NISSKEPCSIM

NISSKEPCSIM's Career - An Alternate History-style Mission Report Series

19 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Post #1 - April 13th, 2017.

DISCLAIMER: This entire thread is intended as a parody of the space race, so please don't take what I say seriously.

Mod list:

Spoiler

For 1.2.2

Bluedog Design Bureau, with only the Apollo, science, Saturn, and Atlas parts remaining after a cleanup to increase computer performance and reduce lag.

TRAILS plus.

Decal Stickers.

NEBULA Decals Continued.

Tantares.

Tantares LV.

Home-Grown Rockets + the 1.2.2 patch fixes.

B9 Aerospace + B9 Part Switch.

Astrogator.

ASET Props.

LBSI Rocket Factory.

Animated Decouplers.

CX Aerospace.

Firespitter - Plugin only!

FMRS.

Fuel Tanks Plus.

Historical Progression Tech Tree.

Raster Prop Monitor.

KSS Asimov

KAS/KIS.

Kerbal Konstructs.

Kerbal Reusability Expansion.

Inline Ballutes.

KSP Kosmodrome.

KSC Floodlight.

Historian.

Kerbin Shuttle Orbiter (KSO) System.

KSP Wheel.

Lack's Stock Extension.

Mechjeb.

Real Plume.

Pebkac Industries LES.

Project Manager.

Real Chute.

Retractable lifting surface.

SCANsat.

SDHI Service Module System.

Smoke Screen.

SpaceY Heavy Lifters.

Ven's Stock Revamp.

Buffalo MSEV.

Pathfinder.

Community Resource Pack.

Waypoint Manager.

Module Manager.

Kerbal Konstructs.

KSP Cosmodrome.

KSC Floodlight.

AB Launchers.

Please be advised that after Friday, the 26th of May, I shall be accepting payloads submitted for launch by "private companies." Preferably, payloads must under 15 tons, but the limit is 25.

The only mods you can use are MOLE, Tantares (Either LV or spacecraft), TRAILS Plus, Home-Grown Rockets (With the patches for use in 1.2.2), Fuel Tanks Plus, KAS/KIS, and Ven's Stock Revamp. I'm not installing mods just for your payload, because my game already crashes way too much!

Payload submission form below:

Spoiler

Manufacturer: Name of manufacturer (Your company).

Name: Name of payload.

Weight: Weight of payload.

Height: Height of payload.

Width: Width of payload.

Length: Length of payload.

Description: Short description of your company, its interests in space, and your payload.

Mission objective: Detailed objective of your payload (Eg: Launch to LKO, transfer to Munar orbit, land, etc.).

Kerbal X file: Your craft file. I accept Kerbal X, Kerbal X, and only Kerbal X!

(Optional) Launcher: The rocket you want me to use to launch your payload.

Country contracted to: Who you're contracting this mission to; The US or Russia.

(Optional) Rewards: Basically, just like the rewards you get from completing normal contracts. Though I'm hardly strapped for cash, so this is optional.

 

So. Here it is. I've been wanting to do an Eyes Turned Skyward style mission report series, where I'd play a new career mode game, presented in a history book format (Also inspired by this). These mission reports will have multiple different parties launching space vehicles - the USSR and the USA. Yes - It's basically just a career game with a moderately entertaining backstory - but I wanted to do it so here it is:

---

Year 1, Day 1. (April 13, 1957)

At a remote complex in southern Kazakhstan, a new ICBM is being prepped for launch. But this is no regular ICBM. And it carries no nuclear payload. As trucks and jeeps drive around the missile, ground crew fuel up and prepare the ICBM for takeoff. This missile contains a small satellite, equipped with four long-range antennae and advanced scientific instruments. At T-minus ten minutes to launch, the three large, green metal launch gantries lower themselves away from the rocket, and the ground crew clear the launch zone. TV crews crowd around barriers, blocking any unauthorized personnel from gaining access to Launchpad-G. The rocket has two stages - the first, an FLT-800 fuel tank, with a singular BPT-180 engine, and a TR-18A decoupler to make way for the second stage - an FLT-200 fuel tank and another BPT-180 engine, with four Vernor engines to keep the rocket on course.

