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Leaving Earth» Forums » Variants

Subject: Space Shuttle rss

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Joe Fatula
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Here's a vehicle I've been working on lately: the Space Shuttle. In game terms, this would be a hybrid component, combining features of a capsule and of a rocket.

Capsule
Lots of seats, has a heat shield (so you draw an outcome on reentry).

Propulsion
Consume a fuel tank to generate thrust. (Each shuttle can only consume one fuel tank per maneuver.)
Since the shuttle itself is reusable, this helps lower the cost of getting things to orbit significantly.

Stats
Shuttle
Seats: (plenty)
Mass: 4
Cost: $10
Thrust: 75 (upon discarding a single fuel tank)

Fuel Tank
Mass: 4
Cost: $4

Payload Cost
The shuttle is the most useful way to launch things into orbit in a few different cases.

If you're going straight to orbit (difficulty 8), a shuttle can carry 1 payload for a per-launch cost of only $4, which is much better than the cheapest method currently available (1 Soyuz for a cost of $8).

If you're going in two stages, a shuttle can carry a payload of 7 to orbit for a per-launch cost of only $1.14 per unit of payload mass. Considering the one-time cost of $10 to buy the shuttle itself, this method works out to be just as economical as Saturn rockets once you reach the fourth shuttle launch.

Max Payload
Here's how a shuttle+tank would look on your space agency card:
diff Shuttle
1 67
2 29 1/2
3 17
4 10 3/4
5 7
6 4 1/2
7 2 5/7
8 1 3/8
9 1/3
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Matt Watkins
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buffalohat wrote:
If you're going in two stages, a shuttle can carry a payload of 15 to orbit for a per-launch cost of only $1.14 per unit of payload mass.


Am I missing something? It looks like it can only get a payload of 7 to orbit in two stages:

Suborbital to LEO: difficulty 5 * (mass of orbiter (4) + one tank (4) + payload (7)) = 75 required thrust

But otherwise, your math seems correct (4 launches to break even with Saturns), so likely just a typo.

EDIT: I really like how the external tank requirement consigns it mostly to being an LEO vehicle. Very nice how you made that fall out of the math.
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Joe Fatula
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Matt_W wrote:
Am I missing something? It looks like it can only get a payload of 7 to orbit in two stages

You're absolutely right; I quoted the wrong number off my calculations. A two-tank shuttle can carry 7 payload to Earth Orbit.
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Gerry Smit
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THIS:
buffalohat wrote:
Here's a vehicle I've been working on lately: the Space Shuttle.


is what I've been waiting for! Woo Hoo! Now I don't have to wait two years to put projects into orbit!

Question: Did the US shuttle program achieve the approx re-use costs stated above? That is, did Shuttle actually get the cost of ton-to-low-earth-orbit into the approx cost of Saturn V, and or any sort of modern "Big Dumb Booster?"

Let me re-word the above question and make it L.E. specific. Your stats above make this approx equal in cost to Saturn by the 4th use. Did you choose that for game play, or was that the approx "economy/value/performance" achieved by the US Shuttle program when compared to Saturn V?

Any chance you can get us the "Shuttle/C" (cargo) variant? This was a project that proposed using two Shuttle Main engines, a pair of SRB's, a new, purpose-built cargo pallet and ejected drogue cover to launch cargo (no astronauts) into orbit. It would NOT carry astronauts, nor would it re-enter. It WOULD use Main Engines AFTER they had exceeded the maximum 5 launch uses safety criteria, enabling them to be used a sixth and final time.
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Gerry Smit
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Also: May I recommend that some form of advancement card be required for Shuttle? "Re-useable Heat Tiles" would be my recommendation. And that it require Re-entry as a pre-req Advancement to purchase.

Due to its complexity, you might even consider TWO advancements be required before the Shuttle component is available, to reflect the immense engineering effort crammed into these craft AND to reflect the "hybrid" nature that you mentioned. Mind you, that would seriously detract from its value.

