adsii1970

Kerny Kerman's Journal (mission reports from a Kerbal's point of view) [Chapter 38]

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Index to the chapters (open spoiler to view):

Spoiler

Index to Kerny's Journals:

Chapter 1: "I've almost earned my wings..."

Chapter 2: "Thirty minutes of actual flight and an eternity (well, a day and a half feels like it) of briefings"

Chapter 3: "So that's how you get kicked out of the kerbalnaut program..."

Chapter 4: "Of all the things to have happen on the way to space..."

Chapter 5: "The long road into space and it was only a thirty minute journey..."

Chapter 6: "The worlds outside my window..."

Chapter 7: "When the unexpected happens...be happy!"

Chapter 8: "A thirty minute walk and the breathtaking view..."

Chapter 9: "The short ride home...and back the grind of the KSC"

Chapter 10: "When Jebediah says we're going to have fun...worry!" (Part 1)

Chapter 11: "And then things got real serious..."

Chapter 12: " Not quite back to normal again... "

Chapter 13: "Jebediah's at it again...but what exactly did he do?"

Chapter 14: "Gene's confused, Bill's lost his mind, and I'm still waiting for my pizza..."

Chapter 15: "Jebediah's seventeenth crash and I've learned something new..."

Chapter 16:  "And the whole world went dark..."

Chapter 17: "Hey, Jeb, Gene says you should ignore the Post-it note..."

Chapter 18: "Wanna take 'er out for a spin?"

Chapter 19:  "But wait.. there's more..."

Chapter 20:  "What the.... Gene, are you seeing this?"

Chapter 21:  "Just another day at the KSC..."

Chapter 22:  "Minimus 2, you are clear for trajectory burn..."

Chapter 23:  "The ramblings of boredom..."

Chapter 24:  "Kerny...wake up...VOX is...dammit, Aldas... switch to the emergency band..."

Chapter 25:  "A lot happens when you're away from home..."

Chapter 26:  "It's just another day around the KSC, sir...!"

Chapter 27:  "Two days before launch... and counting"

Chaoter 28: "That new capsule smell... and it comes with extra cup holders!"

Chapter 29: "Mission Control... We have landed..."

Chapter 30: "You've got to take the time to enjoy the simple pleasures each mission offers..."

Chapter 31: "Commander, I'm picking up overlapping communications..."  

Chapter 32:  "Shrunken heads and Karloff's disappointment.."

Chapter 33: "Whispers of shadows, voices from the past

Chapter 34: "Whispers of shadows, voices from the past(Part 2)

Chapter 35:  "Whispers of shadows, voices from the past(Part 3)

Chapter 36:  "Things to ponder; questions that avoid answers

Chapter 37:  "Gene... Are you sure? How's Jebediah going to handle this?

Chapter 38: "Sometimes there simply are no words...

 

Index to supplemental entries (open spoiler to view):

Qd24rlw.pngJool 14, Y003
"I've almost earned my wings..."

Well, I wasn't the first, the second, or even the eleventh selected for the new space program. No, I was twenty-third! Today I finally completed my flight simulator training and only one requirement remains before I will earn my flight wings. The training was vigorous, but Gene kept insisting that before we got to fly real aircraft we had to be able to handle any situation that came up. He then told us that it was because of the first four Kerbalauts, Jebediah, Bob, Bill, and Valentina, that the new rules were put in effect. Apparently, out of the first four, only one didn't crash his Knat - and that was Bob. Not wanting to encourage us to copy their behavior, Gene gave us only the highlights. From what Gene did tell us, the object of the flight is to get the feel for how a real craft handles and not to try to buzz the tower, fly at mach 2 through the mountains west of the KSC, or even fly through the abandoned hangars on the old island station. He refused to answer any questions on who flew their craft through the hangar. What a thrill that would have been!

Earlier today, Jebediah was a guest speaker at our training assembly. He told us that there was no greater feel than the vibration of a craft transitioning from the atmosphere into the void of space. He told us a few stories and shared a few images of what Kerbin looks like from space. He talked about looking forward to his next few missions where he will be testing a new reusable launch vehicle - which he said would eventually make spaceflight into LKO routine. It's an exciting thought about LKO becoming that easy to achieve.  We also watched the telemetry and video feeds from the second Munar expedition. Although the crew did achieve stable Munar equatorial orbit about three hours ago, Gene could be heard telling Matt, Rake, and Aldas that they would not begin the descent to the surface of the Mun for an entire day.

Again, Jebediah's name came up as Gene said they didn't want to repeat the mistakes of the first Munar mission. Jebediah accidentally deployed the CM parachutes instead of separating the lander from the CM. I remember that well; we all remember the broadcasted reports of a rescue mission being launched so that the crew could transfer into another capsule for reentry. There's a standing joke at the Kerbalnaut training center that if there's no really good explanation of how something was broken, Jeb had something to do with it!

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Podget, my roommate from the first of the course, was selected to serve as an engineer. When the assignments came out, he had hoped to continue the  Kerbalnaut training, but instead, is serving as one of three engineers aboard the URKN Eeloo, a patrol craft sent out to explore the northern oceans. He left aboard her two weeks ago; today I received a video-card from him telling me of his new assignment. He was told in his briefing, as we were in the pilot's program, that all us belong to the United Republic of Kerbin Defense Forces. We still have no idea why the Council insists on having a defense force since we know we are the only sentient life form on the planet - unless you count that pink wiggly stuff they tend to serve us in the KSC mess.

Tomorrow is the first day of my actual aircraft training. No more simulators for a while! I had hoped to be one of the first Kerbalnauts in space, but that didn't happen. Although I had put my application in as soon as the Committee of Aeronautics and Space Flight announced the beginning of the Kerbaled spaceflight program, I was selected at the end of the second year. Now, three months into the third year since the emerging, I am now getting my chance. I won't lie; I was excited when my name was on the pilot's list. I would hate to know that I had to hitch a ride into space as an engineer or scientist.

