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High Frontier» Forums » Rules

Subject: Aerobraking and sails rss

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Peet Smith
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When a rocket with a sail aerobrakes, the sail is decomissioned.

All of the flybys except Mercury have routes that allow you to aerobrake and still continue flying in space.

So my question is, if you use an aerobrake maneuver while powered by sail, do you have to stop immediately? Or can you finish your move? Particularly when your free slingshot burns are on the line this is important to know. I can't find the answer in the rules.

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Joe Schlimgen
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According to 6.1B, you must have a working thruster with a modified thrust of at least 1 to move. So normally you would have to stop as soon as you lost your thruster. However, there is an exception for hazard spaces. You may need to see the latest edition of the living rules as this is a fairly recent addition.

A rocket that loses its thruster (due to an aerobrake hazard or radiation belt) can continue to move as long as it only enters other non-burn hazard spaces along a dashed aerobrake path.

If you lost your sail when moving from the Venus flyby to LVO, you'd have to stop because LVO is a burn space. Similarly you'd have to stop from L1 to the acid clouds.

On the other hand, aerobraking from the Mars flyby to Hellas Basin or Arsia Mons would be allowed since you only enter non-burn hazard spaces (assuming you avoid the HEO space).

If you were moving from HEO to GEO or L3 (or vice versa) and lost your thruster in the VAB, you could make an "emergency" aerobrake to LEO.

[Phil has stated that this last case is not entirely realistic as you're changing your trajectory mid-flight. He allows it because at that point in the VAB you're orbit would eventually decay until you reached LEO. Or something like that - it's on the Yahoo forum.]

That's how I interpret the rules. On the other hand, a dry rocket can use a slingshot, so I'm not entirely sure if a thruster-less rocket couldn't do the same (I'm not a rocket scientist - I only play one in High Frontier).

Edit: Just got clarification from the designer. You can't use slingshots without a thruster. Most of the slingshot bonus is the "Oberth effect", which only works if you have some thrust to begin with.
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