TheEpicSquared

Through Hardships to the Stars [Chapter 32 - Something Big II]

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Well I might not be able to get chapter 11 out today, but here's a sneak peek: Yw3MGJS.png

 

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10 hours ago, TheEpicSquared said:

EDIT: Actually, I just found out a plot twist that would give me a viable reason to send kerbals to Duna before the Mun. Stay tuned!

I'd love to see a Duna mission with Gemini-era tech...most of the stuff I see is really high-tech, huge spacecraft, centrifuges... but that would be unique. I love this story (9.7/10), but that would push it to 11/10...

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12 minutes ago, Kosmonaut said:

I'd love to see a Duna mission with Gemini-era tech...most of the stuff I see is really high-tech, huge spacecraft, centrifuges... but that would be unique. I love this story (9.7/10), but that would push it to 11/10...

That was the plan... MOLE is quickly growing into one of my favourite mods. :) 

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CHAPTER 11: INTERSTELLAR HAZARD

It was a calm night west of the mountain range that was west of the KSC. Bartden Kerman, scientist, amateur astronomer and close friend of Hardfield Kerman, was looking into the eyepiece of his brand new telescope.Yw3MGJS.png

Astronomy was his favorite hobby. His job at a particle accelerator research station was good enough (who doesn't like to smash tiny particles into each other at ridiculous speeds?) but Bartden loved astronmy as well. His dad, Anders Kerman, always wanted him to follow in his father's footsteps and become an ore miner - but Bartden had always preferred to look up at the stars as opposed to down at the ground.

Which was why he was here today. He had been purposely present here with the telescope since before sunset, to observe a particularly bright meteor shower up close.

He peered into the eyepiece, and didn't see anything in particular first. Then, a few streaks of orange light appeared. Bartden smiled. It was beginning.

And then he saw the star. It looked like a blue supergiant. Nothing special, blue supergiants had been observed before. But this one was different. It looked unstable. Bartden, now thoroughly alarmed, stepped back from the telescope eyepiece.

Trembling, he frantically opened up his notebook, pulled out his pencil, and scribbled down a few calculations. Bartden hoped he was wrong. 

But numbers never lie. Bartden, expressionless, collapsed into his chair as his worst fears were confirmed.q1fThE4.png

"Holy SQUAD... a gamma ray burst..."

After a quick call to Hardfield, which consisted mainly of "hurry, hurry, for SQUAD's sake!", an unmanned Velociteze arrived to ferry Bartden to the KSC.n403SBN.png

Only 10 minutes later, all the KSC staff was gathered at the Kerbonaut Complex for a hastily planned meeting.

Hardfield began. "Let's cut right to the chase. This is my friend Bartden Kerman, and he has some alarming news, to say the least."

Bartden stepped forward. "Yes, I'm Bartden Kerman, and I have bad news. I was doing some astronomy tonight and I observed an unstable blue supergiant. Now, I know what you're thinking, it's not a big deal, but it is. My calculations show that the star will release a gamma ray burst which will reach our system after 5 Duna transfer windows."

There was a moment of silence, and then everyone started talking at once.

"Order! Order!" yelled Hardfield, and everyone fell silent.

Bartden continued. "Now there is some good news. The burst is relatively thin, which means only the Moho, Eve and Kerbin systems will take a direct hit. The other planet systems, the Duna system, Dres, the Jool system and every other outer planet system will be safe."

"What exactly is it that you're proposing?" asked Walt Kerman, head of PR.

"Well," replied Bartden, "Based on preliminary distance calculations, we have five Duna transfer windows until the gamma ray burst arrives. What I'm suggesting is this: We move the Kerbal race to Duna."

***

It was the next day. Seeing no other possible solution, Duna seemed like the best option. But the KSP couldn't just stick some kerbals in an oversized tin can and catapult them to another planet under a bunch of rocket fuel. No, tests would need to be done first. And there was a time limit. They had 5 Duna transfer windows left before the gamma ray burst arrived.

The first test would be to see how kerbals would react to being in space for extended periods of time, and in close proximity to the same crew members over and over again. So the KSP built a space station: SpaceLab.h1wdPvG.png

With science labs, power, propulsion and habitation, SpaceLab was the perfect station. The only problem? It weighed 21.5 tons, well beyond the capability of any lifter to date.

So the KSP decided on the "go big or go home" and the "one size fits all" approach. They built one massive booster called the Kerbol 1. The first stage consisted of a Ratite and 4 Vector engines, which were both new experimental engines.vQ9Kcfy.png

The seconds stage was powered by a single, massive Rhino vacuum engine, also an experimental engine.SiBpfrP.png

This rocket was meant to haul huge payloads to LKO or fling probes pretty much anywhere in the Kerbol system (hence the name Kerbol 1).

SpaceLab was securely fastened to Kerbol 1.R31w2P2.png

On another cloudless day, it launched.MMDuneA.png

Ascnet went normally. SpaceLab was launched into a 45 degree orbit so it would be easier for rockets launching from other launch sites (thanks to KerbinSide) to reach the station.Db97hc6.png

Then the first stage separated and the Rhino ignited.O32n7Kf.png

Soon SpaceLab was in a roughly 160x160 orbit with its radiators and solar panels deployed, waiting for a crew.TFeN5pm.png

Edited by TheEpicSquared
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THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU

I was just thinking it might be cool to have the Brumby Mk2 or 3 or something as a Duna Lander, sort of like the Gemini Lunar Surface Rescue Vehicle... I know it's a long way away, but I'm feeling the hype Gamma Burst

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Does anyone know how to embed pictures from a mobile (iPhone in my case)?