Edited by adsii1970
Updated chapter index, added index to supplemental information entries
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Jool 16, Y003

"Thirty minutes of actual flight and an eternity (well, a day and a half feels like it) of briefings"

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Yesterday was certainly unlike any day I've experienced since my arrival at the KSC. At dawn, I had my first pre-flight briefing...and it was before an actual flight! Gene began by telling us that from this point in our training, we would be flying nearly every day until we were participating in our Kerbalnaut assignments. At it now stands, I have thirty minutes of actual flying time in the Knat 4B. 

Before we even were even taken to the hangar for our craft assignments, Jebediah came out to the hangar to brief us! I didn't know that he had been the test pilot of every aircraft of the Knat series! I don't think there was a Kerbal in the room who was unaware of the uneasy looks, eye rolls, laughs, and the stare-down contests that would occasionally break out between Gene and Jebediah. There's definitely something there that Gene does not want him to tell us. I wonder if it has to do with one of the many legendary stories we keep hearing bits and pieces about.

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The briefing lasted for about fifteen minutes; Gene's instructions were clear and Jebediah's suggestions and tips were actually pretty useful. I did my pre-flight check and inspection, climbed into my craft, then taxied to the end of the runway. Although Gene said we could use the entire length of the runway, Jebediah said that our goal should be to clear the runway about the time we hit the first ramp off to the hangar refueling apron. I attempted to do just that - I set the gear's brakes, throttle up to full, and when I felt the brakes fighting hard against the thrust produced by engine at full throttle, I released the brakes. By the time I came to the first ramp I had reached 78m/s! Just as Jebediah said, the Knat was more than eager to take to the air. I never really thought about how different actually flying a craft would be compared to the simulators.

As a part of my preset flight plan, I flew past the peaks of the western mountain ranges, then turned in a large southwestern arch to eventually return to the KSC. After I landed, I spent the next three hours in various debriefings. Not overly exciting but there were some briefings that were better than others. One of the engineers assigned to the KSC, Kerbbe, whom we all call "Wrench" took each of us in the pilot's training program and took us through the maintenance processes that each plane undergoes after each flight.

Today has been full of more briefings about the various aspects of the training and even about some of the planned flights. I know that my next flight will be a night time take-off from the KSC, fly over the island airfield, and return. There's also a flight where we will be required to land at the island airfield, and at dawn, fly out to a specified set of coordinates, give a visual report, and return to the island airfield.

It was in the last briefing of the day that Gene even told us that one of us will get to pilot a mission with Bill and Bob into LKO! Yes, a chance to actually serve as the mission pilot aboard an actual Kerbin Orbiter Mk 1 - the very first capsule designed to accommodate three Kerbals! What's better than that - than to fly as pilot of a mission with Bill and Bob as members of the crew! The pilot that will fly this mission, according to what Gene has said, will be based off our performance evaluations and how well we handle our flight assignments. This just gives me an added incentive; just as surely as Jool is green, I want to pilot that orbiter!

I know Kreggy, my roommate for the pilot's training, isn't much competition; during the debriefings Gene kept telling us that drop tanks aren't cheap and that the keypad 1 button is ALWAYS set as the toggle switch to jettison drop tanks! I have no idea about the other two pilots since Gene only ranted about the drop tanks and always looked in Kreggy's direction when he said it. At first, I felt sorry for him. When I realized that his mistake simply made me (and unfortunately the other two) pilots look like the better choices to send into orbit...

Kreggy did try to break the awkward silence at lunch today by sharing that he heard that it was Val that flew through the hangar and Jebediah buzzed the tower. Buzzing a tower seems pretty tame for Jebediah has always been my thought. This was confirmed last night. However, I have no way to tell him what I do know. At last night's poker game, Gene would never answer the question directly, even after borrowing nearly twenty Kerbites from me, about who flew through the hangar; I would not consider my questioning totally ineffective. After a few (more) rounds of some sort of strange brew (and me letting him borrow a few more Kerbites) he did get a little careless - and let it slip that it was Bill who buzzed the tower at mach 2! Like most things in life, as I ran out of money, he ran out of the brew and out of stories. But at least now I know Gene's weaknesses! Unfortunately, Gene. at the request of Bill and Jebediah, did make me promise never to tell anyone else about Bill's tower flyby...

So after tonight, I'm, really not so sure which story I now want to hear more about - the island hanger fly-through or why Bill buzzed the tower at mach 2! One thing is for certain tonight - I'm so tired I'm not staying up late.

Edited by adsii1970
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Jool 20, Y003
"So that's how you get kicked out of the kerbalnaut program..."

Today was probably one of the most stressful days I've had during my training.  It started as a normal day with an intense physical training session at sunrise, led by Jebediah. He's got to be the most demented kerbal in the program! After we assembled and roll call was complete, Jebediah said he was going to take it easy on us. If this morning's training was easy, I would hate to see hard! After a twenty-five minute calisthenics routine, Jebediah led us on a five kilometer run. The entire time he yelled at our class of seven pilots, "If you really want to fly in this space program, you've got to be physically fit! Fat kerbals don't squeeze into pressure suits very well!" He's probably right, but after the night time flights made the night before and only having a fraction of the sleep we normally get, this morning's training seemed more intense than normal.

