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[0.25]KSP Interstellar (Magnetic Nozzles, ISRU Revamp) Version 0.13


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The final thing I wanted to add before updating was a hybrid rocket. Hybrid rockets use a solid fuel and a liquid oxidiser, this has huge advantages over entirely solid fueled rockets because it allows you to control the throttle of the rocket - add more oxidiser to go faster, shut the flow of oxidiser off to stop, etc. There is one particular type of hybrid rocket that I wanted to include: the Aluminium-Oxygen hybrid rocket.

The Aluminium-Oxygen rocket is by no means special in terms of its thrust performance, it has pretty abysmal specific impulse of 286s and thrust is nothing to write home about either BUT the huge advantage of this rocket is that most of the moon's crust is made of minerals containing large quantities of aluminium and oxygen. In other words, any site you choose to land at on the moon becomes a potential depot of fuel supplies. The low gravity of the moon also means that a potential rocket doesn't need to be particuarly stunning in terms of specific impulse and thrust performance.

Aluminium is fairly reactive so needs to be seperated from oxygen but this can be done with electrolysis and we've already established that the science labs have this capability. Both here and in reality, the process is hugely energy intensive, which is why we need things like space nuclear reactors to actually get enough power to do this kind of thing. So now, if you land upon a world with a regolith based crust, you can electrolyse aluminium/oxygen fuel and power your munar operations with stunningly abundant by inefficient fuel!

Here is an example (I connected a nuclear reactor + science lab up to a munar lander using the Kerbal Attachment System (KAS)):

kOeeXtw.jpg

(Note: I made a mistake here. My science lab is not connected via any crossfeeding components to an oxidiser tank so I cannot actually produce any oxidiser but had I added a small tank with some oxidiser capacity to the rig, I could produce oxidiser into that and then transfer it manually into the aluminium/oxygen rocket.)

For now, this particular form of In Situ Resource Utilisation is only available on the Mun and Ike. I'm hoping to add more options for alternative ISRU technologies elsewhere in the future.

You can potentially also use it as a booster on Kerbin but it doesn't really lift very much:

2fw2RhT.png

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Interesting concept. Isp and thrust really are on weak side, but ability to refuel the ship wherever you happen to land brings a lot of advantages. As for the list of possible refuelling places i would go for any airless, rocky world - from Moho to Dres, Vall and Tylo. Eeloo? It's more ice than rock - though there are brown areas that look rocky. With this engine we could build some pretty lightweight landers, carrying only enough dV to take off from particular body. Mothership would only have to carry its own fuel, which would cut part count and weight significantly.

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Version 0.3 Released

Changelog:


New Features:
-Science and upgradeable parts: Build science labs to collect science and use it to develop upgrades for certain rocket parts.
-Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing: Turn your depleted nuclear fuel back into useful fissionable material
-More In Situ Resource Utilisation: Electrolysis of water and aluminium oxide.
-Antimatter factory: Produce antimatter with huge amounts of power
-Added Aluminium Hybrid Rocket
-Added large Pure Liquid Fuel tanks
-Added propellant options to nuclear thermal rockets - burn liquid fuel+oxidiser, liquid fuel or kethane.

Bug Fixes:
-Fixed Thermal Rocket flameout behaviour
-Fixed Ship-breaking bug when Brayton Turbine becomes the root vessel part
-Plasma engine now detects the power ouput of generators on the ship it is attached to and calculates thrust accordingly.

Download links on first page updated!

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What state is the aluminum stored in? (solid,liquid,gas)

In the rocket engine it would be stored as a solid though it has to be electrolysed in molten form since electrolysing it in water doesn't work. That's another reason that the process is so energy intensive, because it must be kept at high temperature throughout the whole process.

As for the list of possible refuelling places i would go for any airless, rocky world - from Moho to Dres, Vall and Tylo. Eeloo? It's more ice than rock - though there are brown areas that look rocky. With this engine we could build some pretty lightweight landers, carrying only enough dV to take off from particular body. Mothership would only have to carry its own fuel, which would cut part count and weight significantly.

