Cydonian Monk

Forgotten Space Program

1337 posts in this topic

Just now, waterlubber said:

What mods are you doing? I love the aesthetic!

Thanks! 

So far I'm mostly using Beale's Tantares/TantaresLV parts and Taerobee parts, with some other small parts from Rover Dude's sounding rockets. Even though they're a bit glitchy with SAS, I really love starting with the tiny half and quarter size parts. The full mod list in the first post is mostly accurate.... May need to change some things in that list now that I think about it.

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On 12/16/2015 at 6:54 PM, KAL 9000 said:

Sorry, but... MOAR! Me love this!

MOAR! :)

 

 

Carbon Scoring

The third Carbon flight, Carbon 2, saw Agake safely into orbit. Nearly identical to the C-1, the C-2's most obvious change was the inclusion of a hatch that could be opened while in space and safely closed again. In addition a full Reaction Control System was installed, including the extra monopropellent needed to power it. 

As there was some pressure to further explore all the junk they were finding in orbit, Carbon 2 was launched such that it could rendezvous with "Thing B."  Agake's first spacewalk would wait until she had arrived at the object in question, which she could then photograph and hopefully explore, should her suit supplies be sufficient. 

20151213_0066_c2.jpg

The rendezvous with Thing B happened just after sunrise on the second orbit. Slowly Thing B appeared against the inky black backdrop, looking just as strange in space as it did from the ground. Nobody quite knew what to make of the grainy, barely-visible images in the television feed, but she knew exactly what she was seeing. An equipped and fully operational space station. Or at least it looked operational.

20151213_0079_c2.jpg

Using the new RCS she brought the C-2 into a slow drift by the station. Several hatches and entry ways were visible along its many sections, as well as a number of docking ports. Two of them had ships anchored up - one with a large, capsule looking thing, another with some strange winged beast. 

20151213_0083_c2.jpg

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A few blasts of the RCS and the Carbon 2 was stationary next to one of the larger modules of the strange station. Agake checked her suit and EVA pack and put her hand on the hatch release.

"Permission to leave the ship?"

"Granted, C-2. Take it easy."

"Copy that flight, taking it easy."

The hatch flew open as the half atmosphere worth of pressure in the capsule violently vented into the nothing. Agake held on to the handle on the inside of the door for dear life as the escaping gasses caused the craft to spin around, the door flopping wildly and off-balance. A few blasts from her jetpack and the chaos was over, the rotation minimized, and the C-2 hovering near the station once again. 

"Flight, be advised in the future we may want to depressurize the cabin before opening the hatch."

"That's item three on the checklist. Right after sealing your gloves and your helmet."

There was a checklist? She sure didn't remember one. Maybe it was that thing that flew past as the hatch exploded outwards? Who knows. She let go of the small craft and jetted around the station, taking notes as she went. Her suit warned her immediately that it was low on electric charge, having depleted the Carbon 2's meagre stores as it was charging up. No time to worry about that now.

20151213_0088_c2.jpg

For some reason her radio stopped working when she was more than a few meters away from the Carbon capsule. "Short Range" really was rather short it seems. She looked around at the station, spotting what appeared to be the communications array. A few blasts in the right direction and soon she was there. 

All of the antennas were undeployed or in some otherwise safe position. She pulled two of the omni-direction ones out by hand and tapped on them to make sure they'd work. (Is that how they worked? She was just a scientist after all, they didn't teach them such things.)

20151213_0093_c2.jpg

With that chore done she made her way to the largest of the modules of the station. A quick check of the airlock showed there was no discernible atmosphere inside the module, so she kept her suit on the whole time. 

At least now the radio worked.

20151213_0090_c2.jpg

"C-2, flight. We're pleased to inform you the World's Firsters have awarded you two new prizes: First EVA and First Crew Transfer. We were wondering if you could describe the interior of the station. Over."

"Tell them I'm honored. As for this station, well, it's a bit cramped in here. There's no air of any sort, and it was completely powered down when I first came aboard. There was a sandwich floating through the lab, but no other signs of life."

"Turkey or ham?"

