SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) 50-ton "Cargo Shuttle" (Stock) will start downloading in 5 seconds...




This medium-sized SSTO Cargo Shuttle was specially designed to lower spaceflight costs.


With it's 220 tons of liftoff weight, this craft can deliver up to 50 tons of cargo to low Kerbing orbit and return back to KSC runway. After landing it can be recovered for 100% cost - limiting expences to fuel costs only.


As an example, this SSTO is fitted with simple 50-ton spacecraft with a small lander and over 9000 m/s delta-v left for deep space exploration.




Loaded weight - 220 tons

Dry weight - 84 tons

Maximum payload - 50 tons

Spacecraft costs (without payload) - 270k

Launch costs - 19k




1 - toggle space/atm mode (cargo bay, solar panels etc.)

2 - Nerv engine on/off

3 - Rapier engines on/off

5 - Rapier toggle mode (Atm/vac)

7 - Runway braking (engines off, brakes, braking chutes)

9 - Vertical landing gear

0 - Release payload (don't forget to open cargo bay first)

G - Horizontal (runway) landing gear

Brake - Airbrakes

Abort - Panic button: shuts off engines, drops fuel tanks (if any) and releases all chutes


How to fly


1. Get into orbit

a) Set aschen angle 20 deg (Heading 90, Pitch 20, Roll 0) and fire Rapier engines
b) Rapier engines in airbreathing mode will rise your apoapsis to about 35 km
c) After switching to rocket mode they will take you as high as 80 km apoapsis
d) As soon as your droptanks well become empty - drop them (stage)
e) After you run out of rocket fuel - enable Nerv engine and use it to circularise
f) Open solar panels and cargo bay by pressing 1
g) Stage or press 0 to release payload


2. Deorbit


a) Rebalance fuel on the craft to the fore (or your craft will be uncontrollable in flight)
b) Close all panels (1), vertical landing gear (9), ladders, docking ports etc.
c) Create a maneuver node for reentry. I usually create a 300 m/s2 retrograde burn
d) Adjust position of your maneuvering point - your final trajectory should point directly to KSC
e) Perform retrograde burn
f) Reentry:
-Set Heading 90, Pitch 0, Roll 0
-Disable Nerv (2)
-Enable Rapier engines (3)
-Switch Rapier engines to airbreathing mode
-Do not use airbrakes during reentry
g) if you've done everything right you'll be out of hyperspeed and in stable flight just ~50 km before KSC


3. Land at KSC runway (this is a tricky part)


a) If you want to use autopilot - use old "Spaceplane Guidance" from MechJeb 2.6.
It is still working for now (my current game version is 2.4.2), newer MechJeb (2.7) versions at this point seem to be useless.
b) Mechjeb only controls the heading of your craft, keeping it on the glide path. You need to adjust throttle manually
c) Keep your craft in steady flight (90-0-0) until speed falls to less than 500 m/s, then enable the MechJeb spaceplane guidance
d) Do not let speed of your craft to fall below 200 m/s as the craft may stall and become uncontrollable, adjust throttle to do that.
e) After descent to less than 1 km altitude, with about 10 km from runway begin to slow down below 200 m/s. You can use throttle and/or brakes to do that.
f) you final landing speed should be 70 +-10 m/s. If it will be higher the craft may crash,
if it will be lower - it will stall and also crash. Open te landing gear and prepare for landing.
g) When you hit the runway immediately press 7. This will:
-Shut the engines
-Release drogue chutes
-Enable both gear brakes and airbrakes
h) If everything goes well - you'll soon stop on the runway

3a. Alternative landing

If you don't want to perform a risky runway landing (or if something suddenly goes wrong and your craft becomes uncontrollable) you can always use alternative landing method.

a) To do that just press the panic button (Abort). This will:
-shut your engines
-Release normal and drogue chutes
b) Open vertical landing gear (9)