comic book, and you are into strategy games and/or fantasy settings, I heartily recommend it). Behold the mighty 'Quakken'! Actually, I might still change the name to 'Dwagon'... what do you guys think about it?





Yup, it's positively tiny. And not much clipping going on there! The intakes are fully hidden inside the engines, right, but that's pretty much it and there are only two per engine. Still, it still manages to climb to orbit in a frighteningly short amount of time, and it has TWR out the wazoo at all times. It even manages 800m/s afterwards! Refueled, of course, it has much more, over 2km/s IIRC, so Munar missions from LKO depots are totally possible, as is Duna shuttling (which is what it was built for, really). Landing is also a breeze with the chute (though you need some engine assist to land intact, that's trivial), so this should be a craft for everyone. And with 'everyone', I include the guys with truly potato computers: 36 parts on the pad.

Now, you want to know the craziest part? I built it with the side port at the right height so this can dock with my Base-In-A-Box modules: capable of stock refuel offworld using them! Just drive a fuel module to it, and /or build the base around it as an escape vehicle. If you are feeling like Scott Manley, you can even try to dock it while landing!

And really, it is so simple that there is very little else to say about it: point it to the sky and go, basically (ok, you might want to airhog form 20 to 25kms until the RAPIERs auto-switch to rocket power). Hope you enjoy it!




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It's all about the MPS...And by MPS I mean meters per second. For all your extreme delta-v requirements, from moving asteroids around to delivering payloads to other planets, I present to you a flexible tank and drive system that you will be able to tailor for every need you can think of:





Yup, that's a tall rocket. But what the hell am I talking about? Well, the MPS is a modular system, so it obviously consists of modules. The idea is that for a given tank size (the standard is a Big Red, of course), you can strap as many as you need together and drop them as you use them. And of course it's the same with the engines: they are in individual pods you can move around, so T/W is also something you can tailor throughout the mission. The final module is to move the other pieces around (or, potentially, to tow anything, including asteroids): a cute Klaw probe that provides amazing stability and control if attached in pairs around the CoM. Plus an adaptor on the nose for additional flexibility. Here, a closeup of how things end just before you circularize orbit and start thinking what you are going to use this for (remember to undock the cubic struts suborbital for a flush exterior without bits sticking out on the next load):






But that picture in itself doesn't really shows the potential of the system, for that I have to show a couple other things, from fuel depots that are ever-expanding to massive transport motherships:




So as you can guess the possibilities are mostly limited by your imagination. I know I have been using the same fuel tank assembly for four updates now, and the last iteration of the nuclear drive pod is IMO a work of art: 11 parts, no fuel lines, and it still will draw fuel form any of the the three docking ports it has... (there are older iterations of the drive pods in the above pictures)


A note on those, BTW. You can of course move them around, but I recommend using Navyfish's docking alignment indicator for that a lot, and doing it as little as possible. The problem is that if you dock them misaligned, you can pick up unwanted torques and rotations, and since you can't use gimballing due to the tractor nature of the system, it's bugs you even with very tiny misalignments unless you have plenty of reaction wheels to counteract. You can of course put them on the back with the front docking port, that's the main reason that 1.25-2.5m adaptor is there.

And of course the Klaw pods add the ultimate docking flexibility: you can pull anything if you drag it through its center of mass, and I don't think I have to show you how you can put one of the pods at the end of the adaptor. Plus, it's a very cute little subassembly with all the round edges and stuff, downright scary-looking when you reveal the Klaw next to a EVAing kerbal (for a proper sense of scale). Oh, and if the eagle-eyed among you notice they use the old size of reaction wheels, don't worry: I switched to the proper 1.25m ones when I revised the file for 0.25 compatibility and even more black and yellow diagonal strips.


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After much testing and VAB mucking around, here they are! Not so much a family as a design philosophy, they nonetheless share lots of common details:

- They all have fairings. Why? Well, because they look cool, mostly, but perhaps they make them work in Ferram, who knows. Feel free to save them as subassemblies to use, they are standard sizes that fit 1.25 to 3.75 standard tank diameters with lots of room in them, and you could always extend them by copying sections (ALT+click copies instead of grabbing).

