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The Viking-class DTV embodies findings gained from over 40 years of space exploration and habitation.
Various space stations demonstrated concepts behind its centrifuge and advanced closed-loop life support systems. The centrifuge’s torque is balanced by a fast-spinning weight rotating in the opposite direction; they are synced to cancel out each other’s angular momentum, and can be started or stopped with the Rotation group in the IR menu. However, for the 6-m diameter dumbbell to fit in a fairing and behind a heatshield for aerobraking, it is retractable via the Extension group.
The craft’s nuclear engines permit an impressive mass ratio, with their Isp of 800s burning liquid fuel. For toxicity reasons, the Viking’s RCS system uses non-toxic bipropellant, drawing from the same LF source as the main engines, and separate oxidizer tanks; radiators cool the cryogenic fuels to slow boiloff. Even more fuel mass is saved by using aerobraking for the fuel-intensive Kerbin Orbital Insertion by the end of the mission, while the craft is protected behind an inflatable, replaceable 10m heat shield.
Cargo can be carried between the two engine pods. This also provides more space for additional fuel (see Viking External Tank), which is sometimes required for Opposition-class missions where shorter flights times are enabled by greater dV demands. Anything there would be heavily irradiated, however; extra time is hence needed to dissipate energy in irradiated components when crewed spacecraft are carried there.
The station’s fuelled mass precludes all launchers other than the Exodus 1-04, a version of the KSP’s largest rocket without an upperstage. Due to the risks of NTR failure in LKO, the core stage alone places it into a 500km orbit.
By virtue of its design, the DTV is designed to be reusable. It can be serviced and restocked with space shuttles and expendable cargo ferries, and refuelled shortly before departing on another mission. At the very least, all hardware is guaranteed to last for 5 missions.
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