Instead of our usual pattern of pre-flight briefings and flights normally given by Gene, Doctor Haywood Kerman, the director of the Committee on Aeronautics and Space Flight, met with us at the research center's conference room. He discussed this morning's flight plans and how each of us would be given a different flight plan and a set of coordinates to observe and call in a report. Kreggy, for some strange reason, decided it was time to earn his "I'm a nerd" merit badge. At the end of the briefing, Haywood asked if there were any questions and Kreggy let one fly: "Doctor Haywood, can you tell us anything about the monolith?" Every kerbal had heard of the three so-far discovered monoliths, the first being near the KSC and the other two scattered in the mountains. It was Dr. Heywood that had led the research team to the first two monoliths discovered. Not falling for the trap, Haywood told Kreggy to come visit him later this afternoon during our scheduled comp time- and he extended the invitation to any kerbal that wanted to come. I did think about going, but today had other plans for me.

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At the hangar, each of us received our flight plans and were placed in flight order. Twenty minutes later, it was my turn to take off. Nothing out of the ordinary. My assigned path was to achieve an altitude of 2,500 meters and maintain a heading of 90 degrees for fifteen kilometers. At that point, my flight plan called for me to change my heading to 25 degrees and continue to the coordinates I had been given. As I began my turn towards the new heading, I heard my designation, "Tango Three" called out. I was instructed to change the channel to one of the higher bands, and acknowledge the change by sending my designation out. "Tango Three to control," I answered. I had no idea what I had done, but nothing in the mission briefing or any of the previous missions led me to believe that this could be a normal thing.

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What I heard next was not what I was expecting. Gene told me that a "situation" had emerged that required mission control to alter my flight plan. I was ordered to change my heading to 0 degrees, drop external tanks, and proceed to the coordinates that had been sent to my navigation computer. Once I arrived there, I was to report and conduct search operations. Gene then told me that they had lost contact with Tango Six, the designation for Jedner Kerman, and I was to proceed to the last recorded coordinates when communications were lost. I will never forget the sound of Gene's voice, "Tango Three, this is NOT a drill! Repeat, this is NOT a drill!" I was so focused on implementing the procedual checklist that had become a part of the routine since the simulators that it seemed like some sort of "second nature" as I pressed the "1" key on the numpad. I never expected how quiet the whir of the valves and the clicking of the explosive bolts would be as the drop tanks detached and slid silently under the wings of the craft then quietly to down towards the ground. I would be long-gone before the tanks ever hit the ground.

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I never thought about how much drag drop tanks create. Within fractions of a second of dropping them, I was flying at mach 1.22 - faster than I had ever flown even in the simulator and at the top speed for the Knat! After thirty minutes I arrived at the last known coordinates and began the search pattern Gene told me to fly. On the other side of the ridge, on the ground, was the unmistakable shape of a crashed craft. I decided to make another pass so that I could relay the most accurate report possible. It was a Knat and it's markings matched the one assigned to Jedner Kerman.

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With a trail of debris stretching nearly half a kilometer long, the craft was facing south into the debris field. Although I didn't see Jedner, but with the cockpit visibly intact, I was able to reach him on the short wave radio. I reported my observations and successful communications with Gene. "Roger, cancel designation 'Tango Three' Acknowledge new designation Khaob. Return to barn..." I know I must have sounded pretty stupid; today had become a most unusual day full of unusual moments. My response was far from perfect, "Tango Th---Khaob acknowledged, roger, out!" For some reason, the trip back to the KSC didn't seem as long. After landing, I was instructed to proceed to the fueling ramp, then report to Gene.  As I was getting out of the craft, I was met by some members of the ground crew, overjoyed that I had found Jedner and that he appeared to be ok.

During the debriefing, Gene told me that I had been selected because I was already reasonably close to where the coordinates of last contact was and I was a skilled pilot and could handle the mission requirements. I was told I handled it proficiently and professionally, and because of that, Dr. Haywood made the decision to consider me as an active pilot, no longer in a training status. I would still have training sessions to complete, but would not be considered as a trainee. Not only was I informed that I would also be the pilot on the next orbital flight of the Kerbin Orbiter MK 1 vehicle, but I would also begin a more intense and individualized kerbalnaut plan.

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During this evening's sessions, we learned during the mission debriefing report that the flight recorder on Jedner's Knat showed it was pilot error that led to the crash. I noticed that Jedner, who had now been back for several hours, was not in the briefing. Gene, Bill, and Jebediah each took turns discussing his mission failure and the cause of the crash. What surprised me was when Jebediah told us that there is nothing wrong with doing low flybys..but there's never any reason to see just how low of a flyby one can do. It was then that Gene informed us that after this crash, and previous performance in the simulators and earlier missions, Jedner had been reassigned from the kerbalnaut pilot training program to ground craft pilot training. Fired from the kerbalnaut program, essentially.

The last surprise of the evening happened at the scheduled Committee on Aerospace and Spaceflight dinner. I'm not one that likes formality and actually dreaded the dinner since it's announcement late last week. Jebediah told me earlier this morning I had to go to the dinner and that every class of kerbalnaut is required to attend one. From the way he explained it, it was a way for the pilots, scientists, and engineers in training to meet one another and to become more familiar with the staff at mission control and research and development. As the dinner was coming to a close, Herodikus Kerman, one of the senior members of the Grand Council of the Republic, approached the podium. I had heard about him all through school but never expected to see him in person. Next thing I knew, Gene, Jebediah, and Bobak had moved behind the chair I was sitting in and began escorting me to the podium. He had come to this particular dinner, he said, by order of the Council, to present me the Commendation of Merit for what he called my "performance above and beyond expectation of assigned duties..."

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I feel sorry for Jedner, but understand the reasons why he was fired. Yeah, we've all heard the stories of the flybys, the tower buzzing, and the hangar fly-throughs done in the past. And yes, I'll be the first to admit that I've not only been distracted by trying to figure out who did what. Kreggy told me before he headed to the game room that he overheard Jedner telling another pilot in our group that he was going to set the record for the lowest fly-over of the North Ridge Hills. Well, his name will be known by future trainees but not for setting any sort of speed record. He'll now be known as the first pilot selected for the kerbalnaut program to be reassigned to the Kerbin Ground Exploration Corps.

