The 1.8 update just came out and it is a strong update. It has new missions and a lot of new parts.
The update adds missions 33 and 34. Mission 33 has you installing a new CSgt Nuclear Reactor on the MSS. Mission 34 is sending an ISAAC module and an Orion capsule to the ADS. It was nice to have Mission 34 work in the chance to use the LP1 from the last update.
The CSgt Nuclear Reactor is a great addition that brings new functionality of permanent power source that isn't a solar panel. No longer do you need to keep stacking up solar panels to power your station (or using to the ATV battery hack). The reactor generates 200 power, and consumes 6 for a net production of 196. That is almost double what you could get from a large solar panel and in less space. It still isn't a small part. It requires an extra long fairing to launch because of the long truss that the reactor is attached to. It would have been more flexible if it could be split into the tiny reactor and an extra long truss, but it is still a great new part for adding on to stations.
The ISAAC module is basically a round habitation module. It has one docking port and holds 4 cargo. The round shape is a nice variation compared to the other mostly rectangular parts.
Both the ISAAC module and CSgt Nuclear Reactor were named after active members of the Space Agency Wiki. It is really great to see them honored like this for their contributions to the community.The update also includes a plethora of new add on parts with the Nooleus X add-on. It costs $5.49 USD. It gets all the Draco and Eagle 8 parts needed to rival SpaceX.
- Draco Crew Capsule
- Draco Cargo Capsule
- Draco Trunk Module
- Draco Fairing
- Eagle 8 Second Stage
- Eagle 8 Connector
- Eagle 8 Reusable First Stage
I love seeing the new parts. This is a must get add-on for any SpaceX fans.
The Eagle 8 is a more powerful version of the reusable LP1 rocket introduced in the last update. It has the same mechanics. If you successfully land the 1st stage after a launch you are awarded one quick launch. Just like the LP1, the Eagle 8 feels a bit more like a balloon instead of rocket when landing. If you keep the engine on for too long it starts gaining altitude. You end up tapping the the thruster in short burst to bounce the rocket up and down and get it centered over the landing pad.
The Draco capsules are a nice alternative to the Orion capsule, but leave the Draco Trunk at home and use an Orion Service Module. The Draco Trunk has some bugs that limit is usefulness. Even though it has main engine fuel, it doesn't let you fire main engines. And if you do get to your destination on the thruster propellant, there is no way to get the cargo out of the trunk. If those bugs get fixed it will be a great cargo hauler: eleven cargo in one launch!
This is a great update and I am hoping that Nooleus can continue putting out updates like this on a regular basis.
Update Dec 27, 2017 : Nooleus release the 1.8.1 update which included a fix to allow the Draco Crew Capsules' main engines to fire while it was attached to the Draco Trunk. Unfortunately, it still is limited in its functionality without a way to get to the cargo stored in the trunk.