Talk:Tutorial: How to Get into Orbit

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I couldn't find a simple written cheat sheet for newbies on how to get into orbit, so I made this article.

If anyone else has a simpler stock orbiter (cheapest and preferably fewest parts) please share and modify with any game update. The idea is to keep this guide simple for anyone first downloading the game to find the facts they need to get into their first orbit, leaving room for trial and error, and glorious catastrophes.


Not sure what works best:

  • How to Get into Orbit
  • How to Get into Your First Orbit
  • How to Launch into Orbit
  • From Launch to Orbit

I need help picking one.

"How to get into orbit" is pretty good IMO. I don't see the need to change it ;) --dgelessus (talk · logs) 13:03, 5 June 2013 (CDT)

Jet engines?

Perhaps this is a really dumb question, but due to the fact that you're inside the atmosphere up to 10,000 metric meters, where you then make your gravity turn, couldn't you use a jet engine with a smaller fuel tank and a RAM air intake? You could get yourself some serious horizontal speed while still inside that 10 KM atmosphere area, then thrust it full power to get an apoapsis as high as your prefered stable orbit apoapsis, and finally dump the jet engine and wait until you're at T=-10s before pulling out the big liquid fuel engine and pulling your periapsis to the same height? You'd save all the fuel from the point where you make your gravity turn to the point where you start blasting it out horizontal.

Someone give me a slap for thinking this up or just tell me it'll probably work and test it out. I can't play this game in the slightest, hence my going to a tutorial on how to get into orbit, launching two times and still running out of fuel when I get about a fifth of the world in my orbiting arc.

~Cenitopius (Liam George) @ 04/08/2013 21:03 (ENGLISH DATE FORMAT & TIME ZONE)

Although I never ran the numbers myself, I've heard many times that jet engines are more efficient when getting into orbit, so I assume that you are right. Makes sense, because you don't have to carry the heavy oxidizer. However, as this is a tutorial for beginners who just started with KSP, I don't think that it would be very helpful here - after all, new people want a quick and logical way to start playing, and jet engines on rockets are quite unconventional. Also, there's no need to be extremely efficient (yet).
By the way, you can sign your post by typing --~~~~ at the end of it. It'll automatically be replaced with a signature and time stamp, which will look similar to this: --dgelessus (talk · contribs) 16:40, 4 August 2013 (CDT) You can also customize that in your preferences if you want. --dgelessus (talk · contribs) 16:40, 4 August 2013 (CDT)
In general I would also say this is true, but there are some things you have to be aware of: Jet engines need to start up so your launch sequence become more complex. Also they don't provide very much thrust of only 100 kN or 150 kN, while the Aerospike has a maximum thrust of 175 kN, the LV-T45 has 200 kN and the LV-T30 has 215 kN maximum thrust. Also you waste energy if you going to fast (see atmosphere about terminal velocity) so you can't build up all velocity only with jet engines.
On another note: “metric meters” don't make sense as the meter is always metric. You only need to say “metric tons”, because there are the long tons and short tons (slightly heavier and lighter than the metric one) in the UK and US. But when you are using metre or meter as a unit of length it is always the SI meter. — xZise [talk] 17:03, 4 August 2013 (CDT)

Not Quite the Cheapest :P

Turns out if you replace the T-30 and it's fuel with a S1_SRB-KD25k, it'll have a little more fuel, will cost a bit less, and as an added bonus, it'll start bursting into flames midflight. Of course a new player probably doesn't quite have the science for it just yet, so it's probably not worth editing the article. Meeh (talk) 19:39, 1 June 2014 (CDT)

Ah nvm, apparently that was released later than .22 Meeh (talk) 19:40, 1 June 2014 (CDT)
Yep the new large SRB was released in 0.23.5 and is thus quite recent. Also is cheap currently relative. Let's wait for 0.24 with a proper monetary system so we can determine what is cheap and what not. By the way the T-30 LFE is throttable which might be advantageous. — xZise [talk] 11:18, 2 June 2014 (CDT)

Has anyone actually tried these guidelines recently?