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I think I'm going to stay in for the rest of the night and see if I can catch the latest episode of Recover Vessel: A KSP Survival Story on the video broadcast. It's funny, but I never seriously watched it or The Saga of Emiko Station until assigned to this training at the KSC. It's not that I hadn't heard of the shows; I  occasionally had watched a few of the episodes once in a while. But now, for some reason, I'm hooked...

Although Gene gave all of us a day off tomorrow, I still want to see if he'll let me finish the flight plan I was supposed to do today...or maybe I'll just sleep in.

Edited by adsii1970
Fixing image problems.
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Sarnus 13, Y003
"Of all the things to have happen on the way to space..."

[Note: According to some forum members, I have committed the ultimate forum sin - instead of creating a new thread, I simply took an older thread I had started (United Kerbin Republic: A Developing Space Program), and in the spirit of keeping it as a mission report, decided to redo it in its present form. The one self-imposed rule I decided on early was that any post that I modified for the new format MUST be written as to complement the subsequent comments made by other members, and in this case, I have attempted to honor the comment made by @Gauga159 in the spirit of the original post.]

Today's debriefing on the mission seemed to last longer than what I expected it to. What I thought was going to be a routine orbital mission taught me more about this program and my role in the Kerbal Defense Forces than I could have possibly imagined. Gene was right about one thing - there is no teacher better than experience! Although Gene did tell me on the 20th of Jool that I would be the pilot of the orbital mission with Bill and Bob, the training for that mission didn't begin for another week. In the meantime, I flew a series of four more missions in the Knat -- even the dreaded night landing and takeoff from the Island airfield! I will never forget that particular briefing Jebediah gave me... "Kerny, you put just one scratch on that bird..." Gene interrupted him, "Jeb, don't even go there... you didn't just scratch the paint on your first island night flight..."  After that last mission, I was certified as an aircraft pilot and was presented with my flight wings by Jebediah at the next morning's mission briefing.

On the 44th day of Jool, Bill, the mission commander, Bob, and I began simulated launch training to prepare us for the mission. I never realized how much more intense the training for an orbital flight would be. For the entire ten days before the mission, we had our morning briefing on what the tasks were going to be for the day. Then there was simulator time - and lots of it. If each simulated launch counted towards our actual space time, I think I would probably be considered a seasoned pilot by now! Gene and Bobak told me that now, after some nearly twenty missions into space, the training had become streamlined.

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Well, the big day came. On the 8th of Sarnus, we attended the briefing which began about an hour before sunrise. We met Gene and Jebediah at the VAB and climbed into the Orbiter capsule. For the next two hours, as the crawler took us from the VAB to the pad, I went over the various mental checklists I had thought up during the training and simulators. Bob, flying in the third seat, could be heard snoring above the air recirculation system and the growling that vibrated through the ship as we made our way to the launch pad. Finally, it was nearing the second hour of the day and Gene came on the intercom. I remember the feeling well as I had heard him utter the phrase so often said during each of the dozen or so simulated launches. "Echo Seven, this is mission control. You are go for pre-launch sequence. Countdown at T minus three minutes and counting... Repeat, you are go for pre-launch sequence..." Bill responded, "Roger, mission control, acknowledge countdown at T minus two minutes fifty six seconds. Green across the board..."

For nearly seven years I have dreamed of going into space. Now, three years after the beginning of the space program, I was going to get my chance to do just that. Almost in some sort of trance, I began doing each of the steps as we practiced in the simulators. Bob was right - looking back, we had drilled so much in the flight simulators that although I was still excited, I knew the steps that had to be done and more importantly, when they needed to be done. "Echo Seven, this is Mission Control," the voice of Bobak called out. "Countdown on hold at T minus 37 seconds, please stand by..."

It was strange hearing anyone else's voice calling out, but again, Bill responded to the message from mission control. After the third flight of Jebediah, Bill, and Bob, Gene added a rule to the procedures manual that only the mission commander would respond to any radio calls from mission control. During the simulator training, Bob explained that in the early days, there were many mistakes made because communications were chaotic. "Echo Seven, this is Mission Control. Countdown resumes...T minus 36 seconds." It seemed like an eternity passed between Bill's acknowledgement and the part of the countdown I had waited to hear. "ten...nine...eight...seven...six...five...Echo Seven, we have main engine start..."

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I will never forget the raw power, the vibrations surging around the capsule as the first stage engines roared to life. Unlike the vibrations in the simulator, these were real. And right as the countdown reached zero, the craft seemed to leap into the air, no longer fighting the restraint of the launch tower clamps. "Eagle Seven, this is Mission control. You've cleared the tower. Mission elapsed tome +6 seconds..." 

I began doing the next series of calculations and preparation for the next series of maneuvers. Although the computer guidance system could achieve orbit, Gene had always insisted that as much of the maneuvers needed to be done by the mission's pilots as possible. Only this could assure mission success since with experienced pilots, even a failed computer navigation would not be able to necessarily stop a mission. As practiced in the simulator, at +:17, I began the process of directing the Orbiter to 95 degrees - in preparation to "spread the arch" and achieve a low orbit as rapidly as possible. This was one of the many things that both Gene and Jebediah discussed before the first simulator mission.

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I will never forget what happened next. As I prepared to roll the craft, a warning light and buzzer began to announce something was wrong with one or more of the first stage engines. Immediately I called out on the com, "Bill, I have a systems warning light on 2 port," the only engine indicator light that had changed from green to red. He was in the process of reassuring me orbit was still possible until another indicator light, 1 port, also changed from green to red. "Bill, I have a systems failure..." I remember calling out into the comm. I remember thinking, we're not going into space today; I've got to get us out of here..."  Then the unthinkable happened - all the remaining primary stage engines shut off. The mission elapsed time now read +:22 and we had an altitude of 6,500m!