EDIT: Nevermind, I think I found out. Here's a sneak peak at chapter 12:

Spoiler

The Bigby Solar Observatory:

J0Hg8mo.jpg

 

 

Edited by TheEpicSquared
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Chapter 12, which will be released in about an hour, will be another short chapter (only one launch) :(. But chapter 13... that's going to be long. I'll try to get it out today as well. :) 

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CHAPTER 12: BIGBY SOLAR OBSERVATORY

To make sure that Kerbol wasn't going to release a gamma ray burst anytime soon, the order for a new probe was sent out.J0Hg8mo.png

The Bigby Solar Observatory (BSO) was a state-of-the-art high-tech satellite, meant for studying everything about Kerbol. It would be placed in a solar orbit, with a periapsis below Kerbin's orbit but above Eve's, and an apoapsis above Kerbin's orbit, but below Duna's. BSO only weighed 2.3 tons, so it simply would have been a waste of money to use the Kerbol 1. So a new launch vehicle, the Kerbol Light, was developed.Px2zEPp.png

The first stage was made up of 4 Moa engines. The second stage was comprised of a single Penguin vacuum engine.

BSO was bolted on top of the rocket and around noon, it launched.QNbH19v.png

The gravity turn went flawlessly.oVGgwuK.png

At 33 kilometers, the first stage separated and the Penguin engine took over.4XrEV7A.png

The engine reignited for orbital insertion, which went according to plan.lmbWL2E.png

Less than a minute later, the Penguin ignited one final time to hurl the Bigby Solar Observatory into solar orbit.yTPeIQ4.png

lScwINr.png

When the burn was completed, BSO separated, to begin its mission of observing Kerbol.01QJhAX.png

Its final orbit was exactly as planned: periapsis between Eve and Kerbin, and apoapsis between Kerbin and Duna.9lJIqYc.png

Edited by TheEpicSquared
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INTERLUDE: THE PLAN

Oliver Kerman, head of Research & Development at the Kerbal Space Program, knocked at Hardfield's door.

"Come in."

Oliver took a deep breath and entered.

"Why hello Oliver, what brings you here today?" inquired Hardfield curiously.

"We at R&D have a plan for colonizing Duna, and all the missions leading up to it," Olliver replied, and put a plastic folder onto Hardfield's desk. The singular piece of papaer inside it read:

 


KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM FUTURE PLANS TOWARDS DUNA COLONIZATION

OLIVER KERMAN, HEAD RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

 

Outlined below are the unfinished plans for the colonization of Duna, and all missions leading up to this goal. 

 

 

Terminology:

DTW - Duna Transfer Window

KRW - Kerbin Return Window

DTWS - Duna Transfer Window Start (followed by a number, 1-5: eg. DTWS 1 = Start of first Duna Transfer Window)

DTWE - Duna Transfer Window End (followed by a number, 1-5: eg. DTWE 1 = End of first Duna Transfer Window)

KRWS - Kerbin Return Window Start (followed by a number, 1-4: eg. KRWS 1 = Start of first Kerbin Return Window)

KRWE - Kerbin Return Window End (followed by a number, 1-4: eg. KRWE 1 = End of first Kerbin Return Window)

SL - SpaceLab

Ex- - Expedition (followed by a number, preceded by destination: eg. SL Ex-1 = SpaceLab Expedition 1)

 

Plan:

PRESENT DAY:

  • SpaceLab launch
  • Bigby Solar Observatory (BSO) launch
  • SL Ex-1 using Brumby CSM
  • Kerballed Mun Mission using Brumby Mk2 CSM & Kondor Lander (Mun Ex-1)
  • SL Ex-1 Return
  • SL Ex-2 using Brumby CSM
  • SL Docking Extender Module (DEM) launch
  • SL Habitation Module (HM) launch

DTWS 1:

  • Duna Polar Reconnaissance Orbiter (DPRO) launch
  • Duna Kuriosity rover launch
  • Duna Opportunity rover launch
  • Duna Polar Resource Scanning Satellite (DPRSS) launch
  • Duna ISRU Proof of Concept rover launch
  • Duna ComSat network launch
  • Duna Sample Return Mission (DSRM) launch
  • Ike Polar Resource Scanning Satellite (IPRSS) launch
  • Ike ComSat network
  • Ike Spirit rover launch

DTWE 1

KRWS 1:

