Difference between revisions of "Reaction engine"

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(Advantages)
(Liquid fuel rocket engines)
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=== Liquid fuel rocket engines ===
 
=== Liquid fuel rocket engines ===
----
+
 
Liquid fuel engines utilize a mixture of [[liquid fuel]] and liquid [[oxidizer]] in a 9:11 ratio — generally called “rocket fuel”. The lone{{check version||0.90.0}} exception is the [[O-10 MonoPropellant Engine]] which uses [[monopropellant]].In the real world, typical liquid fuels are liquid hydrogen or kerosene, and typical oxidizers are liquid oxygen or nitrous-oxide.  
+
Most liquid fuel engines utilize a mixture of [[liquid fuel]] and liquid [[oxidizer]] in a 9:11 ratio — generally called “rocket fuel”. The exceptions{{check version||1.0.4}} are the [[O-10 MonoPropellant Engine]] which uses [[monopropellant]] and the [[LV-N "Nerv" Atomic Rocket Motor]] which only consumes liquid fuel (heating it in the core of a nuclear reactor rather than combusting it with oxidizer). In the real world, typical liquid fuels are liquid hydrogen and a highly-refined kerosene blend called RP-1, and typical oxidizers are liquid oxygen and nitrous oxide.  
  
 
All liquid fuel rocket engines can be staged and respond to [[throttle]] controls. All engines use [[w:Bell nozzle|Bell nozzles]] except the [[Toroidal Aerospike Rocket]].
 
All liquid fuel rocket engines can be staged and respond to [[throttle]] controls. All engines use [[w:Bell nozzle|Bell nozzles]] except the [[Toroidal Aerospike Rocket]].
 
The [[LV-N Atomic Rocket Motor]] was inspired by real-world nuclear thermal rockets, such as the [[w:NERVA|NERVA]]. In these, the propellant (typically liquid hydrogen) is heated by a nuclear reactor, rather than being combusted with an oxidizer, expanding into a high velocity jet of gaseous hydrogen. The LV-N reflects this by consuming only liquid fuel.
 
  
 
==== Advantages ====
 
==== Advantages ====
Line 72: Line 70:
 
* Some have [[Gimbal|gimbals]] giving thrust vectoring to help steer the craft
 
* Some have [[Gimbal|gimbals]] giving thrust vectoring to help steer the craft
 
* Available in a wide range of thrusts and efficiencies, all using the same fuel supply
 
* Available in a wide range of thrusts and efficiencies, all using the same fuel supply
* Fuel and oxidizer can be moved between tanks or refuelled from another vessel during missions
+
* Fuel and oxidizer can be moved between tanks or refueled from another vessel during missions
 
* Engines and fuel need not be mounted in the same location on the ship, expanding design possibilities
 
* Engines and fuel need not be mounted in the same location on the ship, expanding design possibilities
  

Revision as of 04:59, 12 September 2015

A reaction engine is an engine that works via “equal and opposite reaction” as in Newton's third law of motion. Specifically, they generate thrust by expelling reaction mass in the opposite direction as their acceleration. For our purposes, the reaction mass propelled outward is always a form of fuel, though not always one modelled on chemical reactions.

Types

Different sources classify kinds of reaction engine a bit differently, but all contradistinguish those which must collect outside material from those using only onboard material as reaction mass.

Staying relevant to KSP, we separate out air-breathing jet engines which can only operate inside an oxygen-rich atmosphere from those able to operate in space. All[outdated] use the same resources and are controlled the same way.

All[outdated] KSP's other reaction engines can operate using only resources stored or generated onboard and are collectively called rocket engines. There are many types of rocket engines. They differ by the kind of fuel they use and the controls used to operate them in-game.

Listed below are general descriptions of jet engines and several broad types of rocket engines along with their advantages and disadvantages.

Jet engines


→ Main article: Jet engine

Jet engines use the same fuel as rocket engines, but unlike them jets draw oxygen from the atmosphere using air intakes rather than carrying the weight of oxidizer onboard. This is represented in-game by a much lower rate of fuel consumption. The classical rocket equation doesn't hold valid for them. In flight they face the trade-off between the lower atmosphere where intake air is easily available at lower speeds but air resistance is greater, and the upper atmosphere where there's less air resistance but higher speeds are required to collect sufficient intake air.

