Ariane 8 Nova SSTO
by Juggernoob
uploaded 2022-08-05
stock lifter
#Convair #Nexus #Aerospike #super #heavy

Album contains 12 pictures.

Ariane 8 Nova is a super heavy reusable SSTO launch vehicle with 11 m diameter fairing and 300 t to LKO payload capacity. Upon delivering the cargo, the aerospike booster can deorbit itself and safely splashdown in the ocean using parachutes.

Key Features

  • It’s a big aerospike. Big aerospike is good.
  • 11 m diameter fairing & 300 t to LKO payload capacity for ambitious cargo delivery missions.
  • Parachutes for easy recovery, no need to execute suicide burn. (Con for this: less recovery value due to hard-to-predict splashdown location)

Design Notes

  • It’s inspired by the Convair Nexus project, along with some other designs in the 1960s featuring BIG aerospike main engine. The fake one on this craft does not provide the altitude compensating benefit, but does look cool to me.
  • I directly edit the fairing shell in the .craft file, so that its size can exceed game limit.
  • Yes, I did make a larger version of this, but my potato PC has a hard time trying to handle that, so it gets scrapped.

Action Groups

[1]=main engines
[2]=thrust vector control/vacuum engines
[Backspace]=drain valves

Flight Instructions

  • Gravity turn: reach 45 degrees pitch at 8-9 km, then lock prograde.
  • If you feel like being realistic, disable the aerospike main engine using action group [1] when you don’t need that much thrust.
  • Set PE to about 35-45 km above the splashdown area. Better choose an area far away from land, unless you are pro with it. It WILL get destroyed if landed on the ground.
  • Engage SAS and RCS during the entire reentry phase.
  • Toggle airbrakes using action group [Brake], which are also drag rudders for a bit more control. Be careful not to let them burn up.
  • Stage the parachutes early on in order to let it automatically deploy, or based upon your judgement.
  • After parachutes deployment, you can choose to dump remaining fuel using action group [Backspace].

Wish you enjoy!


A stock rocket called Ariane 8 Nova SSTO. Built with 163 of the finest parts, its root part is Size3MediumTank.

Built in the VAB in KSP version 1.12.3.


  • Type: VAB
  • Class: ship
  • Part Count: 163
  • Pure Stock
  • KSP: 1.12.3
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