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


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Out of interest, how are people finding putting the large (heavy) components into space, particularly the big 3.75m nuclear and antimatter reactors? I know there are lots of popular part packs that offer 3.75m parts that should be able to hoist these components into orbit (and I'm certain it's double with a sufficiently big stock rocket) but I'm interested to gauge the difficulty level here. Would one or two things to help you get these parts into orbit be at all useful or are people managing fine as it is?

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Quick suggestion. Perhaps a part that allows you to beam science similar to the microwave transmitters you made for power. Then you could have a number of research bases that send their science to say a station in low Kerbin orbit so that you can upgrade your new ships without having to go all the way out there. (sorry if this has already been suggested/implemented but I could not find any mention of something similar in the thread)

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I have put a lot more time into understanding this and have more questions. I got both the VASIMIR and thermal rockets to work efficiently in a testbed configuration. Unfortunately, after many hours of work it is all wasted because of bugs.

What is the best way to avoid the following VASIMIR bugs: negative thrust, flying through air at launch, and random lack of xenon and megajoules? The stated bugs all happen when trying to drive 3 VASIMIR engines on a relatively complex ship. A simple test rocket works fine. The ship is split into two sections and I require that the power sources for the engines be independent, and ideally that the reactors/generators in one part of the ship can power the thrusters on the other part of the ship. I also require an independent larger power source for the warp drive. Any combination so far within my stated requirements either has one or more engines flaming out claiming a lack of resources or producing negative thrust. Optionally, I have tried to use the larger "warp designated reactor" to power one of the thrusters instead of the thruster having it's own independent power source. This gives the same set of problems.

I have some guesses and if someone could tell me if I'm right or not that would be great.

1. Is there a limit to the amount of reactors/generators on one vessel? My testing says maybe.

2. Are xenon and megajoules able to be carried through fuel lines? My testing says no.

3. If you think of the vehicle as a tree, are parts that come before other parts in the tree using all the megajoules and xenon and not letting others "behind" it get resources? My testing says maybe.

4. Are VASIMIR thrusters meant to be able to operate independently and "magically" absorb their resources from the vehicle without a direct connection to a generator? My testing says yes.

5. Should generator efficiency ever be a negative number? My testing says maybe.

6. Should thrust ever be a negative number? My testing says maybe.

As a practical example:

The vehicle has 3 VASIMIR thrusters, all powered by a medium antimatter reactor, and each have their own antimatter, xenon, and gas generator directly connected. Everything works until I add the fourth reactor and specifically the fourth gas generator. Now when I test, all 3 thrusters show a negative thrust and they consume no xenon.

What could be going wrong here?

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Well, my standard lifter is able to put 70+ tons into LKO reliably. It's enough for a ship built from 2 meter parts. I haven't tried 3.75 parts yet, but i think i can manage somehow...maybe with more boosters :D But what do you have in mind?

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I have put a lot more time into understanding this and have more questions. I got both the VASIMIR and thermal rockets to work efficiently in a testbed configuration. Unfortunately, after many hours of work it is all wasted because of bugs.

What is the best way to avoid the following VASIMIR bugs: negative thrust, flying through air at launch, and random lack of xenon and megajoules? The stated bugs all happen when trying to drive 3 VASIMIR engines on a relatively complex ship. A simple test rocket works fine. The ship is split into two sections and I require that the power sources for the engines be independent, and ideally that the reactors/generators in one part of the ship can power the thrusters on the other part of the ship. I also require an independent larger power source for the warp drive. Any combination so far within my stated requirements either has one or more engines flaming out claiming a lack of resources or producing negative thrust. Optionally, I have tried to use the larger "warp designated reactor" to power one of the thrusters instead of the thruster having it's own independent power source. This gives the same set of problems.

I have some guesses and if someone could tell me if I'm right or not that would be great.

1. Is there a limit to the amount of reactors/generators on one vessel? My testing says maybe.

2. Are xenon and megajoules able to be carried through fuel lines? My testing says no.

3. If you think of the vehicle as a tree, are parts that come before other parts in the tree using all the megajoules and xenon and not letting others "behind" it get resources? My testing says maybe.