Advantages

  • Excellent fuel efficiency
  • Excellent power to weight ratio
  • All current[outdated] jet engines provide thrust vectoring for greater maneuverability

Disadvantages

  • Cannot be used outside of an oxygenated atmosphere.
  • Thrust output changes depending on speed
  • Efficiency changes depending on altitude
  • Requires time to “spool up” thrust, lagging behind throttle setting
  • Engines available only in 1.25m/Size 1[outdated]
Available jet engines
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Mass
(t)
Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
Thrust
(kN)
TWR Fuel
(Units of fuel/s)
Intake
(Air unit/s)
Isp (s) TVC
(°)
Reverse
J90JunoBasicJetEngine.png
J-20 "Juno" Basic Jet Engine Tiny 450 0.25 2 000 7 50 20.0 Mach 0
20.6 Mach 1.3
8.16 Mach 0
8.40 Mach 1.3
0.064 1.402 6 400 × No
J33WheesleyBasicJetEngine.png
J-33 "Wheesley" Turbofan Engine Small 1 400 1.5 2 000 7 50 120.0 Mach 0 8.16 Mach 0 0.233 29.601 10 500 ✓ Yes
J404PantherAfterburningTurbofan.png
J-404 "Panther" Afterburning Turbofan Small 2 000 1.2 2 000 7 50 85.00 Mach 0
107.89 Mach 1.75 /
130.00 Mach 0
219.48 Mach 2.5
7.22 Mach 0
9.17 Mach 1.75 /
11.05 Mach 0
18.65 Mach 2.5
0.193 /
0.663
7.705 /
7.954
9 000 /
4 000
10.0 × No
JX4WhiplashTurboRamjetEngine.png
J-X4 "Whiplash" Turbo Ramjet Engine Small 2 250 1.8 2 000 7 50 130.00 Mach 0
386.66 Mach 3.0
7.36 Mach 0
21.90 Mach 3.0
0.663 5.303 4 000 1.0 × No
J-90 Goliath Turbofan Engine.png
J-90 "Goliath" Turbofan Engine Radial mounted 2 600 4.5 2 000 7 50 360.0 Mach 0 8.16 Mach 0 0.583 132.273 12 600 ✓ Yes
Rapier Engine 01.png
CR-7 R.A.P.I.E.R. Engine[Note 1] Small 6 000 2.0 2 000 20 50 105.00 Mach 0
465.64 Mach 3.75
5.35 Mach 0
23.74 Mach 3.75
0.669 4.015 3 200 3.0 × No
  1. The R.A.P.I.E.R. Engine is a combination of liquid fuel and jet engine. Only the jet engine properties are shown.
Available "jet fuel" tanks
Liquid Fuel Density is 5 kg/unit Mass
(t)
Liquid
Fuel