- All upper stages are "Smart". That means independent RCS subsystem, some batteries and probe and SAS units. No space debris, even if you run them dry by mistake!

- Form over function. Most are bigger than they should, and none of them go after efficiency. We are here to play a game, and we all like to see nice things on the screen. This is my best stab at providing that, hope you guys like it!

- Fuel lines are for sissies. While some of them don't follow this rule (and are therefore likely to be replaced), most of them do and still make a 2.5 staging work. Now they all do! Why? Again, personal aesthetics. I like the engineering solution, tanks are light, and if you do it right it is also close to what the best asparagus can offer. Think of it as a challenge I set for myself while building. Besides, I don't use SRBs nearly enough, and this is my way of making amends for that, many of them use solid boosters. The idea is no core should be able to lift off without help from the boosters, but they do have huge mass ratios.

-Subassembly friendly. While they come with a standard benchmark payload included, the root part is always (IIRC) the decoupler that joins that to the rocket, so you can either: a) take out the payload and build your own or B) take everything under the decoupler and make that a subassembly, or even c) take out the payload, save, then use the file as a perfect subassembly without any struts messing up. I thought it was the most convenient way to provide for every preference.

So without further due, here they are, for your use and enjoyment. Hope you put them to good use! :)







5 mT General Lifter "Scout"



A complete redesign of another one, it turned out a very simple two stage to orbit design, with a somewhat unusual launch (T/W is so low the ~10m/s those separatrons give you upon liftoff really helps). Delta-v budget, like in most models is really tight, so err on the side of caution and pick a bigger launcher if you push the payload past the certified load.



10mT General Lifter "Pathfinder"



The only one with crossfeeding, this one was built mostly to fill the spot between other rockets, and it shows. Probably the likeliest to be replaced. Replaced! Now it uses medium SRBs for a 2.5 staging scheme like the rest of the family. No crossfeed technology here!



20mT General Lifter "Ranger"



Probably the one I'm most proud of, this one is a beauty to fly. The beast that is the new LRB provides for a very long-burning core that takes you almost all the way to orbit, with a legitimate use of SRBs that fit just like they were tailored for the launch. The upper stage actually does little of the job, and thus has very little thrust, but is a great basis for cruise stages with smaller payloads. Most payloads should fit here, at least as long as they aren't bundles of independent vehicles and/or very kerbal stuff (you decide what that means).



30mT General Lifter "Forerunner"



A straight evolution of the Ranger, with enlarged fairing, uprated core engine to 125% nominal thrust (thrust is set to 80% on the Ranger), double up on boosters and an upper stage with twice the fuel and thrust. It was surprisingly easy to put together, and it was done so at the request of the public. Thanks, public! :D



50mT General Lifter "Longstrider"



Possessing pretty much the same flight profile but with a beefier upper stage and correspondingly smaller core (the LRBs thrust is awesome even among the ARM update engines), this one looks very y, and the fairing fits very well with the vehicle. Ideal for a heavy workhorse.



75mT General Lifter "Nomad"



Yes, this is one looks like it should be crossfed, right? Wrong, no fuel lines here! Just good old R-7 style liquid boosters helping get the most use out of a high-isp sustainer and allowing very big payloads, that would be impossible to do without clustering engines in a traditional two-stage design. Oh, and the shroud can handle 3.75m tanks... with room to spare!



100mT General Lifter "Peregrine"



Almost the same thing as the 75mT one, only this one has MOAR BOOSTERS and a bigger shroud. Jeb would be proud.


5mT General Lifter

10mT General Lifter

20mT General Lifter

20mT General Lifter

50mT General Lifter

75mT General Lifter

100mT General Lifter


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The full family is pictured there sequentially, from smallest to biggest, with a full test launch with comments. Be sure to check it out for the details!

And that does it for now. But I'm not saying they aren't subject to revision and/or new additions... After all, some of you are already thinking these are way too small, I'm sure :rolleyes:

- N1-K3

I already previewed this on the WIP thread, so as promised, here is the revised version of this soviet monstrosity of a launcher. Accurate almost to the last detail! And even though it's significantly above the limit I usually set myself, it's not really such monster and "only" has 400 parts on the pad. 400 parts exactly. For reasons. Also consider you drop >150 parts once you drop the first stage, if you have a potato computer. You just have to make it past the initial vertical climb!