What if the advancement "Reuseable Heat Tiles" gave us access to a Dyna-Soar (2 seats) component and the combination of advancements "Reuseable Heat Tiles" and "Logistic Maintenance" gave us access to the Shuttle component?
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Joe Fatula
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GerryRailBaron wrote:
Did the US shuttle program achieve the approx re-use costs stated above? That is, did Shuttle actually get the cost of ton-to-low-earth-orbit into the approx cost of Saturn V ... Your stats above make this approx equal in cost to Saturn by the 4th use. Did you choose that for game play, or was that the approx "economy/value/performance" achieved by the US Shuttle program when compared to Saturn V?

Unfortunately, the actual shuttle program ended up costing a lot more per pound of payload than anyone had hoped for. According to certain numbers, a Saturn V rocket cost a bit more than twice as much to launch as a Shuttle, but it could carry over six times as much.

By my quick (probably off) calculation, in 2010 dollars, here's how much it cost to launch a payload into orbit:
- $9,000/lb by Shuttle
- $3,300/lb by Saturn V

In the game, I'm looking to make the shuttle more like what we had hoped for, rather than what we actually got. (This is pretty much the theme of the game, anyhow.)

GerryRailBaron wrote:
Any chance you can get us the "Shuttle/C" (cargo) variant? This was a project that proposed using two Shuttle Main engines, a pair of SRB's, a new, purpose-built cargo pallet and ejected drogue cover to launch cargo (no astronauts) into orbit. It would NOT carry astronauts, nor would it re-enter. It WOULD use Main Engines AFTER they had exceeded the maximum 5 launch uses safety criteria, enabling them to be used a sixth and final time.

That's an interesting idea. I'll have to play around with it a bit.
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Joe Fatula
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GerryRailBaron wrote:
Also: May I recommend that some form of advancement card be required for Shuttle?

I'm definitely planning to have at least one advancement prerequisite before you can buy a Shuttle. How exactly that works will depend on what else is being added in the same expansion.
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Will H.
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I'm still exploring and enjoying the Outer Planets expansion, but more Leaving Earth is always a good thing!

Any rough ETA on the new expansion or what years it will cover?
 
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Joe Fatula
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gar0u wrote:
Any rough ETA on the new expansion or what years it will cover?

No ETA yet, also not sure which years it will cover. Thematically it's fun to go further ahead with each expansion (or further back -- but that's for another thread), but I'm not sure that it's actually a good idea.

For gameplay purposes, adding more years to the game doesn't necessarily make anything better. And if there's more opportunity to make money in the game, the years go by quicker anyhow.
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Leon
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Preorder checked on my list anyway.
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Dave Daffin
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A Space Shuttle expansion would complete the game for me! I'm very keen to see this develop.
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Michel Kangro
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How about, as a even later development, having SpaceX like reusable rockets? Iow, have empty mass and refueling/refurbishing costs for rockets?
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Joe Fatula
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mideg wrote:
How about, as a even later development, having SpaceX like reusable rockets? Iow, have empty mass and refueling/refurbishing costs for rockets?

Mechanically, a shuttle and a reusable rocket would be similar. You'd need a component that gets consumed and a component that gets reused. Having a refurbishment cost would be interesting, though.
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Israel Waldrom
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buffalohat wrote:
gar0u wrote:
Any rough ETA on the new expansion or what years it will cover?

No ETA yet, also not sure which years it will cover. Thematically it's fun to go further ahead with each expansion (or further back -- but that's for another thread), but I'm not sure that it's actually a good idea.

For gameplay purposes, adding more years to the game doesn't necessarily make anything better. And if there's more opportunity to make money in the game, the years go by quicker anyhow.


I played my first game of Outer Planets last night, and found that with the extra years the game does take quite a bit longer. Out of all of my games, this one may well require the largest investment of time for a single session, including all the planning that goes on as well.

I guess one of the challenges to making an expansion is to add content to the game without adding too much extra time to the game. There would be no point in adding an additional decade again and end up making the game three times as long. Keeping the length similar isn't always easy. For outer planets the shorter game option was added, but as you can achieve a lot more in the first ten years than just two outcome free techs, I never considered using it.
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Israel Waldrom
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I really like the sound of the space shuttle tho I'd almost be tempted to try it out with the base game as it is, once the tech requirements get fleshed out ^^

 
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Marco Delmiglio
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Excellent.
Will this be in the Space Station expansion, or are you thinking about placing it alone in a mini expansion?
 