(Units of fuel)
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Full Empty Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
Engine Nacelle.png
Engine Nacelle[Note 1] Small 600
(480)
0.925 0.15 2 000 10 50 150
Engine Pre-cooler.png
Engine Pre-cooler[Note 1] Small 1 650
(1 618)
0.375 0.15 2 000 10 50 40
Mk1 Fuselage-Intake.png
Mk1 Diverterless Supersonic Intake[Note 1] Small 720
(560)
1.18 0.17 2 000 10 50 200
Mk0LiquidFuelFuselage.png
Mk0 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Tiny 200
(160)
0.275 0.025 2 000 10 50 50
Mk1 Liquid Fuel Fuselage.png
Mk1 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Small 550
(230)
2.25 0.25 2 000 10 50 400
Mk2 Liquid Fuselage Short.png
Mk2 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Short Mk2 750
(430)
2.29 0.29 2 500 50 50 400
Mk2 FT.png
Mk2 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Mk2 1 450
(810)
4.57 0.57 2 500 50 50 800
Mk3 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Short.png
Mk3 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Short Mk3 4 300
(2 300)
14.29 1.79 2 700 50 50 2 500
Mk3 Liquid Fuel Fuselage.png
Mk3 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Mk3 8 600
(4 600)
28.57 3.57 2 700 50 50 5 000
Mk3 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Long.png
Mk3 Liquid Fuel Fuselage Long Mk3 17 200
(9 200)
57.14 7.14 2 700 50 50 10 000
NCS Adapter.png
NCS Adapter Small, Tiny 320
(256)
0.5 0.1 2 400 10 50 80
FAT455AirplaneWing.png
FAT-455 Aeroplane Main Wing[Note 2] Radial mounted 2 800
(2 320)
3.78 0.78 1 200 15 50 600
BigSWingStrake.png
Big-S Wing Strake[Note 2] Radial mounted 1 000
(920)
0.6 0.1 2 400 15 50 100
BigSDeltaWing.png
Big-S Delta Wing[Note 2] Radial mounted 3 000
(2 760)
2.0 0.5 2 400 15 50 300
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Engine Nacelle, Engine Pre-cooler, and Mk1 Diverterless Supersonic Intake are a combination of air intake and liquid fuel tank. Only the tank properties are shown. They are located in the "Aerodynamic" category in the game.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The FAT-455 Aeroplane Main Wing, Big-S Wing Strake, and Big-S Delta Wing are a combination of lifting surface and liquid fuel tank. Only the tank properties are shown. They are located in the "Aerodynamic" category in the game.

Solid fuel rocket engines


→ Main article: Solid rocket booster

The most basic type of rocket engine is the solid fuel rocket. Solid fuel is simply a self-oxidizing compound or mixture within a casing with a nozzle at the end to direct the exhaust gases produced. It offers no real control beyond choosing when to ignite it, though tweakables enable altering the thrust limit and total fuel.

Advantages

  • Very high thrust-to-weight ratio, especially in-atmosphere (vs. high-efficiency vacuum-optimized liquid-fuel engines)
  • Very cheap
  • Engine and fuel tank are combined in one part, lowering part count and simplifying design

Disadvantages

  • Cannot be throttled or switched off after ignition
  • Cannot be refueled or transfer fuel stored elsewhere on the craft
  • No thrust vectoring
  • Low efficiency compared to other types of engines
Available solid fuel rocket engines
Solid Fuel Density is 7.5 kg/unit Mass
(t)
Fuel
(Units of fuel)
Thrust
(kN)
TWR Isp (s) Burn
(s)
Full Empty
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Full Empty Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
atm vac atm vac atm vac atm vac
RT-5 White.png
RT-5 "Flea" Solid Fuel Booster Small, Radial mounted 200
(116)
1.50 0.45 2 000 7 50 140 162.91 192.0 11.07 13.05 36.92 43.51 140 165 8.8
RT-10 White.png
RT-10 "Hammer" Solid Fuel Booster Small, Radial mounted 400
(175)
3.56 0.75 2 000 7 50 375 197.90 227.0 5.66 6.50 26.91 30.86 170 195 23.7
BACC SFB.png
BACC "Thumper" Solid Fuel Booster Small, Radial mounted 850
(358)
7.65 1.50 2 200 7 50 820 250.00 300.0 3.33 4.00 17.00 20.39 175 210 42.2
SRB.png
S1 SRB-KD25k "Kickback" Solid Fuel Booster Small, Radial mounted 2 700
(1 140)
24.00 4.50 2 200 7 50 2 600 593.86 670.0 2.52 2.85 13.46 15.18 195 220 62.8
Sepratron.png
Sepratron I Radial mounted 75
(70.2)
0.0725 0.0125 2 000 7 50 8 13.79 18.0 19.40 25.32 112.51 146.84 118 154 5.0

Liquid fuel rocket engines

Most liquid fuel engines utilize a mixture of liquid fuel and liquid oxidizer in a 9:11 ratio — generally called “rocket fuel”. The exceptions[outdated] are the O-10 MonoPropellant Engine which uses monopropellant and the LV-N "Nerv" Atomic Rocket Motor which only consumes liquid fuel (heating it in the core of a nuclear reactor rather than combusting it with oxidizer). In the real world, typical liquid fuels are liquid hydrogen and a highly-refined kerosene blend called RP-1, and typical oxidizers are liquid oxygen and nitrous oxide.