"Ham, I think. Anyway, there are a few experiment modules attached to the other end of the station. I'll extract whatever's left and bring it back with me. We need to get a crew and some oxygen up here before we'll know anything else."

"Anything with a name on it?"

Agake tried brushing some hollywood-rust-and-dust off of a badly corroded nameplate, but couldn't make out anything with certainty. "I'm not sure, but I think it starts with a K."

"Copy. We're getting telemetry data from the station now. We'll have the geeks in the tracking center try to find a log or something. Head back to the C-2 once you have the science data. Flight out."

20151213_0098_c2.jpg

The science wasn't much, just an old materials experiment that had been in orbit for better than 60 years, and some strange gravioli thingy. She tucked them into the pockets of her EVA suit and went back to the C-2. It was night again, and even though the station was well lit it still seemed more than a bit dark outside. 

A few shots from the RCS and the C-2 was backing away from this strange station. Once clear the ship oriented to retro, fired its main engine and prepared for reentry. The capsule streaked across the twilight skies just north of Kerbin City and landed safely in the ocean East of the space center. Another safe and successful spaceflight.

20151213_0106_c2.jpg

The engineers would no doubt spend months poring over the photos Agake brought back from the mysterious station. A station The Boss had decided to make their number one priority. The rest of the Carbon program was restructured to develop the technology and test the systems they would need to send crews up to these "Things" in orbit for long-duration stays.

20151213_0108_c2.jpg

The snack budget was slashed, more so they could save up snacks to send to the station than any other reason. (One of the interns suggested the science they were getting back was tasty enough. The same intern now glows in the dark.)

 

--

High Carbon

The Carbon 3 was already built and ready to send to the launchpad, so the crews went ahead with its mission as planned. Rozor was hurled into space atop its LV-03 Aria-series launch vehicle, reaching just into low orbit. After a few tests of an upgraded reaction control system, he was ordered out of the capsule.

"Tell us what you see."

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"It's, uuuuuuuuh, quite a loooooong way down from up here. Can I go back inside yeeeeettt't't?" His teeth were chattering from the fear. Not exactly the most brave of kerbonauts, yet certainly smart enough to know he was in no danger. (Or so one would think.)

"Rozor, look down and tell us what the ground looks like. Please."

"It't't's green. Maaaaaaybe grass. Yes, I think that's grass. There's some, eeeeeehh, grey bits that might be roads. Or cities. I think. Please. Is that good enough? Please let me back inside now!"

"Yes. Grasslands. Thank you. Only five more biomes to go."

"Fiiiiiive? Oh dear."

20151213_0118_c3.jpg

The Carbon 3 was recovered some hours later in the waters to the West of the main continent. Its lone occupant just stared blankly back at the recovery teams, clutching his notes and other experiment results as tightly as one could. The science he returned was almost enough to move forward with Wernher's design for the Nitrogen missions, but at least another Carbon flight would be required before those N-flights would see their first launch.

 

--

Tech Forest

As an aside, this is how much of the tech tree I've unlocked so far. There are many, many more nodes off to the sides, quite a few of which will remain empty until such a time as I can install SpaceY or the Interstellar parts, which likely will only happen after KSP 1.1. (And who knows just how many of these mods will make the jump into Unity 5....)

The node I still need for my first Nitrogen plan is the 2.5m/0.675m fairings node, worth 50 science and in the upper center just right of the middle. This tree is wicked cool.

20151213_0120_ett.jpg

 

 

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Edited by Cydonian Monk
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Things are getting quite interesting..

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This is really cool! :) Do you have the tech tree nodes unlocked for all the station components? If not, how do you have them in your career save?

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9 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

This is really cool! :) Do you have the tech tree nodes unlocked for all the station components? If not, how do you have them in your career save?

Thank you! 

No, those nodes aren't unlocked yet. I just copied the vessel(s) in from an older save (in some cases more than 2 IRL years). As long as the part exists the game isn't too concerned about whether it's unlocked or not. (Recovering or rescuing crews from orbit does something similar.... Spawning in parts that aren't unlocked.)