I might extend water electrolysis from oceans to the surfaces of Vall and Eeloo simply because their icy surfaces are probably fine for that if you melt the ice first (maybe with a slight extra electricity cost to represent this), I'm slightly cautious about doing this for Vall because while it's not really low gravity, it would still make it the cheapest place to get rocket fuel up into orbit but it would require a fair investment of time in order to really develop a fuel economy there.

Moho, Tylo and Dres are probably slightly different in terms of their makeup, as probably the tiny moons are so I'll try and come up with some different options for these worlds.

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That warp drive looks sick!

Have you though about trying a procedural type rocket nozzle? One that automatically changes size (along with performance) depending on the reactors it is attached to? That way you can don't need to create so many parts.

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Which combination of parts will yield about 100000k dv for a vessel that is about 100 tons? Every combination I have tried has been far, far worse than the stock parts. I just want a good impulse drive to go along with the warp engines but that is proving unnecessarily tedious so far.

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Which combination of parts will yield about 100000k dv for a vessel that is about 100 tons? Every combination I have tried has been far, far worse than the stock parts. I just want a good impulse drive to go along with the warp engines but that is proving unnecessarily tedious so far.

that's the point of this mod :)

rewards to those who can slug through the ugly resource-gathering.

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that's the point of this mod :)

rewards to those who can slug through the ugly resource-gathering.

It's hard to tell if you are serious. I guess so with the smiley face. I can't imagine anyone putting themselves through the research part of this. I'm certainly not until someone pays me real money. Is there someway to bypass the "grinding" part of this and get to work building cool spaceships?

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It's hard to tell if you are serious. I guess so with the smiley face. I can't imagine anyone putting themselves through the research part of this. I'm certainly not until someone pays me real money. Is there someway to bypass the "grinding" part of this and get to work building cool spaceships?

you could always edit the configs to spawn anti-matter tanks with anti-matter filling them up, or edit the science labs to generate science a lot faster.

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Why would you want such insane amount of dV on one ship, at once? The point of this mod is that you can refuel your antimater tanks after arriving at your destination. It requires huge amount of power and some patience, but it's very doable. If you don't want to work or wait for it, you will probably be better with one of 'cheaty' engines with edited config files. To each his own, i guess.

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This mod is just very hard for me to understand right now.

1. The engines don't actually require antimatter to run. They produce thrust even with zero antimatter.

2. The research requirements don't make sense given that so little is actually implemented, even as far as as some (most?) things just using stock textures still. I thought the people who pointed that out were being mean at first, now I see they have a point.

3. Only 3 items can be researched, and the upgrades don't even seem meaningful. So you can upgrade the nuclear reactor to a better efficiency, but the antimatter reactors still outclass it.

4. The parts that depend on parts are too complex, given the scope of the game and what we have so far. More parts that depend on other parts just equals bad fps.

5. The weight of the parts need rebalancing. Plasma thrusters with 16 weight, seriously?

6. The plasma thrusters are only 6 times more powerful than the stock ion engines. Real life engines like this can have great thrust as well as ISP.

7. The plasma thrusters are labeled as 80kn despite being only 3kn

8. The requirement of needing thermal rockets attached to reactors is too rigid, especially with the weight of the reactors. Think of thin sci-fi spars, support struts, and nacelles that these will need to hang from in the presence of gravity and during ground testing.

9. Even giving myself 500000 "science", the option to upgrade parts is unavailable

10. The part upgrade system is nonsensical because you need to be able to see your actual dv as you are building your ship, not after it is complete! The same with the switching of fuel types.

11. The biggest problem: The plasma thrusters have very low thrust and the jet needs an atmosphere so that leaves the thermal rockets as the only viable ones for a heavy ship with the warp drive. But with every combination of fuel that I have chosen, the resultant dv of the thermal rockets is worse than a comparable rocket with the stock nuclear engines.

Why would you want such insane amount of dV on one ship, at once? The point of this mod is that you can refuel your antimater tanks after arriving at your destination. It requires huge amount of power and some patience, but it's very doable. If you don't want to work or wait for it, you will probably be better with one of 'cheaty' engines with edited config files. To each his own, i guess.