  • Duna Sample Return Mission (DSRM) return to Kerbin
  • SL Ex-2 return
  • SL Ex-3 launch using Brumby CSM
  • SL Botany Module (BM) launch
  • SL Ex-4 launch using Brumby CSM
  • Kerballed Mun Mission using Brumby Mk2 CSM & Kondor Lander (Mun Ex-2)
  • Kerballed Minmus Mission using Brumby Mk2 CSM & Kondor Lander (Minmus Ex-1)
  • SL Ex-3 return
  • SL Ex-5 launch using Brumby CSM
  • SL Solar Truss 1 (ST1) launch
  • SL Ex-4 return
  • SL Solar Truss 2 (ST2) launch
  • SL Ex-5 return
  • Sightseer Space Telescope (SST) launch
  • Gamma Ray Observation Space Telescope (GROST) launch
  • Nuclear Propulsion Test Demonstrator (NPDT) launch
  • Ion Propulsion Test Demonstrator (IPTD) launch
  • Duna Orbital Vehicle (DOV) tests in LKO
  • Duna Descent/Landing/Ascent Vehicle (DDLAV) tests in LKO
  • Reusable Space Transportation System (RSTS) unkerballed LKO tests
  • SL Ex-6 launch using RSTS

 

These are the missions confirmed so far. The launches of SpaceLab and the Bigby Solar Observatory have already occured, successfully. The rest will be conducted in the near future, and/or as transfer windows permit. This document will be updated as new missions are approved, plans are changed, etc.

- Oliver Kerman, head of Research & Development at KSP


 

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NOTE: The interlude will not affect when the chapters are released; chapter 13 is still coming out tomorrow! I included an interlude because I don't think that a plan that has no pictures or gameplay whatsoever really can justify itself as a chapter. :) 

But now you readers have a glimpse into the plans of the KSP. I intentionally only partially completed it so not too much is revealed, and so the final mission architecture is still a surprise. :cool:

Spoiler

I may have given a bit away with the ion and nuclear propulsion test demonstrators... anyone see how that relates to the Duna plans? :wink:

 

Edited by TheEpicSquared
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For once I'm glad for the Kraken... should give an interesting twist to the story... :wink: 

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oooooooooooh

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Bad news:

So something's up with my internet connection, so I probably won't get chapter 13 out today (not until my internets fixed), unfortunately :(. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm writing this on my phone, which has 4G. 

At least this will give me time to write more chapters :P 

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CHAPTER 13: STARTING THE PLAN

The first step of the plan was sending up the first expedition to SpaceLab, called SpaceLab Ex-1. The crew consisted of Jedgar Kerman, a skilled newly-hired pilot, and Mitmon, the well-known engineer who saved Valentina in the Merkury-Appaloosa Ex-1 incident.

The launch, using a Brumby CSM, took place at night. ln46ay9.png

The launch went normally and soon SpaceLab Ex-1 was in LKO, catching up to the station.JHRGcVJ.png

When both spacecraft were in the correct positions, a quick burn confirmed an intercept with SpaceLab. JHRGcVJ.png

The Brumby CSM separated from the upper stage of the rocket just a few kilometers from the space station.mEZCgOc.png

Jedgar's expert piloting meant that soon the spacecraft was soon only meters from SpaceLab.jhokZ4o.png

hao4msu.png

Jedgar carefully used the joystick to close in on the station. szQyAoS.png

As normal, Jedgar halted the spacecraft roughly 50 centimeters from the SpaceLab docking port to let the magnets pull the craft in. 

But that didn't happen.

"Weird," said Jedgar, "Shouldn't the magnet be pulling us in now?"

Mitmon replied, "It should. Not sure why it's not. I'll contact mission control. Mission control, this is SpaceLab Ex-1, come in."

A calm voice answered. "This is mission control, go ahead."

Mitmon replied, "Hi, we've got a small problem. We're half a meter from the SpaceLab docking port, but the magnet hasn't kicked in."

"I'll contact the engineering team for the Brumby CSM, in the meantime move closer to SpaceLab," replied mission control.

Jedgar gently nudged the joystick and the RCS ports puffed out a bit of thrust forward. 30 centimeters from the SpaceLab docking port, the magnets on the docking ports pulled the two spacecraft together. 

But they didn't dock. The problem was blamed on incompatible docking ports. The situation was relayed to mission control, who came up with a solution so simple no one had thought of it. To EVA from Brumby to SpaceLab. ZkpsDUL.png

With both Jedgar and Mitmon safely inside the space station, the now unmanned Brumby CSM was deorbited and landed.z5h6C2O.png

BdCGZ5Z.png

[Don't ask me about that visual bug :P]

Jedgar and Mitmon were going to stay on the station for some time. The Brumby CSM was hastily refitted with the proper docking port. An unmanned Brumby would pick up Jedgar and Mitmon at the end of their mission.

With the first mission of the plan a (relative) success, it was time for the second mission, designed to test how well a mission infrastructure can be designed and piloted. It was also designed to test how well kerbonauts can carry out an actual extended mission in space. The mission was a Mun mission, using an upgraded version of the Brumby, the Brumby Mk2 CSM. WFeO4jC.png

This was essentially the same as the standard Brumby but with more fuel. The engine was also different: it was a toroidal aerospike which has good vacuum thrust and good specific impulse - the perfect rocket engine. The CSM alone didn't have enough Delta-V to get to the surface of the Mun and back on its own, so a two-stage lander was developed. It would undock from the CSM in Low Munar Orbit, land on the Mun, ascend back into orbit and finally redock with the CSM. Remaining fuel from the lander would be transferred into the CSM and then the 2-Kerbal crew would head home. RDXJ0iQ.png

The lander was named Kondor. When it was time for the mission, it was attached to the Kerbol 1 rocket, with the Brumby Mk2 CSM stacked above that. This was to ensure that the pod could be wrenched away by the launch escape system in an emergency. qsY3pSA.png

The crew consisted of Jebediah Kerman, the first kerbal in space, and Bill Kerman, the skilled engineer and one of the first four kerbonauts.

