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Orion aka "Ol' Boom-boom"


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Think I might make a few unmanned tests at full operational weight to see if this is a viable solution to the fuel to weight ratio!

Payload ratio on Orion was calculated to be about 45% payload, which pisses all over anything available for chemical rockets. The Orion engine obviously weighs a bit more than a rocket engine, but once you've invested the tonnes for that, the payload can be quite large.

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I'm seriously thinking of building some parts to have more Orion compatible structures to add to Nyrath's work here. I'll have to get around to learning one of them new fangled 3D modelling programs (all my tech drawing stuff in engineering was pre-computer-for-students) like blender, but space-craft parts are all fairly close to standard geometric shapes etc.

Thinking of heavier, stronger bits of fuselage for assorted purposes, scaled to fit 2m, 5m, 10, 25m, 40m, and 56m pusher plates. Probably many very short cylinders at first, extending to six way pie wedges, with and without cutouts at the inside corner.

Many ideas, little time, and zero experience with blender/unity. But there's heaps of good tutes on yootubes etc. I guess it'll need to be an add on mod, or mod extender. Depends how Nyrathy I can make things look. :-)

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Some basic items in play.

Set (so far) at the 10m basic size of the normal Nyrath mod.

Got two magazines (different yields) and mono-propellent so far. Needs a crew quarters, reaction wheel, generator, science lab and probably a few other parts yet. And different heights. Still swearing at getting 3d modelling software to do things I could do on paper in a tenth the time. :-/


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I'm sorry I'm to busy to help right now, but there are some notes and diagrams about the 10-meter USAF Orion that the mod is based on here:


Using Blender:

[1] The rule is: One hand on the mouse, the other on the keyboard

[2] This means you have to memorize lots of hot keys

[3] Print out a list of important hot keys



[4] Tape them to the wall next to the computer monitor

[5] Start doing some tutorials


while frequently referring to the cheat sheet.

One hand on the mouse, the other on the keyboard.

[6] For about a week you will feel like you are pounding your head on the wall.

Then one fine day you'll try Blender again, and suddenly it will be childishly easy

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And it seems the notes I've read on "units" to meters is wrong. My 3.2m wide spine (aka 2.56unit wide or 3.2/1.25) is pretty close to the 2.5m size. :-( But the 10m "main" section I made matches the 10m Orion drive, which means we've both been following similar conversions. Which don't seem to match. Unless there's a special understanding about "nominal sizes" I'm unaware of. Or I'm trusting sizes from mods that I've had so long I've forgotten they're not core KSP.

Anyway, 10"m" (possibly 8m) wide core crew quarter sections modelled. Need a main variant with windows yet. But coming along nicely.


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The wiki certainly suggests 1unit = 1m. So I'm moving forward based on that. And it matches items in game. I created a 3m to 2.5m adapter and crew quarters and unscaled some squad items to 3m for testing. Looks pretty good except the hitch-hiker can keeps self-undoing the rescale. Which looks pretty daft.

To do the rockets I'm going to need to put in some serious blender time though I think. Definitely not standard rocket stuff.

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Well, using some quick scaled up Squad pieces (2.5m to 3m is not a huge difference), plus a 3m to 2.5m adapter, and some very early editions of 7.2m personnel compartments, a vaguely similar to sketch Orion is taking off. Except that it turns out if you add a few tonnes to everything's weight, and your final payload is 250tonnes, 3.5MN pulses don't quite get you off the ground very far. Seeing the 1963 project reckoned only 30tonnes for everything above a 91tonne engine unit, I may need to adjust some component weights.

To do next.

3.2m Spine pieces. The lower spine for the 10m Orion should be 3.2m Diameter, with upper spine at 3.0

Rounded caps for the side access tunnels.

Actual module interactivity for parts that should have it.

Getting off my arse regarding textures that aren't vague murky off-white.


If anyone else is interested, I made the following alterations to Nyrath's base Orion.

rescale = 1.2 Seems it used to be 1 unit = 1.25m, but it now appears that 1unit = 1m.

Increased the mass of the engine to it's official estimated 91tonnes (mentioned in the cfg file even).

Adjusted the 3.5MN magazine to 92 units instead of 60.

Altered the 6x10xmagazine stack to be 6x10x92 instead of 6x10x10.

Can't figure out how to add a supply of pulse units to the engine itself, as it was originally specced for 900 or so internal storage pulse units. In case the 5000 nukes stored above wasn't enough.

I haven't rescaled any of the magazines or magazine infrastructure, 'cos lazy, and because things go haywire when I mess with those. :-)

Edited by TiktaalikDreaming
forgot screen grab
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Good work TiktaalikDreaming!