[edit: In terms of playing as a career game and unlocking parts this is technically cheating, but I've crawled through KSP tech trees so many times that I'm willing to take liberties here. Besides, I knew this was the deal from the start of the save.]

The only issue I've seen so far was with the old Mk3 Cockpit, which no longer exists, causing a craft to be deleted. That might get addressed later or I might just leave it as lost. (RAM and savefile size limitations keep me from copying every previous save/vessel in anyway.

 

2 hours ago, Sylandro said:

Things are getting quite interesting..

:) Getting a bit dangerous too. More on that later.....

Edited by Cydonian Monk

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The Dangers of C-4

Of the many technology proofing missions required before the agency could move on to the Nitrogen program, none was more pressing than the need to connect two ships together, ie: docking. The parts were there - a set of androgynous docking ports from the Tantares Corporation - but the skill to use them was a bit lacking.

Another item near the top of the list was the use of automated craft. Craft that were rather more advanced than the fire and forget satellites previously launched. Something that could run a program written in, oh, the kerbscript language of kOS. And so the Carbon 4 / Beryllium 5 mission was born.

First up was the Berylium 5. This rather large science satellite was launched into a polar orbit from KSC, and included a new biome scanner / Multi-Spectral Analysis gizmo from DMagic as well as a more standard Science Jr. Also included was one of the smaller Tantares docking ports, intended to be the docking target for the C-4.

While the older LV-02 launch vehicle was technically enough to place the craft into orbit, Wernher decided instead to fit it atop an LV-03 Aria, if only because of the extra ∆v required to reach polar orbit. And the LV-03 handles way better than its older, smaller counterpart.

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Everything seemed to be going exactly according to plan until the craft reached orbit. The deployed solar arrays were for some reason not capturing the amount of solar energy that was claimed on the tin (NaN not being something the batteries knew how to store), resulting in a net power loss during the craft's safe-mode operation. Since the vehicle was soon to be met by the C-4, mission planners opted to shut down the craft's long-range communication systems and place it in a fully automated mode. They would then reactivate it once the C-4 was on nearby.

20151216_0014_be5.jpg

 

Carbon For Who?

Speaking of the C-4, it was waiting and ready to go just a day later. The flight had originally been assigned to the scientist Elkin, but since there was a chance they would need to perform on-orbit repairs to the Be-5 Sieta from the Engineering team was sent up instead.

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The launch went swimmingly. Placed into a nearly circular 71km orbit, Sieta and the C-4 were only 2 degrees or so off from the inclination of the Be-5. Unfortunately they were nearly an eighth of an orbit ahead of the satellite. So the mission planners fired the C-4's main engines to boost its apoapsis higher, which would allow the lower-orbiting (and crippled) Be-5 to catch up to her.

Except somebody forgot to watch the fuel gauge. 

20151216_0023_c4.jpg

Thankfully the mission planners had included an EVA suit for Sieta, which could be used to shove the craft into a lower orbit. But first they wanted to try to complete the mission. Around this time the Be-5 passed directly over the space center, allowing the ground controllers to reactivate it. They pulled it down to a barely-orbital 70km orbit, just skimming the edge of the upper atmosphere, in the hopes it might catch up to the C-4 and deorbit it before Sieta's life support situation became critical. 

It didn't. 

And so, three hours later and with her life support supplies running dangerously low, Sieta got to partake in the time-honored kerbal tradition of getting out and pushing.

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After a few pauses to reorient herself and the craft retrograde (and to stop its mad spinning), she had the periapsis back underneath 67km. Even with an apoapsis over 82km that should have bene enough to pull the C-4 back into a suborbital trajectory. The bigger question was would it reenter before or after the last of her oxygen supplies ran out?

And if it did, where would she land? At first glance it appeared the C-4 might come down deep in the southern ice cap, a treacherous place for recovery teams to reach. Better to come down over something solid than to be stuck floating in the ocean for days on end without food or water (though a significantly lower chance of asphyxiation).

Soon enough the true danger became evident: Would the craft even survive reentry? Atmospheric interface was somewhere over the North Pole. Could the tiny Carbon capsule survive such an extended period of heat and plasma from reentry? Would the ablator hold out?

