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Questions tagged [kerbal-space-program]

Questions related to a popular space game. USE WITH CARE! Try to ask questions that can be applied to reality and not be game-specific. Game-specific questions may be appropriate on the Gaming Stack Exchange site Arqade.

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12 votes
3 answers
2k views

During spacecraft reentry why is heatshield side down the most stable orientation?

During reentry, why is the orientation of the spacecraft where the heat shield side leads the vehicle the most stable? I'm not sure how accurate KSP is, but when I reenter the atmosphere headshield ...
learningmath12345's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
721 views

Is it possible to throttle down the thrust in a rocket engine to 1% just like in KSP?

With any normal liquid fuelled rocket engine it is possible to throttle the thrust up and down, but in Kerbal space program it is possible to bring it all the way down to around a percent thrust. Is ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
4k views

Is it possible to turn rockets without fuel just like in KSP

When playing KSP if you click a Key (A,S,D,W) then the rocket turns without using fuel. I thought that a rocket needed RCS to turn. Is it even possible to turn a rocket in space without using any fuel?...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
280 views

How would an SSTO adapt to various payloads?

Yet another kerbal question here. Background: I've built many SSTOs before, mainly small, light-payload or crew delivery ones (either boosted by a rocket or by itself). The reason why I've been shying ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
  • 3,125
4 votes
1 answer
385 views

Computationally solving the two-body problem for patched conics approximation

I have been trying to create an orbital simulation using the patched conics approximation like Kerbal Space Program. I initially tried solving Kepler's equation using Newton's method, however this ...
voidstar240's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
183 views

Will DART fire its ion engine to accelerate prior to impact?

I'm an avid KSP player. Like some of them, I've been playing the DART simulation on the game. I've typically achieved impact velocities of 5-7 km/s, the higher end being achieved by propulsive ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
  • 3,125
8 votes
1 answer
272 views

Would it be possible for a Falcon 9 booster stage to land after an in-flight launch failure?

We all know that the Falcon 9 is designed for reusability, but there still have been some hull losses. Though this hasn't happened yet, say a Falcon 9 experiences an in-flight failure where four core ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
  • 3,125
1 vote
1 answer
574 views

What exactly the orbit accuracy requirement in KSP missions and contracts, and how is it mathematically defined and implemented? [closed]

When playing e.g. the Rosetta mission in Kerbal Space Program (KSP), one of the things one can achieve is called Orbit Accuracy. Unfortunately, after searching KSP's forums and Wiki I still can not ...
Kreuvf's user avatar
  • 121
1 vote
1 answer
387 views

Reaction Wheels may be Worse than they Appear?

Most players of Kerbal Space Program live and die by their reaction wheels that turn electricity into momentum that allows you to point your spacecraft in any which way a lot like RCS that uses ...
James Ervin's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are Jool's moons' orbits stable?

The fictitious Kerbol system includes ...five planets: Moho, Eve, Kerbin, Duna and Jool; and two dwarf planets: Dres and Eeloo; orbit around it. Kerbol contains 99.97 % of the mass in the Kerbol ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
25 votes
3 answers
12k views

Can Kerbal Space Program act as a suitable simulator with the right mods?

The game is great alone, but if we install a mod called Real Solar System and another called Realism Overhaul, the force of gravity, engine power atmospheric heights and everything happens to real ...
Valentino Zaffrani's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Does Kerbal Space Program have a software migration path to Lagrange points, halo orbits, and other 3-body goodies?

At about 05:37 in Scott Manley video Kerbal Space Program 2 - What We Know About The Sequel So I’m cautiously optimistic and I really obviously want this to be ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
36 votes
6 answers
12k views

Why aren't air breathing engines used as small first stages?

I am wondering why we don't use jet engines as first stages. Most small rockets, like the Electron, can lift off with a small thrust. In the Electron's case, 192 kN. Why can't we replace the 9 ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
  • 3,125
16 votes
2 answers
5k views

What are "Ohms burns" in the context of Scott Kelly, KSP, and the Space Shuttle?

