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SSTOs! Post your pictures here~

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Until fairly recently, in my contracts free career game I played as a challenge entry, I'd rarely used SSTO's. Until then I'd had a handful of spaceplanes, that could just about make orbit, carrying minimal payloads.

My first working spaceplane


... and then my second, overshooting the KSC quite a bit on re-entry.


Those were a couple of years or so ago, but these below were made in the last year.



More recently reusability became a necessaity for my entry to the The No Contract Career Challenge, which had the goal of unlocking the tech tree and and fully upgrading all buildings, without using contracts in a career game.

That meant getting into space cheaply as soon as possibly, so I came up with the "Reuso" series of SSTO vertical launchers.

Reuso 1 - Good for putting 5 tons into an 80km orbit, before safely returning to the launch site (or close to it anyway).




Reuso 2 - This provided launches for kerballed missions to Kerbin's moons. Allowing Val to enjoy the delights of "walking" on Minmus.





Reuso 3 - with a much improved lifting capability (about 30 tons to orbit), it provided cheap interplanetary travel for the first time, including a way for one plucky kerbal to make it to Jool and back.




Reuso 4 - the big workhorse of the latter stages of my challenge entry, with it's capability of putting 50 tons into a 90km orbit. This lofted landers for Dres, Eeloo, Gilly, Laythe, Tylo, Val, Bop and Pol.


It even sent this SSTO spaceplane to Laythe.


Edited by purpleivan
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  • 2 weeks later...

spaceplanes, spaceplanes... why people mention ssto and everyone think spaceplanes?

this is the main launcher i developed for a challenge that forced me to be stingy with money



you strap a 20 ton payload on top of it (probably a bit more, if it has good aerodinamics) and it has enough fuel and twr to reach orbit in one stage. you detach the payload, and you deorbit the launcher (it should still have a little bit of fuel. you only need a smidgen for aerocapture). if you time it right, you can land it pretty close to ksp. 90% recovery is my target.

the parachutes are asymmetric, so it will land slightly tilted. it lands at about 13 m/s, which the wild boar engine can survive without problem. then, since the chutes were asymmetrical, it will fall down to one side, and this will happen immediately, so the chutes will still be there. they will slow the rocket capsizing, so that the upper tank will gently touch the ground at 3 m/s. nothing breaks. all the hardware is recovered at close to full cost. sending 20 tons in lko with this thing costs a net 10thousand :funds:.

i also have smaller versions for different payloads, but this is slightly more effective. i have one with a mainsail and 2 jumbo fuel tanks for 12 tons in orbit which is about as cost effective but is a bit less reliable on aerobraking and needs to soften the landing with rockets (it only takes about 20 m/s of deltaV to do it) and a version with 1 swivel and 10 tons of fuel tanks for 1 ton of payload, it's so light it has significant aerodinamic problems and it is less cost eeffective, but it's still the most efficient way i found to bring 1 single ton in orbit.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My favorite SSTO I've made. Its main purpose is to live on Laythe and do island hopping, possibly while towing a tiny rover underneath. It's a tilt-engine VTOL which is nice for navigating terrain. It also has ISRU capability to make sure it can do extended missions. It does need support to get itself (and a rover) to Laythe, and to find where the good ore locations are (so it needed to an LKO refueling station and an orbital survey scanner over Laythe to start its mission). Still, I had a lot of fun exploring Laythe with this craft.

Craft File: Seagull Mk. III

Edited by Scoopapa
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Back in 2017 I made a "work horse" SSTO, which should be able to do a number of jobs.
The Hyperion Mk IV is a rework of the vessel with tech of 2020.
Carries its own small Eve lander, some relay satellites, a small rover and fully capable SSTO with its own ISRU in the cargo bay as a small shuttle / lander / runabout. And because we like some redundancy, both Hyperion and the shuttle should able to land on Tylo and get back to orbit.


Hyperion in the SPH. Note the small Stingray Eve Ascent Vehicle in the back.


Hyperion in orbit with empty cargo bay. Sensors, solar panels and radiators deployed.


Enough thrust for vertical take off with Rapiers and Vectors. The Rapier array is also quite overpowered for the craft.


Rocket assisted short take off for rough terrain.


Hyperion in SPH with loaded cargo bay. Ifrit SSTO in the frontal part. Smal Rover below it. Two Relay satellites in the middle. Between the tail fins of Hyperion is a small Eve Ascent vehicle wit a propeller and rocket stages.