20151216_0033_c4.jpg

The answer to at least one of those questions was "No".

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The small capsule started to heat up as the last of the ablator flaked away. Still traveling well over 1800m/s and nearly 30km up, it was really a good thing the water and oxygen supplies were running low, because there's a good chance they might have boiled off. The shell of the craft started to glow a bright yellow while the downward-facing parts of it turned to a bright, molten white color. 

Sieta pulled her feet back as far as she could, though she knew it would make little difference if it burned through - she would be instantly immolated. Even the parachutes were having trouble with the heat, with both the main chute and the drogue occasionally flashing their dark red overheat warnings. And still the heat and the flame continued. 

The worst part of the whole ordeal was knowing that no one, not a single other kerbal, was aware of her situation. She had lost contact with them somewhere around 65km when the Carbon's service module was jettisoned. Even if she had an antenna she couldn't have communicated with them during the 15-minute-long plasma storm. And what would she have said anyway?

20151216_0039_c4.jpg

She breathed a huge sigh of relief when the drogue chute finally deployed. There were a few minutes of concern until it fully unfurled, but once that was done she knew the craft was home-free. And sure enough, with only twenty minutes of oxygen left in the tanks, the Carbon-4 dropped onto the very edge of the South Polar Ice Cap. 

Sieta wasted no time in getting out and planting the recovery beacon, though that had more to do with the internal temperature being something just short of boiling. She took a few samples of the ice as her still-glowing and possibly still-molten capsule sizzled its way into the frozen shelf. (And hopefully not through!)

20151216_0041_c4.jpg

The mission was branded a nearly complete failure, at no fault of the astronaut (of course). Ultimately the cause would be determined to be a lack of monoprop tanks on the C-4's second stage, as needed by the LV-15 engine's RCS. These were present on the Be-5 launch, but were either omitted or fell off the craft during the C-4's ascent. As a result the second stage drained off excess monoprop from the spacecraft, resulting in a critical fuel shortage. 

The science data returned by Sieta (including a rather harrowing upper-atmosphere EVA) partially made up for the mission losses, but without the rendezvous and docking the agency would be forced to actually run the next two Carbon missions. (They had hoped to skip them in favor of moving to the Nitrogen framework.)

The Boss was relieved, as things were mere millimeters away from having been far, far worse. 


--

Beryllium-Coated Lies

As if to mock all the mortal flesh-sacks on the ground, the Beryllium 5's solar arrays started working just a short time later. Technicians blamed the issue on a glitch, one they claim was cleared when the universe crashed during the first recovery attempt of the C-4. 

The stream of data received from the callous and heartless satellite was more than enough to unlock the few remaining small nodes in the tech tree, making Wernher and the spacecraft designers quite happy.

20151216_0043_be5.jpg

The Be-5 merely blinked its red strobe light and laughed in its vicious, evil, grating mechanical overlord style. Or it would have if it wasn't just a dumb hunk of metal in an otherwise boring polar orbit.

 

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Edited by Cydonian Monk
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Did the craft actually steam, was that added post-processing, and otherwise what was it?

loving the series so far

 

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3 minutes ago, waterlubber said:

Did the craft actually steam, was that added post-processing, and otherwise what was it?

loving the series so far

 

Thanks. 

That was all post-processing. As cool as it'd be to see our recently reentered vessels steam, I question if it'd be worth the graphics hit. 

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MOAR!

I'm sorry mods.

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Whenever a ship touches down on Minmus (or Vall, etc), I imagine them being briefly surrounded by huge plumes of ice-melted-to-steam, which quickly settle and refreeze once the engines shut off.

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I agree. We need an ice effects mod.

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On ‎12‎/‎19‎/‎2015 at 8:46 PM, Cydonian Monk said:

Thanks. 

That was all post-processing. As cool as it'd be to see our recently reentered vessels steam, I question if it'd be worth the graphics hit. 

Still, quite a mission anyway.

At least radiators glow for a long time after the heat stops.  I recently had a plane with a glowing radiator under the tail cone and some science instruments that needed to their data harvested right beside it.  I really had to work up a bit of courage to move the Kerbal close enough :).

