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SSTOs! Post your pictures here~

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  • 1 month later...

I built this thing back in August. I think it looks and works pretty good.




It has deployed exactly one spacecraft, an unmanned Münar transfer stage and lander. No other payloads have been designed for this. I haven't flown it in a while.


It has just enough fuel for a rendezvous around LKO and it can dock, though it has no RCS so it can be kind of tedious sometimes


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After Matt Lowne couldn't manage a seaplane SSTO, I decided to actually build one that works. Presenting: the Kingfisher-class. It's not entirely stock (those tail fins and the little winglets and elevons attached to the forward pontoons are from Airplane Plus), but I think it's the best looking SSTO I've ever made. Plus, it has room for ten kerbals and decent  Delta V in LKO to get to stations or interplanetary vehicles. 


Craft file


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My most recent playthrough has been my most successful, and I've had a decent number of personal firsts.

One of them feels very appropriate here.  :)  She's not stock, including several components from Mk2 Extension and canards from Buffalo 2.  Still, she can carry 12 total Kerbals to a station at a 300 km orbit.  JUST.  She had 39 m/s dv remaining after docking.  (Refueled at the station to return to the KSC.)  I believe I have a thing or three to learn about proper ascent techniques!


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  • 1 month later...

I use this SSTO rocket to launch almost all of my satellites & ships that works in Kerbin system. pSrxQz9.png

Also, it can add an upper stage to send payload to a rendezvous orbit or send mutiple payload, like this.

( You can see a fuel tank under the payload and that's the upper stage. )


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On 1/27/2023 at 6:57 PM, SoulKeY42 said:

I have planted flags on all landable planets and moons with this SSTO, including Tylo and Eve(with the disposable lander in the cargo bay).





Wow! I really like this SSTO. In fact, most of my SSTOs don't have enough Dv to take long sail. How did you design this SSTO?

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I feel like I spent half of my ksp time improving this ssto :confused: using some stupid way of adding more water to the noodles hahahahahahahaha


Edited by Starhawk
Translation by Google Translate added by moderator
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  • 2 weeks later...

Decided to build a rover carrier using the cargo ramp.  First issue is that the rover has to be narrow to fit the ramp, but it seemed to fly well.  Tested it by rescuing a Kerbal on Bop.  After refueling on Minmus it went to Bop and landed fine.


The rover seemed to work fine in spite of being narrow.


Flags are always needed.


Then flew to Bop base, refueled, and took off for Kerbin.


I hope there is land down there.


There was.  It turned out to be very efficient.  Gotta build better rovers for it.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I built a thing. Or several, depending on the viewpoint.


Thundershark SSTA with Lotus Station, Runabout and Rover



Heavy Cruiser with dedicated SSTO Runabout with Rover.


Payload: Lotus Station for orbital research.


Thundershark Heavy Cruiser

Heavy science cruiser with SSTO Runabout

Crew complement: up to 13 Kerbals


16x Rapier

2x Vector

6x Nerv nuclear engines

2x Vectors in frontal service bay for short take off

(4x Aerospikes of Runabout can be used as well)

Vernor based RCS system

Dedicated Runabout at the back

Due to size, the runabout does not fit in a cargo bay. Therefore, it is attached via docking ports at the back of the main ship

Cargo bay

7.5m long Mk3 Cargo bay for protected payloads

Mobile Science Lab

ISRU Complement

2x Large Mining drills

Convert-o-Tron 250

Solar panels and Radiators


Thundershark Runabout

4,600 m/s vacuum dV, TWR of 1.5

Complement: 3 Kerbals

Service bay with attached Collapsible Science Rover

4x Aerospikes

SSTO capable from Kerbin

4x Parachutes (2x drogue chutes, 2x regular parachutes)


Storage capacity for science experiments

Custom shielded docking port


Collapsible Rover

See separate page for details and download:


Full Science Complement, 

Medium scanning arm

Seating for two Kerbals.

Can be folded up and stored in a 2.5m service bay in the Runabout


Payload: Lotus Station

Crew complement: up to 27 Kerbals

Mobile Processing Lab for deep-space research

2x RA-100 large relay antennas

Sentinel infrared telescope




Thundershark in Hangar.
Runabout is docked at the back, Lotus station is in storage configuration in the man cargo bay.
Mobile science lab is front left, Convert-O-Tron250 is front right.
In the frontal service bays, the mining drills, fuel cell arrays and Vector engines for short take off or uprighting are stored.






Lotus Station being deployed in orbit. Station is in storage configuration before unfolding.




Lotus Station unfolded.

Room for up to 27 Kerbals. Comes with Mobile science lab for orbital research, Sentinel infrared Telescope and two powerful RA-100 Relay Antennas.




Thundershark Runabout.
Is stored at the back of the mothership, because it is too wide to fit in cargo bays. Runabout comes with seating for 3 Kerbals and a science rover in the lower service bay.