"Accurate" means 30 engines at the first stage, and eight of the same kind of engines on the second stage standing in for the NK-15s (in this case, LV-T45s thrust-limited to 66%, which is weird since the original NK-15 and subsequents versions were for a long time the highest T/W kerosene engines on the planet). Then the third stage is powered by four radial engines, which stand up for the NK-21s, and that leaves the Blok G upper stage in an almost-orbital trajectory with it's single Poodle as a NK-19 equivalent. Time to ditch the fairings!


This is what goes on under that fairing, supported by the Blok G upper stage which looks completely wrong (much too short!), but it gets you into circular orbit and then into TMI, with a healthy margin to leave it on an impact trajectory before jettisoning it (it's pretty much the only inaccurate part, that and the Soyuz engines). Then with RCS you maneuver the rest of the stack out of the impact trajectory into a suitably close periapsis: the Soyuz-K3, the LK lander, and the Blok D braking stage. I know, this particular version of Soyuz isn't supposed to have solar panels, but batteries wouldn't give me that skirt that the real one had. Some work could be done there, for sure.

As per the original flight plan, the Blok D breaks the whole stack into lunar obit, and then a brave kerbonaut EVAs from the two-man special Soyuz version into the LK lander and detaches to perform the deorbit braking burn with the last of the Blok D's fuel, to touch down using just a bit of the fuel on the lander.

This is the tight part of the mission. If you mess up the landing and do anything other than a very, very good suicide burn with the lander after you ditch the Blok D to blow up in the surface (ending at a few hundred meters altitude tops when you kill your lateral velocity), and perhaps save a bit of fuel by touching down at 10-20m/s (the legs will hold! just keep yourself pointed upwards with as little lateral velocity as you can), then you won't have enough fuel to get back to orbit. And even then you might have to finish the orbital burn with RCS, but don't worry since the mere 15 units of monopropellant you have give you upwards of 100m/s delta-v (make sure you save it for this moment!). Check the action groups to find out how to lift off at the same time you ditch the landing gear, as in the real thing, and returning to Kerbin in the Soyuz is pretty much dirt simple, you have a healthy margin built in and loads of excess monopropellant.

...and that's pretty much it, all you need to know to put one guy up there on the Mun and show those apollo replicas out there, how [russian accent]"Soviet style being superiorly efficient"[/russian accent]. Have fun!


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- PROJECT PHOEBUS (My take on the Apollo missions)

This thing has been on the development track for a while, but it hasn't been until 0.23.5 that I have decided it's enough of an improvement over the MkI that I have to release it. And with the new 3.75m parts, it looks great! It is very tight on margins (fidelity to the original and all that), and it has all the bells and whistles to perform a J-class mission, with the small rover and RTG-powered science package included! Also, it runs entirely on batteries, has an independent interstage between the S-I, S-II, and S-IVb stages, has the correct number of engines for each stage, hollow service module with bays, hullage engines for stage separation, the correct number of chutes...






So yeah, I went big on fidelity. The only thing I am a little irritated at not having is the CM hanging off the top of the lander and not the fairing, but doing it any other way would have jumped the part count beyond "playable by potato computers", and that has always been the design philosophy behind the Phoebus series. Never mind that it also looks as y as a custom mod now IMO...


I really like how the landing site looks now when you leave, and the tiny cute lander looks really good and somewhat reminiscent of the original LEM, which in such a small size (<2.5m diameter) is really hard to get.


Flight profile is basically what you would expect form a typical Apollo J-class mission, just keep in mind that the only margin you really have is in the S-IV stage, and only a couple hundred m/s. You will land on Mun on fumes or with an empty tank, you will have to use RCS to finish orbit insertion of the LEM upper stage, and it is heavily recommended to use the RCS to start the return burn and then use the main tanks to increase efficiency, otherwise you might not make it. Oh, and break and park in a <10km orbit... easy, right? Yeah, this craft definitely is only for advanced players, but for those is poses a really nice and fun challenge, and I believe those razor-thin margins are very much in the spirit of the original Apollo.