KhgIsfA.jpg

At zero hour, the entire stack lifts off the pad, the 158 kiloNewtons of thrust more than enough to propel the rocket through the sky. Huge clouds of smoke billow from the engine as it approaches the highest-ever altitude set by an aircraft - 28 kilometres - and easily breaks that altitude record in a mere matter of seconds. At an altitude of thirty kilometres, the first stage cuts-off, and is jettisoned. The craft coasts to apoapsis, the Vernor thrusters aligning it on the correct attitude for the orbital injection. The second stage cuts-off with a mere ten seconds left in the orbital injection, at which point the fairing deploys and the 'Sputnik' satellite completes the burn using its NT-5R engine - an efficient, low-thrust experimental nuclear engine. The engine, also known as the 'Shiba,' has not been perfected, and slowly emits radiation, which would, if exposed to any astronauts for long duration missions - as the USSR would later find out - be lethal.

After the satellite had reached orbit, it took readings with its scientific instruments, and broadcasted a continuous message towards Kerbin: Beep, beep, beep, beep...

8a71adb.jpg

The successful launch of 'Sputnik' prompted the United States of America to respond with their own space program. In the beginning, the task was handed over to the Air Force, which, to put it bluntly, couldn't get to space if they were given a prefabricated rocket with instructions spelled out in block capitals with simple verbs and multiple pictures and diagrams. They were better at designing aircraft. They just couldn't get their heads around the fact that there is no air in space. So it's no surprise that on Year 1, Day 3 (July 21st, 1957), when the US Air Force attempted to launch 'Voyager 1,' the rocket failed to get off the ground.

FzB4Yuh.jpg

The two strap-on TX-354-3 SRBs and core SCOUT LRB were designed to carry the satellite, 'Voyager-1,' to an Apoapsis above the atmosphere, where the satellite would perform the orbital injection. However, the engineers made the embarrassing mistake of mistaking the vacuum Isp for the Isp at sea level, which wasn't even capable of lifting the rocket a single metre off the ground! The launch had made a mockery of the US Air Force, and the American people lost faith in their country's ability to compete with the USSR. And so, on Year 1, Day 4 (October 3rd, 1957), the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). And NASA's first task was to launch a satellite to compete with the Soviet 'Sputnik' program.

The first thing NASA did was haul Wernher Von Kerman out from the Air Force's grasp to become their head rocket engineer. He and the rest of his team happily obliged, and, once work on the KSC (Kerbal Space Centre) was complete, work on the 'Explorer' program began. The facilities at KSC were less advanced than those at Vandenberg Air Force Base, but they were completely NASA-owned, and because NASA was government-funded, it meant that they could decide what to do with their facilities.

Construction of the 'Cygnus M-22' rocket began on Year 1, Day 5 (December 19th, 1957). First, the rocket required two DIOSCURI-1 SRBs to provide the necessary boost at launch to raise the Apoapsis. The contract to build and test the boosters was awarded to BDB International, while the first core stage, an FLT-800 fuel tank with a TR-18D stack separator and an MPT-180 engine, was given to LeBeau Space Industries. The upper stage, consisting of another MPT-180 engine and two fuel tanks, one FLT-200 and one FLT-100, was also awarded to LeBeau Space Industries. The payload, the 'Explorer-1' satellite, was to be built and tested by the NASA design teams themselves.

And, alas, on Year 1, Day 6 (March 11th, 1958), 'Explorer-1' was ready for launch. It sat on Launchpad-1A at the KSC. Crowds of reporters flocked to the Space Centre, and the local police had to be called in to prevent rambunctious Kerbals from jumping over the barriers and onto the pad!

At lift-off, the two SRBs and central LRB ignited, and the rocket ascended towards the heavens on a plume of flame and smoke. Across America, tall tales were told of the launch being felt across the continent. But of course, they were just that - tall tales!

PLyqiBK.jpg

At twenty kilometres altitude, the two DIOSCURI-1 SRBs were separated, and the central stage continued until it, too, was jettisoned at forty kilometres. The upper stage completed the orbital injection and raised the orbit of the satellite to a record-breaking altitude of five-hundred kilometres! As the satellite circled Kerbin, it took photographs, and studied ionizing radiation and the temperature of space!

DbSwXLL.jpg

A famous image taken by 'Explorer-1,' known as 'the Greenish-Blue Marble.'