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How far are you planning on going next week?

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BTW, I thought "Thing A" looked rather Whackjovian.  That's meant as a compliment ;D

 

 

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16 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Still, quite a mission anyway.

At least radiators glow for a long time after the heat stops.  I recently had a plane with a glowing radiator under the tail cone and some science instruments that needed to their data harvested right beside it.  I really had to work up a bit of courage to move the Kerbal close enough :).

Thanks.

The heat effects and the whole thermodynamic system, once they got the kinks ironed out, is probably one of my favorite parts of the game now. The glowing emissives just make it that much better. Especially when working inside Eve's orbit.

 

9 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

BTW, I thought "Thing A" looked rather Whackjovian.  That's meant as a compliment ;D

 

 

He he he.... ;) I had completely forgotten about that thing, too. No idea what I had originally intended for it, or even how I launched it. I _think_ I was going to stick three big orange tanks inside of it (based on its length and the spacing) and use it as a refueling dock, but it's not in my notes anywhere..... Not even sure which of my saves it came from. I'm guessing I launched it back in 0.23 on the OS-X version before 0.23.5 made it unplayable (for me) for large part-count ships.

 

13 hours ago, DMSP said:

How far are you planning on going next week?

Not sure. Depends on a few things, such as how busy I am, how busy work is, what plans work has for me, what plans others have for me, etc. We'll see. I might have a great deal of free time coming up, or I might be insanely busy. Or I might be insanely free.

 

In technical notes, I've been toying with loading my "full" save into this, as in "everything I've ever launched in any game of KSP." After some experimentation I've decided to not do that, and will instead continue to hand-pick certain vessels or groups of vessels. As nice as it would be to have every bit of debris out there floating around in my game, it's just not feasible. Even when trying it with that [black magic 64-bit Windows work-around] version that doesn't exist, the size of the save is just ungainly and takes waaaaaaaaaaay too long to autosave, etc. It also saps performance considerably, though I'm not sure if that's because of the game or one of the mods (like Distant Object). I don't need most of that junk anyway, and outside of the Kerbin System the numbers drop off quickly (I've only ever sent 2 or 3 probes to Eeloo, and Dres is about as dejected). So I'm really just losing a bunch of debris and 1000x copies of probes around Kerbin and on the Mun. And lots of that stuff may not make sense in this playthrough. 

I've also made some changes to the mods, where I'm now using all of Tantares and AIES (instead of just hand-picked parts), and I've also installed several of the Space-Y parts. Patched up a few older TAC-dependent life support parts such as the old VDS cargo bags and some scrubbers, since I'm about to jump into the deep end of the station life support maintenance pool again. And added a few other small mods.... That means I now need to run either at 1/2-res textures, in OpenGL mode, or use [black magic 64-bit], so.... yeah. (Still nowhere near as heavy as my RSS/RO install.) 

Really, really looking forward to KSP v1.1. Even if it means some mods never get updated for it.

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More Boron Contract Missions....

20151219_ksp0061_b3.jpg

Funds make the snacks flow, and as they say, "No Funds, No Fund Kerman." Or something like that. So when the World's Firsters offered The Boss a contract to place a satellite around The Mun, it was quickly accepted. This time they wanted some cameras so they could image the surface, though they weren't saying what for.

The probe itself was heavy, as far as Mun probes go. Launched atop another LV-03 Aria and controlled by the onboard kOS launch computer, the Boron 3 was placed safely into orbit. Though, thanks to a small programming hiccup, communication with the probe was impossible until it orbiter Kerbin one more time and passed directly over the space center. 

(The programmer kerbs still haven't figured out the trick to telling kOS to deploy the antennas once reaching space. Also haven't worked out how to automatically jettison the strap-on boosters, but they have an idea there.)

20151219_ksp0075_b3.jpg

The transfer to the Mun was handled by the onboard RT Flight Computer using nodes dialed in by ground operators, as was the capture burn (performed in the dark, out of communication) and other maneuvering. In no time at all it was happily scanning the surface and sending back data for the World First's. 

