Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kerbal Space Program

Lately this blog has been getting some hits from the Kerbal Space Program forum.

This looks like a good game. It seems based on the patched conics approach to orbital mechanics. It's good to see a popular game teaching users concepts like Hohmann or bi-elliptic transfers, sphere of influence, etc.

The art is appealing. Descriptions are entertaining. I purchased a copy for $27.00. It might be a way to become acquainted with some folks who share my orbital mechanics hobby. Hope it's a good investment!

Using the Kerbal Wiki I whomped up a HohmannKSP Spreadsheet. A few people like my spreadsheets for our solar system. Hopefully I'll be making some useful spreadsheets for this game.

Usual disclaimers apply:

My spreadsheets assume circular, coplanar orbits. Some of the game orbits are inclined and eccentric.

I occasionally make mistakes -- data entry as well as arithmetic errors. I'd be grateful if users check my efforts.


Ucender said...

Most people first play KSP, then get interested in orbital mechanics. I cannot believe you did it the other way around. Welcome to KSP!

jesrad said...

Awesome, and thank you for sharing the spreadsheets. Let's hope you don't get too disappointed or frustrated with the two-body physics limitation - though it does make some concepts like Vinf very easy to understand (becomes Velocity at Sphere of Influence transition).

Version 0.24 is coming very very soon, adding budget, reputation and mission control elements to the gameplay.

There are mods developed by the community that bring more realistic aerodynamics (and near-proper compression heating on reentry too), and life support requirements for crews. There are many good web tools for designing rockets and planning launches already but I'm confident you will have a lot of interesting suggestions and additions to make :)

Robert Clark said...

Surprised by the two-body limitation. I know many Kerbal players use it to simulate visits to the Moon. You can do this using two-body approximations but the three body calculations are pretty well known now so I would expect Kerbal to include them.

Bob Clark

Hollister David said...

Robert, n body calcs are well known but CPU intensive. I believe the game would be a lot slower if they had n body mechanics. But that's speculation on my part.