4. Are VASIMIR thrusters meant to be able to operate independently and "magically" absorb their resources from the vehicle without a direct connection to a generator? My testing says yes.

5. Should generator efficiency ever be a negative number? My testing says maybe.

6. Should thrust ever be a negative number? My testing says maybe.

As a practical example:

The vehicle has 3 VASIMIR thrusters, all powered by a medium antimatter reactor, and each have their own antimatter, xenon, and gas generator directly connected. Everything works until I add the fourth reactor and specifically the fourth gas generator. Now when I test, all 3 thrusters show a negative thrust and they consume no xenon.

What could be going wrong here?

Okay, thanks for the report, I'm going to have to investigate but I *think* I know what the problem is here. The plasma thruster enumerates all power sources that are attached to the ship and calculates its thrust such that it uses most of the power available from onboard generators, so having two plasma thrusters doesn't have any benefit over simply having one. If you attach more generators, your one plasma thruster will get better, you don't need to attach more thrusters. I'm guessing that the interaction between multiple thrusters trying to calculate their thrust is causing this particular bug.

I haven't done anything to change Xenon and Megajoules function exactly like ElectricCharge, meaning that you don't need fuel lines, they should be available to the entire vessel regardless, hence the plasma thrusters don't need a direct connection to an electric generator (unlike the thermal rockets) you can stick them anywhere on the ship and they should work fine, so long as they have power available.

There should not be any limit to reactors and generators, provided that the generators are directly attached to the reactors, you should be able to have as many as you like.

Is generator efficiency always becoming the same negative number? If so, what negative number does it become?

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Very cool. Would you mind if i would make some quote unquote fanmade parts? Then send it to you or something? Like not instead your parts just as an addon for the addon? Your parts are awesome though, i love them. But i wanna do something myself and i don't have ideas for a mod by itself.

EDIT: You know what? I'm stupid and I can't explain things. Damnit! The deal is that i'm bored as hell and i want to do something constructive... Not just blowing things up every day.

Edited by Darndello
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Very cool. Would you mind if i would make some quote unquote fanmade parts? Then send it to you or something? Like not instead your parts just as an addon for the addon? Your parts are awesome though, i love them. But i wanna do something myself and i don't have ideas for a mod by itself.

EDIT: You know what? I'm stupid and I can't explain things. Damnit! The deal is that i'm bored as hell and i want to do something constructive... Not just blowing things up every day.

So far I've been making the models for this mod. If you're looking for a model-less mod, try helping the TAC life support mod.

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I can't figure out how to make power at all._. What fuel do generators need to run? It wasn't really explained on the first page. I always get -1000% efficiency.

Generators need to be attached to a reactor (which produces thermal power) in order to function. A generator is just a conversion component that takes thermal power and converts it into electric power, it doesn't actually do anything by itself.

As for the negative efficiency problems people keep reporting, it is related to the order in which parts are attached. If parts are loaded by the game in an unexpected order, it produces this beaviour. I think I've managed to fix this issue and will issue and patch in a few minutes, once I'm reasonably confident I've fixed all the manifestations of this bug.

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Version 0.3.2 Released

I do apologise to everyone about the negative efficiency and negative thrust bugs that have been discovered and would like to thank those who have submitted those detailed bug reports, it's so much easier to get this working as intended with that kind of feedback.

Changelog:


Version 0.3.2
-Fixed negative thrust and negative efficiency bugs when parts are loaded in atypical orders
-Fixed science rate when science labs are not active
-Altered science rate to account for stupidity of Kerbal crews (stupid Kerbals generate less science while clever Kerbals generate more)

Download links on first page updated!

