Friday, November 8, 2013

An Analysis of Simple Rockets

For one of my statistics projects I chose to analyze a game called SimpleRockets. I wanted to find out the most efficient way to achieve orbit. So I ran numerous tests to figure it out. I measured the height of the rockets apoapsis and the time it took the rocket to reach apoapsis. If the rocket escaped orbit I also measured its escape velocity and the time it took to escape orbit.

I was surprised to find the largest engine was not the most efficient engine. In fact the second smallest engine used with the second largest fuel tank was the best combination to achieve orbit. I attribute this to air resistance in the atmosphere. The larger engines consumed more fuel while they were still in the atmosphere. But the smaller engines had plenty of fuel left after the escaped the atmosphere.

In addition to running tests I was able to look at a bit of the games code. I found all of the different parts values such as mass, fuel consumption, thrust, wet weight, dry weight, and turning ability. I then looked though the planets and found their mass, orbit, and atmospheric density. Seeing these values helped me to come to my conclusion that the atmosphere is responsible for making large ships inefficient.

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