Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Again, construction time

Can you believe it; another three game sessions get spent just on constructing stuff, nothing more happens in the career game itself. Well, this actually *is* the first time that I allow myself to toy around with the end-tech-level parts!

This is a try to make the stuffed version of my cargo spaceplane a bit more balanced. Fails miserably. The pitch elevators are too strong, and the center of mass is going to shift too much back and forth with cargo/fuel compared to without. Neverthless, it flies, if it must!

Not satisfied, but too frustrated to continue on spaceplanes, I change over to spaceship construction. This version should be a successor for the Spacefish, with higher deltaV for extended tourist travels. The large docking port on top could be also used to attach this spacecraft to a larger construction and use them as a kind of engine nascelle. I call it "Spaceshark".

And, this is how I want to launch the Spaceshark, basically like a huge spaceplane satelite launch system.

I think it can be counted as an achievement to have a plane explode before it could even start anything. Cause: The dreaded wet-spaghetti effect; the spacecraft in the cargobay shifts around like a wet noodle, clips through the cargobay and hits the ground. BOOM. Solution: Place struts! However, this makes my idea to actually also bring the spacecraft back down via the same means obsolete; struts unfortunately are one-use items and can´t be re-attached outside the construction building.

Somewhat unfocused, I go back construction cargo planes. This version makes it off the runway, the spaceshark with a new bunch of tourists on board. However, the engine power turns out to be too weak in order to reach orbital speed and height. Besides, I hate this particular design. I am tempted to install the mod called "procedural wings", because constructing large wings really is a problem in this game!

... and this, again, is why constructing large wings is a problem. They don´t behave as one, I blame the already mentioned wet-noodle effect. I am tempted to install a mod called "struts be gone", which entirely removes the physiks concerning this effect.

More engine power, check. Nice design, check (I have to admit, I borrowed some ideas from a great designer by name of Val). On top, this plane is insanely heat resistant. It boosts through the lower atmosphere with speeds as high as 1500 m/s - and survives the treatment.

A bit less engine power is sufficient. Here another try to work with struts only on the Spaceshark itself, in order to be able to redock and bring it down via the same cargo spaceplane. Unfortunately, it does not work out. I think I will give up on the concept of bringing heavy spacecraft back down by means of a spaceplane.

In the meanwhile, I happen to like the Spaceshark design less and less. Tourists want an experience, a grand view of space, right? So, how about something more luxurious, with lots of cupola modules, like, this?! This "Sagitta"-class vessel can also double as a modernized science lab. Broadly spaced nuclear engines will allow for safe landings also on slope´y grounds.

It is almost refreshing, after all those failed and half-assed tries of a space plane launch into orbit, to just do a normal rocket launch into space. Here I discover that four arrays of small radiator panels is not enough to fully cool the nuclear engines. I will redo the launch later, right now I just wanted to try it out.

After that creative break, I am back designing spaceplanes. This one looks cool and is supposed to be a fuel tanker. Way too less wing lift area, but, hey, it looks cool! I chose to not use the RAPIER engines, but Whiplash jet engines, which are stronger in the atmosphere, in combination with Aerospikes, which are stronger in vaccuum. Nevertheless, the plane is so heavy with all that fuel that it almost drops to the gound after launch. Also, it flips at higher speeds, so I have to think about shifting the center of mass a bit more forward in front of the center of lift (which, in turn, will probably prevent take-off due to all the overweight).

Still a bit more work on design to do before I get back to actually flying these things. But all that construction payed off and I am very content with the way my designs start to look like.

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