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As Bob began to relay our instrument readings to mission control, Bill began to call out various readings to me that were appearing on his gauges. Panic began to overcome me when I remembered what Jebediah told me in the fourth simulated launch, "there are times you simply know what to do. It is those times when you just do what you know needs to be done..." I looked at the second stage readings and knew that I would never be able to prime the engines and launch them before we began an uncontrolled descent. "Mission Control, this is Kerny. Activating abort procedures and abort to orbit protocols..." At first I doubted anyone heard me until I heard Bob's conformation, "Roger that, Mission Control. Kerny recommended; concur on abort to orbit procedures..." Before Bob could finish the sentence, I had already activated the capsule's abort and extraction system. The capsule raced skyward to remove itself from the unpredictable and unreliable rocket assembly.

It took nearly an eternity to splash down. The silence of the capsule was nearly deafening. We all kinda had a good laugh when Bill made a comment about how much he hated spaceflight - even if Jebediah wasn't at the controls! We splashed down about 12 kilometers off the coast of the KSC. Gene informed us that the URKN Harvester Kerman was in the vicinity and would be recovering our vehicle and us within the hour. Soon enough, we were on board the Harvester. We were welcomed aboard by her commander, Lensky Kerman and executive officer, Linxy Kerman. I've never been aboard one of the naval vessels before. Now, flown over them, yes. In fact, on one of my missions I actually buzzed the Eeloo just barely under mach 1! Kerman, was Gene mad but Jebediah told me Gene would forget about it...eventually...

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Our debriefing was divided into two parts; the first part was conducted aboard the Harvester by Bobak. He told us that the engine failure was actually planned! Since the third orbital mission when Valentina had a complete second stage engine failure, the space program decided that out of every fifteen spaceflights, one would have a controlled glitch to assure crew readiness. Bill immediately began laughing and then informed me that he and Bob had been aware of the planned failure but simply did not know which stage it would happen. The preliminary results were better than what Gene had expected. I had evaluated the situation, made a judgment based on what information I had available, then acted upon it. I guess all that simulator time actually paid off.

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Bobak told us that the Harvester was going to be meeting up with another vessel within the next few days and we were to simply "enjoy the cruise" until she returned to the KSC docks. Linxy told us we were assigned wardroom 2. We were given a brief tour of the ship; what a wonderful and big piece of machinery she is! One thing seriously bothered me: if all Kermen were citizens of the United Republic of Kerbal, why did this ship need to be armed? Why all the guns? I knew that from our training that all members of the space program and Kerbin expeditions were members of the Kerbin Defense Force. While there had been a few stories circulating about the various theories about why we needed a KDF, I decided I was going to ask Commander Kensy.

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During the dinner and much to the groaning and eye-rolling of Bill, I asked Kensy about the armament of the Harvester and other Kerbin surface craft. Kensy explained there were different reasons, legends, or stories about why a defense force is needed, but he also said he really didn't know either. He mentioned that he, as everyone at the KSC, has heard the same few stories - an ancient interstellar probe crashed on Kerbin nearly two thousand years ago and triggered a war, that aliens had released a bombardment so destructive on Kerbin that Kermen were forced underground for nearly fifteen hundred years, or any variation and combination of the two. Anyway, it seems as if no one except the senior members of the Grand Committee know the true need for the Kerbin Defense Forces.

Something he did say was that whatever the reason, it was sufficient to sway nearly an unanimous vote three years before the Emerging in passing legislation that would allow for the creation of the URKDF. While these forces are still in the early stages, the legislation passed by the Senate would allow for the creation a space fleet of ships, planetary bases across the Kerbol system, and would incorporate the planetary defenses now currently under development.

 

Edited by adsii1970
Fixing image problems.
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hehe planed engine failure cheeky :3

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Sarnus 27, Y003
"The long road into space and it was only a thirty minute journey..."

After fourteen days I cannot  I am actually here! Bill, Bob, and I stayed aboard the Harvester for three days. While Bill spent most of his time in the wardroom eating every snack he could find, Bob and I took each opportunity offered to observe and participate in ship functions. I learned that the pilot of the Harvester, Froming Kerman, has his secondary certification in nautical navigation. Secondary certification is required for all pilots, as I am currently working on mine in spaceflight. Everyone who applies for the kerbalnaut program is divided into three categories: pilot, engineer, or scientist.

From there, once the initial training has been completed and you gain your primary certification, you immediately begin secondary certification training. I'm not sure what the secondary certifications for the other programs, but I know I was given several options for my additional certification in the pilot program: aeronautical and space operations, nautical operations, ground operations. Each of us is given the opportunity to learn the basics of each type to make us more adaptable as mission requirements change. On our return to the KSC aboard the Harvester, I was permitted to take the helm for over an hour! She's a big boat - I mean ship - and while it was an awesome experience, I think I still prefer the idea of space flight!

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When we finally did return to the KSC, Gene congratulated me for my mission performance. He echoed the debriefing given by Bobak aboard the Harvester. The whole mission had been not only a random test of the safety protocols; I had been chosen so that my reflexes and instinct could be tested as well. Gene then informed myself and Bob that we were scheduled for another launch this morning. For the next few days, there were simulated launches, rendezvous and intercept planning, and docking maneuvers. Of course, there were also simulated reentry training. This morning started as any other morning. Bill and myself attended the briefing about our mission - to transport a new scientist to the Orbital Station Zebulan Kerman and return.

G3Iks8U.jpg

The launch was, in the words of Bob, perfect. At T +2:46, we had first stage separation and ignition of the second stage. Once we were up to around 68k, I jettisoned the emergency capsule ejection system (ECES) and we continued the gravity turn just as we had performed nearly three dozen times in the simulator. Within fifteen minutes we were beginning the maneuvers required to rendezvous with the space station! For some reason I thought it would require a few hours of orbits to get into the proper position. Soon, what had started as a small point of light began to grow larger as we began to gain on the station.