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Thanks for your fast reply. I wasn't able to easily reproduce the negative efficiency thing. The primary vehicle I have been making with this mod looks and functions best with three distinct engines. I ended up making 2 versions: a plasma powered and a thermal powered version when I wasn't happy with the plasma limitations. I had to compromise on the plasma version a little. I was able to have 3 functioning engines in the configuration I wanted but was unable to add the high power 135 GW "warp core" without bugs. It seems to me that the "imbalance" caused by adding the fourth reactor/generator combo screwed things up. The other 3 engines assemblies are identical with antimatter > reactor > generator > engine. This engine setup looks to be very efficient and has enough to charge the warp drive units in an ok amount of time with moderate acceleration. The thermal version weighs twice as much but it has a much more guaranteed performance with the downside of possibly falling apart from all the weight. It will be interesting to compare the two versions. They have yet to be tested in space, but I have sent off a warp probe already.

I also found out that the warp drive's energy requirements vary with the vessel's mass and that to increase speed you add more warp drive units. With the same amount of drive units, my thermal version will theoretically do around warp 2 and the plasma version will do around warp 5.

A few more questions.

Do you plan on fixing the plasma engines to play nicely with each other in situations other than the one I have found that works?

Do you plan on adding a "low voltage circuit" to the generators so that they can generate a huge amount of (utility) power?

Do you plan on adding a warp effect?

For a sci-fi look I like the idea of a ship skipping like a stone when it goes to warp with multiple "explosions" along the way

For a realistic look, I heard that your visual field may collapse down to an infinitely small point at the nose of your ship as you reach light speed

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Is it possible to get a part that simply converts MW/MJ/whatever into Electric Charge? I'm getting frustrated by this mod using a completely detached set of resources from the main game, with next to no documentation inside the game itself.

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I have to agree with Stargate525. Having two kinds of 'electric' power gets confusing. I never know how many solar panels my ships need, and why do i need solar panels at all, when there is a nuclear reactor happily fissioning somewhere on my ship.

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Do you plan on adding a "low voltage circuit" to the generators so that they can generate a huge amount of (utility) power?
Is it possible to get a part that simply converts MW/MJ/whatever into Electric Charge? I'm getting frustrated by this mod using a completely detached set of resources from the main game, with next to no documentation inside the game itself.

They already do.

You don't need solar panels or other power systems at all. Every power system that generates megajoules also generates 1000 electric charge/second. If you turn on your generators you should never run out of electric charge, there's nothing in the stock game that consumes enough power. That's true of the generators and the microwave power.

All of the generators also prioritise generating electric charge over megajoules, meaning electric charge is the last thing you should lose if you're short on power.

Do you plan on fixing the plasma engines to play nicely with each other in situations other than the one I have found that works?

Yes, I need to find some kind of fix for multiple plasma engines. At the moment, multiple plasma engines are going to flameout when fully throttled, so if you have two plasma engines you'll have to throttle them to 50%. Main problem here is I need to work out what I want the intended behaviour to be. I suspect the long term answer is to cap the thrust of each plasma engine at a certain fixed maximum and require multiple engines to exceed that cap.

Do you plan on adding a warp effect?

For a sci-fi look I like the idea of a ship skipping like a stone when it goes to warp with multiple "explosions" along the way

For a realistic look, I heard that your visual field may collapse down to an infinitely small point at the nose of your ship as you reach light speed

I'd love to, sometime I'll spend some time seeing what I can do with the graphical effects and then maybe I'll be able to produce something suitably cool.

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Sorry, I meant the other way around. I want a warp drive with massive solar panel arrays on it as a galactic tugboat. Can't do that as far as I can see.

Heck, is there any way to split these packs up? I don't really want the various thermal rockets and such and whatnot, nor do I want research. Being able to select those would be fantastic.

Edited by Stargate525
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Sorry, I meant the other way around. I want a warp drive with massive solar panel arrays on it as a galactic tugboat. Can't do that as far as I can see.

Ah, no. The only way to do that is to put a whole lot of satellites in Low Kerbol Orbit and power up the warp drive with a microwave transmitter. There is just no way you could power the warp drive with solar power. If you consider the slow rate that the warp drive charges at, even with the largest (un-upgraded) nuclear reactor (1.5GW) and assume an Earth like solar insolation of ~2KW/m^2 in orbit of Kerbin then you're going to need 750,000sq m of solar panels to charge at the same rate (or a solar array almost 1kmx1km) and that's assuming the solar array is 100% efficient.

