Why atmospheric landings?

I think martian and water worlds for a good start, along with reworked graphic for rest, relatively easy to make, challange is climate simulation and flight model in atmo, this itself add gameplay, so definitely worth it.
 
There are plenty of games that allow you to fly in atmospheres. I don’t want Elite to become Microsoft flight simulator or World of Warplanes. If it was meant to be an atmospheric flight sim, the devs would have built the game with this in mind, which is clearly not the case!!!!!!

im just kidding, there is something akin to this on every elite feet thread and we can’t be having special treatment
 
If you look at the shapes of ships in game just now, they are aerodynamically horrific, not just your extreme cases like a Lakon Type {No.} but even more mundane stuff like a conda or an asp, or a vulture... Even something inherently aerodynamic, like a 737MAX uses the MCAS computer systems to crash the plane compensate for the fundamentally different handling characteristics the 737 MAX has from other 737 variants because of the repositioned engines. Now put something like a fed drop/assault/gun-ship in a wind tunnel and tell me thats not going to need some fly by wire assitance in a thick atmosphere with weather systems and crosswinds etc.
I have looked at the shapes. It's probably fair to say that a photograph of any of them could be used in a definition of aerodynamic. As in 'Nothing Whatsoever Like This'. Excepting maybe the Eagle, Clipper, or Cutter. Maybe.

My conclusion ? If we are to be allowed to take them into atmosphere - as opposed to needing separate landing craft designed for aerodynamic flight - then surely they are going to have to behave more like helicopters than airplanes? Your vertical thrusters are your rotor(s), laterals are your tail-rotor, you just get some added ballistic flight capability from your mains. FA-off might be a liability in such a case too, unless the 'atmospheric capability pack', or whatever it gets called, seriously upgrades the thrusters.

An interesting concept all round, really.

While I am personally of the opinion that the main game should be given a serious addition of depth before adding atmospheric landings or legs - not that I am fundamentally opposed to either one - I could easily lose hundreds of hours just flying about if any of the above is close to reality. Big ships would probably be a no-no, but the individual flight characteristics of the rest - and the desire to discover them - damn, I might never get back into space!
 
My conclusion ? If we are to be allowed to take them into atmosphere - as opposed to needing separate landing craft designed for aerodynamic flight - then surely they are going to have to behave more like helicopters than airplanes? Your vertical thrusters are your rotor(s), laterals are your tail-rotor, you just get some added ballistic flight capability from your mains. FA-off might be a liability in such a case too, unless the 'atmospheric capability pack', or whatever it gets called, seriously upgrades the thrusters.
Why would thrusters need to be improved?

What difference does an atmosphere make to a ship's ability to provide sufficient thrust to remain above a planet's surface?

Simple fact is, our ships can already make a controlled descent from orbit to a planet surface and then get back into orbit again.
The presence of an atmosphere is probably going to make landing easier while, at worst, it's only likely to slow down the ascent to a limited degree.

Depending on how accurately lift and drag are modelled, we might see some heating caused by friction and we might see instability at high-speed but we KNOW our thrusters are capable of holding our ships aloft - completely stationary - without any kind of aerodynamic assistance at all so we should always be able to simply throttle-down, level off and our ships will regain full control... and not crater into the surface.

+EDIT+

It's also worth pointing out that we actually have no idea just how powerful our ship's positional thrusters (the ones that provide "hovering" thrust) really are.

Land on a 0.1g planet, take off again and then use your positional thrusters to gain altitude while keeping your ship level.
Your ship will accelerate until it's gaining altitude at a rate of, say, 30m/sec.

Now land on an 5g planet and repeat the process.
Your ship might accelerate more slowly but it will, eventually, gain altitude at the same rate of around, say, 30m/sec.

Basically, if your thrusters can allow your ship gain altitude at a rate of 30m/sec on a 5g planet, they should be capable of producing 1,500m/sec on a 0.1g planet - where your ship weighs 50x less.

If we ignore the obvious explanation for this ("cos it's a game, innit?!") then we have to assume that our ships feature some kind of fly-by-wire throttle-control that automatically limits the output of the thrusters to ensure our ships always operate within their prescribed performance-envelope regardless of the local conditions.

