aircraft for atmosphere and space

so im working on this concept of a spacecraft able to work inside and and outside the atmosphere . does it looks belivable?


I like the NPR. it is hard to judge the structure from your 1st pic

Hi Bobr.animation,

I think the design is neat and I like it a lot as-is. Real planes have taller dorsal fins so you could play around with a few different lengths if you wanted to but I understand this might be a stylistic decision and it does look nice.


I wouldn’t quite say “beleivable” but it has clear potential. For it to be truly beleivable as a transatmospheric vehicle it would have to be shaped a bit more like either a space shuttle or one of the other concepts for a reusable spacecraft, generally delta winged with heat shield tiles on the front and a rounded (not pointed) nose to deflect the re-entry shock outward. But it looks quite cool as a base shape to build a more detailed model upon, certainly plenty of cool designs in major sci-fi films don’t look like the “shuttle like shape” (the valkyrie in avatar is a cool and notable exception which does look shuttle like) that most real plans for transatmospheric vehicles have had. Maybe if you just design it as a VTOL aircraft/helicopter hyrbid you might get something closer to the shape you presently have.

Assuming you like your current overall shape and wish to keep it, rather than toss it out for a delta winged lifting body shape, aim less for true believability and more for the sort of aesthetic you see in sci fi films like elysium. Do this by working on making the thin spindly parts of the design bulkier, replace some of the boxy angular geometry with the sort of curves you see on real aircraft, or make them more angular and cover them in greebles. Fit the missiles on pylons rather than have them intersecting the wing geometry, maybe have some in a rotary launcher of some kind, this might let you fit mroe missles beneath the wings as it could be a mroe compact way to hold them.

The engine pods look cool. Although I suggest they could use more greeebles on them, the overall shape, and the ablity to twist on the x axis, is nice. Definitely keep them, but add mroe greelbing on to them, and have some of the greebles in grey and silvery metals rather than in the camouflage paint colours. Look at photos of real jet engines (stripped of their coverings and such), imagine what one would look like if given partial covering, imagine the sort of bits that might poke out, then model these poking out from your design as it currently stands.

For other ideas of the sort of detilaing and shaping to use look at the bubble copter from oblivion, this gives a more streamlined and sophisticated look as opposed to the grungy and angular look of elysium’s vehicles. I’m not meaning by this that you should change your overall shape to match such exmaples, I mean edit your style of greebling (as yet the model is ungreebled) and the way you shape the parts to match either of these styles. If you go with the curved style though, Aa a hint, avoid curved parts that curve in too many directions at once, stick to the sort of curves that could be cut from the surface of a (possible strecthed) sphere or cylinder. Such curves can look a bit too organic for use on vehicle models. If you go with greebly boxy shaping then make sure to design each greebles to have a purpose, even if it’s just one you half imagine, avoid just making one greeble and copying it around too many times, that can look like you’re just trying to be detailed for detail’s sake.

I keep asking myself: How do you steer this?
In atmospheric conditions it lacks rudders/control surfaces, while in space, without aerodynamics (obviously!), you’d need some kind of lateral jet nozzles, as the main engines only seem to be able to rotate up and down?

For a high-performance machine you will need two distinct propulsion systems, one for atmo burning a fuel-air mixture with ramjet functionality, and one for space using either a hypergolic fuel system or fuel + oxidizer, both of which can be very bulky for long-duration uses. This is if you want to conform to known physics. If not, then it really doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it’s “cool.” Or you could be a little (a lot) loose with the physics and propose an as-yet-unknown space propulsion system ala Firefly, with fuel-air VTOL and rear turbine combined with a ??? in-space engine that normally isn’t to be used in atmo (but can be in a pinch, heh-heh).

Fellow KSP player?

Nope, a boomer who grew up during the manned space missions, a first-class science-nerd-in-training, wannabe astronaut (back then) and awakening artist.

Swept wings handle better at high velocity. The straight wings suggest a low velocity vehicle useful for ground ops.