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Asparagus Staging: The Key To Putting Crap -Heavy or Light- Into Space *Updated To V2*
By TalenTaylor
If you're trying your best to get a rocket up and out of the atmosphere, but just can't seem to balance out your thrust:weight ratio, this guide will ensure you are soaring through space with a very simple build
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Enjoy The Enhanced Asparagus Staging Guide

Welcome to the complete overhaul of my Asparagus Staging guide.
This guide includes hundreds of changes and improvements from the original that I think we will all come to agree make the guide more understandable and easy to use.

These improvements aren't the end either, in the future you can expect to see many more changes including:
  • More Videos
  • "Advanced Users" Sections
  • Different styles of builds
  • How to integrate asparagus staging into any rocket
  • And maybe even more!
Disclaimer And Notices
I can confirm this method still works as of 4/5/2014

I did not design this type of staging.
Because the game currently calculates drag based on what parts are on your ship, and not by the surface area that is exposed, this type of staging may not work in a future update when a refined engine is introduced.
Basic Build
This part of the guide can be done just by looking at the pictures, but be sure to read anyways for clarity!

To keep it as simple as we can, use the Mk1 Command pod.

One of the key ingredients in a good asparagus is to make sure it stays straight, so be sure to add an AdvancedSAS.

Many different tanks can be used as the center of the asparagus, but the Jumbo-64 will provide the best results for beginners as far as understanding how asparagus staging actually works.

Now in the current version of KSP (0.20), the Jumbo-64 tank on top of the engine we want will overheat the engine before it can get very high at all. So we will need a smaller tank below it. Just grab the smallest Rockomax brand tank and stick in underneath the Jumbo-64.
(Important: As of version 0.20, a strange wobble will occur causing the rocket to become difficult to stear when these 2 tanks are placed in this fashion, so until this is fixed, add Strut Connectors to hold the Jumbo-64 firmly against the smaller tank.)

Now that that overheating problem won't be an issue, we can now attach our Mainsail engine.

This is the center of our asparagus, from here on, it is crucial that your symmetry mode is set to 2.
Any of the radial decouplers will work, but the TT-70 will provide the most distance from the center.
Now we need to set up our 6 outer tanks, we will do this by keeping our symmetry mode on 2 so we only ever end up having to attach these parts once. Place a FL-T800 on the center of your decoupler.

Though there is a more effective version of asparagus staging, it can create problems with decoupling, so we will just be using the LV-T45.

Now to save (a lot of) time, we are going to copy our outer rocket (and decoupler) by pressing your respective operating system's modifier key, and left clicking on the decoupler.

Doing this will give you an exact copy of what ever you click on, as well as the parts branching away from it. Make sure your symmetry option is still set to 2, and paste your copies to match the pictures.

You should now have 6 rockets symmetrically placed around your jumbo. The last parts we need to attach are the fuel lines that make this rocket have its efficiency. Place your lines to match the picture (be sure the lines are facing the correct direction.

Our rocket is now finished, all we need to do now is set up our staging and we will be ready to fly.
Staging
Staging for this build is something you'll be able to do from memory after getting it the first time,so don't worry if it looks and or sounds complicated.

To start, you need ALL of your engines on your initial launch stage.

Next, if you had done the decoupler and fuel tank placing steps correctly with symmetry-2 on, your decouplers on your staging bar should be in pairs.

The stage followed by your engines firing, should be 2 of your decouplers detaching, the 2 that decoupler first should be the 2 that don't have fuel lines feeding in to them. In other words, the first 2 should be the ones that you originally hooked fuel lines up to.

The following stage will be another 2 of your decouplers, these 2 are the ones that are directly next in line in the direction your fuel lines are flowing.

The final stage is the remaining 2 decouplers. After passing through this stage, you will (should) only have your Jumbo left.

When you are done, check the below lists to make sure you have it right.

This picture shows which decouplers should be detached through the stages.
0Decoupler X2
1Decoupler X2
2Decoupler X2
3All Engines
Launch And Flight
Before Launching:
  • Turn your SAS on (Press T)
  • Throttle up all the way

    This launch is as simple as just hitting the space-bar from here.

    Stage 3

    Go ahead and hit the space-bar once, all of your engines should be firing at full blast now.
    Stage 2

    On your staging bar, (given that your staging is set up correctly) you should see 2 of your engines running out quite quickly, those 2 should run out at the same time, and as soon as they do, hit the space-bar.
    Stage 1

    Again you should see that 2 of your engines are running out faster than the other remaining 2. When these run out, hit the space-bar.
    Stage 0

    You should now only have 2 rockets left, it will take a bit longer for these 2 to empty than the other 4 (see: Explaination section) but as soon as they do, hit the space-bar one last time.

