"Swift" Micro SSTO
by _dan
uploaded 2024-02-18
(updated 2024-02-18)
stock spaceplane
#ssto #spaceplane #jet #fighter #stock

Looks can be deceiving…


  • Type: SPH
  • Class: spaceplane
  • Part Count: 83
  • Pure Stock
  • KSP: 1.12.5

A Jet Fighter Goes to Space!

Possibly the best looking micro spaceplane I’ve ever built..?

I present… the Swift! Yes, it’s precisely what you’re thinking. A spaceplane fighter jet!
Well actually, not quite. It’s a small, compact SSTO made to carry a single, brave pilot into orbit, and doing so in style. Let’s go over some of it’s good and not-so-good features…

The Good

This thing looks, well, awesome. It’s like a slightly chubby and short-coupled F-16 with slender intakes and stubby wings, and it has very nice proportions between all of the flying surfaces. It’s personally really nice for a mere 83 parts. It’s packed with features, including a Junior-sized docking port, built-in RCS thrusters and monopropellant tanks, a pair of Communitron-16 antennas on the wingtips, a ladder for the pilot, drogue chute for landing and a cheeky RTG snuck into the back of the fuselage. During my horrible and painful testing campaign with this spaceplane (more info soon) I had to balance the ratios of Liquid Fuel and Oxidizer better for the single R.A.P.I.E.R engine to squeeze out the maximum possible amount of DeltaV this thing has in orbit, which results in those Mk.0 tanks on the back, adding some extra eye candy. The aesthetic of this little plane is very organized and enjoyable, in my opinion.

The Bad

Oh boy, here we go…
Firstly, this thing has… let’s say mediocre TWR. It weighs in at nearly 15 tons, so the R.A.P.I.E.R often has trouble getting it up to speed. The thrust you get while going subsonic is very hard to work with.
Second, the flight profile for this plane is.. AGONIZING. For some reason, the Swift has quite a hard time getting past supersonic, and this means that you need to strike an extremely fine balance between gaining height and speed, which is almost impossible (at least for me as a pilot) to get on the first try. To get the plane into the R.A.P.I.E.R’s boost phase where the thrust increases rapidly, you need to dive at a fairly steep angle and have to combat the least possible atmospheric drag in the process. Anyway, I have drawn a simplified version of the flight profile used to get to LKO, shown below.
Finally, this spaceplane needs a pair of drop-tanks at takeoff to help with fuel consumption, which are jettisoned about 5 minutes after takeoff due to the engine consuming their contents. I am not a fan of this, and hope to get this thing flying without drop-tanks much better than how it is now. I also unfortunately was able to get a maximum of only around 760m/s of DeltaV left in orbit.

And the Clinically Insane

That’s all I have to say about the spaceplane for now…
I personally have been going through a pretty difficult time at the moment, trying to balance my education, family and personal projects all at the same time, going through some periods of absolute insanity or even slight mental breakdowns… yeah. I think I’m fine now, but I’m trying to keep things simple and practical so I don’t overload my brain again. This upload, unlike my last couple is one I’ve finally invested proper effort into creating and I will aim to continue that trend. A few of the next uploads will come in a bit but they include updates to my Alpha series of rockets, with some other exciting stuff coming up on the horizon as well. Stay Tuned!

(hopefully) Have Fun!

A stock aircraft called Swift Micro SSTO. Built with 83 of the finest parts, its root part is Mark2Cockpit.

Built in the SPH in KSP version 1.12.5.

Photo Gallery

In Orbit.

Pilot Jack and his Swift.

Racing above the ocean.


swipe to switch images, tap to close