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Reflection on KSP



Over the past few weeks, I've gotten to know Kerbal Space Program quite well. I can honestly say it's quite the addicting game, but if you don't do any research, it can get very frustrating. Personally, I'm a trial and error kind of gal. When being completely honest, I almost never actually calculate the physics behind everything going on in KSP, I just make behemoth rockets and see if they do what I want them too. As a result, I've probably had more crash landings and test flights than there are grains of sand on the beach. If we were to look at the actual physics, there's so much going on in building a rocket and taking it to the moon, it's not even funny.

For starters, there's weight and drag force to consider when designing the rocket. The more weight on the rocket, the more powerful an engine you need. You also need more liquid fuel to get places with heavier rockets, however liquid fuel actually weighs quite a bit itself. You can see how it can get complicated to actually calculate the right fuel-weight proportions. The other major thing in design to look for is aerodynamics. That $50 piece that smoothly transitions from smaller to larger pieces is probably the biggest bang for your buck in the entire game; the added drag force without can easily be enough to pull apart your rocket into multiple pieces, or simply make it never lift off the ground.

Then, once you've figured out all the thrust needed from an engine to lift up your behemoth to get it to actually move, you have to actually be able to fly the thing. One simple error in staging can completely blow up the entire mission, and if your not paying attention, you could have blow thousands of kerbencian dollars on a rocket you blew up because you forgot to turn down the throttle a smidge.

And then, once you get out of the atmosphere, you have to worry about gravitational forces. Furthermore, if you're actually trying to get somewhere, there's all sorts of messing with orbits that has to happen, not to mention transfering orbits from one gravitational pull to another.

Really the physics behind this game is astounding. Just thinking about it all is enough to make any mind whirl, not to mention calculating them!


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