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Manned orbiter megathread.

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There are so many things you can build in Kerbal Space Program- Mun rockets, interplanetary mother ships, landers, rovers, cannons-that it is very easy to forget the one you need to build first-a vehicle to get your guys from the pad orbit.

Manned orbiters are the Microsoft Office of spacecraft-it's something everyone uses, but we never acknowledge it. However, although they never do anything or go anywhere interesting, they have to be used again and again and again. They need to be perfect-simple, fast, easy to use, and now we have these fascist demands-ermm, I mean, important safety regulations, they need to have a way of keeping the Kerbanauts alive. If your computer is low-end, like mine, they also need to be light on the parts.

So, come on, give that trusty workhorse a moment in the spotlight!

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An Orion-inspired capsule, I can get 3 Kerbals to Minmus orbit, perform EVA landings, and return to Kerbin.



Or, I can get up to Jebediah Station for crew transfers to it and my 3 IP cruisers, shown about to depart on a joint mission to Vall, Tylo, and Laythe.


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Well, since I had the idea of posting the thread, I should give mine, the imaginatively-named Orbital Command and Service Vehicle.


101 parts total, 93 excluding the launch clamps, and weighing in (or "massing in") at 123.14 tonnes, this is doing it my way.


I faced it all, and I stood tall, and did it my way.

It is supposed to be a KSP version of the Saturn-1B, which was capable to taking the Apollo CSM to LEO. To help make it at least function similarly, I opted for a cluster of 8 LV-T30s for the first stage, arranged in the same way the Saturn had for it's 8 H-1s.



Yeah, 1 mainsail would've done it, but come on, style!

Since it's difficult enough for Kerbanauts to get life insurance as it is, OCSV has an escape tower, tested in the two stages of flight most prone to RUD-Rapid Unplanned Disassembly-on the pad, and during the first stage.


In his endless professionalism, Drunkrobot did the escape tower tests during the night. Those puffs of smoke are RCS thruster blocks hitting the ground, by the way. They're attached to the separator, and get launched when the capsule detaches from the Service module. Not to worry you or anything.

You won't find that black magic they call "asparagus staging" here, this is serial.


Seriously serial.

Everything works itself out by smashing the space bar, the escape tower detachment is handled by the staging.



However, if there is a RUD, and you survive outrunning the massive fireball behind you, the 0 key detaches the tower, and releases the parachutes. No panic to stage the chutes before the ground hits you!

After many (3) tests, the launcher has been proven to get the payload into a 100 by 20 orbit, perfect for getting rid of that infuriating space junk. This doesn't leave much room for error, so first timers wouldn't like this rocket. But the launch profile is simple enough, turn a little at 5km, a little more at 10, and gradually turning until your nearly horizontal by 30km.

Now, onto the thing that does the space thing...


14.49 tonnes and 26 parts, this can do pretty much anything in the Kerbin SOI. 1,236 m/s dv is a pretty wide safety margin for a Kerbin orbiter, although the OCSV was designed to push small payloads, like a Mun lander.


Here it is with a lander we totally did not steal from Wayfare Aerospace, Engineering + Kitchen Appliances.

With it's docking light and monopropellant reserves bordering infinite, OCSV is really, like, really good at docking.


He would prove it to you, but we don't have access to anything above screenshots yet.

Space stations can be got to in a jiffy!


This is off-topic, but that really is the one time we used a Cupola. The one time.

Well, that's all I have to say about it. Do tell me what I should call it, because anything would be an improvement. Goodbye, friends!


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Here's mine - a smallish (100 parts) manned Munar lander on approach to my semi-behemoth anchorage for refuel and crew exchange. Had to switch from a 1.2GHz P4 with 1GB RAM (where I built the lander) to the laptop with 8GB for the rendezvous, everything seems to have held together so far. More photos of the landing and flag placements to try and mark the boundaries of the kethane deposits.


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Interesting, I also have my main manned orbiter built on a Saturn 1b replica. Mine is pretty much a recreation of the Apollo CSM though, so I call it the Dionysus CSM, after the wild parties that Jeb threw onboard. My Saturn 1b replica could use some work though. The engines are arranged in 8x symmetry, I completely forgot to check the engine arrangement of the real thing.

I'd post pictures, but I'm on my phone and don't have my computer with me at the moment.

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Nice looking... Well everything Drunkrobot!