Ships with the microwave transmitter aboard have their solar energy curve updated from the stock values, which means *vastly* more power in Low Kerbol orbit. It's very possible to make the solar panels generate 100x their normal Kerbin output. A few of those would make charging the warp drive possible but transmission losses mean it's probably only viable out to somewhere in the region of Moho's orbit.

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I found this article while browsing today:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/green-energy/4243793

It's basically solar technology that uses the difference between hot and cold to generate electricity at a large efficiency. The technology sounds plausible in the scope of your mod, perhaps trade oxidizer for extra electricity while the object is facing the sun (similar in function to a solar panel)

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Some days ago I looked around for something usefull I can to make and pick some parts for this mod. But I was without any internet connection last days so didn't knew there already some attempts and even with same parts so it can to be more interfering then helpfull. But anyway. For a variety, just some " into the public domain" things. I tried keep things simple and not overdetail to be less out of place but I'm not very good in it.

First thing I pick was "warp drive" because it has some recognizable shape and I don't know how can look all this geeky reactors and turbines and what key difference must to be in their apperiance.

eYiAnrT.jpg

"Cap" at front was something last minute nonsensical and I was greedy for UV space for it but you rarely see it anyway

And second was collector, because it simple. I don't know how antimatter can be collected so I used shape author of plugin is chose for it as reference.

m1YVCU6.jpg

There the link

http://www./?707xjytp889cbcr

I also modeled something sci-lab when my internet connection was back. Maybe will finish it in the near future.

Edited by zzz
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I am happy I came across a mod like yours in development here. I was just thinking of working on something similar. A number of years ago I was working on a thermal rocket for orbiter space simulator but there were too many limitations in that sim engine so the best I could do was approximate the values of thermal engines using some custom models and configs and there was no mechanism by which I could actually simulate atmospheric skimming in any realistic sense, though I did skim venus, mars and jupiter a few times and 'pretend' lol. When I got kerbal space program getting some parts like these working was the first thing that came to mind.

I would like to point out something about your propellant based thermal engines that I think could really improve this mod.

In my research I discovered that thermal engines can harness any propellant but each propellant has a different thrust and specific impulse. So you are overlooking some vast resources... On kerbin for example you have ~ 78% nitrogen, this can be used as a propellant in a thermal engine. On duna you have ~ 95% carbon dioxide, this can be used as well, eve's atmosphere is 98% carbon dioxide, and so on. Liquid hydrogen is actually one of the worst propellants to use in terms of thrust, but has the highest specific impulse. In my models I was using plain h2o which has excellent thrust and relatively high specific impulse, at least when compared with traditional chemical rocket engines.

My suggestion is that you should include more of these resources and alter the function to support their use. So for example you can power a thermal engine using electricity + h2, co2, h2o, N, o2, etc - no nuclear heat is necessary assuming you have enough power to drive the internal microwave magnetrons which act as the heating element in the supercritical compression (heating) chamber of the engine. The more energy available, the more DV you can get out of a given amount of propellant, up to the design limitations of the compression chamber of course.

The atmospheric scoop could only be used to collect liquid fuel for standard engines from jool or other hydrogen rich atmospheres, and oxidizer from kerbin and other oxygen rich atmospheres, etc, but literally any other propellant could be collected and used in a microwave thermal engine. Ice mining or collecting liquid water from kerbin (and whatever the liquid in the oceans of eve can be assumed to be) could be an additional source of propellant in its raw form or could be further refined via electrolysis for standard rocket fuel as you have already apparently added support for in your latest mod revision.

PS Great work so far, I created my account on here just to say thank you and post these suggestions, this is exactly the sort of mod I have been waiting for, or at least it is headed in the right direction :)

Edited by Conti
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i must say zzz is winning.

I don't like to make it a competition. Firstly it's not too fair because I'm more experienced then this guys (not implying I'm actually good), But main reason is I'm not mean I will make everything from this pack, maybe couple of things else (finish sci thing and, I don't know, something simple) but there lot of things and such "competition" can make others not try harder but just lose interest for making something for it (there are not so many willing if any) and it will be more harm than good from me in result.

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