KAaTlrt.jpg

Summary:

USSR successfully launched 'Sputnik' LKO satellite - first artificial satellite - Year 1, Day 1 (April 13, 1957)

USA failed to launch 'Voyager-1' LKO satellite - Year 1, Day 3 (July 21st, 1957)

USA successfully launched 'Explorer-1' LKO satellite - Year 1, Day 6 (March 11th, 1958)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
Updated OP with mod list.
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Posted (edited)

                                                                                                                      Post #2 - April 14th, 2017

Year 1, Day 7. (January 2nd, 1959)

On Launchpad-G, at Baikerbanur Cosmodrome, a new rocket is awaiting launch. Once again, ground crew crowd around the missile, preparing it for launch. After the success of the 'Sputnik' program, the Soviet Union recognized that the next logical step in space exploration was reaching the Mun. Of course, manned spaceflight was a priority, but it wouldn't be ready for at least another year - and so, Valentin Klushko adapted the launcher developed for manned spaceflight by Sergei Kerbolyov, and, with the addition of a fourth stage, constructed the 'R-7 8K72,' a new lifter for launching small payloads on Munar flybys.

The first stage consisted of a BPT-180 engine, with one FLT-200 fuel tank and one FLT-800 fuel tank, with four strap-on MGU27A LRBs around the central core, with a TR-18A decoupler. The second stage was another simple BPT-180 engine, with an FLT-200 and an FLT-100 fuel tank. The third stage, an FLT-100 tank and another BPT-180. And, finally, the fourth stage was an LV-909 engine, with an FLT-200 fuel tank.

The payload itself, the 'Luna' satellite, had another experimental NT-5R nuclear engine - so chosen due to its efficiency and reliability during the 'Sputnik' program - along with three O-B fuel tanks, augmented so that they held no oxidizer, and only liquid fuel. The scientific equipment included a magnetometer, a new-fangled digital camera (Which raised the cost of the entire stack from 16,000 Kerbucks to 34,100 Kerbucks), four thermometers, four barometers, four geiger counters, and two micrometeoroid detectors. All in all, the 'Luna' satellite included more scientific instruments than any other space vehicle previously launched!

q23G3IF.jpg

As the rocket rose into the heavens atop a plume of smoke and flame, the launch was broadcast on global television all across Kerbin. The story of the Soviet's coming launch of a Munar satellite were in all the papers as the launch date approached, spectators flocking to Baikerbanur to watch the rocket lift-off. And they were not disappointed! At thirty-five kilometres, the four LRBs separate, and at forty kilometres, the core first stage cuts-off and is jettisoned. The vehicle coasts to apoapsis, the TR-C maneuvering thrusters setting it along the correct alignment for the orbital injection.

The second and third stages complete the orbital injection, and the fairing that conceals the 'Luna-1' satellite deploys, revealing an object reminiscent of 'Sputnik,' but with a longer fuel tank assembly and more scientific instrumentation. The four long-range C-16 antennae and two P-1NR solar panels extend, and the space vehicle simply waits, hurling around the planet at 2.2 kilometres per second, until an adequate opportunity for transferring to the Mun arises.

After a two-hour wait, the satellite uses its fourth stage to set it on a trajectory towards the Mun, utilizing the Oberth effect by burning at Periapsis. As it approaches Kerbin's first grey, rocky moon, it orients itself along the Retrograde vector for the Munar Orbital Insertion (MOI). It uses the last of the fuel in the fourth stage to complete the orbital insertion, and, with a minor orbital correction at Apoapsis, 'Luna-1' begins to take scientific readings of the Mun.

It takes many images, such as the famous 'A Long Way from Home' image:

tvHdWua.jpg

... and the 'Too Close for Comfort' image:

bRqGS82.jpg

And, utilizing the long magnetometer boom, it took a photograph of itself, with Kerbin in the background and the Mun in the foreground:

jlCSuqe.jpg

With the completion of the 'Luna-1' mission, which fulfilled it's purpose of scanning the Mun and photographing the far side, the USSR smugly sat at the top of the space exploration hill, with both the title of first artificial Kerbin satellite and first artificial Munar satellite in its hands. And, as the year went on, work on the 'R-7 Semyorka' by Sergei Kerbolyov was complete, and Russia's manned spaceflight program began on Year 1, Day 8 (April 12th, 1960), with the flight of 'Vostok-1.'