The actual rendezvous and docking maneuvers seemed to go quickly today compared to the simulated missions of even seven days ago. Although we had all watched the video broadcasts of the station being assembled in orbit, the massive scale never really sank in. As we did our final turn of the docking maneuvers, the size of the station nearly surprised me. Yes, during the docking maneuvers training, the simulators did show a good amount of detail but nothing prepared me for the real size of this station.

xAsCaVX.jpg

  raIgNUp.jpg

We completed the docking procedures just barely thirty minutes after lift-off. Here it was, my first mission into space and it was already half-way complete! Bob was impressed with the skill he said I demonstrated as I attempted my first actual hard dock. During yesterday's debriefing after Bob and I had completed the last simulation, Gene stressed that there was much more in my future than conducting routine flights between the KSC and the Zebulan Kerman. The better I performed each mission, the more natural each new skill became, the better my opportunity was to take on even more challenging missions. It is rumored that by the end of the year, the next landing will be on Minimus. I'd sure like to be a part of that first flight there!

Edited by adsii1970
Fixing image problems.
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OK, this is a really fun start!  And a very clever way to skip over the first year grind! 

Kerny Kerman... what a great name!  I'm a little jealous I didn't think of it... :wink:
And I'm curious why you need a KDF.

I look forward to learning more. 

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Kerny was actually game generated. I actually decided to just go with whatever names the game throws at me.

I'm sure it will all be explained...(KDF) in good time!

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8 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

Kerny was actually game generated. I actually decided to just go with whatever names the game throws at me.

I'm sure it will all be explained...(KDF) in good time!

Then it was fate.  Kerny is such a great name for a main character.  The game wanted you to have it... lol.  :D

Some of my best character names, Thompberry included, were gifts from the game.

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Oh, I agree...even had a Ralph a few recruitment cycles back...

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I don't know about the name... I'd say it was kind of... kerny.

:P

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3 hours ago, Dman979 said:

I don't know about the name... I'd say it was kind of... kerny.

:P

:mellow:

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As I mentioned before, it was a name generated by the game's random name generator. I like it... it stays... :P

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3 hours ago, Dman979 said:

I don't know about the name... I'd say it was kind of... kerny.

:P

 

17 minutes ago, Andem said:

:mellow:

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This.

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I have a Sherman Kerman :P

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Sarnus 29, Y003
"The worlds outside my window..."

cLFJojB.jpg

In an hour I will have spent two full days aboard the Orbital Station Zebulan Kerman! With our scientist/passenger safely transferred to the station, we were notified by Eribie Kerman, the station commander, we would be taking on a passenger for the return trip home. She and Bob explained the longstanding rule since the arrival of Ralph Kerman about three years ago; about the time of the Great Emergence on Kerbin.* Not much is known about how he got here, some say he was in a bad accident in a parallel universe and ended up here, in our dimension, because of what happened during that accident. But all agree on one thing - his story about a doomed space station has had an impact on everything done in our space program. Although I have only been a part of the kerbalnaut program for nearly seven months, I have even heard a few of the stories that Ralph has told. Gene seems to think it's real, they are all real. Jebediah doubts that Ralph is anything but honest.

Bob and Eribie told me that during one of Ralph's meetings with Gene and Herodikus, he told of how a research station, orbiting at an altitude of 120k and a crew capacity of 12, didn't have any sort of emergency evacuation systems for the crew. Although they weren't sure exactly how it happened, the orbit of the station shifted and it began to lose altitude. Only having recently docked with a shuttle, only eight of the crew, six from the station and two from the shuttle, were able to evacuate, leaving four Kermen behind. That story had such an impact on the Grand Council's Committee on Space Exploration and Colonization that a rule was passed: stations can only maintain the number of crew equal to the evacuation capacity of the vehicles docked. Although the Zebulan Kerman has the ability to have a crew of 15, it only maintains two capsules at all times. This means its assigned crew cannot exceed six, although at the moment, with our capsule, we have a total of nine on the station. When we depart in a couple of days, one of the current members of the staff will have to return with us. Eribie has already informed us Kevene will be returning to the KSC when we depart.

rD9UTHA.jpg

Earlier today, we were shown video footage from the most recent münar mission conducted by Matt, Rake, and Aldas. This was the third mission to the Mün but the first mission in Y003. Although they are still on the return trip back, there is already talk about how this mission has been nearly flawless. Matt and Aldas had a smooth touchdown in the bottom of a large crater in the northern hemisphere. They were on the surface for nearly three days, exploring the area right around the lander and taking surface samples. The rendezvous with the command module was absolutely flawless. As we all watched the video broadcasts on the large monitor in the habitat module, we could hear Bobak in the background calling out the distance between the CM and landing module.

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Although I had just completed my first docking a couple of days ago, I was literally on edge as I watched the two craft close the distance and eventually dock. Bob leaned over and told me that the anxiety about docking happens to everyone since if you have a problem docking, the mission technically cannot progress and is essentially over. Out of curiosity, I asked him what would have happened if the ships could not dock in this case, in münar orbit. He said the plan would be to get the ships as close together and possible, then transfer to the CM by spacewalk. Bob did tell me that although that is the current protocol, this has never been done.

If a docking port fails, it is usually around the time of münar lander extraction, as it happened on the second mission with Jebediah, Bill, and himself. At that point, they continued out to sling-shot around the Mün and return to low Kerbin Orbit. Within seven hours after launch, they reentered Kerbin's atmosphere and the mission was over. As I have already learned during training, there are times when no matter what we do, the mission's objectives cannot be met. At that time, the mission can still be considered as a success as long as the kerbalnauts return alive.