Collapsible rover deployed. Comes with seating for 2 Kerbals, science equipment and an RTG for sunlight-independent propulsion.



Runabout in Orbit
Note the specially shielded frontal docking port. Due to advanced construction techniques (*cough* Exploits *cough*), the frontal docking port is dragless.
Has enough thrust and fuel to reach Kerbin orbit alone as an SSTO. For Tylo landing and takeoff, docking another fuel tank with the frontal docking port is recommended.



Runabout after reentry and during landing. Two airbrakes help in keeping orientation during reentry and slow down the craft. 2 drogue chutes and two regular parachutes help with landing. A short burst of the aerospikes might be needed before touchdown to avoid damage to the vessel.


- Mephisto-

(Re-adjusts shirt. "Make it so, Number One!")


Edited by Mephisto81
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This is my most recent SSTO. Safe to say that it is a big boy.

Its name is Tempest. It is 460 meters long. It has a wingspan of 113 meters. Its starting mass is about 32000 tons. It takes off vertically. Lands too, in theory.
It uses only stock and DLC parts. There are about 3050 of them. It also needs KJR, sadly.



As you can see, it features six giant liftfans. Each one of them is 27 meters in diameter, weighs about 80 tons, is powered by 12 Vector engines and is able to generate about 52000 kN of lift at sea level.
After taking off vertically, it rotates itself by 90 degrees and flies like a rocket from this moment. Its chemical engines are burning just above 100 tons of fuel every second.



For vacuum propulsion it uses 60 deployable Wolfhound engines. It gets to orbit with 1 or less kiloton of extra fuel left, so it is rather useless.

But it is big.

Edited by vanlaukaus
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  • 4 weeks later...

"Doppler III" reusable SSTO launch vehicle

I made this in x2.5 KSRSS, so it takes a bit more dv to reach orbit than it would otherwise. It uses a large 3.75m aerospike engine to deliver its payload into orbit, and then re-enters and does a powered landing. Unfortunately because of the limits of the engine it's using its payload capacity is only 12 tons (including the mass of the fairing surrounding the payload).

Is it really practical? Idk, but I'm still happy with how it looks. I also tested it a lot, fine-tuning the ascent path etc so despite its limitations it's quite reliable. The flag on the ship is a custom flag I made, I use it for a lot of my crafts.


Mods used (not a list of every mod I use but just the ones used for this ship):

  • x2.5 KSRSS
  • Graphical mods (Scatterer, EVE, TUFX, Shaddy, Shabby, Waterfall)
  • Mk33 (The big aerospike engine)
  • Kerbal Reusability Expansion (The landing legs assembly and the airbrakes)
  • ReStock and ReStock+ (The fuel tanks are just stock 3.75m fuel tanks)
  • Cryotanks (By default the engines from the Mk33 mod run on liquid fuel + oxidiser, but there's an extras patch that adds compatibility with Cryotanks which makes them run on hydrolox which is apparently more accurate to the engine concepts they're based off of, or something)
  • All of the near future mods (The RCS thrusters are from Near Future Spacecraft I think)
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Another rocket-shaped SSTO I just remembered I made awhile ago. This one was powered by a 3.75m nuclear aerospike (from the mod Kerbal Atomics). It is able to switch between running purely on LH2, and running on LH2+LOX - this mode offers higher thrust at the cost of ISP. The idea was that the ship launches on the high thrust mode, and then once it's time to perform a circularisation burn it switches to the more efficient LH2 mode.

Unfortunately, fine-tuning the ratio of LH2 to LOX was pretty tedious - so I don't think it was as well optimised as I could've made it. Regardless it was able to take about 35 tons to low Earth orbit (again - playing on x2.5 KSRSS so the cost of reaching orbit is a bit higher than it is in stock).

Once its payload is delivered (In the third screenshot it's deploying a dummy payload, just a couple of ore tanks set to be a specific weight) the craft can return home and do a parachute-assisted powered landing. Thankfully the nuclear aerospike engine has ridiculous heat tolerance of something like 5,000K so it works well as a heat shield.


The mod list for this craft is about the same as it is for my previous post. As mentioned before the engine is from Kerbal Atomics, the radiation hazard symbol on the side of the craft is from Conformal Decals, the fuel tanks are regular 5m fuel tanks, and the landing legs/airbrakes are from Kerbal Reusability Expansion.

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My latest SSTO, with just shy of 8 km/s of dv in LKO:


I designed this one to do a Vall landing mission without ISRU and without needing gravity assists (the latter not for some noble reason - to say that I am not good with gravity assists would be an understatement)


This amount of dv should be sufficient for a direct return to Kerbin, and with two NERVs the TWR on Vall is about 1.8 so this should be a breeze, right? If only it would be possible for this &^$&!! thing to take off from Vall in one piece...


Oh well, back to the drawing board it is.

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