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Michel Kangro
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buffalohat wrote:
mideg wrote:
How about, as a even later development, having SpaceX like reusable rockets? Iow, have empty mass and refueling/refurbishing costs for rockets?

Mechanically, a shuttle and a reusable rocket would be similar. You'd need a component that gets consumed and a component that gets reused. Having a refurbishment cost would be interesting, though.


I maybe wouldn't split these costs out of the fuel costs and go with the approach, that the refurbishment is included in the fuel somehow.
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Roger BW
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One rules consideration comes to mind: can you gang multiple Shuttles together in a single launch to carry a bigger payload, the way you can with rockets?
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Joe Fatula
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Firedrake wrote:
One rules consideration comes to mind: can you gang multiple Shuttles together in a single launch to carry a bigger payload, the way you can with rockets?

Absolutely. That's not the way we did it in the real history, but we did attach shuttles and rockets together. In game, it would raise a number of complications if you weren't allowed to combine multiple shuttles together into a single spacecraft, and for no real benefit.

Thematically, all of the components in Leaving Earth are just general concepts; your space agency designs the particular component to be used the way you intend to use it. So if your agency likes to have multiple Vostok capsules attached together for reentry, we'll assume your agency designed them to function in just such a manner. If your agency says their shuttles are actually a modular component that can be assembled together into a larger launching craft, then we'll assume your engineers designed them that way.

Multiple shuttles together would probably start looking like this (from the game Kerbal Space Program):
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Gerry Smit
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LKO is a new TLA for me.

Maybe.... Low Klingon Orbit?
That's a long way away!


eta: Kerbin, famous for it's Kerbal Space Program. Apparantly it's something on Steam. Weirdly enough, the wikpedia entries just jump right in and describe these entities. Only further down do you find "In the game, Kerbin is...." letting you know the thing is fictitious. (Yes, right now, obviously it was, but in literature, gaming, TV/Movies, what? And in a few hundred years wikipedia WILL need something indicating "this is a fictional item")
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Joe Fatula
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Kerbal Space Program (KSP) is a good place to look when you want to see really outlandish ways of configuring a spacecraft. It's also probably done more for teaching orbital mechanics than all other educational materials combined.
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Joe Fatula
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Malmostoso wrote:
Excellent.
Will this be in the Space Station expansion, or are you thinking about placing it alone in a mini expansion?

This should be in the same expansion as space station modules.
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JR
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I actually spent a while googling to figure out what LKO meant. Had no idea the thing above was fictional. I have heard of Kerbal from a few people but thought it looked awfully goofy and never gave it a closer look. I think I'll wishlist it for a steam sale to come.
 
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Roger BW
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buffalohat wrote:
Kerbal Space Program (KSP) is a good place to look when you want to see really outlandish ways of configuring a spacecraft. It's also probably done more for teaching orbital mechanics than all other educational materials combined.
Mind you, I have a great fondness for Orbiter - if I still had a Windows box, I'd still be playing it.
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Gerry Smit
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Is that the PC "game" (simulator) that discovered the emergency/alternate de-orbit/re-entry burn?

The story is someone was playing the "most realistic Shuttle Simulator available for your PC" and they used the attitude control thrusters in the nose of the shuttle, noarmally used for yaw, pitch, roll, etc. Anyway, they fired the forward pointing ones, burning them for as long as there was fuel, and the shuttle slowly fell out of orbit and eventually re-entered! The player was so upset they emailed the company that put out the game complaining about the unrealistic handling of the game. The game programmers checked the formulas for thrust, mass, amount of fuel and all the other variables, and couldn't find a problem, so they in turn contacted NASA. The NASA engineers went over the numbers, and checked, and then ran it thru THEIR simulators and "low and behold - it can actually do that!"

So the emergency back-up for the loss of the re-entry engines on Shuttle was to use the attitude control jets and ALL available manuevering fuel/mass to de-orbit and re-enter. It made it into "the book". All due to someone playing a PC simulator and discovering a new way to accomplish something.

"We have to get this to fit in there using only these parts".
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