That is a pretty insane amount isn't it? I really meant 100000mps dv or 100k dv.

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This mod is just very hard for me to understand right now.

1. The engines don't actually require antimatter to run. They produce thrust even with zero antimatter.

Yeah, the antimatter reactor is the thing that requires antimatter. If you have a nuclear reactor to attach it to, of course it will generate thrust.

2. The research requirements don't make sense given that so little is actually implemented, even as far as as some (most?) things just using stock textures still. I thought the people who pointed that out were being mean at first, now I see they have a point.

The research system is just a beginning, some upgradeable parts are still better that no upgradeable parts. The point of the upgrade system is to include more parts that are better than the stock parts without them being accessible from the beginning and without creating a lot more clutter in the VAB.

3. Only 3 items can be researched, and the upgrades don't even seem meaningful. So you can upgrade the nuclear reactor to a better efficiency, but the antimatter reactors still outclass it.

Of course the antimatter reactors outclass nuclear reactors, antimatter is over 100 times more energy dense. The advantage of the nuclear reactor upgrades is that they will run for several years while the antimatter reactors will burn through a tank of antimatter in just over a day. It's also hard to obtain antimatter, especially in large quantities.

4. The parts that depend on parts are too complex, given the scope of the game and what we have so far. More parts that depend on other parts just equals bad fps.

There are only 3 or 4 parts that depend on other parts, going from 1 to 3 or 4 is not going to make much difference to your fps.

5. The weight of the parts need rebalancing. Plasma thrusters with 16 weight, seriously?

6. The plasma thrusters are only 6 times more powerful than the stock ion engines. Real life engines like this can have great thrust as well as ISP.

7. The plasma thrusters are labeled as 80kn despite being only 3kn

Firstly, stock ion engines are way overpowered. Real life ion engines measure their thrust in fractions of newtons, not in fractions of kilonewtons. If you do a bit of maths, you'll see I can't make the plasma thrusters any more powerful, all the figures are there. You know the power output of the generators and power = thrust*specific impulse*g/2. The plasma thrusters have almost the exact parameters that a real plasma thruster would were it attached to a reactor of that size.

With all of the parameters in this mod, I've used real numbers and real units for the specifications so I can't just "cheat."

Now, as for the low thrust you were experiencing, the plasma thrusters rescale their thrust depending upon how much power they have. This is a way of making one engine useable and scalable with reactors of very different outputs. They are 60kN with a 2.5m antimatter reactor and the standard brayton turbine, that is what I use as the reference value. With a nuclear reactor, they are almost useless due to their low thrust. In real life, many-week long burns are not in problem, in KSP they are.

Regardless, they are pretty decent with an antimatter ship as they give you a slightly different compromise with respect to thrust and delta-v, especially if you can deploy the electric generator upgrade. The upgrade for these engines is also amazingly powerful.

8. The requirement of needing thermal rockets attached to reactors is too rigid, especially with the weight of the reactors. Think of thin sci-fi spars, support struts, and nacelles that these will need to hang from in the presence of gravity and during ground testing.

You can't really avoid this. You are using the heat from the reactor in order to produce thrust. If you don't attach it directly to the reactor - no heat, no thrust.

Regardless, why would you attach a huge and incredibly heavy nuclear reactor to a thin spur?

9. Even giving myself 500000 "science", the option to upgrade parts is unavailable

Your ship needs to have access to the science lab, i.e. be docked or have a science lab onboard in order to use the science.

10. The part upgrade system is nonsensical because you need to be able to see your actual dv as you are building your ship, not after it is complete! The same with the switching of fuel types.

Build a ship, look at the delta-v and if you upgrade the parts, it will be substantially better. The nuclear reactor upgrades take the thermal rocket nozzle up to about 2700s of specific impulse. Once you've done an done upgrade, you can still use Mech Jeb or engineer or whatever to see what delta-v the ship now provides (the answer is going to be lots).

My recommendation would be that you build some nuclear tug ships that you upgrade and use them to push around payloads in vacuum.