At least the funds were good.

20151219_ksp0084_b3.jpg


Boron 4 was added-on after the contract was finished. Completely identical to the Boron 3, this probe would instead enter low orbit of the Mun and begin taking higher detail images of the surface. The night launch was once again conducted entirely by the CX-4181 launch computer onboard the LV-03 launch vehicle. 

Unfortunately the craft was damaged when the fairings were jettisoned, resulting in the loss of one of the two AIES solar arrays. One was sufficient to keep the vessel powered, but would obviously limit the amount of science data that could be transmitted back at any one time. 

20151219_ksp0115_b4.jpg

In no time at all the B-4 was returning what many considered to be the motherlode of science data - close-up images of the Mun. The sheer volume of information returned allowed the R&D crews to (somehow) convince several of the former aerospace companies to provide them with plans, parts, and designs for parts. It also raised more than a few... questions.

20151219_ksp0118_b4.jpg

Structures on the Mun?


:C=C:

The last two Carbon missions had been ready to go for some time now, but were held pending the near-disaster of Carbon 4. In the end a few small tweaks were made to both craft, and the crews were bottled up inside and prepared for launch.

Elkin the scientist went up first in Carbon 5. This completely routine ascent placed the craft into a 72km by 80km equatorial orbit. One orbit later and Verly launched in the Carbon 6. Verly, with her mad engineering skills, was better suited for conducting the rendezvous as the Carbon-series of craft were without a KER onboard telemetry module. 

The launch of the C-6 was ever so slightly on the late side (which had nothing to do with Verly refusing to get inside the craft without _her_ HP-32S calculator instead of _somebody else's_), and so was short of the rendezvous by nearly 100kms.  

20151219_ksp0127_c5-6.jpg

The Carbon 5 was then forced to increase its orbit enough for the Carbon 6 to catch up, as the life support on both ships would've run out had they waited for th C6 in its 70km by 71km orbit to catch up to the C5. Soon enough, and only 1 orbit later, the two craft were docked and the World's First kerbs were shoving some new plaques into the mailslot at KSC

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Not much time to lose with the limited supplies crammed inside the Carbon capsules, so after two orbits the two Carbon atoms parted ways, with the C6 entering first (for reasons no one understands). Just moments after undocking however, the two craft temporarily redocked, which produced some confusion among the records keepers.

20151219_ksp0139_c5-6.jpg

"Started building the first station?"

"Yes! Two craft that can support kerbals were docked together for a second time. Clearly that's a space station."

"You know about Thing B, right? No, nevermind. We'll just hold onto this until we build an actual station and call it even, ok?"

With both crews safely landed and all the promotions to 1-star handed out (except poor Macfred, who failed to perform an EVA), the program was ready to move up to the next level: Nitrogen and Oxygen. Soon they would begin to reclaim all the previous generations had lost.

 

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Edited by Cydonian Monk
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14 hours ago, Cydonian Monk said:

More Boron Contract Missions....

"You know about Thing B, right? No, nevermind. We'll just hold onto this until we build an actual station and call it even, ok?"

With both crews safely landed and all the promotions to 1-star handed out (except poor Macfred, who failed to perform an EVA), the program was ready to move up to the next level: Nitrogen and Oxygen. Soon they would begin to reclaim all the previous generations had lost.

This is something I've been wondering about.....  Shouldn't the World's Firsters be demanding all their money back due to it being apparent that somebody has already done all this stuff?

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19 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

This is something I've been wondering about.....  Shouldn't the World's Firsters be demanding all their money back due to it being apparent that somebody has already done all this stuff?

No doubt their lawyers are already preparing a draft.....

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95 Years, 139 Days, 27 Minutes

20151219_ksp0089_hawk3-2.jpg

<BEEP>

<BEEP>

He groaned at the beeping. The incessant beeping. What did it need to be so loud? Where was he again?

<BEEP>

How did it stop? Oh, right, the switch. Thomlock reached up and flipped the wake alarm switch to the off position. Wake alarm. Right. Programmed only to sound when the craft was nearing another celestial body. How long had he been in cryosleep this time? A decade? More? Who knows. He glanced at the mission clock on his board. 95 years, 134 days. So, what then, 28 years? Cryosleep? What magic was that?