We really have no idea how much thrust our positional thrusters are truly capable of but, given that the don't seem to struggle at all on any planet surface, it's unlikely that the addition of an atmosphere is going to prevent them getting our ships into the sky.
Course, from a gameplay POV, it might be nice if they took a bit longer to do it, and generated a bit of heat in the process just to add a bit of "skill" to the process of flying within an atmosphere.
 
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Why would thrusters need to be improved?

What difference does an atmosphere make to a ship's ability to provide sufficient thrust to remain above a planet's surface?

Simple fact is, our ships can already make a controlled descent from orbit to a planet surface and then get back into orbit again.
The presence of an atmosphere is probably going to make landing easier while, at worst, it's only likely to slow down the ascent to a limited degree.

Depending on how accurately lift and drag are modelled, we might see some heating caused by friction and we might see instability at high-speed but we KNOW our thrusters are capable of holding our ships aloft - completely stationary - without any kind of aerodynamic assistance at all so we should always be able to simply throttle-down, level off and our ships will regain full control... and not crater into the surface.

+EDIT+

It's also worth pointing out that we actually have no idea just how powerful our ship's positional thrusters (the ones that provide "hovering" thrust) really are.

Land on a 0.1g planet, take off again and then use your positional thrusters to gain altitude while keeping your ship level.
Your ship will accelerate until it's gaining altitude at a rate of, say, 30m/sec.

Now land on an 5g planet and repeat the process.
Your ship might accelerate more slowly but it will, eventually, gain altitude at the same rate of around, say, 30m/sec.

Basically, if your thrusters can allow your ship gain altitude at a rate of 30m/sec on a 5g planet, they should be capable of producing 1,500m/sec on a 0.1g planet - where your ship weighs 50x less.

If we ignore the obvious explanation for this ("cos it's a game, innit?!") then we have to assume that our ships feature some kind of fly-by-wire throttle-control that automatically limits the output of the thrusters to ensure our ships always operate within their prescribed performance-envelope regardless of the local conditions.

We really have no idea how much thrust our positional thrusters are truly capable of but, given that the don't seem to struggle at all on any planet surface, it's unlikely that the addition of an atmosphere is going to prevent them getting our ships into the sky.
Course, from a gameplay POV, it might be nice if they took a bit longer to do it, and generated a bit of heat in the process just to add a bit of "skill" to the process of flying within an atmosphere.
On thrusters and the possible need for an upgrade I was thinking purely in terms of FA-off flight and it occurred to me that suddenly deciding to tumble the ship into an inverted reverse orientation whilst at the same time combating aerodynamic drag factors trying to resist such a manouevre might need more than they've currently got. Of course I'd forgotten that they can already happily outlift the pull of 5g and more, so, hey! Put it down to it being early and I'm an idiot :confused:
 
On thrusters and the possible need for an upgrade I was thinking purely in terms of FA-off flight and it occurred to me that suddenly deciding to tumble the ship into an inverted reverse orientation whilst at the same time combating aerodynamic drag factors trying to resist such a manouevre might need more than they've currently got. Of course I'd forgotten that they can already happily outlift the pull of 5g and more, so, hey! Put it down to it being early and I'm an idiot :confused:
I suppose, depending on how it all gets modelled, our ships might become more sluggish when flying in atmospheres.
Honestly, I kind of hope they do.

Like I said, it might also be nice if the ship's "real" aerodynamics were also modelled, just to make it harder to control a ship in an atmosphere.
You try flying at 500m/sec through the atmosphere of an ELW in your Cobra and it'll start fluttering around like a leaf in the wind.

Ultimately, though, the power of the positional thrusters means it should always be possible to regain control by getting off the throttle and levelling off.
 
Planet with atmosphere, flora and fauna is the gateway to life and the beauty for our eyes and the light for our brain.

An obvious dynamic visual boost.

As if we are locked in the dark in a room and suddenly we open the window to let in the blue sky and the sun and hear the birds sing.
 
I suppose, depending on how it all gets modelled, our ships might become more sluggish when flying in atmospheres.
Honestly, I kind of hope they do.