All liquid fuel rocket engines can be staged and respond to throttle controls. All engines use Bell nozzles except the Toroidal Aerospike Rocket.

Advantages

  • Work both in vacuum and in atmosphere
  • Variable throttle allows different levels of thrust at different times, or for the engines to be shut down entirely and restarted later in the flight
  • Full thrust output on demand without “spool up” time like jets
  • Some have gimbals giving thrust vectoring to help steer the craft
  • Available in a wide range of thrusts and efficiencies, all using the same fuel supply
  • Fuel and oxidizer can be moved between tanks or refueled from another vessel during missions
  • Engines and fuel need not be mounted in the same location on the ship, expanding design possibilities

Disadvantages

  • Lower thrust-to-weight ratio compared to solid rocket engines
  • Less efficient in atmosphere than jet engines
  • Less efficient in space than ion engines
  • Separation of engine and fuel leads to increased part count for all except the KR-1x2.
Available liquid fuel rocket engines
Thrust
(kN)
T/W
ratio
Max. Fuel
Consumption
(Units of fuel/s)
Isp (s) TVC
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Mass
(t)
Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
atm vac atm vac atm vac Gimbal
(°)
LV-1R Shroud.png
LV-1R "Spider" Liquid Fuel Engine Radial mounted 120 0.02 2 000 7 50 1.79 2.0 9.14 10.20 0.141 260 290 10.0
24-77 Orange.png
24-77 "Twitch" Liquid Fuel Engine Radial mounted 230 0.08 2 000 7 50 15.17 16.0 19.34 20.39 1.125 275 290 8.0
Mk-55 Radial mount engine.png
Mk-55 "Thud" Liquid Fuel Engine Radial mounted 820 0.90 2 000 7 50 108.20 120.0 12.26 13.60 8.024 275 305 8.0
O-10.png
O-10 "Puff" MonoPropellant Fuel Engine[Note 1] Radial mounted 150 0.09 2 000 7 50 9.60 20.0 10.88 22.66 2.039 120 250 6.0
LV-1 Shroud.png
LV-1 "Ant" Liquid Fuel Engine Tiny, Radial mounted 110 0.02 2 000 7 50 0.51 2.0 2.59 10.20 0.129 80 315
48-7S Shroud.png
48-7S "Spark" Liquid Fuel Engine Tiny 240 0.13 2 000 7 50 16.56 20.0 12.99 15.69 1.275 265 320 3.0
LV-909 Shroud.png
LV-909 "Terrier" Liquid Fuel Engine Small 390 0.50 2 000 7 50 14.78 60.0 3.01 12.24 3.547 85 345 4.0