In this morning's station briefing, which Bob and I had been invited to attend, Eribie announced Frofred would be conducting the required monthly spacewalk to inspect the antennae array. She then proceeded to tell us the spacewalk would take nearly two hours  - wow, to be out on a spacewalk for two hours! I cannot even imagine that - what excitement! Sure, I have done spacewalks in the tank, and it is supposed to approximate working in space, but I know it's not the same. I would love the opportunity for a spacewalk.

Bob told me at breakfast that we will be here for one more day, then we'll be heading back to Kerbin. Bob also said that he received a video communication from Bill; Bill has decided not to return to space. He is taking a position at the kerbalnaut training center and will be overseeing the Kerbin Exploration Program. While Bob didn't go into a lot of detail, he said that it was probably because of too many missions where he had been paired with Jebediah or Valentina that did it. From the stories that are going around about those two, I have no doubts that may be a part of Bill's reasoning.

One of the amazing things that the simulator never prepares you for is the sheer vastness of space. I've already found, with the help of the permanent crew, every place on the station that offers a great view of Kerbin or some other planet. Even at its great distance from us, it is amazing how Jool appears to be greenish while Duna appears to be a bit red. Even Minimus is much brighter here than it is on the surface of Kerbin. I believe our future really is among the stars.

Well, Bob wants me to report to the science lab in twenty minutes... guess I need to go and find out what he wants.

* "Ralph Kerman" is the name of the first Kerbal I "hired" for version 0.23, the one I purchased through the KSP Store version. A few months later, I bought 0.24 through Steam. According to what I understand about the name generator, the game randomly creates Kerbal names using some strange algorithm. He appeared during the sandbox game I was playing, but when I updated to 1.0, it broke the save and he was lost. So, since then, I have manually added Ralph back into the roster. The anomaly spoken of is his "memories" from the pre-1.0 days. :D

Edited by adsii1970
Fixing image problems.
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Sarnus 35, Y003
"When the unexpected happens...be happy!"

vccaOt0.jpg

Earlier this morning, around 1:40, was to be our departure time from the Zebulan Kerman, but everything changed because of a near tragic accident with the crew aboard the Thundersruck, the command module of the most recent Münar mission. The crew, Matt, Rake, and Aldas were never in any real danger, according to Gene.

The last video feed we saw was the docking of the Münar lander and the command module, which had been perfect and spectacular. For the past four days, they made their way back to Kerbin, and were to land near the KSC. We were informed during this morning's briefing that both the reentry and splashdown procedures were performed perfectly and the capsule did splash down less than four kilometers from the KSC. Just as it had done with us, the URKN Harvester Kerman was on the scene to recover the capsule. It was explained during yesterday's recovery process that something unexplained happened. The winch briefly froze and in turn, caused the magnet recovery system to fail. Although it fell from a height of less than three meters, the capsule crashed onto the deck, landed on its side, and almost went overboard!

b8WOVtw.jpg

 

  t8tgR0S.jpg

During yesteday morning's briefing as we watched the live video feed, we overheard Gene's exclamation above all the other chaos unfolding at mission control. "Dammit, Bobak - what happened? Don't even tell me we have a perfect mission - and now we do this to the crew?"

"Gene, Commander Kensy just flashed us a message on VOX. The problem's the winch" was heard by all in the orbital station's briefing room. No doubt Bobak was not only trying to maintain some sort of control over the situation, but was also attempting to cool Gene down. Gene's temper was well known, especially when the lives of his crews were at stake. Bobak continued to relay new stress numbers from the Harvester's commander and information being sent from the Thunderstruck.

Jebediah could be seen in the background of the mission control feed talking to the various engineers about what the next course of action could be. Bobak, having been reassured the crew aboard the capsule was safe, relayed to us the video feed would be ending and he would keep us up-to-speed on any developments. Eribie continued our morning briefing after the video feed was terminated by describing the various items that were to be completed yesterday, two scheduled spacewalks, testing of the light tug assigned to the Zebulan Kerman, and she also announced that in light of the recent events on Kerbin with the Harvester's recovery crane, she expected our departure - that being me, bob, and Kevene - would be delayed for a bit longer! I'm not too sure about the others, but this unexpected development is actually great news for me! She told us we should have something concrete by this morning's briefing.

We were originally scheduled to return on the 31st of Sarnus, but Gene didn't like the idea of having to incoming flights at one time and only one recovery ship in the area. So, Gene and Bobak decided the best plan was to extension of our mission for another four days - which meant our return would be today. That's until yesterday's developments. During this morning's briefing, the official word had come from Gene - we were going to stay another six days! With Bob's permission, Eribie added me to the spacewalk schedule. This means I will be able to complete two spacewalks before we leave! 

 

Edited by adsii1970
Fixing image problems.
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Love that recovery ship and system! Now that's hardcore mode, recovering capsules manually...

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Awesome story! I'll be waiting for more!

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1 hour ago, Kuzzter said:

Love that recovery ship and system! Now that's hardcore mode, recovering capsules manually...

@Kuzzter: Thank you. To me, the whole game needs something more than the recover button - especially when you're in the water! Unfortunately, I never expected the first ship to have a problem with the crane since that particular capsule would have been the fifth capsule recovered and the third three-Kerbaled crew capsule. So... unfortunately, I have "recovered" the Harvester Kerman (or as I told my daughter, put her in drydock for repairs). I've decided that the winch probably need to be scaled to a larger size and the crane's structure needed to be strengthened to prevent the near tragic accident.

In her absence, I am testing a new recovery vessel - the Menzabac (named after the Mayan god of recovery and defender of souls), but do not want to have Kerny and the gang reenter until I can be sure the new vessel can handle the stresses of capsule recovery. So far, she's been able to lift up and place a Mk 3 medium fuselage out of the water and place it on the deck. I will give you a sneak peek:

lJsKrcl.jpg  AdPqmez.jpg

TLxPWqO.jpg  u62C1M7.jpg

She' ugly and slow. The double stacks means she belches smoke as she moves across the water. If you look closely in the first picture, that's a 15 ton submarine (made with @Fengist's sink it mod) that has stayed at a depth of 270 m below the surface for three days. I could not get her on the deck, but I did pick it up out of the water once it surfaced. With that test, I believe that picking up a capsule - even the three-Kerbaled one, won't be much of a problem.