Also, a final friendly jab to all those Saturn replicas out there (which are in their own way amazing) that use mainsails as F-1 equivalents... I had to limit the thrust on those 5 skippers to 80% to replicate the Saturn V's low T/W at liftoff. :sticktongue: See you at Mun and watch out for littering fines!


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Looking for a trip in style? Perhaps you just built a beach resort in Laythe, and are lacking a way to move the customers there? Well look no further! Sporting luxurious individual cabins for 16 passengers, and a central (unpressurized) meeting place along the spine of the ship, the Queen Kerman class was designed from the start to take your kerbals where they want to go, in style. The passengers can pass away the time contemplating the stars, or they can play space poker with their neighbours in the 0-G 0-pascals lounge (strict spacesuit etiquette!).






Low gravity moon landings are supported with the optional landing gear module, and a large orange drop tank on the back (half empty by the time you make orbit) ensures you have enough gas to get there (it can most likely do any one destination, at lest one way with decent navigational skills) and back again. Duna, Eve, and Laythe, the reference missions, should be doable without aerobraking, even, you've got on the order of 5km/s to play with before you think about refuelling, 2km/s without the drop tank.

And if the worst happens, well, there is an emergency bailout system that detaches each cabin so they can land by chute... and good luck saving the pilot then! He has emergency rocket thrusters to try a powered emergency landing, but he will have to prove his piloting skills to walk away. The passengers should be fine, though, as long as the planet they are going to be stranded on has an atmosphere.



IMGUR ALBUM (Ignore the skipper on the pictures there, it's the prototype, now you can drop it as soon as orbital insertion is complete):

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Looking to traverse the solar system? Just finished the nth station assembly and are looking for new and challenging construction projects? Or perhaps you are just as awed as I am by humongous, multi-part behemoths assembled and designed purely for deep space. The Grand Tour is a challenge very few kerbals ever seriously consider, much less attempt, but in this great enterprise, the real value is the struggle itself: Your can't equal the pride you feel when you turn on a Medusa-class main drives on for the first time! (Don't worry, you will have plenty of time to look at the ship during burns. PLENTY).






Just you look at that big guy! Now some juicy details on how that works. You will notice that I provide 4 craft files at the end, but the ship itself is just the first one. The thing is, as it comes, it's just a completely useless heatshield (completely crucial in the aesthetics department, of course) and the long spine that houses the habitat, comm gear, and a lab to process the scientific data (equally useless of course, since you need pretty much the whole tech tree to build this). No engines, no fuel, but everything docks here. Oh, and a tiny probe you can drop during Jool aerocapture to explore the atmosphere of that unlandable planet. 6 chutes on the probe means I'll actually try to land it.

Then the second file is the tanker that lifts big reds to build the fuel section. This is where it gets interesting. See, the whole idea is to have a reconfigurable ship that you can tailor for a specific mission, and alter as you go. I have no idea the delta-v I'm going to end up using to do a grand Tour, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to pack it in a single stage, so I've accepted that the mission will have to be flexible and preposition some extra supplies along the way (the most important, the yet-to-be-designed Eve Lander). So, the number of fuel tanks and drive nacelles you install is entirely up to you, and will change you range and possibilities to make this one of the most flexible designs I have ever made. In fact, I'm in the process of repurposing it to transport base modules across the system, more on that soon I hope. This is how it looks once you bring the first tank to orbit and unpack the structural section and the heatshield:


I must admit doing the exact same flight 9 times can be boring, of course, but for most destinations you don't need that many tanks, and you could always pick some other launcher and launch the tanks two at a time or more. I recommend Temstar's wonderful Nova (the one I use for everything here is a fairly basic orange tank+skipper x6booster asparagus capable of putting 50mT on orbit). Here are some delta-v's I came up with for different example configurations of engines and tanks, with the payload being the 2 SSTOs and the Tylo Lander (about 60mT total):

Delta-V's without dropping tanks:

Minimal configuration (1xTanks - 4xDrive pods, 141.04mT): 2019m/s

High T/W configuration (3xTanks - 8xDrive pods, 231.64mT): 4200m/s

Medium configuration (5xTanks - 8xDrive pods, 308.64mT): 5734m/s

Design configuration (9xTanks - 8xDrive pods, 454.64mT): 7876m/s (Note: MR=~e, 530parts)

Max. configuration (17xTanks - 12xDrive pods, 761.4mT): 9836m/s

And of course, auxiliary vehicles! I'm especially proud of the chemical Tylo-Class lander, it is an absolute beast in a very compact package. It sports a full science suite and weights only 50mT, and yet it packs more than 4km/s in each of the two stages and T/W 1.2 under kerbin gravity. Yeah, huge overkill, but I want the dreaded Tylo landing to be as easy as possible. And since I put landing gear on the upper stage, well, it can double as a short of universal lander. It carries itself to orbit with a bit of fuel rom the upper stage, and careful! it carries no RCS tanks, so you have a very limited RCS supply. The two SSTOs are mostly to look good, if chutes were added to the lander you could make do without them, but I wanted to do the atmospheric planets special, and besides, they are really light in both parts and weight (7.25mT and 41 parts). And they can ferry the crew to and from the ship, of course.

The Eve lander is notoriously missing, mostly because I haven't done anything more than a very preliminary design, and because it'll join the expedition in orbit around the target. I'll post it here when it's finished! In the meantime, I'm sure you can think of something you would do with these pieces... Post screenies here if you take her out for a spin! :)


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Mothership (Spine and heatshield)

Tanker (Includes the engine nacelles)

SSTO (rated for Laythe and Duna)

Tylo-Class lander (Upper stage doubles as single stage lander everywhere else)


Wouldn't you know now we have surface base contracts? Yeah, they are dirt simple to fulfil, but what if you wanted to do them the right way? Well look no further! This here is the fully 0.90 compatible, tested to kingdom come and then some, polished in every last detail, much awaited update to my best selling product in the history of ever: the Base-In-A-Box!





Of course since it's in a box, you can't see anything. Actually, the box is a lander capable of dropping the pieces anywhere but Tylo. On top of a booster that can get it anywhere*. But we'll get to that. In the meantime, suffice it to say some assembly is required. But what is it that you are buying with this? Well, something like this:





That is one Base Pack, plus the lander that dropped it there. But you know, if you take the time, you are not limited to using one pack alone...





Of course that is a very tweaked, difficult build with pieces from six different packs, from all over the development phase across several game versions, and a custom part to make that awesome central escape shuttle (also a custom job) dock with the base. In fact, what you get out of a single pack is much more modest, albeit a still fully functional base, with a Hab module, a Lab module, a Fuel Dump, a Node module connecting everything and giving communications capability, plus the construction rover that moves all the pieces around. And now, my kerbs, I suppose it's time to get to the user instruction manual... which is much more simple now than it used to be. I'm going to assume form now on that you either use the Deluxe or Deluxe+ versions, meaning you deploy with the Shroud/Lander. We will get to the alternative, complicated deploy methods later (because they are hugely fun to do! Plus, it allows you to build the non-standard bases much more cheaply, if you care about that).


So, we are basically launching one ginormous rocket. No big pointers there, get it to LKO and if you are any good, you will do so using the upper stage only for the last tens of m/s of the circularization. Now we get to the main difference between the Deluxe and the Deluxe+ version of the pack: the legs. Basically, the Deluxe+ version has more than twice the deltaV, or 5km/s, without tapping into the fuel of the lander. That means this is indeed capable of launching to any planet in the system... if you have patience. And I mean a lot of patience. It has a tiny 0.75m/s^2 of acceleration at the start of the burn, so be prepared to read a book while it's performed or something... Or you could use the Deluxe version's chemical stage with TWR of 1.1 to get to anywhere between Jool and Eve, because it still has 2.3km/s and is much less tedious to get there!