As the 'R-7 8K72' that launched 'Luna-1' was derived from the 'R-7' rocket that Kerbolyov and his design bureau were working on, the 'R-7 Semyorka' was practically identical to the 'R-7 8K72,' with the exception of not having a fourth stage. Instead of a satellite, the payload was a small, round orb - a crew capsule called the 5PUD-N1K - with a capacity of one. It was mounted on a service module, which consisted of a TR-18A decoupler to separate it for re-entry, an FLT-100 fuel tank, and a BPT-180 engine, with two P-1NR solar panels and four C-16 antennae.

qfh1dZR.jpg

The rocket lifted off Launchpad-G at 06:07 AM (Moscow time - UTC 03:07 AM), and, as the pilot, Valentina Kerman, sat in the capsule, her eyes scanning the instruments as she gently handled the joystick to control the rocket, she shouted over the radio: "Poyekhali!" - whose rough translation was: "Let's go!" As the spacecraft neared forty kilometres, the four strap-on MGU27A LRBs were jettisoned, and the space vehicle coasted to its Apoapsis. The orbital injection was performed using the first and second stages, and, once the spacecraft was in a stable orbit, the fairing that concealed it was released, and Valentina Kerman was greeted with her first view outside the spacecraft.

Transcript of conversation between 'Vostok-1' pilot, Valentina Kerman, and the CAPCOM:

Pilot: It's... it's... it's beautiful!

CAPCOM: Copy that, Vostok, we see what you see through the periscope, over.

Pilot: It's... breathtakingly beautiful. Like something out of a fairy tale. There is no way to describe the joy I'm feeling, as I see Kerbin. It is blue, and more beautiful than any other planet.

CAPCOM: Well, no matter what you think about the most beautiful planet, with the way the space program is advancing, you'll get many chances to see those other planets, over.

Pilot: Copy that... looking at Kerbin now, I can finally appreciate how small and fragile it is... this is one giant leap for aerospace development - remember to give Kerbolyov a pat on the back if I don't come back.

CAPCOM: Copy that, Vostok... copy that.

QuQSy9C.jpg

The 'Vostok-1' spacecraft performed the de-orbit burn at MET (Mission Elapsed Time) 108 minutes, and successfully splashed down in Lake Baikal, in southern Siberia. A small fleet of half a dozen small military vessels was dispatched from Dzhida Naval Base to recover the capsule, and, at MET 123 minutes, Valentina Kerman, both the first Kerbal in space and the first female Kerbal in space, was recovered and returned to the naval base.

The United States, however, not to be outdone by the Soviet Union, began the 'Icarus' program on Year 1, Day 9 (May 5th, 1960). The hardware required for the 'Icarus' program had already been mostly developed, as the launcher would be one of the 'Cygnus' lifter family rockets, with the addition of a third DIOSCURI-1 SRB, to turn the 'Cygnus M-22' into the 'Cygnus M-23.' The upper stage, however, along with the payload, would require substantial modification.

The upper stage of the 'Cygnus M-23' was enhanced with the addition of two PIO-1 solar panels, while the development of the capsule, along with its flight instruments and scientific equipment, was contracted to, once again, LeBeau Space Industries. The capsule, which had to fulfill the parameters given by NASA, was decided to be derived from the company's tried-and-tested reliable NK1-2 capsule, which was used on the first supersonic 'eXell-1' flights. The capsule was enhanced with the addition of increased electrical capacity, along with a top-mounted small O-C fuel tank, which included four TR-C RCS maneuvering thrusters for attitude control, along with two parachutes, and an array of scientific instruments, such as barometers and thermometers. The new capsule was christened the 'Kappa NK-2.'

During the testing phase of the 'Icarus' program, Wernher and his team of designers encountered may problems, such as losing control during take-off, and the first stage engine being damaged during the SRB separation. The former problem was ironed out via increasing the gimbal range of the MPT-180 engines, and the latter was solved by adding small solid rocket motors in the tips of the SRBs, which ignited during separation to force them away from the rest of the rocket. And, finally, on Year 1, Day 10 (July 19th, 1960), the first manned flight of the Icarus program was scheduled to take place - 'Icarus-Liberty-1.'

pa60ADh.jpg

The 'Cygnus M-23' rocket gracefully lifted-off the pad, it's one MPT-180 engine and three DIOSCURI-1 SRBs propelling it to over 400 metres per second in the first seconds of the launch. At thirty kilometres altitude, the three SRBs are jettisoned, and the first MPT-180 stage continues burning until the Apoapsis is over 80 kilometres. The spacecraft gently ascends through the upper atmosphere as the RCS thrusters align the rocket along the correct attitude for the orbital insertion. The insertion burn is completed using the first and second stages, before the two PIO-1 solar panels extend, rotating to face the sun - a revolutionary new technology.