<beep-beep>

Right, check the map. The map. Where was that again? Oh, right. He pulled up the predictions to see where he was going. When he was last awake it was a near-miss with Eve. Thankfully. Having left Kerbin he knew his orbit would eventually match up again someday, provided no other body pulled him out of it. Eve was the biggest danger along with Kerbin's two moons, an encounter with any of them might condemn him to an eternity amongst the stars. (Or a quick death.)

Hmm. Kerbin then. In five days he would pass underneath the South Pole and spar with the atmosphere at some 3,500m/s, give or take. Would it be deep enough to capture? He certainly hoped so. He could still remember the last time he saw Kerbin. Had it already been 95 years?

 

His was the fourth launch of the Hawk Project. The fourth launch of anything ever. Things hadn't been going so well; that Jebediah kid couldn't have survived his crash, and they had all watched Bob's Hawk 3 explode mere meters above the launchpad. That other guy, the one they called Bill, nobody knew what had happened to him. The Hawk 2 capsule landed safely on the beach, parachute and all, but with nary a kerbal inside. Some suggested he bailed during the launch, driven insane with fear by the roaring engines. Thomlock wondered if he'd ever been in the craft in the first place.

20151219_ksp0065_hawk3-2.jpg

And then it was his turn. It was a bright, sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. A whole planet of blue skies. The first Hawk 3 had only made it those 2 meters before the solid rocket boosters impaled the ship, so the mission controllers had decided to name his the Hawk 3-2 instead of something logical. It must have worked, as his launch went perfectly. Perfectly straight. Perfectly upwards. Perfectly away from Kerbin and into the inky black, never to be seen again.

Never, except for every 32 years or so, when his path would cross that of his home's when his home was almost in the same place as him. The first two intercepts had been duds, missing the planet by enough to not come back and too much to go somewhere else. This time? This time looked promising. He would either burn up on reentry, or his 95-year-old heat shields would work. 

Did he have heat shields? Where did he get the air he was breathing? What was he eating? Maybe it was best to just not think about such things. He decided to pop open the hatch and take a good look outside. Maybe check the heat shielding he may not have. He was happy to have all the extra handholds... at least he couldn't fall off. He hoped. Gee, wouldn't that be anticlimactic.  

20151219_ksp0064_hawk3-2.jpg

He crawled back in and took a good long nap.

 

<WHIIIIR-BEEP!>

<WHIIIIR-BEEP!>

Short nap, comparatively. Only five, cold, worry-filled days. The ship's computer woke him up just as they entered low Kerbin orbit. First time he'd seen that since... when was it again? He glanced out at the Mün, drifting silently by the spinning capsule. He wondered if that Nelsey kid had made it back after the Hawk 4 flight; if they had even named it Hawk 4. Or had they cancelled the program when he went sailing off into the cosmos? Fourth loss in as many flights.

The ship bucked as it bit into the thin parts of the atmosphere. The endless spin finally chose an axis, a rather different feeling after nearly a century of the same spin. And then the craft snapped back violently as it chewed into the heavier air. 3,382m/s and accelerating.

20151219_ksp0094_hawk3-2.jpg

The night over Kerbin's South Pole was as dark as ever, but sunlight started to peak through the clouds as the Hawk 3-2 burned into the sludge. Not that Thomlock could see it, all that was visible beyond his window was a bright plume of orange plasma, and that was only when the violent shaking turned his head the right way.

20151219_ksp0103_hawk3-2.jpg

<BEEP!-BEEP!>

Hmm. Resource alarm. He wasn't sure what ablator was, or why it had suddenly appeared on his craft's resource list, but considering how fast the ship was burning through it he was happy to have it. Or maybe he wasn't. Maybe he wanted more. The light show outside stopped around the same time as the vibrations, and soon the parachute rattled free. Could silk even survive 95 years in a vacuum? Apparently, as after one last snap the capsule was dangling happily from the antique bed sheets.