Here is my workhorse, the Mk. 2 Transfer Module. I must have launched about 30 of these in .21 since my SSTOs weren't working at first. I've grown to love them though, so instead of just being a temporary craft I will likely continue to use them from time to time on various missions.

They have 2800 m/s of delta-V, carry 4 crew, can operate and stay in orbit indefinitely, and can act as as emergency lifeboat/return vehicle by separating from the drive section and using parachutes to land.

The launch vehicle:


The orbiter maneuvering for rendezvous:


A beauty pass:


Coming up to dock with the ADVENTURE, a Mk. 3-B Traveller class interplanetary ship.


Successful dock. Across from the Transfer Module, also docked to the ADVENTURE is the KEPLER, a Mk.68-C Hornet class SSTO spaceplane also there for crew transfer. The Mk.2 transfer module was designed as a replacement for this craft when it became incompatible due to game update.


Edited by Turd
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Oddly enough, Turd, my standard launch platform is somewhat similar to yours:

Here's the drive section. Over 3 k/s dV, capable of traveling to the Mun, performing multiple rendezvous, and returning without an aerobrake maneuver. Also transports up to 15 tons without issue.


Docking at my top secret research facility in high Munar orbit.


Rendezvous at a transit hub over Kerbin, designed for shuttles moving through the Kerbin SOI.


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Here it is with a lander we totally did not steal from Wayfare Aerospace, Engineering + Kitchen Appliances.

And all this time we wondered how the raccoons managed to haul that thing out of the testing yard :P

That's a seriously nice craft you got there - functional, pretty and serial!

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Mine I dub the Aquarius Resupply, built to support my current space station. Is a simple design with roots in Apollo and Orion. It can be launched remotely allowing for a return of three crew from the station. It is a surprisingly solid design allowing for passage to munar orbit with just double fuel in the orbiter stage. It also has the honor of being the craft that was my first to successfully dock. What a rush that was.

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I play with Ioncross, FAR and Deadly Reentry. So it is always a bitch to design reliable orbiters that can survive reentry and still provide some decent dV and oxygen.

To ensure maximum reliability I tend to only make a handful of standard orbiter craft and the rest of my spaceprogram is just docking modules that I can attach to them for extra functionality.

Right now I have 2 workhorse orbiters:

Argus Light:

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This is the one for low kerbal orbit operations. It sports about 700 dV and 0.6TWR so I can use it as the top stage for Munlanders. It has everything needed for comfortable flight; RCS, solar panels, figaro GPS, 2 docking panels, lights and 3 tanks of oxygen.

I mostly use it to ferry personnel and small satellites around.

Argus Heavy:

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This one is for heavy duty stuff. The nuclear engines made it a lot bigger but it has nearly 2.3km/s dV. Enough for Duna round trips if you dock some extra O2 to the noseport (or just dump 2 crew members, didn't do the maths but that should get you to Duna).

I developed it when I was trying to dump some semi synchronous satellites in a 45 degree inclined orbit as a part of my Kerbin constellation and discovered the Argus Light (then just named the Argus) just didn't have the juice to do it and get back. The extra dV did come at a steep cost. It is much more unwieldy and now misses the lower docking port, tremendously cutting down the versatility.

Sofar I didn't see the need to make any more simple orbiters since these 2 are quite versatile. With some ingenuity I can get them to do whatever I happen to need. But maybe I'll encounter some more problems as I venture deeper into interplanetary space.

Edited by Ralathon
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Nice launch escape system! Is it stock or modded? Mine don't look nearly that clean.

Mod. It comes from KSPX. I make it clean using a small inline decoupler in the nose docking port, that way there is no gap between the docking port and the LES.

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Here is the Single Propellent Three Kerbal Orbiter "SPTKO"


This is the unmanned version testing out its docking alignment lasers.


This is a... less than successful landing. Gotta strut that tank.

The vehicle is intended to be full re-usable, and performs orbital manoeuvres entirely on monopropellent.

Uses stock, AIES and a little bit of RLA Stockalike IIRC.

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GIVE US DOWNLOADS for the Argus's please

Argus Heavy

Argus Light

You do need quite a few mods though:

- Figaro Global Navigation

- Deadly Reentry

- Ioncross Crew Support


- Procedural Fairings

- Kerbal Engineer redux

Also, I designed these ships for playing with FAR. While both will probably make it into orbit without, I'll give no guarantees.

1 should open and close the solar panels.


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