When it was time, the rocket was rolled out onto the pad. An immense crowd of 18,000 kerbals were in the viewing area, and the launch was being televised live all across Kerbin. Even Jedgar and Mitmon, on board SpaceLab, recieved coverage.MozLKBG.png

After all pre-flight checks were completed, the countdown began. The launch commentator said:

"T-1 minute. All systems are nominal at this time.

T-30 seconds to launch. All systems continue to be nominal.

T-20 seconds. Power is on internal. 

T-15 seconds. All tanks pressurized.

T-10 seconds to launch, all systems are GO for launch.

9...

8...

7, engine ignition sequence start...

6...

5...

4, engine ignition...

3...

2..

1..."

Then, alarms went off across mission control and the engines shut down, leaving the massive rocket engines smoking on the pad. 

The launch commentator said, "There appears to have been a launch abort. As far as we can tell, the crew is safe. Stand by for further information."

Jeb radioed mission control and asked, "What happened? Why did we abort?"

Hardfield replied, "We're not sure why the komputer aborted. We're working on it now, stand by for more info."

Three minutes later, Hardfield said, "Jeb, the komputer aborted due to a faulty decoupler warning. Looks like the explosive bolt wasn't properly attached."

Jeb replied, "When can we launch? How long will it take to fix"

"Well, luckily the decoupler's very easy to reach, so we can have it fixed in a couple of hours. The next launch attempt will be same time tomorrow," Hardfield replied. "We're moving back the crew gantry now so you can get out of the pod."

Jeb, a little disappointed, replied, "Ok, got it."

***

The next day, at exactly the same time, the next launch attempt occurred. The same process was used. After the pre-flight checks, the countdown began, orchestrated by the launch commentator.

"T-1 minute. All systems are nominal at this time.

T-30 seconds to launch. All systems continue to be nominal.

T-20 seconds. Power is on internal. 

T-15 seconds. All tanks pressurized.

T-10 seconds to launch, all systems are GO for launch.

9...

8...

7, engine ignition sequence start...

6...

5...

4, engine ignition...

3...

2..

1...

Zero, and liftoff! We have liftoff of the Mun Expedition 1, with the mission of carrying the first kerbals to the Mun."

The rocket roared off the pad.q8iAtPW.png

The 18,000 kerbals at the viewing area clapped and cheered as the sound of the rocket engines reached them.

Only one minute later, the rocket was already 15 kilometers above sea level and was heading east over the ocean.IckWei9.png

30 seconds later, the rocket was already up to 28 kilometers and the whole pod rattled and shook. Jeb yelled over the noise, "There goes the launch escape system!"sGG8kOc.png

Then, the first stage ran out of propellant, separated, and the second stage Rhino vacuum engine ignited.Gq2V2Fz.png

Jab snapped a picture of Kerbin's curvature as the rocket hurtled through the sky.glNsskN.png

Soon, Jeb and Bill were in space and the Rhino neatly circularized their orbit.KVUbnea.png

After one orbit to check that all systems were functioning normally, the Rhino ignited once again to perform the Trans-Munar Injection (TMI). 5MUV53D.png

Just under keostationary altitude, the fairing deployed, revealing the Kondor lander and the lower part of the Brumby Mk2 CSM.mn4KuIC.png

Jeb carefully maneuvered the spacecraft away from the second stage.LeVMk5U.png

Then the CSM flipped around 180 degrees to face the lander.UECm69W.png

Jeb took a picture.AKHtwH5.png

The CSM carefully closed in on the lander.7yZxWEg.png

Then, the magnets pulled the two craft together and they docked. Bill deployed the solar panels.sPOvtr6.png

A quick correction burn with the aerospike put them into the proper trajectory.TuFepRH.png

The second stage Rhino engine ignited one final time to send it crashing into the Mun.iRUb4Z8.png

A few hours later, Mun Ex-1 entered the Mun's SoI, making Jebediah and Bill the first Kerbals to enter the gravitational well of another celestial body. ifaKDW3.png

At periapsis, the aerospike ignited again to insert the craft into LMO.K2O0XjY.png

[For some reason the aerospike plume didn't show up. Weird.]

Soon Jeb and Bill were in orbit around the Mun.dCtohk6.png

A few minutes later, when it was confirmed that everything was working correctly, Jeb and Bill transferred into the lander and undocked from the CSM.C4QklJx.png

Then, the deorbit burn commenced.eNVFRMg.png

The autopilot took control for the first part of the landing burn.lfKn59t.png

After a mostly uneventful descent, control was handed over to Jeb and he carefully descended vertically to the surface of the Mun.Rjq2Gl7.png

Jeb was completely focused on the vertical speed indicator and the radar altitude indicator, while Bill rattled off statistics.

Bill said:

"100 meters...

50 meters...

25 meters...

10 meters...

9, 8, 7, 6, 5 meters, 4, 3, 2, 1, contact light illuminated, we have landed."

