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.
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.
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
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.
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.