Link to KerbalX:

Standalone Stingray Eve Ascent Vehicle:

IFRIT Shuttle / Lander / Runabout


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5 hours ago, jimmymcgoochie said:

@king of nowhere I tried to build that SSTO rocket above but it didn't work for me, it was quite a bit short on delta-V for a 20 ton dummy payload even with a nosecone on the top and never made it to orbit. What am I missing?

maybe you are not doing a good gravity turn? it must be flown precisely. A good trajectory I aim for is going up until 50 m/s, then tilting eastward by 5 degrees every additional 50 m/s of speed, so that you should be pointing 85 degrees at the 100 m/s mark, 75 at 200 m/s, and 45 degrees at 500 m/s. at this point (sometimes earlier if I am satisfied with the trajectory) I just let it hold prograde. I sometimes can squeeze a bit more of efficiency by turning a bit faster, reaching 45 degrees inclination around 400 m/s, but that's risky as the smallest mistake will send the rocket too low.

After 500 m/s I throttle down for a while until reaching a 75 km apoapsis, then I coast. i start the circularization burn around 20 seconds before apoapsis, since the (mostly spent) rocket has a huge twr

Or maybe you didn't autostrut and your payload started swinging, making you lose efficiency? Or maybe you didn't use a full fairing but a simple nose cone and your payload still had bad aerodinamics? (mind you, even with bad aerodinamics it is possible to launch 20 tons. with good aerodinamics you can get past 25)

If those are not the problem, I don't know what it could be. The design is very simple, a twin boar and two rockomax jumbo

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Seems I am kind in a retro mood.
Another iteration of my trusted Grand Tour vessel, albeit this time without the Eve lander attached. It is really satisfiying, when all the panels, radiators, antennas and sensors deploy with a single click.
As usual, with enough reach for Moho and enough thrust for a Tylo landing.
No need for a seperate ressource scanning satellite, as all the scanners are onboard already. Enough Room for 8 Kerbals.



XR-27 Sagitarius

To the stars with Sagitarius! Another iteration from the trusted line of long range explorers, Sagitarius brings 8 Kerbals with some level of comfort to almost any destination in the system, even Tylo.

Equiped with plenty of science instruments and a mobile lab, onboard scientists will find plenty of new things to discover.

The ISRU and Mining drill ensures the longevity of your explorations.

4 Rapiers, 2 Wolfhounds and 2 Nervs bring you to the stars.

Max range on Nervs: 6,400 m/s dV.
Max range on Wolfhounds: 2,700 m/s dV.
Max range on Rapiers (rocket mode) and Wolfhounds combined: 2,390 m/s dV.

Enjoy your journey.

Link to KerbalX:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Crew Shuttle for JNSQ Kerbin or other 2.5x scale home world:



The screen shot is missing the small heat shield hack I had to add to the nose of this thing. With that, I avoid exploding the nose cone on the tip of this thing.

This is designed for Ferram Aerospace, but might be usable in stock aerodynamics if you fill all of the wet wings and strakes with fuel. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I made this a while ago, but thought I would post it.  It was for my Solid Rocket SSTO Challenge, and that is exactly what it is. A completely solid rocket powered SSTO. Unfortunately, the disk drive the save was on is faulty, and I have not been able to recover it. At some point I need to rebuild it.




Edited by Klapaucius
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Made a new dropship, which thusfar actually "appears" to function properly...


Its still a bit away from being able to actually drag armor to other planets, but i have acomplished 1000dV after dropping a jumbo32 and a large RCS tank (this is in total more then 20 tons of payload) into a 80km orbit.  I think if i stick to smaller vehicles (say sub 10t), i can make minmus with this thing (and well then its just a matter of IRSUing to go farther).  Obviously i need to optimize this moster a bit since its still somewhat unwieldy and the wing placement could use some alterations, but it works and has dragless payloads through clever abuse of aerodynamic shielding with those 2 MK-3 vehicle bays.


Its not all that impressive payload wise compared to what quite a few others on here have done with SSTOs, but my number 1 biggest pet peve with larger SSTOs is that i couldnt for the life of me make something that was asthetically pleasing to me AND have it carry a vehicle thats too wide to fit a single MK-3 bay.  While i do like the new aero, i always missed being able to just strap a tank under a dropship the old fashioned way with little regard for how draggy it would be.  So yeah, its not perfect, but its the first double MK-3 dropship ive made for stock that i like the look of, that actually has enough dV to do something useful, and that isnt absurdly high on parts/engines (my last one ended up getting so overbloated with stuff that it ended up having like 20 rapiers and 10 nukes, and the sad part was that it couldnt even drag the same payload this one could into LKO...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, i finally found the spirit to return to KSP. Today, i undusted one of my old unmanned SSTOs, brought it up to 1.11 standard and flew a Rockomax Jumbo fuel tank to orbit and returned home. Here are some mission impressions:

Approaching apoapsis:


Circularization burn:


Deploying Cargo:




Final landing approach:


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A long time ago I submitted a 0.90 Lf + ion SSTO.