Like I said, it might also be nice if the ship's "real" aerodynamics were also modelled, just to make it harder to control a ship in an atmosphere.
You try flying at 500m/sec through the atmosphere of an ELW in your Cobra and it'll start fluttering around like a leaf in the wind.

Ultimately, though, the power of the positional thrusters means it should always be possible to regain control by getting off the throttle and levelling off.
Since we don't have artificial gravity, atmospheric flight is completely depending on thrusters. Additional, most atmospheric worlds are 1G upwards. Plus there is weather, and atmospheric pressure. In Venus' atmosphere we should basically be able to swim.
I'm excited to see how they address it. I'm also pretty sure we won't see earth-likes anytime soon. People always seem to think, "atmospheric" is synonymous to "Earth-like", but it isn't, of course. There are so many types of atmospheres, the earth-like kind is pretty rare actually.
 
I have looked at the shapes. It's probably fair to say that a photograph of any of them could be used in a definition of aerodynamic. As in 'Nothing Whatsoever Like This'. Excepting maybe the Eagle, Clipper, or Cutter. Maybe.

My conclusion ? If we are to be allowed to take them into atmosphere - as opposed to needing separate landing craft designed for aerodynamic flight - then surely they are going to have to behave more like helicopters than airplanes? Your vertical thrusters are your rotor(s), laterals are your tail-rotor, you just get some added ballistic flight capability from your mains. FA-off might be a liability in such a case too, unless the 'atmospheric capability pack', or whatever it gets called, seriously upgrades the thrusters.

An interesting concept all round, really.

While I am personally of the opinion that the main game should be given a serious addition of depth before adding atmospheric landings or legs - not that I am fundamentally opposed to either one - I could easily lose hundreds of hours just flying about if any of the above is close to reality. Big ships would probably be a no-no, but the individual flight characteristics of the rest - and the desire to discover them - damn, I might never get back into space!
The Hauler, Adder and FdL are not dissimilar to 20th century lifting body and space shuttle designs so would probably work at least at high speed.
But I agree the flight model is going to be much closer to the Flying Bedstead than a Learjet.
 
While I entirely agree we should be careful - we don't want to see Frontier posting something like this ..

We've listened to the community and we've decided to delay the 2020 update (and fleet carriers) until 2022 so we can re-prioritise the efforts of the development team and get them working on exciting new atmospheric landing content. In the meantime ... join us tonight as Stephen and Paige go bug hunting with the Anti-Xeno Initiative.
I was going to say the exact same thing... This is what all these threads give FDev... a way out.
 
I'd like to know what FDevs plans for monetizing atmo landings would be. I can easily see space legs generating micro-transaction income through commander cosmetics (clothing, armor, etc...), weapon and armor cosmetics, ship and base cosmetics.

What will they sell for atmo landings? Maybe just cosmetic extensions of everything from legs that would make sense on atmo worlds? I don't know... but it seems legs makes more financial sense to FDev from a micro-transaction perspective at this point.
 
Since we don't have artificial gravity, atmospheric flight is completely depending on thrusters. Additional, most atmospheric worlds are 1G upwards. Plus there is weather, and atmospheric pressure. In Venus' atmosphere we should basically be able to swim.
I'm excited to see how they address it. I'm also pretty sure we won't see earth-likes anytime soon. People always seem to think, "atmospheric" is synonymous to "Earth-like", but it isn't, of course. There are so many types of atmospheres, the earth-like kind is pretty rare actually.
We shouldn't conflate the ideas that "atmospheric flight is dependant on thrusters" and "thrusters are the only thing that has an effect on atmospheric flight" with each other, though.

We currently de-orbit and enter a glide-phase which sees our ships whizzing downwards at a rate of a couple of thousand m/sec, for example.
If we descend too steeply, or not steeply enough, the glide terminates and we have to continue down to the surface at regular speed.

If atmo' landings are to be modelled with any level of authenticity, that's going to become significantly more complex.

I'd suggest, for example, that we might de-orbit in a planet's thermosphere and then we'll get some kind of glide-slope appear on our HUD, arcing toward the surface at a rate that corresponds with our speed.
We'll then have the extent of the planet's thermosphere to align ourselves with the glide-slope and "fly through the hoops" on our way down to the surface.