I tried following the instructions to the letter, and they don't actually get you to orbit. Not for me anyway. So that's not much use for a basic tutorial. It seems to me that whatever basic rocket design is suggested, it should have enough juice to get into orbit with a bit of a safety margin, because a novice can't be expected to fly it at perfect efficiency. I'd also suggest something compatible with Science mode, which means the T800 fuel tank and 909 engine may not be good choices, because you don't get either until you've already collected a few science points. Getting the absolute cheapest option misses the point at this stage, I think. A novice just wants to get into space.

I'd suggest something like

  • Command Pod Mk1 with Mk16 Parachute and TR-18A Stack Decoupler
  • FL-T400 Fuel Tank
  • FL-T200 Fuel Tank
  • LV-T30 Liquid Fuel Engine
  • TR-18A Stack Decoupler
  • three FL-T400 Fuel Tanks
  • LV-T30 Liquid Fuel Engine

Can a couple of other people pretend to be novices and see if they can get into space _reasonably reliably_ with the above rocket? If so, they or I can adjust the build advice accordingly. Simons Mith (talk) 14:15, 1 August 2014 (CDT)

No need to pretend here; I was failing to get into orbit with the page as is, & first time I tried this rocket, I had plenty of fuel to spare (first proper orbit!)
--Dwattttt (talk) 05:49, 1 September 2014 (CDT)
I did, no issues here. I even burned retrograde to lower my apoapsis. Make sure you fly east, not west. Navball seems to say east when you are actually flying east. Heading should be 090 degrees. apoapsis was 83km. 6.75/180 liquid fuel, 8.25/220 oxidizer remaining in orbit. had enough fuel to retro back into orbit. used analog throttle if that matters. no mods 0.25 up to date with steam --Benargee (talk) 21:24, 7 November 2014 (CST)

Step 4 - Gravity Turn 45 degrees East until 70km Apoapsis

Is this actually east?, The navball has N pointing down, tutorial describes turning right, i would believe this is west? I am confused though, as most tutorials say "east", while describing right..

Hmm it's definitely east (if you look in the map view and assume north is "up"). My idea would be that it's looking from the inside and not from the top down onto it. Then it get's mirrored. — xZise [talk] 15:55, 17 December 2014 (CST)

Vertical until 10km, 45 degrees until 70. Facepalm!

There's no real soft or diplomatic way to put this, so I'll be brutal. Vertical until 10km, then 45 degrees until 70km has never been a gravity turn; it has always been bad advice if it doesn't include mention that a gravity turn is a long, slow, gentle, and continuous thing. As of 1.0, it mostly doesn't work, and the advice is both inefficient and often highly problematic to the point of preventing perfectly viable rockets reaching orbit.

45 at 10km needs to die in a fire, like the occupants of most rockets following that ascent profile, now that the bug of the placeholder aerodynamics has been properly fixed. It has always been a bug that 45 at 10 ever worked for most rockets. Continuing to give out that advice, especially in a tutorial, is extremely bad for people who are new to the game, almost worse than no advice at all. Right now, I don't have the energy to re-write this article to describe how to do a proper gravity turn, I just want to flag the issue.

Perhaps the article should have a prominent health warning at the top of it, until it can be re-written properly?

--Murph (talk) 07:47, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

The trajectory of a rocket started from Kerbin reaching the altitude of 70kms
I've just found the wiki's page on gravity turns. It's much too technical for a tutorial, but it does have this useful image. The nose of a rocket doing a real gravity turn should follow the red line, in addition to never straying far from its prograde velocity vector. Exactly when to start the turn, and how quickly to lean into it does depend on the individual rocket, so some may require a steeper early part of the ascent.
--Murph (talk) 08:02, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
There is a far more proper tutorial, (some polishing and modernization also needed): Getting Started#Launching the rocket, although it is only for equatorial orbit around Kerbin for an LF-rocket, but there are several celestial, and more type of vehicles, like spaceplanes. But I think it would be a good base, as it has illustrated with several pictures. There are valuable infos in rocket page too.

Sadly, I've no time for wiki in the next two week, and there are many other pages waiting for update and translation NWM (talk) 19:10, 2 May 2015 (UTC)