Wagner IXd
by evader
uploaded 2017-06-25
stock spaceplane
#SSTO #mining #miner #rover #swivel


The world’s 1st miner rover swivel VTOL cargo SSTO spaceplane (phew that’s alot of qualifying descriptors). Everything has been stripped to minimal size including cockpit & rover size. Flight trajectory must be exactly 45 degrees to make it to orbit. Features independantly locking swivel engines that double as refueling docking ports.

A stock aircraft called Wagner IXd. Built with 117 of the finest parts, its root part is mk3CargoBayM.

Built in the SPH in KSP version 1.3.0.

This design continues the use of independent self rotating engines that attach without switching to probes (though they’re still there in case of emergency), thanks to 3 pairs of twitch engines located on each vector nozzle. They are the only dead weight when not in use, meaning greater efficiency (actually it’s awful efficiency if counting the horrible drag from the sideways pointing fuselages on the wings, the downwards facing docking ports and rocket fuel tanks acting as hinges). Just to clear things up, by swivel engines, it’s meant rotating engine assembly, not the rocket engine part called swivel. The attachment success rate is surprisingly high if time is given for wing wobbling to settle down. Just don’t press z when taking off or the wings will fly away without the ship. Thrust must be applied steadily using shift.

This design required stripping everything to the bone. Smaller cockpit, smaller mining rover that can only convert ore once docked and tiny tail fins to keep down weight. Also had to sacrifice the use of heavy nuke engines. Even the VTOL docking ports must double as refuelling lines. Aesthetics were another casualty of keeping the weight down. The takeoff profile is also very tricky. Only got to orbit once using a 45 degree takeoff angle once in horizontal flight mode. However I build all my ships without offsets that clip past other parts or file tweaks and fly without any mods like mechjeb so for others it may be easier.

Com dish on rover must only be opened when undocked & outside the spaceplane (unless you want ugly clipping to occur).

launch steps:
1. set throttle to 25%
2. activate RCS & SAS
3. toggle stage 1 or press actiongroup 1 & 0
4. press shift (NOT z) to steadily increase thrust to full while preventing wings from snapping off
5. activate stage 2 or press actiongroup 7 once hovering around 200m
6. activate stage 3 or press actiongroup 2
7. press actiongroup 1 to turn off vectors (important for changing to horizontal flight mode)
8. as soon as wings stop wobbling (important), press actiongroup 3 to undock swivel VTOLs which should rotate automatically (do it before speed gets up to 100m/s while not pointing up more than 45 degrees)
9. press z to power up to full throttle because it will be cut each time an engine docks (may have to press it 2nd time if 2nd engine docks after 1st one)
10. press actiongroup 5 to turn off twitch engines which will also activate thuds & vectors
11. pull up aggressively to 45 degrees
12. after going to horizontal flight mode, don’t forget to press 6 to close the MK2 docking bays to reduce drag & keep the swivel engines in place (they are 7% open on launch, even if they look closed to allow room for the VTOL engines to swivel)
13. when nose is stable, press r to deactivate vernor engines to conserve fuel
14. fly with as little alterations to heading as possible until about 30,000m
15. level out horizontally
16. press x to cut thrust when periopsis hits around 100,000m and ship is out of atmosphere
17. set navpoint to circularize around Kerbin
18. press the orient to navpoint button to rotate towards it
19. when ship reaches periopsis, press z to go all out with throttle
20. to go back to VTOL mode, press action group 1 (& maybe 0) to turn off vectors (& thuds if 0 is pressed) which will likely require 0g environment
21. press actiongroup 4 to activate backward rotating twitch engines
22. press actiongroup 6 to open MK2 cargo bays to 7%
23. press actiongroup 3 to undock swivel VTOLs (if redocking fails but are in 0g environment press ] to switch to probe core in each VTOL engine to try & rotate manually)
24. press actiongroup 5 to deactivate twitch engines (which will activate thuds & vectors as well)
25. press actiongroup 6 to close MK2 cargo bays

Note: have not tried orbital refuelling yet so docking and rover performance is unkown as well as how well it reaches, lands and mines on minmus or the mun


  • Type: SPH
  • Class: spaceplane
  • Part Count: 117
  • Pure Stock
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