Jeb, relieved, sat back in his seat and unbuckled his seat belt.3pKyCaM.png

Three minutes later, after all systems were checked, Jeb and Bill put on their EVA suits, depressurized the cabin and Jebediah stepped out onto the ladder. The moment was being viewed across Kerbin, as it was being televised live.atdWOsP.png

Moments later, Jebediah Kerman stepped off the ladder, becoming the first Kerbal to set foot on another celestial body. His left boot contacted the Munar soil first.

He said, "It is one small step for a Kerbal; one giant leap for Kerbalkind."

Then, Bill followed Jeb out into the surface of the Mun. Jeb planted a flag and then a picture was taken.FJQm6ou.png

After collecting as many Mun rocks as theycould, and setting out various experiments, the intrepid crew stepped back into the lander. Jeb took a picture out the window just before liftoff.L6EfbPb.png

The ascent stage separated from the landing stage and its single Spark engine lifted Jeb and Bill back into orbit.XTxfaAz.png

dJxcZIY.png

After a few orbits, the Spark engine set a course for the CSM.pn6UE8b.png

The lander approached the CSM as Kerbol set behind the Mun. 

It was pitch black outside the window and Jeb couldn't see a thing. So, fully relying on his instruments, Jeb carefully closed in on the CSM. fNoxi6Z.png

The instruments said that the relative speed was only 0.1 m/s. But as the lander lights finally illuminated the CSM, Jeb looked out the window and saw the CSM rushing at them at tremendous speeds!

Before Jeb could do anything, the lander had collided with the CSM! The lander was completely destroyed. Only the lander can remained. "SQUAD-damned instruments!" Jeb snarled. He reset the SAS and soon the spiining of the lander can stopped. But by now the CSM was already 500 meters away and was receding at a speed of 14 meters per second - way too far and fast to EVA to the CSM.eBPrbWg.png

Back at mission control, Hardfield sighed. This was not how he wanted to spend his day.

***

There was a more serious concern than how Hardfield wanted to spend his day. The collision had resulted in a breach in the lander can. Air was slowly leaking out. Bill's quick calculations showed they had an hour of air left. Food and water was plentiful, but the air would only last an hour.

"Right, well, what do we do?" asked Bill.

Jeb produced a roll of duct tape and replied, "We have to find the breach. I have an idea. Find something flammable. Quickly!"

Jeb and Bill set out looking, but there was a problem. Everything on the spacecraft had purposely been made non-flammable, so a fire would be virtually impossible. But eventually, Bill found a small wooden splinter stuck in his boot. It was about 4 centimeters long. Not much, but it would have to do.

Jeb grabbed the splinter, broke it in half and started viciously rubbing the two pieces together.

Bill, alarmed, exclaimed, "Jeb, what are you doing? A fire will only reduce the oxygen supply, not increase it!"

"True," Jeb replied calmly, "but the smoke will be drawn to the breach. Then we'll be able to locate it and seal it with the duct tape."

Just as he said that, one splinter burst into flames. "Stay absolutely still," Jeb whispered. The smoke was sucked to a spot where the window joined the lander can wall. The smoke went through and disappeared.

Jeb exclaimed, "Here! Bill, quick, hand me the duct tape."

Bill and Jeb ripped strips of tape from the roll and sealed up the breach. Just to be sure, they used up half the roll.

Bill checked the air monitor, and it said that air wasn't leaking out anymore. Their crude fix had done the trick.

***

Back at mission control, a rescue mission was hastily designed. It would use a Brumby Mk2 CSM fitted with a grabbing unit (nicknamed "The Klaw") instead of a docking port. It was named the Brumby Mk2 Rescue Pod.IZwFUBq.png

It was attached on top of a Kerbol Light rocket. It launched as soon as it was ready, at dusk.oPRE8jl.png

Launch was uneventful and soon the unmanned spacecraft was in orbit.OeFqncG.png

The TMI burn was completed nominally.OXeYRk7.png

And after many, many orbits, and a ridiculous amount of course corrections, the Brumby Mk2 Rescue Pod approached the stranded lander can.wZnWZSb.png

rWOquNX.png

The Klaw was armed and then it successfully grabbed the lander can. Mission Control cheered and clapped.kH4ZAX0.png

Jeb and Bill EVA'd into the Brumby pod and the lander can was detached. Then it ignited its aerospike angine and headed home.R061sRG.png

[For some reason the plume doesn't show up here as well. I'll have to look into it.]

The periapsis was lowered to well below the atmosphere. NvMEW23.png

Normally, the CSM would brake into LKO and then deorbit aver the desert to land close to the KSC, but Mission Control wasn't taking any chances. They were going to get Bill and Jeb back on solid ground as quickly as possible.

A few hours later, the Brumby pod detached from the service module and entered the atmosphere at over 3.3 kilometers per second, making them the fastest kerbals to reenter Kerbin's atmosphere.jMdrOYr.png

YF1MIyT.png

Then, the drogue chutes and main chutes were deployed. Turns out they would land close to the KSC after all.RkQRjVl.png

Jebediah and Bill touched down on a hillside. They were safe.iDhoUoG.png

The Whiplash 1 plane was sent out to retrieve them and Jeb and Bill returned to the KSC with a hero's welcome.

The investigation was started immediately. The incident was eventually blamed on faulty instruments, just as Jeb had said. A new safety measure was announced. Every part of the rocket and spacecraft would be checked 4 times, instead of just 2, to increase the chance of finding errors.