11. The biggest problem: The plasma thrusters have very low thrust and the jet needs an atmosphere so that leaves the thermal rockets as the only viable ones for a heavy ship with the warp drive. But with every combination of fuel that I have chosen, the resultant dv of the thermal rockets is worse than a comparable rocket with the stock nuclear engines.

The un-upgraded nuclear engines are slightly worse than the stock nuclear engines but offer the options of power generation as well. You can, however, use the scoop or various other ISRU technologies to refuel your ship all of which require quite a lot of power so aren't an option with the stock engines. All the other engines - the upgraded nuclear engines and the antimatter engines have so much more delta-v than anything in the stock game, they're not even comparable. The 2.5m antimatter reactor/engine can SSTO itself with an orange tank in Kerbin, using less than half the tank of the fuel and never going above 25% thrust. With slightly more propellant, I'm sure you could go to Eve's orbit in a single stage!

Edited by Fractal_UK
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Version 0.3.1 Released

Just a quick update here. Science will now be generated properly even when your science labs are not the active vessel, provided that they have been activated at least once in this version (0.3.1) of the plugin. This means you can just make sure your labs are powered and do other things, when you return to them, science will have accrued.

I've also made nuclear and antimatter reactors use fuel correctly when vessels aren't active so turn your antimatter reactors off when you're not using your vessel or when you return to it, you will find you have none left!

Changelog:


Version 0.3.1
-Science is now generated passively even when science labs are not the active vessel.
-Antimatter and Uranium is now used passively by vessels even when inactive (provided the reactor is enabled)
-Updated antimatter matter tank model to the one created by SpaceK531
-Now capable of performing water electrolysis on the icy surface of Vall

Download links on first page updated!

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Ooh, nice :) Too bad it doesn't work for antimatter collectors and factories ;) May i suggest adding bonus to science growth rate, depending on stupidity level of the crew in science tank? Crew with low stupidity would generate science faster. Crew with high stupidity would generate points slower, even in best location.

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Ooh, nice :) Too bad it doesn't work for antimatter collectors and factories ;) May i suggest adding bonus to science growth rate, depending on stupidity level of the crew in science tank? Crew with low stupidity would generate science faster. Crew with high stupidity would generate points slower, even in best location.

You may suggest it and, indeed, it's such a good idea that I'm going to try to implement that. I've not really played around with the API for getting information about individual Kerbals, only their presence or absence but I suspect this is very possible - I'll look into it.

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You may suggest it and, indeed, it's such a good idea that I'm going to try to implement that. I've not really played around with the API for getting information about individual Kerbals, only their presence or absence but I suspect this is very possible - I'll look into it.

A reason to manage who is on your ship!

Brilliant!

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Some other things:

you may want to change out of scientific notation and move to SI Prefixes. While I cannot say for certain, I do believe that it will be easier to read with prefixes instead of scientific notation.

Also, have you come up with equations for balancing the parts? (Obviously it wouldn't be linear, quadratic or logarithmic may be better).

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Sorry for the triple, but I've come up with a new part for the pack:

46GYoSc.png

A larger anti-matter container.

The anti-matter-to-mass conversion is

anti-matter = 60000*mass^2-110000*mass+60000

this is in line with the other containers I published.

Useful for that extra few thousand units of anti-matter units on ground crew, collection stations, or transporter shuttles.

EDIT:

And a "record-breaking" two parts in one day!

TNIzeM2.png

A new anti-matter collector.

For some reason I feel that red is a good color for labeling anti-matter devices.

Download

also I'm going to update the former-warp core model after I get some shuteye- I need to update the smoothing groups.

Edited by SpaceK531
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A reason to manage who is on your ship!

Brilliant!

So, it's basically a trivial change to add this in, it appears. I'm just going to add another multiplier - the base multiplier will be 1 (obviously) for two Kerbals with exactly 50% stupidity. The average stupidity of your crew will subtract from that multiplier. If you have two really clever Kerbals with 0% stupidity, your science rate will be increased by 50% but two seriously stupid (100% stupidity) Kerbals will decrease your science rate by 50%. This will make science labs with effective crews in good locations extremely valuable.

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