    For additional support, you can check my video of me launching this exact rocket


    Checklist:
  • You have no rockets attached to your exterior
  • Your jumbo fuel tank is full, or nearly full
  • Your Mainsail engine is still in one piece

    If that checklist matches your situation by this point then...
    You have successfully asparagus staged a rocket
Advanced Builds
There is potentially no limit to how many rockets you can add, this guide shows a tutorial for 6 for the sake of simplicity. I personally have done a 64 staged asparagus, and even that was overkill (and not to mention hard on my computer). Though in the long run, 6 won't be enough.


If you do decide to add more rockets to your asparagus, then keep in mind
  • Your rocket must be symmetrically balanced
  • Your fuel lines must all face the correct direction
  • You have to add the appropriate number of stages and have them all in the correct order

    Don't be afraid to push your limits, we are Kerbonauts after all :)
Troubleshooting
"My tanks are running out of fuel at completely different times"
-Make sure you are using the same engines, and fuel tanks for all of your outer rockets.
-Check to see that your fuel lines are all facing toward the flow to the center tank

"My rocket keeps buckling under the weight of itself"
-Go to your structure parts menu and grab a few struts that you can connect, from your jumbo, to the outer rockets, then make sure what ever your launching is secured as well.

"My rocket keeps exploding as soon as i go to launch it"
-Go to your structure parts menu and grab some launch enhancers, and place them evenly around your outer rockets. The issue your having is a weight overload, this will disapear as soon as the rocket is properly launched given that the center of thrust, and mass are even.

"My jumbo tank is overheating and exploding"
-This can either be fixed by dialing back the throttle to just over the 2/3 mark, or by adding a small rockomax tank in between the jumbo, and the mainsail.
Explaination
The reason this works as well as it does, is not through any type of exploit or glitch. To put it as simply as possible, the 3 tanks that are hooked up to eachother, let's call them tanks A, B, and C, and the jumbo will be X.

A tank, fires its engine, while refueling B tank

B tank fires it's engines, recieves fuel from A tank, and fuels C tank

C tank fires it's engines, recieves fuel from B tank, and fuels X tank

Ultimately, A, B, and C are working to keep X filled, while also firing their engines. And when those tanks run out, without any tank to refuel them, they are detached as dead weight and allow the remaining tanks -and over all the jumbo tank- to procede higher and faster.
Want to help build and grow this guide?
If you spot any spelling/grammar/ or punctuation errors or typos, leave the comment section alone, drop me an email directly at tekkentaylor@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions for the guide, go ahead and email those too.

And hey, I've considered writing up a german version of this guide, so if you speak and write german and english fluently, add me up and we can talk about some dates we could discuss the possibility. You would of course get equal credit for the translated guide and be featured on the guide's page.
58 Comments
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klesh Jun 17 @ 9:48am 
Great guide! If you've never tried asparagus staging, you simply must give it a go! The results are far superior than if you just slap all the rockets and tanks on there normally. It really extends the distance your ship can travel.
joemama_luvs_ u Jun 14 @ 2:20am 
Can you make fuel flow from large central tank to two adjouning tanks with rockets on them. i used to use a tug with a large tankin the center and two nclear engines on nacelles. last time i checked it didn't work anymore. thanks for the awesome guide!
AnimaAduro Jun 10 @ 7:47am 
Love this guide. Made me go download Auto Asparagus. Love every bit.
Tim Dungeon Oct 22, 2013 @ 1:48pm 
I like the guide! Actually made me laugh at a few points, and this is great way to explain asparagus staging!
PCPhoenixGaming Oct 19, 2013 @ 7:24am 
Nice guide- love the copy paste image
Nixx Aug 28, 2013 @ 8:33am 
All the asparagus... Damn fine guide
Chacious Aug 24, 2013 @ 11:27am 
I usually set the symmetry to how many tanks I have, than go through and disable symmetry and put fuel lines on one by one. This method takes more time and requires a lot more thinking; however I am legally blind so sometimes it's more simple for me to do that, rather than attempt to get the 2x 2x 2x perfectly in the same place.

I use asparugus staging whenever it's feasible for me, I even like making tiny tall asparugus just for the looks and design.

Great Guide, also I'm not sure if this is stil lthe case but I don't imagine the mechanics have changed; but when you disable Gimbling on the outer engines I've heard that you would save fuel. I have never used drop pods, but I enjoy trying new things so I will probably give it a shot if nothing else than just to experiment.
Obsidian Aug 24, 2013 @ 10:05am 
Hopefuly helpful guide
I will try this method out
Sage Of Salt Aug 24, 2013 @ 8:00am 
Well since it is just asparagus in general asparagus drop pods still fit in even if you were just specializing on launch.
TalenTaylor  [author] Aug 24, 2013 @ 7:58am 
@Mr.Wurmple
Most of the point of this guide is to show people an effective way to get rockets up when they arent dealing with a "easy to lift payload"
Some people who are just getting started can't be bothered with perfectly balancing their rockets, and I think that is perfectly fine, so I made this guide to show that you can launch really any shape or form of whatever into space.