The instrument failure itself was blamed on a komputer glitch - good news for getting kerbals back to space quickly, because now the whole instrument system wouldn't need to be redesigned.

But right now, Jeb didn't particularly care about all that. He was very tired after his ordeal, so when he was back at his room in the astronaut complex, he brushed his teeth, rolled onto his bed, sighed, and fell asleep.

Edited by TheEpicSquared
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Chapter 14 will be out tomorrow guys! I've got all the screenshots for it done. :) 

Oh, and I'll have to find some more things to do before the first Duna transfer window opens...

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how are you so fast? its so good!

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20 hours ago, Kosmonaut said:

how are you so fast? its so good!

Well, this week was autumn break so I had plenty of time on my hands. But now that school's starting again, it'll be back to the usual 1-2, maybe 3, chapters a week. :( 

But I'll be getting chapter 14 out later today! :) 

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CHAPTER 14: SPACELAB OPERATIONS

The next part of the plan to Duna was to return SpaceLab Ex-1, and launch Ex-2. But there was a problem. The KSC launchpad still wasn't ready from the effects of launching 2 massive rockets in such a small amount of time. The KSP seemed stuck. They had a huge backlog of missions waiting to be launched, but no launchpad to launch them from.

Hardfield Kerman, in his office, sighed. He had no idea how the KSP was going to conduct all the launches in time. The first Duna transfer window was only a few munths away, and there had only been one crew on SpaceLab so far.

Then, someone knocked on his door. A sharp and curt knock, clearly from someone who was used to this.

"Come in," Hardfield called.

The door opened and a crisply dressed kerbal walked through the door.

"Hello Mr Hardfield, I'm Ludbod Kerman, head of the Kerbin Transportation Agency."

Hardfield reached out his hand and Ludbod shook it firmly.

A businesskerbal's handshake. He's used to this, Hardfield thought. He said, "Hello, sit down," and gestured to an empty chair.

"So, Mr Ludbod, what brings you here?" Hardfield asked.

"I've heard that you are experiencing a bit of a problem with your launch facility."

"That's true. Our launchpad isn't yet reconditioned for another launch, and we have a huge backlog of missions to complete. What are you offering?"

"The old KSC," Ludbod repliad simply.

"The old KSC?" Hardfield echoed, "That can't launch anything more than a sounding rocket!"

"Not anymore," Ludbod replied. He produced a picture from his pocket and laid it on the desk.CYAkzLy.png

"By SQUAD..." Hardfield breathed. "When did this happen?"

"The Kerbin Transportation Agency took over the facility when you discontinued it. It was an ideal place for an airport, so that's what we did. We were going to demolish the launchpad, but when we heard about your problem, we decided not to. Instead we expanded it. It's perfect for launching orbit-capable rockets now."

So the deal was struck. The KSP now had 2 launch sites. 

***

An unmanned Brumby was on the pad of the newly named Eastern Continent Launch Facility (ECLF). When the SpaceLab's orbit went overhead, it launched.ctKjQII.png

It ascended past the snowy mountaintops.r68F7Ep.png

The ascent went to plan and soon the unmanned Brumby was in a low parking orbit.ZbLPF3w.png

The intercept was the best one yet.jRSE28R.png

The rendezvous also went normally and soon the Brumby CSM was docked to SpaceLab.F4sQ9SK.png

Jedgar and Mitmon boarded the spacecraft and departed the station.uzgONsz.png

The instruments weren't being very cooperative so it was decided that they would deorbit immediately. Reentry was nominal and soon the crew of SpaceLab Ex-1 was safely on the ground.RaIOJdW.png

An unmanned Whiplash 1 plane was dispatched from the ECLF to pick them up. From the ECLF, a Stearwing A300 flew Jedgar and Mitmon back to the KSC.

It was decided that in the future the ECLF would handle all launches related to SpaceLab would take place at the ECLF, while the KSC would handle other launches.

The next launch was of SpaceLab Ex-2, carrying Bob Kerman, a scientist, and Obkin Kerman, a newly hired engineer. The launch was handled by the ECLF.n16eowg.png

SpaceLab Ex-2 entered LKO successfully and rendezvoused and docked with SpaceLab.dh4kvRI.png

ZhbXS2F.png

The next launch was of a new module for SpaceLab: the Docking Extender Module (DEM). It was basically just a bunch of docking ports strapped onto a tank of monopropellant, but it would work.sEb0L0W.png

It was bolted onto the trusty Kerbin 3 rocket.

Launch was nominal and soon it was in orbit and closing in on SpaceLab.6Mm3cAR.png

kHqipGJ.png

gzohtNL.png

50 meters from the station, the DEM canceled out its relative velocity. rc6MwGc.png

Then, the Brumby CSM undocked and moved away from SpaceLab.rF00YNS.png

Next, the DEM closed in and docked.p7UOXvw.png

Finally, the Brumby CSM redocked to SpaceLab, this time to the side so more modules could be attached to the station in future.eyT4uNr.png

***

The next launch was of the Habitation Module (HM). F9bT0MA.png

Weighing in at over 12 tons, it was much too heavy for the Kerbin 3, but way too light for the Kerbol Light. So the engineers took the design of the rocket used to launch the Brumby CSM, and evolved it into an independent rocket, called the Cormorant A-0.JfMDdt7.png

The rocket was designed to be modular, which meant that a various number of SRBs or Common Core Boosters (CCBs) could be strapped to the first stage.