Then, if we know out navigation stuff, you will have the pack inside it's lander/shroud, orbiting your target planet/moon. EDL time! It's dirt simple since you have chutes and everything, but just in case, make sure you are controlling from the top docking port so the navball makes sense, and remember that "Abort" drops the nosecone and transfer stage, drops the gear, and deploys the chutes. 1.8km/s and TWR of 0.8 under kerbin gravity means that you can comfortably set it down anywhere. Afterwards, it's time to open the presents!

It does look indeed like Santa dropped by... of did we drop by Santa?


In this group picture you can (almost) see them all. Three corridors still on the ground, the Hab and the Fuel Dump already up, and still together are the Lab and the Node module, with the rover on the other side of the lander. The position is no accident, because I have to warn you: deploying the rover+corridors package is best done in the upwards direction to avoid explosions and give room to the pieces to short themselves out. It should work, but follow this procedure: with the rover under control, set the throttle to about 50% (for kerbin's gravity), and hit stage: all corridors will unravel under you, as you gently fly away to a safe distance... (yes the rover is a rocket VTOL too) with maybe a few explosions of the decouplers. Nothing major hopefully. :rolleyes:

...Come to think of it, you might want to quicksave before starting this whole operation, the kraken preys on those who don't. Anyhow, let's get to the individual modules and how they do their thing:


This here is the cornerstone of the whole modularity thing, the module that is not good for anything in itself, but that makes it possible to build n different bases with this pack and still have each of them look nothing like the others. And it is not pure eye candy, it is also a stock way of having all your base modules docked together in a single unit, sharing resources among them and simplifying both gameplay and you flight list (which in my case, never falls below 40). Make sure to put a pilot in there to operate it before you drop it, because it is the only one without a built-in probe to take care of deploying the landing gear and making sure it stays upright when doing so. It kind of shares form factor with the Hab module (vertical cylinder), and like it, it is positioned sideways on the bay, so be very careful when you drop it so that it ends up the right way up, or you will have to do some crazy thing with the rover and other modules pushing and such to flip it over. Needless to say warranty will be voided at that point (though if you are in some low gravity moon the problem is mostly non-existent). The Hab, though can right itself from any position thanks to a hidden reaction wheel and the legs, so don't worry about that one.


This here is the other form factor, the one shared by the Lab module and the Fuel Dump. Very easy to drop and assemble, and you can actually also dock them with the lander (and with my Eagle shuttle, BTW), so you can refuel between those. All it takes to do those dockings, BTW, is some fiddling with the suspension depending on the local gravity: lock it for high gravity fields so the rover can slide under the modules to pick them up, and maybe do a little hop with RCS on the low-gravity moons if the rover doesn't want to connect because the gap is a hair too big. It is tested to work both in kerbin and on Minmus, so you should have no troubles there.


And last but not least, the construction rover. This useful little bugger will not only put all of the other modules in place by docking itself to their ventral nodes, it is equipped with seats so it can serve the base as a joyride when it's done building it, and it carries one of each of every scientific instrument. It even carries monopropellant rockets to do short hops! And you know, with some ingenuity, I'm sure you can figure out some way of putting a whole base on wheels, and rove your base all over the planet/moon to get to the juicy places. Sky's the limit! (As in, you probably want to take things slow if you do this and not lift off dukes-of-hazard-style with a modular mobile base contraption ;))





First off, meet the



It's a SSTO shuttle with a MkIII cargo bay, and while you could deploy this base with any other downwards-opening, Mk-III-cargo-bay-equipped lander, this one was specifically designed to drop the pieces of this base on most of the bodies of the kerbol system from low orbit, and then get back up to be refueled and pick another one (rated up to Duna and Laythe!). Plus, it would do a more than decent job at hauling them the long distances. That is pretty much the way you get all those modules to where you want to set up the base. Don't worry about landing them ultra close to each other, but it saves time if you don't have to rove too far to get the pieces, since you don't have the most stability when you are carrying the big, tall modules in the tiny rover. Make sure you maximize the load you bring down on each trip by putting the corridors and the rover on the top docking port while you bring down other payloads, saves you a few flights and they can right themselves from pretty much any position in almost any gravity field (not actually tested on Laythe!).

And then there is the part of actually getting the modules on orbit. There are options on the options here!

