Kerbin – kerbal space program wiki

Kerbin is the third planet in orbit around the star Kerbol. It is the third largest celestial body that orbits Kerbol, following Jool and Eve. Jool’s moon Tylo has the same radius of Kerbin, though it may be classified as larger, as the highest point on Tylo is about 5 km higher than the highest point on Kerbin. However, Tylo has only 80% of Kerbin’s mass.

Reaching a stable orbit around Kerbin is one of the first milestones a player might achieve in the game. With the introduction of version 1.0.3, attaining low Kerbin orbit requires a Δv of approximately 3400 m/s (vacuum), though the exact amount depends on the efficiency of the ascent profile and the aerodynamics of the launch vehicle and payload.

The only planet that requires a higher Δv to attain orbit is Eve. Many interplanetary missions expend over half of their Δv in reaching Kerbin orbit. The velocity required to escape a body from a given altitude is always exactly the square root of two times the velocity of a circular orbit around the body at that height, leading one observer to remark:

Like all other atmospheres in the game, Kerbin’s atmosphere fades exponentially as altitude increases. The scale height varies with altitude, which is a change from pre-1.0 versions of the game. The pressure-altitude profile is globally constant and independent of temperature. The following table gives the atmospheric pressure and density at various altitudes above sea level. Temperature-altitude profile is not globally constant, therefore neither is the density-altitude profile, however variance is slight.

Kerbin’s atmosphere can be divided into three major layers, comparable to Earth’s troposphere, stratosphere and mesosphere. In the lower and upper layers, temperature decreases as altitude increases, while the middle layer spans of a region of increasing temperature. The boundary between the lower and middle layers occurs at an altitude of about 16 km at low latitudes, and about 9 km at high latitudes. The boundary between the middle and upper layer occurs at an altitude of about 38 km.

Air temperatures vary with latitude and time of day. At the equator, sea level temperatures vary between a nighttime low of 32 °C and a daytime high of 41 °C. At the poles, the temperature varies between -35 °C and -30 °C. The globally averaged sea level temperature is approximately 13.5 °C. Since Kerbin has no axial tilt, there are no seasonal temperature variations.

The atmosphere of Kerbin is patterned after Earth’s U.S. Standard Atmosphere (USSA), though with the vertical height scale reduced by 20%. Kerbin’s "base" temperature and atmospheric pressure can be very closely approximated using the equations of the USSA, where Kerbin’s geometric altitude, z, is converted to Earth’s geopotential altitude, h, using the following equation:

The thickness of Kerbin’s atmosphere makes it well suited for aerobraking from a high-speed interplanetary intercept. The periapsis altitude required for a successful aerocapture depends on the spacecraft’s drag characteristics, its approach velocity, and the desired apoapsis of the resulting orbit. For most conditions, a periapsis altitude of about 30 km should result in an aerocapture.

A synchronous orbit is achieved with a semi-major axis of 3 463.33 km. Kerbisynchronous Equatorial Orbit (KEO) has a circularly uniform altitude of 2 863.33 km and a speed of 1 009.81 m/s. From a 70 km low equatorial orbit, the periapsis maneuver requires 676.5 m/s and the apoapsis maneuver requires 434.9 m/s. A synchronous Tundra orbit with eccentricity of 0.2864 and inclination of 63 degrees is achieved at 3799.7/1937.7 km. Inclination correlates with eccentricity: higher inclined orbits need to be more eccentric, while equatorial orbit may be circular, essentially KEO.

A semi-synchronous orbit with an orbital period of ½ of Kerbin’s rotation period (2 h 59 m 34.7 s or 10774.7 seconds) is achieved at an altitude of 1 581.76 km with an orbital velocity of 1 272.28 m/s. A semi-synchronous Molniya orbit with eccentricity of 0.742 [1] and inclination of 63 degrees can not be achieved, because the periapsis would be 36 km below the ground. The highest eccentricity of a semi-synchronous orbit with a periapsis of 70 km is 0.693 with an apoapsis of 3100.36 km.