The pilot, Jebediah Kerman, first American both in space and to orbit Kerbin, is contacted via the radio to prepare for his EVA. He waits for a few minutes, studying the beautiful planet below him - the thin blue horizon, and the enormous green continents, lush with flora and fauna. From orbit, no trace of Kermanity can be seen - even the biggest cities need telescopes to be seen! The pilot connects the umbilical cord to the back of his helmet, which starts supplying oxygen into his helmet, which he secures onto his head, before depressurising the capsule and swinging open the hatch - the dark, black, starry void awaits.

Jebediah Kerman performs the first EVA while in Kerbin orbit, conducting observations of the planet and tending to the  scientific experiments which are mounted on the exterior of the capsule. During his EVA, the kerbonaut decides to set a camera to a three-second delay, and throws it away from him, capturing one of the most famous images in space history:

letNEBx.jpg

Summary:

USSR successfully launched 'Luna-1' Munar satellite - first artificial satellite in Munar orbit - Year 1, Day 7 (January 2nd, 1959)

USSR successfully launched 'Vostok-1' LKO spacecraft with Valentina Kerman - first Kerbal in space - Year 1, Day 8 (April 12th, 1960)

USA successfully launched 'Icarus-Liberty-1' LKO spacecraft with Jebediah Kerman - fist American Kerbal in space + first EVA in LKO - Year 1, Day 10 (July 19th, 1960)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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I love playing this sort of game! 

Somewhere I have a save where I've deleted all the stock parts and replaced them with BDB, tantares and HGR. 

Just a suggestion: pekbac industries has a good replica mercury LES, which is relative stock integrated! You know those yanks worry about the lives of their crews unlike the reds!

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48 minutes ago, Kertech said:

I love playing this sort of game! 

Somewhere I have a save where I've deleted all the stock parts and replaced them with BDB, tantares and HGR. 

Just a suggestion: pekbac industries has a good replica mercury LES, which is relative stock integrated! You know those yanks worry about the lives of their crews unlike the reds!

I'm gonna use the HGR LES in future missions; the 'Icarus' doesn't have a LES due to the fact that it instead has a bail-out abort procedure, utilizing the EVA Parachutes & Ejection Seats by @linuxgurugamer. I should probably mention that in a later post. However, the programs pursued as successors to the 'Icarus' program will have fully-functioning launch escape systems. (So will a Soviet craft coming up in the next post)

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Posted (edited)

                                                                                                                               Post #3 - April 16th, 2017

Year 1, Day 11. (October 4th, 1960)

Back at Baikerbanur Cosmodrome, another 'R-7 8K72' rocket was being prepped for launch. It was identical to any other one of the rockets that launched the 'Luna' probes, of which there were now two orbiting the Mun. But none orbiting Minmus, reasoned Vladimir Khelomey, one of the three leading rocket designers in the USSR. A heated debate ensued, with the government focusing more and more on the military aspects of spaceflight, rather than the exploration aspects, saying: Why go to Minmus? There is no military advantage to going to Minmus. However, with gentle persuasion, Khelomey convinced the Soviet Union to allow the flight of 'Luna-3' to be redirected to Minmus.

cSyt1Yu.jpg

At lift-off, the launch almost had to be aborted due to the absence of the Vernor thrusters that the engineering team swore were there when they checked it out for launch! Thankfully, the increased torque of the reaction wheels inside the 'Luna-3' satellite more than made up for this error. Other than that mishap, the ascent went smoothly, the fourth stage completing the orbital insertion and the fairings deploying to reveal the satellite. After waiting in orbit for one hour for a transfer window with a burn at Periapsis, the probe was sent on its way to Minmus, the second, green, rocky moon of Kerbin.