Today I am proud to submit an Ionic Symphonic Supersonic SSTO.

Useful? Not at all. Kerbalish? Your choice.

Expensive, useless... Funny to pilot? Oh, yes.

Maybe something to build on? May be. It does not matter. It is "kerbal".


You do not want to know "how". You know how.


Cheers guys.

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I recently posted my best SSTO in this forum. This ship can SSTO to Duna, Minmus ánd to Mun as delta-V in orbit can go up to 1750m/s (due to low drag, all fairing design). And it can control the body flaps for a precise high AoA aerobrake or re-entry after which a landing consists of pressing a single button (backspace), the ship flips over and  MJ autolands it.

Vacuum delta-V of 4950m/s. Also includes a lab, and ISRU for refuelling.

The Starship SSTO:




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  • 3 weeks later...

BAK Durandal. Redesign-evolution of the Aerondight, she has a similar mission profile and performance characteristics, but handles better, is more stable upright, is capable of being refuelled on the surface, and looks better too. I spent an unreasonable amount of time tuning her. The only thing to watch out for, really, is that she doesn't like to fly really slow, even empty, so dead-stick touchdown velocity is best kept at around 60-70 m/s.

Proven missions with no intermediate refuelling: 

  • KSC runway - Munar surface - KSC runway
  • KSC runway - Laythe Kosmodrome
  • Laythe Kosmodrome - Vall surface - Laythe Kosmodrome
  • Laythe Kosmodrome - Pol surface - Bop surface - Laythe Kosmodrome
  • Laythe Kosmodrome - KSC runway

So not only SSTO, but SSTMAB and SSTL.





Edited by Guest
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Dont have any pictures yet, but here are its specs:

Virgil Class V-314 Hyperplex

General Specs

Length: 94.5m

Height: 15.7m

Width: 26.7m

Weight: 588.587t (no fuel)

Parts: 237


Reactor: 1x Plasma Antimatter Reactor

Warp Drive: 1x Light Alcubierre Drive

Propulsion: 4x Antimatter Radiant Drive

Max Speed: Warp 8


Planet Preferences: medium thickness atmosphere, low gravity

Status: Experimental

Purpose: Mobile Base

Connection at Mun: 98%


Seats: Roughly 800

Cockpits: 2

Science Labs: 12

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Here is my small SSTO which is really a tiny ant compared to the interplanetary beasts you guys submitted. It is completely liquid fueled, with 6 jets and 6 nukes, featuring a 0.44 full-fuel vacuum TWR.

It is called SSTO 4, namely the fourth SSTO I've built in this sandbox save. SSTO 1 never made it to orbit. SSTO 2 had 2300+m/s of delta V after reaching orbit, but was only capable of carrying a pilot. SSTO 3 was basically SSTO 2 with an extra crew capsule. These were based on an MK1 design, and had a minimalistic genre.

But SSTO 4 has an Mk2 core (but no Mk2 fuel tanks which are draggy and heavy). It weighs a bit over 80t with full fuel, and 4390m/s of vacuum delta V. I flew it with a queer ascent profile, for its jets can reach beyond 21km. The vacuum engines also stops to burn at 53km, with a 81km ap one minute ahead. That's why I think the 2195m/s of delta V it has in a 80km circular orbit is not its best. However, this is just enough to bring itself to Ike surface for refueling with the ISRU. Pics here:

The thumbnail of SSTO 4


I didn't take screenshots of the ascent, but let's look at its 15m/s of delta V left on Ike.

ytleQP.pngytlVzt.pngytlERI.pngytlAJA.pngWhile the scientist is podering over Duna, the engineer goes inpecting the engines. Benefiting from the 1.11 update, the drills and the ore tank can now be assembled on spot.:lol:


After planting a flag, The engineer also built a small probe with only: a control core, a battery, two solar panels, and two antennas. It can just barely reach KSC!


Take off with full fuel! What??? You say there's no air on Ike??? There are hills! Although the reaction wheels aren't powerful enough to get the SSTO upright and LIFT off, I can utilize the slope I landed on, to take the ship up a bit. It looks just like flying, when the brave little Kerbals have a relative speed of 200m/s just 100m above the surface.


After a bit of horizontal acceleration, we are in a 25km Ike orbit. My next step is to go to Jool from here, but still waiting for a proper transfer orbit.:lol:

KerbalX link: https://kerbalx.com/AllenLi/SSTO-4

EDIT: Its delta V isn't enough to go to Jool right now. I've decided to hop to Dres, then to Eeloo, and finally to Jool system.

Edited by AllenLi
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