KSP Parachute Calculator

For Kerbal Space Program

Version 0.3 - Updated September 19, 2013



Mission Parameters

Planet/Moon:

Ship Mass:

tonnes

Ship Drag Coefficient:

Desired Landing Velocity:

m/s

Landing Site Elevation:

m


Total Parachute Mass Required*: tonnes
(Only valid for MK16, MK16XL, MK2R or modded chutes with drag coeffecient of 500)

# of Mk16-XL:

# of Mk2-R:

# of Mk16:

# of Mk25 (drogue):

Total Parachute Drag:

Parachute Drag Required**:

Estimated Landing Velocity:

m/s
This tool will calculate the mass and number of parachutes that are necessary to slow down your landing craft to a given descent velocity, at a given elevation on the planet or moon (with an atmosphere!) of your choosing. Like Kerbal Space Program, this tool is still in development.

How to Use

First you must select which planet or moon (with an atmosphere) you'd like to land on.

Next, input the mass of your landing craft. You can find this value easily in KSP v.20.0 or newer by loading just your landing ship on the launch pad, exiting to the orbital map view (pressing m), and clicking on the info button on the far right of your screen. You may also use various plug-ins to find your ship's mass, or estimate the mass yourself.

Then, input the drag coefficient of your spacecraft. The default value is 0.2 as the majority of parts in KSP have this coefficient. Small variations from this value will not significantly affect the calculations so using the default value will be sufficient most of the time.

After that, select the desired landing velocity. Typically, 5 to 10 m/s is survivable for a sturdy ship, and 2 to 5 m/s for more delicate craft.

Finally, choose the elevation of your landing site. On worlds with oceans, an elevation of 0 m is sea level. A table at the bottom of this page list the elevation ranges on different worlds, or if you know exactly where you'd like to land, you can estimate your landing elevation by visiting Kerbal Space Program Maps, selecting the target planet/moon and choosing the 'Color Relief' layer.

When you're finished, click Calculate to crunch the numbers, or Reset to start over.

Total Parachute Mass Required

The calculator will tell you the total mass of parachutes that you need to add to your landing craft to slow down to your desired velocity. Simply attach any number or combination of non-drogue parachutes to your landing craft so that their total mass is close to required amount.

Example: If your landing craft has a mass of 10.0 tonnes with a drag coefficient of 0.2, and you wish to land on a site on Duna with an elevation of about 1000 m at a speed of 8 m/s, you will require about 1.5 tons of parachutes. You could use 10 radial Mk2-R parachutes (0.15 tonnes each) to do the job, or 5 Mk16-XLs (0.3 tonnes each), or a combination of 3 Mk16-XLs and 4 Mk2-Rs.

*Note: This value assumes a parachute drag coefficient of 500 and thus will not work with the stock drogue parachute; Mk25 , but will work with the other stock parachutes; Mk16, Mk16-XL or the Mk2-R. This value should theoretically work on custom/modded parachutes provided that they have a drag coefficient of 500.

Parachute Drag Required

This value tells you the total drag value from the parachutes required to slow your ship down to the desired velocity. This number is useful if you want to use parachutes with a drag coefficient other than 500, such as drogue chutes. The sum of the mass of the parachutes, multiplied by their respective drag coefficients should add up to this value.

Example: If your landing craft has a mass of 26.0 tonnes with a drag coefficient of 0.2, and you wish to land on a site on Eve with an elevation of 2000 m at a speed of 5 m/s, you will require a parachute drag of about 1001. You could use three Mk25 drogue parachutes (0.2 tonnes, 170 drag each) and six Mk16-XL parachutes (0.3 tonnes, 500 drag each). The total drag of this combination is (3 * 0.2 * 170) + (6*0.3*500) = (102) + (900) = 1002.

Adding Parachutes by Number

You can now calculate the number of stock parachutes required to slow you down to a given landing speed. Additionally, you can add or subtract any number of any type of stock parachute (including drogue chutes!) and see what effect that will have on your estimated landing speed.

When you click Calculate the calculator will automatically tell you the number of MK16-XL parachutes required to achieve your desired landing speed. You can choose to see the number of other parachutes required to slow you down to your desired speed by clicking the ALL button next to it. You can then choose to increase or reduce the number of parachutes or mix and match any combination of parachutes using the + and - buttons. Your total parachute drag will update with every button click, but more importantly, so will your estimated landing velocity!

Tips

The lower the elevation you choose, the less parachutes you will need to slow down to a given velocity. However, it will also become more difficult to lift off and return to orbit from a lower elevation than a higher one.

If it is impossible or impractical to slow down to your desired speed on parachutes alone, you might want to consider a powered descent in addition to (or instead of) using parachutes.

The following tables are accurate for KSP v 0.21.1
WorldMin-ElevationMax-Elevation
Kerbin:0m 6761m
Eve:0m 7540m
Duna:124m 8264m
Laythe:0m 6050m

ParachuteDragMass
Mk16-XL5000.3 tonnes
Mk165000.1 tonnes
Mk2-R5000.15 tonnes
Mk25 (drogue)1700.2 tonnes



Feel free to contact me on Reddit with any questions at /u/check85
Or on the Kerbal Space Program Forum