He leaned forward in his seat to get a view through the tiny window. Spinning, still. Pitch black outside except for the trace amount of twilight. He thought he was seeing the lights of a small town off to the... North? South? ...who knows which direction. Somewhere. Had anyone seen his reentry? Was there anyone left? Would he find the planet overrun by intelligent, speaking, slave-driving cacti? 

The Hawk 3-2 landed with a thud. Thomlock decided to nap until morning. Any belligerent cactuses would have to wait.

 

Morning didn't really help things that much, though it was nice to finally see the green grass and the tall, elegant peaks of the mountains. Nearly a century in space had left him a bit weak, and lesser creatures might have been troubled by the sudden onrush of a full G of the old G. But not Thomlock. He jumped out of the tin can, extracted himself from his EVA suit, and took in a deep breath of the clean, non-recycled air.

20151219_ksp0105_hawk3-2.jpg

Home again. Finally. His instincts told him to head North, and so he made ready for the trip. Reaching inside the capsule he grabbed the survival backpack, the first aid kit, and several pocket-fulls of snacks. He wasn't sure how far those town lights were, but guessed they might be more than a few minutes walk. One last look at the ship's computer before he powered it down, smiling when he saw the mission clock.

20151219_ksp0107_hawk3-2.jpg

95 Years, 139 Days, 27 Minutes. Home at last after a very long trip. What difference would a few-hours-long hike make? None at all. And after being cooped up in that capsule and that helmet and that spacesuit and that MAG and oh kraken that smell for so long he was more than ready for a bit of a walk. Looking forward to it, in fact. Eager to trek across open country for the first time in nearly forever. Maybe even take a dip in a near-freezing tundra river or three.

So naturally that's when the recovery team showed up and shoved poor old Thomlock into a decontamination chamber for days on endless days. Figures.

 

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Edited by Cydonian Monk
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Definitely loving this so far, I hope you keep this series up as I have run out of stuff to read on these forums.

BTW, Who is Thomlock? I feel like I'm missing something here.

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7 hours ago, Cydonian Monk said:

......

So naturally that's when the recovery team showed up and shoved poor old Thomlock into a decontamination chamber for days on endless days. Figures.

LOL!  I love it.  But at least your modern-day Kerbals seem unlikely to dissect him.  Can't say the same for mine :D.

Geez, was this Hawk 3-2 from before career mode even existed?  It kinda has that look to it. what with all the extra ladders and lack of Goo pods hanging out the sides.

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20 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

LOL!  I love it.  But at least your modern-day Kerbals seem unlikely to dissect him.  Can't say the same for mine :D.

:) Hopefully these guys go easy on him, seeing as he's the only pilot in the program. The World's Firsters might want to have a word with him though.

 

20 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

Geez, was this Hawk 3-2 from before career mode even existed?  It kinda has that look to it. what with all the extra ladders and lack of Goo pods hanging out the sides.

Yep! Launched in the 0.18.3 Demo on the 15th of May, 2013. My first "successful" launch, of sorts. After losing Bill to a freak EVA-during-launch accident I wasn't sure if the little dudes could hold on or not.

Back when I first merged all of my saves (waaay back in the 0.24.x days) the Hawk 3-2 ended up on a Solar escape trajectory, which wasn't right at all. So I repeated the import from the demo save and ran the clock long enough for all the bits of the Hawk 3-2 to escape Kerbin, giving me the ephermis for Solar orbit. And then I went back and fixed old Thomlock's orbit.... Not on Solar escape at all. 

 

4 hours ago, Greenhornet553 said:

Definitely loving this so far, I hope you keep this series up as I have run out of stuff to read on these forums.

BTW, Who is Thomlock? I feel like I'm missing something here.

Thanks. 

Thomlock is one of the ancients. A figure of legend, who many claim to be the first true kerbal to enter space. He's my first non-orange-suit random-name-generated kerbal, who's been stuck in space since I first played the Demo. I was going to organize a rescue mission until I noticed he would hit Kerbin in year 96.... Happy accident, as when I add up the runtime of all my saves to date that's the year it hit. 

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