As we pass through the mesosphere, stratosphere and trophosphere, continuing to fly through the hoops, we're going to start getting buffeted around, our speed is going to decrease, our ships are going to heat up due to drag and the glide-slope might adjust depending on ambient atmospheric conditions.

During the glide, if we stray above the glide-slope then our rate of descent will reduce, our velocity will continue to reduce and that'll mean we simply won't be able to glide down to our intended destination because we'll have permanantly bled away some of the speed required to maintain the calculated glide-slope.
Instead, we'll overshoot our intended destination and then we'll have to fly back to it at normal speed.
Conversely, if we stray below the glide-slope then our rate of descent will increase, our ships will become more difficult to control, they'll heat up more as a result of drag, we'll risk causing damage and we'll arrive at the surface short of our destination and we'll have to continue to it at normal speed.

There'll also, unfortunately, be something of a "double whammy" at work for certain ships too.
A ship like a T9, for example, doesn't have a very high top speed in normal flight and it's likely to have a high Cd.
That means it's going to rely heavily on optimising it's trans-orbital velocity to plough through an atmosphere on it's way down to a planet's surface.

Basically, in a T9, if you're on too shallow a glide you're going to bleed away speed until you have a top speed of, perhaps, 100m/sec and you'll still be 50km above the surface.
Conversely, if you're on too steep a glide, the ship's going to become difficult to control and you're going to start burning up unless you modify your descent path.

At any point during the descent you will have the option of simply throttling-down and allowing your thrusters to keep you aloft but that'll mean you'll lose your trans-orbital velocity and you'll have to continue with your descent at your normal speed which, depending on atmospheric conditions, your ship's Cd and available thrust, might take a looong time.


We're never going to crash into an atmospheric planet's surface as a result of inadequate aerodynamics but, if aerodynamics are modelled with any kind of realism, we could find that it becomes much tricker to land on a planet's surface in a timely manner (or without burning up), we could find that we have to fly much slower in an atmosphere in order to retain control of our ships and we could find that getting back up into orbit again takes significantly longer as well.

And I'm really hoping for all of that.

I'm not expecting it, though, unfortunately.
 
We shouldn't conflate the ideas that "atmospheric flight is dependant on thrusters" and "thrusters are the only thing that has an effect on atmospheric flight" with each other, though.

We currently de-orbit and enter a glide-phase which sees our ships whizzing downwards at a rate of a couple of thousand m/sec, for example.
If we descend too steeply, or not steeply enough, the glide terminates and we have to continue down to the surface at regular speed.

If atmo' landings are to be modelled with any level of authenticity, that's going to become significantly more complex.

I'd suggest, for example, that we might de-orbit in a planet's thermosphere and then we'll get some kind of glide-slope appear on our HUD, arcing toward the surface at a rate that corresponds with our speed.
We'll then have the extent of the planet's thermosphere to align ourselves with the glide-slope and "fly through the hoops" on our way down to the surface.

As we pass through the mesosphere, stratosphere and trophosphere, continuing to fly through the hoops, we're going to start getting buffeted around, our speed is going to decrease, our ships are going to heat up due to drag and the glide-slope might adjust depending on ambient atmospheric conditions.

During the glide, if we stray above the glide-slope then our rate of descent will reduce, our velocity will continue to reduce and that'll mean we simply won't be able to glide down to our intended destination because we'll have permanantly bled away some of the speed required to maintain the calculated glide-slope.
Instead, we'll overshoot our intended destination and then we'll have to fly back to it at normal speed.
Conversely, if we stray below the glide-slope then our rate of descent will increase, our ships will become more difficult to control, they'll heat up more as a result of drag, we'll risk causing damage and we'll arrive at the surface short of our destination and we'll have to continue to it at normal speed.

There'll also, unfortunately, be something of a "double whammy" at work for certain ships too.
A ship like a T9, for example, doesn't have a very high top speed in normal flight and it's likely to have a high Cd.
That means it's going to rely heavily on optimising it's trans-orbital velocity to plough through an atmosphere on it's way down to a planet's surface.