The Ars Technica video Astronaut Scott Kelly teaches orbital mechanics with Kerbal Space Program (also in YouTube) is a little bit humorous. When Scott Kelley is talking about orbit circularization ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
13 votes
4 answers
6k views

Are patched conics (and by induction, KSP) "useless" for simulating ion propulsion?

My previous KSP question What can the KSP game actually teach about spaceflight and orbital mechanics, and what are its limitations? resulted in some really productive discussions and under-the-hood ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Optimal thrust vs isp for variable isp rockets (VASIMR) when taking off/orbiting

This question was initially inspired through playing Kerbal Space Program, however I am seeking a more general answer. I've been playing the excellent Near Future Propulsion mod for KSP, using ...
Ingolifs's user avatar
  • 6,458
3 votes
1 answer
617 views

How do I calculate the delta-v with patched conics?

I am trying to calculate the delta-v between Kerbin and Duna from a 70 km circular orbit around Kerbin just to do a flyby of Duna. However, I am running into a couple of difficulties with my ...
uncertaintea's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Lowest delta-v maneuver to reverse the direction of a satellite in LEO?

Part of this answer was inspired if I remember correctly from a question about how to reverse the direction of a satellite in LEO with the minimum delta-v. Whether this was the original question or ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
86 votes
7 answers
24k views

What can the KSP game actually teach about spaceflight and orbital mechanics, and what are its limitations?

I have seen at least several different users mention that they've found Kerbal Space Program helpful to understand issues of spaceflight and orbital mechanics. According to Wikipedia: While the game ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
3k views

Finding Delta V to circularize orbit after a transfer orbit.

I have been working on calculating all the the delta V needed to fly a rocket from one planet to another. I have worked out the delta V needed to raise the orbit to intercept the second planet, but ...
BarrowWight's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
669 views

The relationship between the altitude of an anti-radial burn on apogee

I recently conducted an experiment using Kerbal Space Program to analyze the effect of burn altitude on orbital properties. Unfortunately im a bit of a rookie when it comes to orbital dynamics so I'd ...
Nathan Schaff's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Burn spare oxidizer or carry it along?

Okay. This is not directly related to actual space travel, but it is semi-related, and definitely a practical, actual problem I face. It's about Kerbal Space Program and SSTO spaceplanes. And I ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
6 votes
2 answers
12k views

Why are optimal launch TWRs so different in KSP than on earth?

In Kerbal Space Program (KSP), optimum thrust-to-weight ratio (TWR) is around 1.5-3. When looking at NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin spacecraft, the launch TWR is around 1.25-1.3. Is it because the ...
Brock's user avatar
  • 95
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Multiple aerobraking

I have spent a lot of hours with Kerbal Space Program recently and I am curious about one thing. I got into orbit around the Moon and then I was able to get back to an orbit of "Kerbin" (the home ...
libik's user avatar
  • 261
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Alternator/generator on launcher engines?

In Kerbal Space Program, most liquid fueled engines include a generator which provides electricity to systems on the rocket, keeping the batteries topped up while on ascent. Do any real rockets (...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
796 views

Intercepting an object on flyby past Earth?

Suppose we detect an object on an orbit that will pass close to Earth, entering our SOI, but escaping after just a few days. If we wanted to mount a mission to intercept that object, how would we go ...
Dan Bryant's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
4k views

How is an orbital rendezvous planned?

I'm curious how people plan an orbital rendezvous. This question explains the basic principles, but not in enough detail for me to understand how it actually works. From playing Kerbal Space Program, ...
Superbest's user avatar
  • 311
4 votes
1 answer
5k views

Calculate Delta-V for a Hohmann transfer to a higher orbit

I am wondering if anybody can help me with calculating Delta-V in Kerbal Space program? I have a ship in circularized 100 km orbit around planet Kerbin. Planet's radius is 600 km (standard ...
user176320's user avatar
45 votes
3 answers
44k views

How realistic is Kerbal Space Program?

Kerbal Space Program is an independent spaceflight simulation game, which has become quickly popular due to being (kind of) precise at simulating actual spaceflights. But how precisely? How close is ...
Zoltán Schmidt's user avatar