Adding internal storage pulse units will be a pain. The module code will have be be altered, and unfortunately I do not have time to do it (the source code is supplied with the mod, of course).

The trouble is the tricky coding used so that the mod magically found any attached pulse unit magazines and set the engine up to consume their pulse units. And keep the different sizes of pulse units separate.

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I've been working a bit on the escape rockets. My idea is a fuel tank/engine plate that has two diameters. A top diameter matching the upper spine, ie 3m, and then necks in to allow rockets around the neck (much like the Project Orion plans). Due to the lack of teeny rockets, I'm using LEM Ascent rockets and the neck in is both thinner and longer than the original. But it works quite nicely.


And in build stage,


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It's probably out of scope, but I think it would be pretty amazing if Scott Lowther's Orion-based asteroid deflection suggestion could be implemented somehow.

That sort of thing was my first plan, but then I got distracted with the specs for the real world plans for the 10mPlate Orion to Mars. Once I have parts for the 10m, I'll branch out to systems suitable for 20m, 25m etc. It's pretty much impossible to build things for bigger than about 30m diameter in KSP, so I'd have to stop at the Battleship class. It could be some time before I have parts for all that though.

Esp as I want to re-do the Orion engine models for the 20m and up, as they should have a double circle of secondary shockies.

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Righto, internal bomb supply (conceptually) solved.

This idea has been fermenting for a couple of days, so I thought I should give it a go.

A bomb magazine part that has a two piece attachment point (ie, an almost identical set of two attachments) that sits at the top of the piece, so you can drop it into another large piece.

So I could see ... I was doing, I used an attachment piece 0.02 inside the piece, but it worked like a charm. Especially once the collision mesh ends up below the edge but some visual hint remains above.


Going to have to ignore the wedge shape in future though, rotation in KSP doesn't have the detail required.

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I've spent a bit of time working on proof of concept idea to have the 7.2m crew compartment as a set of 45degree wedges that fit around a central spine. And I think I'm giving up on the idea. It was based on the original plans being for dividing the space into 8ths and then in Kerbal, the idea of being able to mix and match each of those wedges really appealed to me. But I could only get sane attachment points by setting the core's 8 points to node_stack, but then with 10 in total, the piece didn't behave for actual stacking. Change them to attach, and the core behaves, but I can no longer add my external wedges. And I think I've probably wasted enough time on it.

Going back to 7.2m diameter cylinders. Probably with more variations. So time to look at things like getting airlocks working and ladders etc.

Some messing, a couple of hours, and I have a working airlock (which coincidentally messes up my texture mesh, which was pretty basic anyway for that part).

Anyway, current (flyable) mock-up with the little (upside-down) crew hatch that makes me happy.

Note: The only 3.2mD part I had for the lower spine was my test centre piece for the wedge plan, which is why it has alternating coloured hatchy type appendages and reminds me a little bit of octopus leg. mmmm octopus...


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I was thinking about doing the same thing: making the internal bomb supply something the size of a matchbox that you attach.

Keeping in mind that the magic bomb management code changes a bomb magazine's mass dynamically, as bombs are taken out. So that matchbox will have a mass of tons.

Be cure you mount it on the thrust axis of the engine units, or the ship may be unbalanced.

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I created just that. A bit larger than a matchbox, but with the top AND bottom stack nodes both at 0.001 units under the top of the object. I set the top surface to show, with a piece of text saying what the yield is, then place them on the six nodes around the centre. Assuming you don't mismatch opposing bomb configurations, it should balance.

Here's a set of 20MNx150 stacks, one upside down to show the mesh. Hopefully it helps explain what I mean. :-)


So far, I only have the 20MN stack, so no chance of unbalancing. It shows in the bomb selector nicely.

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Well, wasted a couple of days on Pulse Unit loading systems modelling that is unlikely to ever be used. Good Blender practice though.

I've been toying with the idea of knocking the top off the existing Orion engine models and then having various internal loadouts of pulse unit yields as separate floors above.

I don't really have the tools/skills/knowledge to do that knocking the top off someone else's animated/scripted/tirggered model, so I doubt it will come to anything.

What I might do is do a submergable edition of this to sink into the middle of the existing engines (like the bomb stack I've already done), and maybe one to add stack above (the original plans had variable main engine body sizes after all).

Anyway, I present (crappy textured) internal bomb loading thingies;


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I used TweakScale and Universal Storage to get their wedges up to the Orion diameter. Might make for a good wedge-shaped bomb magazine with a little ModuleManager. You can see them above the engine and below that procedural structural cone.


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