The 'A' in the name meant that the first stage was designed for strapping of SRBs. The 0 meant that there were 0 SRBs on the rocket. So a Cormorant A-3 would have 3 SRBs, and a Cormorant A-9 would have 9 SRBs.

The A could also be replaced by a B. This meant the rocket was designed for more first stages to be strapped on to the core. So a Cormorant B-2 would have 2 first stage boosters strapped on the side of the core. Similarly, a Cormorant B-6 would have 6 first stage boosters strapped on the side.

Once Hardfield got his head around the confusing naming system, he approved the launch and the HM was bolted on to a Cormorant A-0.BhNPI9x.png

The Mainsail engine had no trouble pushing the rocket and payload off the ground.XnwBRne.png

The second stage Skipper engine also easily propelled the payload high into the atmosphere.35YUdgZ.png

Soon, it was closing in in the station.P2vhLRQ.png

As Kerbol rose above the horizon, it docked.UFSYLdZ.png

***

Hardfield looked over the plan, and, shocked, realized that all the missions before the Duna transfer window were complete! 

So much for a backlog of missions waiting to launch... We'll have to think of some more! Hardfield thought, satisfied with the KSP.

For once, he was relaxed when he fell asleep that night. In his dreams one phrase stayed in his mind... "Commercial Launches".

Edited by TheEpicSquared
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Can anyone guess what "commercial launches" means? :D Find out in the next chapter... or look in the spoiler below if you really, really want to know. 

Spoiler

SPOILER BELOW! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Spoiler

ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO KNOW?

Spoiler

REALLY SURE?

Spoiler

FINE. HERE IT IS:

Spoiler

LAST WARNING: ARE YOU REALLY; REALLY SURE YOU WANT TO KNOW?

Spoiler

YES? VERY WELL; HERE IT IS:

Spoiler

Commercial launches means that the KSP will launch satellites from other companies to pass the time until the Duna transfer window opens. Where will the satellites come from, you ask. Well, I'll build some myself, and the reat will come from... you guys! You can submit your own payloads and I'll launch as many as I can manage. :D 

More info in the spoiler below:

Spoiler

If you want to launch a payload, please answer these questions when you post a craft.

  • Payload name?
  • Payload provider (Your 'company' name, eg. Squared Space Technologies)?
  • Type of payload (Scientific, exploratory, communication, SpaceLab module, etc.)?
  • Payload mass?
  • Payload height?
  • Payload length?
  • Payload width?
  • Payload part count?
  • Is the payload stock or modded?
  • If it's modded, what mods?
  • Which body should it orbit (Kerbol, Kerbin, Mun, Minmus, Duna, etc.)?
  • Intended orbit (Apoapsis, periapsis, inclination, any other orbital info I may have forgotten to ask)?
  • Short description of the payload.
  • .Craft file [ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! I can't launch the payload if I don't have it, right? :P] [Please upload your craft to KerbalX; note that MediaFire is NOT accepted due to inappropriate ads]
  • Any other info about the payload you think I should know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Looks up*

Damn that's a lot of spoilers :P 

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Question.

A gamma ray burst is an atmosphere-shredding species-eradicating world-decimating pulse of... you guessed it... gamma rays.

Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, high energy photons. Thus, they travel at the speed of light c. The light from the supernova that produced them also travels at c. So why are we getting any advance warning at all? The first "warning" - the rays of light that signal the burst - will arrive at the same time as the gamma rays themselves.

Obvious answer? Speed of plot. Suggestion? Change it to the astronomer observing a blue supergiant going into initial instability, with a supernova predicted around 5 duna windows later that will be powerful enough to irradiate Kerbin. The issue with that is that it would also be able to destroy Duna - maybe predict that Duna is on the opposite side of the sun, shielded by its magnetic field?

Edited by greenTurtle1134
it's and its
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46 minutes ago, greenTurtle1134 said:

Obvious answer? Speed of plot. Suggestion? Change it to the astronomer observing a blue supergiant going into initial instability, with a supernova predicted around 5 duna windows later that will be powerful enough to irradiated Kerbin. The issue with that is that it would also be able to destroy Duna - maybe predict that Duna is on the opposite side of the sun, shielded by its magnetic field?

Ah, I see what you mean. I'll change it tomorrow after school.

Oh, and about the fact that it would be able to destroy Duna, I've said that this is "unusually thin", taking out the inner planets but leaving Duna and the rest alone. You'll see why it's so thin in a (long) while. Probably the answer to the thin-mess somewhere around chapter 30-40 (yup, I have no plans to end this anytime soon :D). 

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Update: chapter 15 will be out tomorrow! :) 

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Ok, chapter 15 is going to be a really short chapter (no screenshots) which will basically reveal what 'commercial launches' mean and the updated plan. Should be out in roughly 2 hours. :) 

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CHAPTER 15: UPDATING THE PLAN

Hardfield woke up early, wanting to get a head start on all the paperwork that accompanied the business of launching a rocket. But when he arrived at his office, he was surprised to see not a single sheet of paper on his desk!