First, you can launch only the modules and a modest upper stage (that, whole being modest, can still push the whole thing to Mun if you tap the fuel of the base) with this rocket:


Or you can go for the extra mile, and 100% reusability, by putting the modules inside a SSTO. I went ahead and did just that, using my Dao. And considering it is capable of lifting up a full Big Red, it has no problem taking the modules up two at a time.


You can see in that picture the result of launching the three files that I offer with custom payloads (pretty tightly packed, I doubt you can do much better on your own), plus one of my Modular Propulsion Systems taking the role of transfer stage. But if you are building it this way, it's because you are a seasoned pro with your own ideas as to how you are going to build this, so I guess you don't really want/need tons of advice... just know R-SUV a response away with the customer support! :)

Here, have the files and be industrious, my brave kerbals!

Useful link to the Eagle thread, where you can download that one.

Dao SSTO with Fuel Dump+Node

Dao SSTO with Hab+Lab

Dao SSTO with Corridors+Rovers

The base pack in a cheap rocket

Anyhow, I would keep on finding stuff to say so I can take it as an excuse to put more awesome pics up here, but this is quite the wall already (especially if you click that spoiler button! Lots of details there), and I'm pretty sure you want to get to the really juicy part of the post. So with a final wish for a happy time Lego'ing all over the place for √Funds and Science! (not really, it takes most of the tech tree unlocked and costs north of √200k just to put into orbit), I leave you with the imgur album, which I will probably update further, and the single file download. I figure you can make the subassemblies to put this on your spaceplanes on your own ;)


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Base Pack Deluxe

Base Pack Deluxe+

*Anywhere, for the nuclear Deluxe+ version, of course.



Rune. Edited as a repository, for... I really don't know why. But it took a lot to do in the first place.

Edited by Rune

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Glad to see you're back mate! I'll try some of these out when I get home tomorrow, Especially that Gladius Shuttle. Can it reach, say, Geostationary transfer orbit?

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Stelith61 said:
Glad to see you're back mate! I'll try some of these out when I get home tomorrow, Especially that Gladius Shuttle. Can it reach, say, Geostationary transfer orbit?

I'd say not with payload, but if you put an extra tank on the payload bay (so crew transfer only), it should do it without issues, even circularize into Keostationary proper.

Rune. Glad to be back myself!


Edit: Yet another repository, this time of the 1.0 version of R-SUV.






I've been torn for a few days now. On the one hand, the Longsword name is awesome... but on the other, this looks nothing like the Longsword (even though it's built on top of it and shares the basic powerplant), and is actually quite more capable:


~50mT to orbit! That is a whopping >25% payload ratio, and the payload rides in style, inside a humongous bay sporting the latest in ramp technologies... just in case you want to load a nuclear cruise stage and use it without unpacking :wink: Plus now we support crew! The standard three can ride in style, taking care of the payload and performing any required science!... or rescue, whatever the case might be. Truly, a hammer that is just begging for a problem to solve. They all look like nails with one of these! And thanks to the efficient part count (130 not counting payload), and the ridiculously simple flight manual, a hammer anyone can use. Don't believe me? Here, in this pic you can see how complicated the flight manual is... it fits in its entirety:




Edited by Rune

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Bah! Geostationary, Keostationary, no biggie.

Maybe if I filled half the payload bay with fuel and the other half with a satellite I could do it. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

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Wow... some really great ships! I love the Aurora!

Thanks! Considering who it comes from, I feel rather proud. Same goes to you, erendrake :)

And I'm close to releasing a new version of the Aurora, capable of Munar flights landing included (hopefully). Still have to finish the test mission, though, and lately I haven't been playing much, so it might take a while.

Rune. Damn RL, it keeps on interfering with my spaceflight ^_^.

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some very nice vehicles Rune. i'm going to try some of the jets for exploration of Kerbin. maybe it will help me to build my own planes, cause i ... well .. .suck at the moment in designing planes in KSP. your idea with stock station parts i great. i hope you don't mind if i use your double dockingport for my own station :D

but i think that is the idea behind KSP ... players helping each other with new ideas :)

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but i think that is the idea behind KSP ... players helping each other with new ideas :)

Sure! You can't imagine how many good ideas I "inspired", hehehe :). In fact, multiport docking is one of those. Just one thing, though: make sure both ports are docked by right-clicking on them to check their status, and take care so that the bicoupler is firmly strutted: no point taking out a single-point attachment to put another one part away.

