Decouplers are parts that separate stages of craft either vertically or radially. They don't transfer of liquid fuel and oxidizer automatically, preventing that the upper stages are drained first. All commands in the same stage as the decoupling are executed too, even when they are on then detached stages without a command module or above the decouple command in the same stage.
Decouplers, like the Rockomax Brand Decoupler, remain completely attached to one side of the rocket. That directionv can be determined by a small arrow facing away from the side it stays attached to. The mass of the decoupler remain on one side, even if there are still attachment points visible on the other side.
Particular care must be taken to ensure that jettisoned engines have finished burning before, as there is the risk that they will collide with the rest of the rocket. Because the decoupler stays on the jettisoned stage it usually makes it imbalanced. As the decoupler is mounted on the side facing the rest of the rocket, this imbalanced stage then slowly rotates inward. Almost empty booster stages are also relatively light causing a higher acceleration and overtaking the rocket. Both effects cause jettisoned stages which are still running to crash into the rocket in most cases.
The first unlocked type is the stackable decoupler. The first small decoupler is in the first research node and is mandatory for further developing of any part.
Radial decouplers, such as the TT-70 Radial Decoupler, attach to the sides of a rocket and eject stages horizontally. This can be useful for setting up asparagus staging, among other uses. As the ejection force may not be enough to avoid collision afterwards Sepratron I can be used to push detached stages away. Those decouplers also allow the usage of the symmetry modifier of the VAB combined with adding booster stages.
Separators, such as the TR-XL Stack Separator are a special type of vertical decouplers, which separate from both sides, leaving three crafts: Both sides of the separator and the separator itself. Separators mass slightly more than the similarly sized decouplers. Each one separator and one decoupler cost more than their same sized counterparts. The tiny sized decoupler and separator cost the same.
The TT18-A Launch Stability Enhancer can also be classified as a decoupler, although one side is fixed to the ground. But the sound effects are similar and they share the same functionality, separating two parts. It was also be officially defined as a decoupler, but was changed into strut.
As decouplers and separators have to be developed first, it is not possible to have multiple stages at the first launches of Career Mode. To have at least some sort of staging there exists an technique by stacking two RT-10 Solid Fuel Booster and firing the all at the same time. This will cause the lower engine to overheat after a short period of time resulting in an explosion, decoupling the segments below it.
Although explosive decoupling is possible with other engines, the first decoupler is already in the first research node. The decouplers are the more flexible and reliable staging method and become available before other engines capable of explosive decoupling. So it is particularly useful in the start of the career mode in version 0.22 when there is no decoupler but the RT-10.
|Image||Part||Radial size||Cost (¤)||Mass (t)||Drag||Ejection force|
|TT-38K Radial Decoupler||Radial mounted||600||0.025||0.2||120|
|Hydraulic Detachment Manifold||Radial mounted||200||0.4||0.2||180|
|TT-70 Radial Decoupler||Radial mounted||700||0.05||0.2||260|
|Structural Pylon||Radial mounted||1275||0.2||0.2||30|
|Rockomax Brand Decoupler||Large||200||0.4||0.2||250|
|TR-18A Stack Decoupler||Small||975||0.05||0.2||250|
|TR-2V Stack Decoupler||Tiny||200||0.015||0.2||15|
|TR-XL Stack Separator||Large||900||0.45||0.2||600|
|TR-18D Stack Separator||Small||600||0.075||0.2||250|
|TR-2C Stack Separator||Tiny||200||0.02||0.2||15|