Basically, in a T9, if you're on too shallow a glide you're going to bleed away speed until you have a top speed of, perhaps, 100m/sec and you'll still be 50km above the surface.
Conversely, if you're on too steep a glide, the ship's going to become difficult to control and you're going to start burning up unless you modify your descent path.

At any point during the descent you will have the option of simply throttling-down and allowing your thrusters to keep you aloft but that'll mean you'll lose your trans-orbital velocity and you'll have to continue with your descent at your normal speed which, depending on atmospheric conditions, your ship's Cd and available thrust, might take a looong time.


We're never going to crash into an atmospheric planet's surface as a result of inadequate aerodynamics but, if aerodynamics are modelled with any kind of realism, we could find that it becomes much tricker to land on a planet's surface in a timely manner (or without burning up), we could find that we have to fly much slower in an atmosphere in order to retain control of our ships and we could find that getting back up into orbit again takes significantly longer as well.

And I'm really hoping for all of that.

I'm not expecting it, though, unfortunately.
Sounds good to me. I'll join you on the Hope train, if I may :D
 
We shouldn't conflate the ideas that "atmospheric flight is dependant on thrusters" and "thrusters are the only thing that has an effect on atmospheric flight" with each other, though.

We currently de-orbit and enter a glide-phase which sees our ships whizzing downwards at a rate of a couple of thousand m/sec, for example.
If we descend too steeply, or not steeply enough, the glide terminates and we have to continue down to the surface at regular speed.

If atmo' landings are to be modelled with any level of authenticity, that's going to become significantly more complex.

I'd suggest, for example, that we might de-orbit in a planet's thermosphere and then we'll get some kind of glide-slope appear on our HUD, arcing toward the surface at a rate that corresponds with our speed.
We'll then have the extent of the planet's thermosphere to align ourselves with the glide-slope and "fly through the hoops" on our way down to the surface.

As we pass through the mesosphere, stratosphere and trophosphere, continuing to fly through the hoops, we're going to start getting buffeted around, our speed is going to decrease, our ships are going to heat up due to drag and the glide-slope might adjust depending on ambient atmospheric conditions.

During the glide, if we stray above the glide-slope then our rate of descent will reduce, our velocity will continue to reduce and that'll mean we simply won't be able to glide down to our intended destination because we'll have permanantly bled away some of the speed required to maintain the calculated glide-slope.
Instead, we'll overshoot our intended destination and then we'll have to fly back to it at normal speed.
Conversely, if we stray below the glide-slope then our rate of descent will increase, our ships will become more difficult to control, they'll heat up more as a result of drag, we'll risk causing damage and we'll arrive at the surface short of our destination and we'll have to continue to it at normal speed.

There'll also, unfortunately, be something of a "double whammy" at work for certain ships too.
A ship like a T9, for example, doesn't have a very high top speed in normal flight and it's likely to have a high Cd.
That means it's going to rely heavily on optimising it's trans-orbital velocity to plough through an atmosphere on it's way down to a planet's surface.

Basically, in a T9, if you're on too shallow a glide you're going to bleed away speed until you have a top speed of, perhaps, 100m/sec and you'll still be 50km above the surface.
Conversely, if you're on too steep a glide, the ship's going to become difficult to control and you're going to start burning up unless you modify your descent path.

At any point during the descent you will have the option of simply throttling-down and allowing your thrusters to keep you aloft but that'll mean you'll lose your trans-orbital velocity and you'll have to continue with your descent at your normal speed which, depending on atmospheric conditions, your ship's Cd and available thrust, might take a looong time.


We're never going to crash into an atmospheric planet's surface as a result of inadequate aerodynamics but, if aerodynamics are modelled with any kind of realism, we could find that it becomes much tricker to land on a planet's surface in a timely manner (or without burning up), we could find that we have to fly much slower in an atmosphere in order to retain control of our ships and we could find that getting back up into orbit again takes significantly longer as well.

And I'm really hoping for all of that.

