by katateochi
uploaded 2016-05-07
mod ship
#SSTO #taildragger #LKO

Retro-Fi - Old style design, new tech.

LKO capable short range SSTO, based on old style tail-dragger craft


  • MechJeb 2
  • Squad (stock)


  • Type: SPH
  • Class: ship
  • Part Count: 39
  • Mods: 2

I’ll be honest, this craft started out as an experiment in making the ugliest SSTO that I could, but then I got rather fond of it’s odd design. It’s very easy to fly to orbit, but quite hard to do reentry without overheating. Landing it is also interesting (very satisfying when you get it right!).

Take off & Ascent

Note - the brakes also extend the flaps so if you hit the brakes before take off you need to double tap [3] to retract the flaps.

Hit space and throttle up full, turn SAS off. With SAS off the tail will naturally lift so it’s just on it’s two front wheels. Once it’s level switch SAS back on and hit [3] to extend the flaps and it will just raise off the ground.

Once airborne raise flaps [3] & pitch up to 20 degrees (I highly recommend using mechjebs SmartASS to control pitch).

As you approach 900m/s surface speed, start gradually increasing the pitch up to 30 degrees. When the temp gauge appears on the nose cone increase pitch a bit more to 35 degrees (or the nose will overheat). At about this point you will start losing speed, and the temp on the nose will also drop. Drop the pitch back to 25-30 and switch the engine mode [space] and gradually bring the pitch down. By the time the Ap is at 70km pitch should be around 15. Hold that pitch until Ap reaches 100km and cut engines. Circularize as normal.

Adjust fuel balance

This is very important if you want to survive re-entry. Move all the remaining fuel back into the rear two tanks.

Once in orbit, open the service bay [3]. It contains a couple solar panels


Start deorbit burn above the desert and lower orbit so it’s just past KSC. (double check you pumped all the fuel to the rear tanks!) Re-enter at a pitch of about 35-40 degrees. And hold that pitch as much as you can. Craft will pitch down on it’s own but until your speed is under 1500m/s try to keep the pitch as high as possible.

Once your speed is under 1500m/s you can bring the nose down and glide to the runway. You want to land as level as possible and touch down just on the front wheels. As you approach the runway tap the brakes which will extend the flaps giving you more lift without needing to pitch up.

swipe to switch images, tap to close