LV-T30 Liquid Fuel Engine recent.png
LV-T30 "Reliant" Liquid Fuel Engine Small 1 100 1.25 2 000 7 50 205.16 240.0 16.74 19.58 15.789 265 310
LV-T45 LFE.png
LV-T45 "Swivel" Liquid Fuel Engine Small 1 200 1.50 2 000 7 50 167.97 215.0 11.42 14.62 13.703 250 320 3.0
KS-25 LFE.png
S3 KS-25 "Vector" Liquid Fuel Engine Small, Radial mounted 18 000 4.00 2 000 22 50 936.51 1 000.0 23.87 25.49 64.745 295 315 10.5
ToroidalAerospikeLiquidFuelEngine.png
T-1 Toroidal Aerospike "Dart" Liquid Fuel Engine Small, Radial mounted 3 850 1.00 2 000 20 50 153.53 180.0 15.66 18.35 10.797 290 340
LV-N Atomic.png
LV-N "Nerv" Atomic Rocket Motor[Note 2] Small 10 000 3.00 2 500 12 50 13.88 60.0 0.47 2.04 1.530 185 800
RE-L10.png
RE-L10 "Poodle" Liquid Fuel Engine Large 1 300 1.75 2 000 7 50 64.29 250.0 3.75 14.57 14.568 90 350 4.5
Skipper.png
RE-I5 "Skipper" Liquid Fuel Engine Large 5 300 3.00 2 000 8 50 568.75 650.0 19.33 22.09 41.426 280 320 2.0
Rockomax Mainsail transparent.png
RE-M3 "Mainsail" Liquid Engine Large 13 000 6.00 2 000 7 50 1 379.03 1 500.0 23.44 25.49 98.683 285 310 2.0
LFB KR-1x2.png
LFB KR-1x2 "Twin-Boar" Liquid Fuel Engine[Note 3] Large, Radial mounted 17 000
(14 062.4)
42.50
(10.50)
2 000 20 50 1 866.67 2 000.0 4.48
(18.13)
4.80
(19.42)
135.964 280 300 1.5
Big1.png
Kerbodyne KR-2L+ "Rhino" Liquid Fuel Engine Extra large 25 000 9.00 2 000 7 50 1 205.88 2 000.0 13.66 22.66 119.968 205 340 4.0
Quad.png
S3 KS-25x4 "Mammoth" Liquid Fuel Engine Extra large 39 000 15.00 2 000 20 50 3 746.03 4 000.0 25.47 27.19 258.978 295 315 2.0
Rapier Engine 01.png
CR-7 R.A.P.I.E.R. Engine[Note 4] Small 6 000 2.00 2 000 20 50 162.30 180.0 8.27 9.18 12.036 275 305 3.0
  1. Consumes monopropellant. (the density of monopropellant is less: 4kg/unit)
  2. Consumes liquid fuel only.
  3. The LFB KR-1x2 is a liquid fuel booster -- a combination of a "normal" engine and a fuel tank.
  4. The R.A.P.I.E.R. Engine is a combination of liquid fuel and jet engine. Only the liquid fuel engine properties are shown.
Available liquid fuel tanks
Liquid fuel and oxidizer density are both 5 kg/unit Mass
(t)
Liquid
Fuel