I'm not expecting it, though, unfortunately.
I guess we'll see it when it happens.
Also, I think the glide phase is meant as a stretched out transition from supercruise to normal space. Or maybe they didn't think at all and just made it a fancy gameplay mechanic because it's cool and convenient.
I don't like to think that way though. :D
 
I guess we'll see it when it happens.
Also, I think the glide phase is meant as a stretched out transition from supercruise to normal space. Or maybe they didn't think at all and just made it a fancy gameplay mechanic because it's cool and convenient.
I don't like to think that way though. :D
Oh yeah, for sure.

As anybody who's ever aborted a glide will know, getting down to the surface under your own steam is pretty tedious.
I wouldn't be surprised if the first internal beta's of Horizons simply had the player dropping out of SC somewhere in orbit so you could fly down to the surface and then somebody (wisely) realised it'd be a good idea to add the glide just to get you down there quicker.

Thing is, if they're going to make a decent job of planetary atmospheres we're going to need to experience the whole thing.
We're going to need to drop out of SC somewhere in a low orbit, where we'll still be travelling at a trans-orbital speed (which would be a bit like the start of the current glide), and then we're going to have to travel down through the thermosphere, start heating up and slowing down, head into the mesosphere, still heating up and slowing down but there might be some friction effects now and the atmosphere might be getting hazy, into the stratosphere, still slowing down and generating some heat but now we'll be seeing atmospheric effects as well and then, finally, into the trophosphere where we'll be slowing almost to regular cruising speed, we'll be getting the full atmospheric effects and we might even start to see our engines overheating if we push them too hard in a thick atmosphere (?).

And they need to balance all that against the original philosophy of getting us down to the surface in a timely manner, while also making it an engaging experience.


If they haven't already, FDev could (as usual) probably benefit from looking at how KSP handles entering an atmosphere.

At the one extreme, you can do a retro-burn in orbit to reduce your orbital speed to zero.
You'll then fall out of orbit like a stone, you'll accelerate to terminal velocity (which is stupid-fast until you actually enter the atmosphere and begin to slow down as a result of drag), your ship will start to burn up as it encounters the atmosphere and - even if it survives - you'll probably find that you're still going stupid-fast when you crater into the surface.

At the other extreme, you can do the ideal de-orbit burn, so you're travelling at just less that orbital velocity.
You can then modify your trajectory, and use your thrusters, to minimise your rate of descent.
You'll generate almost no friction-heating but you'll slow down really slowly and it'll take you hours to actually land on the surface.

Somewhere in the middle there is, of course, the optimal descent slope, where you're not generating excessive friction-heating, you are descending at a reasonable rate but you won't be travelling so fast that you can't pull out of the descent.

In KSP that's a pretty difficult task because you have limited fuel and you don't want to be carrying excess fuel during the descent because it all adds to the mass that has to be decelerated to a safe landing velocity.
In ED there should be much more latitude because our ships can generate massive amounts of thrust using tiny quantities of fuel but the same basic parameters should apply.
 
Can I do the Battlestar Galactica free-fall Viper launch thing? I mean, if we're having atmospheric flight, that has to be mandatory, doesn't it?
Actually whilst I really want to land on atmospheric planets I think I am as interested in HOW we get there as I am the planet themselves. I hope it isn't just identical to glide we have now.
I want our ship to get thrown about in huge storms with risk of destruction and actually have a challenge.
Best example I can think of is Aliens (in the pipe 5 by 5)
Stealthie and valorin pretty much hits the nail right above actually.
 
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While I entirely agree we should be careful - we don't want to see Frontier posting something like this ..

We've listened to the community and we've decided to delay the 2020 update (and fleet carriers) until 2022 so we can re-prioritise the efforts of the development team and get them working on exciting new atmospheric landing content. In the meantime ... join us tonight as Stephen and Paige go bug hunting with the Anti-Xeno Initiative.
Lol had it not already happened multiple times that would be funny. It's amazing really. We were shown the ice planet renders in 2017 over 12 months in advance of their alleged release to act as an appology for the delay int he game combined with a " but stick with us because look at the jam you will get tomorrow". That has been delayed again for what looks like at least 2 years. 2020 new era is really time for FD to **** or get of the pot imo.
 
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