The gantry style crane actually slides along the deck and can extend the length of Infernal Robotic's telescopic rails. There's a second set of the telescopic rails that holds the gantry's resized winch and magnet (I resized it to be 1.25m). This seems to have solved the winch and magnet problem plus it makes for another functional element for the story line. Of course, most of the superstructure of the ship, as is all my ships, comes from Kerbal Planetary Bases mod.

@DMSP: Thank you! As we say from my hometown in Louisiana, that's like sayin' "sick'em" to a bull dog! Your kind words inspire me to continue.

 

Edited by adsii1970
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Sarnus 36, Y003
"A thirty minute walk and the breathtaking view..."

5CyZA8Y.jpg

I've seen the video feeds, I have done the simulator training, and I've heard other Kerbalnauts brag about it. In spite of all that, nothing could actually prepare me for what it would be like to perform a spacewalk. At this morning's briefing, Eribie announced the various assignments that had to be done for the next twelve hours. While Bob had some experiments he was assisting with in the lab, my main task was to complete a thirty-minute spacewalk specifically to check the external readings on a bank of batteries and to see if the last micro-meteor storm had done any damage to the exterior of the station. Once the briefing was over, I was to report to the airlock on the Command and Engineering Module.

ZkQsXJR.jpg

While getting into my pressurized space suit, Froming asked me to check the beacon lights around the core of the station. He's the engineer who oversees station maintenance and spacewalks. He told me that each spacewalk where the lights are checked is scheduled to cover 1/3 of the station. The system is pretty simple. Blue lights indicate docking ports, red lights indicate air locks, yellow lights are basically clearance lights, and white strobe beacons indicate clearance distances for solar panels or communications arrays. On key locations, white surface lights are used to illuminate the station's name. As Froming explained all this to me, I thought it was kind of stupid - especially lighting up the station's name.  Later this afternoon he told me that there are plans to build a second station to be placed in orbit at the edge of Kerbin's sphere of influence. Even at the perfect launch window, it would take nearly six days just to rendezvous with a station that far out!

tKd5bbj.jpg

As I stepped into the airlock, I will never forget the feeling of awe as it depressurized, the hatch opened, and I was able to take my first step outside - into the emptiness of space. I never realized how quiet things could be. The only sounds I could hear besides my own breathing and the breather circulating the air in my suit was the sound of my heart beating what felt like a thousand beats a minute! I will admit that I could not resist taking a few minutes to take a personal trip along the array and watch the thin line separating the surface of Kerbin and the darkness of space. If it were possible, I would have stayed, but tethered, to the solar array and watch the ever-changing landscape passing below the station. It actually startled me when I heard Froming come across the headset, "Ok, Kerny, I know the view is great, but you've only got a thirty minute air supply and five of them are already gone!" With that, I began to make my way to Habitation Module 1, my first assigned inspection point.

I11XcDK.jpg

When Froming told me I had twelve minutes of air left, I quickly made my way to the exterior of the station's core. I didn't see any signs of micro-meteor damage or burned out beacon lights. I went over to the Habitat Module 2 and entered the airlock as I had been instructed to do earlier by Froming. I will never forget the contrast between the quietness of of space and the sounds of the station. With my first spacewalk now completed, I'm eagerly awaiting the opportunity to do another one! Eribie did say that I would be added to the spacewalk rotation while we are here.

There was some excitement on the station tonight as the crew rotation lists were released. Eribie, Frofred, Maxie, and Bobob will be rotating out over the next few months. Gene sent word through Froming that we would not be taking Kevene back as planned; Eribie would be taking her place. Eribie had spent nearly eighteen months in space, completed fourteen spacewalks, and was now being assigned as the commander of the URKAV Mensabac, a newly commissioned ship that has already begun sea trials. Froming, still having six months left on his first tour aboard the station, will assume command once Eribie has left the station. I later heard from Bob that Froming is the first Kerbal to volunteer to serve a second tour without any sort of furlough back on Kerbal.

During this evening's video feed there was great discussion about tomorrow's satellite launch. Although it has been in the planning stages for over a year, tomorrow all the waiting and anticipation will change gears - the Duna One Explorer will launch shortly before dawn breaks at the KSC. From what the feed said, it is essentially an orbital survey platform that will insert itself into polar orbit. There's a second satellite launch already scheduled in two weeks. As those two satellites survey the Duna surface, a third launch - containing a lander - will begin to make its way to Duna.

The Minimus missions list comes out in three weeks - and I'm excited! I hope I am going to be on one of the first missions, but as Bob told me earlier this evening, Gene uses volunteers who have at least had at least one mission in space first, then a lottery system from the available kerbalnaut pool selects any remaining slots. At least I will have one mission completed by then!

Edited by adsii1970
Fixing image problems.
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Lots of great craft and superb screenshots.  Lots of attention to detail. Looking forward to more Kerny ! 

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I really love the ship, but I'm out of likes for today... catch up with ya tomorrow  :D

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I had a "Leia Kerman" once...no Luke though...

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On ‎1‎/‎28‎/‎2016 at 9:43 AM, adsii1970 said:

It's funny, but I never seriously watched it or The Saga of Emiko Station until assigned to this training at the KSC. It's not that I hadn't heard of the shows; I  occasionally had watched a few of the episodes once in a while. But now, for some reason, I'm hooked...

Thank you so much!  I'm honored! 

Just one question, is it an animated series???  :cool:

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