Oh, and the Hopper handles like a gazillion times better than the Global Explorer, there are a couple months between them, and it shows.

And Pirate, failing is half the fun! :P Makes success much sweeter.

Rune. I've had my share of "fun", believe me. :)

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Added the Grashopper, a small SSTO that packs a punch... and is as multi-purpose as it gets.

Rune. Why do one thing, if you can do several with a bunch more complexity?

Edited by Rune

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Flying the Gladius Shuttle now, it's a little slow, actually. Literally, watching it fly up while typing this.

Sending a small probe to a medium orbit.

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Flying the Gladius Shuttle now, it's a little slow, actually. Literally, watching it fly up while typing this.

Sending a small probe to a medium orbit.

Well, all SSTO's with wings take their sweet time getting to orbit, about 15-25 minutes in general. But that one has one of the biggest T/W ratios among mine, you should see the K-22 getting to orbit... you have to light the nuke a couple of times to get it to keep climbing, actually.

Anyway, hope you like it, and if you drop some pictures afterwards, well, you'll make me happy too! :)

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Well, I flew and put a probe into orbit with the gladius, works fine. Thanks! I kinda want to make something similar.

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New stuff! I don't want you to think I have abandoned anything... so introducing the K-33 Venture star!!!

Rune. But don't expect much stuff soon, I'm away from my gaming rig for a couple of weeks.

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Update! New Gladius version, with room for more kerbals and less part count. Minor stability fixes, and fully 0.20.2 tested.

Rune. Giving the crowd what it asks for.

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More new stuff, finally! A new space station pack for 0.20.2, with two launchers, six modules, and whole lot of fun putting it all together.

Rune. By the comments I get, you'd think every craft of mine works flawlessly. I highly doubt that ^^'.

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The Aurora just got its long-promised update, capable of Munar flights, direct-return style. Enjoy!

Rune. More VAB stuff coming soon.

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Rune, these ships are awesome; By the way, the Venture Star is INCREDIBLE. Big beast being launched * holy moly, how big is this thing * , and also one of the only times I got into SPESS in thing like that. Keep up the good work!

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I say, that's some real high quality stuff there! Nice! I like the hopper, very clean lines....

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The launcher for the station expansion pack keeps breaking mid flight. i would solve one problem and then another one would happen

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The launcher for the station expansion pack keeps breaking mid flight. i would solve one problem and then another one would happen

Hum, I will take a look at it. Have you tried throttling down a bit? Mainsails have a tendency to double the failures for the last 5% of thrust, and you have more than enough fuel on that one to take your time going to orbit.

I say, that's some real high quality stuff there! Nice! I like the hopper, very clean lines....

Thanks! I was really inspired that day, I got away with playing with angles and yet getting an inherently stable design. Have you noticed how well it flies without ASAS and using only trim (ALT+WASD) to control altitude?

Rune, these ships are awesome; By the way, the Venture Star is INCREDIBLE. Big beast being launched * holy moly, how big is this thing * , and also one of the only times I got into SPESS in thing like that. Keep up the good work!

Hehehe, not the biggest thing you can make, that's for sure. Or efficient. But it sure packs a wallop if you refuel it on orbit, and it's real easy to get up there. Glad it suits you!

Rune. Yay! Feedback!

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The launcher for the station expansion pack keeps breaking mid flight. i would solve one problem and then another one would happen

Ok, I went at it again, and though I was able to get it to orbit at least once, the thing was indeed a bit temperamental. But I've strutted it a bit firmer, and conducted a couple of successful launches in a row. No need to turn gimbals off, but I still recommend throttling down a notch after you get to 100m/s and during 1st and 2nd stage burns. It is indeed more than possible now, and waypoint station is growing:


Rune. Also a couple minor mods too, it was a bit rushed. ^^'

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