(Units of fuel)
Oxidizer
(Units of fuel)
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Full Empty Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
R-4 FT.png
R-4 'Dumpling' External Tank Radial mounted 50
(39.90)
0.1238 0.0138 2 000 5 50 9.9 12.1
R-11 FT.png
R-11 'Baguette' External Tank Radial mounted 50
(25.21)
0.3038 0.0338 2 000 5 50 24.3 29.7
R-12 FT.png
R-12 'Doughnut' External Tank Small 147
(119.46)
0.3375 0.0375 2 000 6 50 27 33
Oscar-B FT.png
Oscar-B Fuel Tank Tiny 70
(51.64)
0.225 0.025 2 000 6 50 18 22
FL-T100 Dark.png
FL-T100 Fuel Tank Small 150
(104.1)
0.5625 0.0625 2 000 6 50 45 55
FL-T200 Dark.png
FL-T200 Fuel Tank Small 275
(183.2)
1.125 0.125 2 000 6 50 90 110
FL-T400 Dark.png
FL-T400 Fuel Tank Small 500
(316.4)
2.25 0.25 2 000 6 50 180 220
FL-T800 Dark.png
FL-T800 Fuel Tank Small 800
(432.8)
4.5 0.5 2 000 6 50 360 440
X200-8 White.png
Rockomax X200-8 Fuel Tank Large 800
(432.8)
4.5 0.5 2 000 6 50 360 440
X200-16 White.png
Rockomax X200-16 Fuel Tank Large 1 550
(815.6)
9 1 2 000 6 50 720 880
X200-32 White.png
Rockomax X200-32 Fuel Tank Large 3 000
(1 531.2)
18 2 2 000 6 50 1 440 1 760
Jumbo-64 White.png
Rockomax Jumbo-64 Fuel Tank Large 5 750
(2 812.4)
36 4 2 000 6 50 2 880 3 520
Kerbodyne S3-3600 Tank.png
Kerbodyne S3-3600 Tank Extra large 3 250
(1 597.6)
20.25 2.25 2 000 6 50 1 620 1 980
Kerbodyne S3-7200 Tank.png
Kerbodyne S3-7200 Tank Extra large 6 500
(3 195.2)
40.5 4.5 2 000 6 50 3 240 3 960
Kerbodyne S3-14400 Tank.png
Kerbodyne S3-14400 Tank Extra large 13 000
(6 390.4)
81 9 2 000 6 50 6 480 7 920
Mk2 LF+O Fuselage Short.png
Mk2 Rocket Fuel Fuselage Short Mk2 750
(566.4)
2.29 0.29 2 500 50 50 180 220
Mk2 LF+O Fuselage.png
Mk2 Rocket Fuel Fuselage Mk2 1 450
(1 082.8)
4.57 0.57 2 500 50 50 360 440
Mk3 Rocket Fuel Fuselage Short.png
Mk3 Rocket Fuel Fuselage Short Mk3 2 500
(1 352.5)
14.29 1.79 2 700 50 50 1 125 1 375
Mk3 Rocket Fuel Fuselage.png
Mk3 Rocket Fuel Fuselage Mk3 5 000
(2 705)
28.57 3.57 2 700 50 50 2 250 2 750
Mk3 Rocket Fuel Fuselage Long.png
Mk3 Rocket Fuel Fuselage Long Mk3 10 000
(5 410)
57.14 7.14 2 700 50 50 4 500 5 500
C7 Brand Adapter - 2.5m to 1.25m.png
C7 Brand Adapter - 2.5m to 1.25m Small, Large 800
(433.0)
4.57 0.57 2 300 20 50 360 440
C7 Brand Adapter Slanted - 2.5m to 1.25m.png
C7 Brand Adapter Slanted - 2.5m to 1.25m Small, Large 800
(433.0)
4.57 0.57 2 300 20 50 360 440
Mk2 to 1.25m Adapter.png
Mk2 to 1.25m Adapter Small, Mk2 550
(366.4)
2.29 0.29 2 500 50 50 180 220
Mk2 to 1.25m Adapter Long.png
Mk2 to 1.25m Adapter Long Small, Mk2 1 050
(682.8)
4.57 0.57 2 500 50 50 360 440
Mk2 Bicoupler.png
Mk2 Bicoupler Small, Mk2 x 2 860
(676.4)
2.29 0.29 2 500 50 50 180 220
2.5m to Mk2 Adapter.png
2.5m to Mk2 Adapter Large, Mk2 800
(432.8)
4.57 0.57 2 500 50 50 360 440
Mk3 to Mk2 Adapter.png
Mk3 to Mk2 Adapter Mk2, Mk3 2 200
(1 282.0)
11.43 1.43 2 600 50 50 900 1 100
Mk3 to 2.5m Adapter.png
Mk3 to 2.5m Adapter Large, Mk3 2 500
(1 353.0)
14.29 1.79 2 600 50 50 1 125 1 375
Mk3 to 2.5m Adapter Slanted.png
Mk3 to 2.5m Adapter Slanted Large, Mk3 2 500
(1 353.0)
14.29 1.79 2 600 50 50 1 125 1 375
Mk3 to 3.75m Adapter.png
Mk3 to 3.75m Adapter Extra large, Mk3 2 500
(1 353.0)
14.29 1.79 2 600 50 50 1 125 1 375
ADTP-2-3 Gray.png
Kerbodyne ADTP-2-3 Large, Extra large 1 623
(246.0)
16.88 1.88 2 000 6 50 1 350 1 650