He thought, This desk hasn't been this empty since I assembled it at home 43 years ago! 

Hardfield sat down in his chair and looked over the plan. He would have to move some missions up from after the first Duna transfer window. He selected a few missions to to move forward. 

The revised plan was as follows:


PRESENT DAY:

  • Reusable Space Transportation System (RSTS) development
  • SpaceLab Botany Module (BM) launch
  • Kerballed Mun Mission using Brumby Mk2 CSM & Kondor Lander (Mun Ex-2)
  • Kerballed Minmus Mission using Brumby CSM & Kondor Lander (Minmus Ex-1)
  • SpaceLab Solar Truss 1 (ST1) launch
  • SpaceLab Solar Truss 2 (ST2) launch
  • Sightseer Space Telescope (SST) launch
  • Gamma Ray Observational Space Telescope (GROST) launch
  • Nuclear Propulsion Test Demonstrator  (NPTD) launch
  • Ion Propulsion Test Demonstrator (IPTD) launch

 

DUNA TRANSFER WINDOW 1 START:

  • Duna Polar Reconnaissance Orbiter (DPRO) launch
  • Duna Kuriosity rover launch
  • Duna Opportunity rover launch
  • Duna Polar Resource Scanning Satellite (DPRSS) launch
  • Duna ISRU Proof of Concept rover launch
  • Duna ComSat network launch
  • Duna Sample Return Mission (DSRM) launch
  • Ike Polar Resource Scanning Satellite (IPRSS) launch
  • Ike ComSat network
  • Ike Spirit rover launch

DUNA TRANSFER WINDOW 1 END

 

KERBIN RETURN WINDOW 1 START:

  • Duna Sample Return Mission (DSRM) return to Kerbin
  • SL Ex-2 return
  • SL Ex-3 launch using Brumby CSM
  • SL Ex-4 launch using Brumby CSM
  • Kerballed Mun Mission using Brumby Mk2 CSM & Kondor Lander (Mun Ex-3)
  • Kerballed Minmus Mission using Brumby Mk2 CSM & Kondor Lander (Minmus Ex-2)
  • SL Ex-3 return
  • SL Ex-5 launch using Brumby CSM
  • SL Ex-4 return
  • SL Ex-5 return
  • Duna Orbital Vehicle (DOV) tests in LKO
  • Duna Descent/Landing/Ascent Vehicle (DDLAV) tests in LKO
  • SL Ex-6 launch using RSTS

Hardfield Kerman also thought of a way to increase their profits: to provide launch services for outside companies* who would like to launch scientific and communication satellites. He got so carried away by the idea he wrote up a set of questions for the payload provider to answer:

Spoiler

Payload Submission Form

  • Payload name?
  • Payload provider (Your 'company' name, eg. Squared Space Technologies)?
  • Type of payload (Scientific, exploratory, communication, SpaceLab module, etc.)?
  • Payload mass?
  • Payload height?
  • Payload length?
  • Payload width?
  • Payload part count?
  • Is the payload stock or modded?
  • If it's modded, what mods?
  • Which body should it orbit (Kerbol, Kerbin, Mun, Minmus, Duna, etc.)?
  • Intended orbit (Apoapsis, periapsis, inclination, any other orbital info I may have forgotten to ask)?
  • Short description of the payload.
  • .Craft file [ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! I can't launch the payload if I don't have it, right?] [Please upload your craft to KerbalX; note that MediaFire is NOT accepted due to inappropriate ads]
  • Any other info about the payload you think I should know.

Then, Hardfield realized that the satellite business was still young, so there might not be many interested companies. However, on the other hand, if there was a huge interest, the KSP would have a monopoly on commercial launches until other private companies took up the rocket industry.

Hardfield though, Meh. What's the worst that can happen? We still have a busy schedule even without customers.

He scrawled his signature at the bottom and sent the document to Walt Kerman, head of PR, for approval.

***

Walt Kerman opened up Kmail and read the mail that Hardfield had sent him. He quickly typed back, "Commercial launches are a great idea! I'll put it out to the public as soon as I can."

And with that the dice had been rolled. The offer was out.

 

 

*Outside companies means you readers, and anyone who just pops in here and wants their payload to be launched. I'll put the payload submission form in the OP so everyone can access it easily.

Edited by TheEpicSquared
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This looks cool! I have a payload that I will upload the .craft file for soon! 

Payload Name: Interplanetary Transport System 

Payload Provider: Joint Venture: JAI (my company) and SpaceY 

Type of payload: Kerbin evacuation and Duna colony transport 

Payload mass/height/length/width: Payload is undergoing final design tweaks, will be known when payload is ready for launch 

Payload part count: See above 

Stock/modded: Modded 

Mods: Procedual Parts, Procedural Fairings, SpaceY, SpaceY Expanded, KW Rocketry (Instant Response Configs), RealChute, Kerbal Planetary Base Systems, All the @Angel-125 mods 

Orbit: No specified orbit, designed to transport colonists and supplies to Duna and return for reusability. 

Description: Inspired by SpaceX's real-life Interplanetary Transport System, this ship can transport 100 colonists and up to 50 tons of cargo to Duna and return autonomously. 

.craft file: Payload not completely finished, expect upload around Saturday or Sunday. 

No other info right now.   

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