ARX-3R Vulture SSTO
by ssTALONps
uploaded 2015-12-27
stock spaceplane
#SSTO #turbofan #J-404 #nostalgic


The back bone of original ARX series, the Vulture is back with afterburners! This SSTO does not use RAPIER or turbojets. Capable of reaching 100x100km LKO with 800m/s of dV left. Intended to operate on both Kerbin and Laythe; current variant designation is R.

Ascent profile

  1. Rotate at ~60m/s.
  2. Pitch up and maintain 10 deg pitch angle.
  3. Around altitude of 5km, press 2 to ignite rockets and pitch up to 20 deg.
  4. Around altitude of 25km, shut down jet engines.
  5. Around altitude of 45km, pitch down to prograde.
  6. Keep burning until desired apoapsis is met.
  7. Deploy solar panels and circularize at AP.

* Note: If you have stability problems (which you shouldn’t), transfer some fuel to forward tank.


  • Stock?: Yes
  • Version: 0.22~0.90, 1.0.5
  • Type: Medium turbofan SSTO
  • Crew: 1 (remote operation capable)
  • Operational weight: 44.415t
  • Empty weight: 14.415t
  • Payload capacity: N/A
  • Propulsion: 2x J-404, 1x T-1, 8x 24-77
  • Size: 18.3m x 11.2m x 3.3m
  • Part count: 82

Development history

<Original ARX series with FV217 GPT-L>

[Origin of ARX series]

Let’s admit, it was fun hogging the upper atmosphere with turb-OP-jet back in good ol' times. A time where one can effortlessly build Laythe-return capable SSTOs. With turbojet functioning as full-pledged combined cycle engine still putting out thrust at speed in excess of Mach 7, it was ridiculously easy to construct sci-fi SSTOs with it.

The golden age of turbojet, however, was meant to end at some day. Anticipating the nerfing of turbojet and intake spamming rendered useless, I started working on series of non-turbojet SSTOs. The development plan evolved into Aircraft Research eXperimental program. The followings are goals of the ARX program;

  • Build reliable and functional SSTO without using turbojet, intake spamming and later, RAPIER.
  • Time to orbit must be within 10 minutes.
  • Vital components must be protected.
  • Must be capable of ground refueling.
  • Most importantly, the design must be compatible with future updates.

[ARX-3 Vulture]

One of the oldest and most successful design, the original Vulture’s design is based on ARCA’s IAR 111 Excelsior mothership. Having large wing area for its size, the Vulture was most maneuverable of all and at the same time had considerable payload capacity of 4t. With on-orbit dV capacity of 950m/s, it could function as medium refuel tanker. This generous performance of the Vulture was what made it to be used as primary multi-purpose SSTO for Laythe colony.

Current renovated variant, R, tries to recreate the original one with updated aerodynamics. Instead of basic jets, it now has 2 afterburning J-404s, further enhancing maneuverability. While the wing area got smaller and the craft itself is ~5t heavier then its ancestor, it exhibits remarkable stability.

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