RCS thrusters


RCS thrusters make up the Reaction Control System designed primarily for translation maneuvers, especially useful during docking. They cannot be throttled and are controlled with a separate set of keys from the pitch-yaw-roll keys. They use only monopropellant fuel, except for the Vernor Engine which uses rocket fuel.

Advantages

  • Monopropellant is automatically distributed throughout a craft, so neither crossfeeding or fuel lines have to be set up
  • Only engines that respond to translation controls
  • Provide additional thrust for SAS to stabilize a craft

Disadvantages

  • Very low total thrust and thrust-to-weight ratio — too weak to escape from most celestial bodies.
  • Low efficiency
  • No thrust vectoring (however, the most commonly used thruster, the RV-105 RCS Thruster Block, can thrust in 4 directions)
  • The user can only switch engines on or off (unless precision control is enabled with the caps lock key), while the SAS can run them on different thrust levels in between
Available RCS engines
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Mass
(t)
Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
Thrust
(kN)
Fuel
(Units of fuel/s)
Isp (s) (atm) Isp (s) (vac)
RV-105.png
RV-105 RCS Thruster Block Radial mounted 45 0.04 1 500 15 50 1.0 0.11 100 240
Linear RCS.png
Place-Anywhere 7 Linear RCS Port Radial mounted 25 0.02 2 600 15 50 2.0 0.21 100 240
Vernor.png
Vernor Engine[Note 1] Radial mounted 150 0.08 2 000 15 50 12.0 0.94 140 260
  1. The Vernor Engine uses a liquid fuel/oxidizer mixture.
Available monopropellant tanks
RCS Fuel Density is 4 kg/unit Mass
(t)
Monopropellant
(Units of fuel)
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Full Empty Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
FL-R10.png
FL-R10 RCS Fuel Tank Tiny 200
(176)
0.10 0.02 2 000 12 50 20
FL-R25 FT.png
FL-R25 RCS Fuel Tank Small 330
(186)
0.56 0.08 2 000 12 50 120
FL-R1 Yellow.png
FL-R1 RCS Fuel Tank Large 1 800
(900)
3.4 0.4 2 000 12 50 750
Mk2 Monopropellant Tank.png
Mk2 Monopropellant Tank Mk2 750
(270)
1.89 0.29 2 500 50 50 400
Mk3 Monopropellant Tank.png
Mk3 Monopropellant Tank Mk3 5 040
(2 520)
9.8 1.4 2 700 50 50 2 100
Stratus-v roundified monopropellant tank.png
Stratus-V Roundified Monopropellant Tank Radial mounted 200
(176)
0.10 0.02 2 000 12 50 20
Stratus-V Cylindrified.png
Stratus-V Cylindrified Monopropellant Tank Radial mounted 250
(190)
0.23 0.03 2 000 12 50 50

Ion engines


An ion engine uses electric charge to ionize atoms of xenon gas and accelerate them in an electrostatic or electromagnetic field to propel them as exhaust. Remarkably little xenon gas is needed, and probes equipped with just a few tanks are considered able to operate forever, or until something inevitably goes wrong. However, ion engines are very demanding on electrical generation and storage and very slow to accelerate.

In real-life, they are often not considered true “rocket” engines. But given that they require no outside material or mass to operate, for ease and simplicity they are included with rocket engines on this wiki.

Advantages

  • Extremely high efficiency
  • Cool blue glow

Disadvantages

  • Extremely low thrust; inefficient for Hohmann transfers
  • High electric consumption
  • No thrust vectoring currently[outdated] available
  • Xenon containers have poor mass ratio (2.27, compared to 8-9 for rocket fuel)

Hall effect thruster on Wikipedia

Available ion engines
Thrust
(kN)
TWR Isp (s) Max. Consumption
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Mass
(t)
Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
atm vac atm vac atm vac Electricity
(⚡/s)
Xenon
(Xenon unit/s)
PB-ION.png
IX-6315 "Dawn" Electric Propulsion System Tiny 8 000 0.25 2 000 7 50 0.048 2.0 0.019 0.816 100 4 200 8.741 0.486
Available xenon tanks
Xenon density is 0.1 kg/unit Mass
(t)
Xenon
(Xenon unit)
Image Part Radial size Cost
(Funds)
Full Empty Max. Temp.
(K)
Tolerance
(m/s)
Tolerance
(g)
PB-X50R.png
PB-X50R Xenon Container Radial mounted 2 220
(600)
0.054 0.014 2 000 12 50 405
Pb-x150 xenon container.png
PB-X150 Xenon Container Tiny 3 680
(800)
0.100 0.024 2 000 6 50 720
PB-X750 Xenon Container.png
PB-X750 Xenon Container Small 24 300
(1 500)
0.76 0.19 2 000 6 50 5 700

See also