An image of the satellite orbiting Minmus, taken using the 'Satellite Selfie Stick' procedure, a term coined by Sergei Kerbolyov, who thought it was quite witty at the time:

6Q942eC.jpg

The capture burn was performed with both the fourth stage and the satellite's nuclear propulsion system. More than half the satellite's own fuel remained, and the space agency believe that the probe may even be capable of a Minmus landing! However, only two weeks later, on Year 1, Day 10 (January 3rd, 1961), President John F. Kermanndy made a speech that changed the world of space exploration.

Extract from John F. Kermanndy's famous speech:

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the Mun? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Kerblantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the Mun! ... We choose to go to the Mun in this decade and do other things, not because they are hard, but because they are easy -- wait, what!? Hang on a second... oh, now I... I mean -- We choose to go to the Mun in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one that we intend to win...

In the aftermath of this speech, both global superpowers, the USA and the USSR, were scrambling to begin designing and constructing the hardware required for these Munar landing missions, and rushing to launch them. In the United States of America, a mission outline was planned almost immediately, involving maneuvers such as orbital rendezvous and docking - something not yet done by any spacecraft in the history of manned or unmanned spaceflight. So the US set to work designing a new capsule and lifter, capable of launching two Kerbals to space at a time, and equipped with docking hardware.

The new lifter was named 'Hercules,' and the model that was lifting the two-man capsule, called the 'Hercules M-24,' had two core stages and four small SRBs. The SRBs were the same DIOSCURI-1s that were used for the 'Icarus' program, while the core stage was a different matter altogether. It consisted of one FG-120 engine, producing a staggering 700 kiloNewtons of thrust, along with two T-1400 fuel tanks, and one T-450 fuel tank, along with a BDD-0150 decoupler for separating the lower stage and the upper stage. The designing and construction of the first core stage was contracted to Wild Blue Industries, who subcontracted Home-Grown-Rockets Ltd. to develop the FG-120 engine and BDD-0150 decoupler, while Wild Blue constructed the fuel tanks themselves.

The upper core stage consisted of one FG-90 engine, and one H-1600 fuel tank. Six PIO-1 solar panels were built into the upper stage, which also served as a service module. The construction and design of the upper stage was fully contracted to Home-Grown-Rockets Ltd. The capsule was once again contracted to LeBeau Space Industries. However, when they failed to produce a working prototype within the three months they were given, NASA instead turned back to Home-Grown-Rockets Ltd, who claimed to have a working two-man capsule already in production. The NASA design team were not disappointed when a HGR Ltd. truck pulled up outside the Vehicle Assembly building (VAB), and the driver wheeled out the HGR-57-Mk2 command pod, a small, 1.75 metre, two-man capsule, which, as a bonus, had an in-built scientific instrument unit and docking port mounted on the nose.

Wernher Von Kerman and his team inspected every inch of the capsule, searching for any imperfections or equipment that might have a chance of failing during flight. As they inspected, the HGR truck driver added, "We can bundle in a launch escape system for free if you bulk-order." NASA promptly ordered twenty HGR-57 capsules for their new two-man program, which had the ultimate goal of docking two ships together in LKO. The program's name in question was 'Daedalus.'

The inclusion of a Launch Escape System (LES) with the bulk order of capsules meant a safer way of aborting a manned rocket launch. The 'Icarus' program, which was now cancelled in favour of 'Daedalus,' had a bail-out abort procedure, where the pilot would smash a button, immediately popping open the hatch so he could be ejected from the spacecraft and open his parachute to safely float back to Kerbin. And while that was all well-and-good with a one-man capsule, with two people and one hatch, an abort procedure like the 'Icarus' spacecraft would be near-impossible, so NASA were glad that they had received a launch escape tower with the capsules.

This new design wrenched the capsule away from a malfunctioning rocket with small SRBs, where the parachutes would open, and the capsule would splash down off the coast of KSC. And so, with the lifter constructed and the capsules arrived, the stages were mated together with decouplers, and the new rocket, 'Daedalus-Freedom-1,' was rolled out onto Launchpad-1A on Year 1, Day 11 (February 21st, 1961), and, with light hearts and high spirits, the two kerbonauts of the first kerbonaut corps, Jebediah and Bill Kerman, entered the 'Daedalus' spacecraft, strapped in, and prepared for launch.

uGqUpQv.jpg

The blast of the rockets as they ignited shattered many windows on the KSC campus, and the 1100 kiloNewtons of thrust from the combined first core stage and four DIOSCURI-1 SRBs cracking the concrete launchpad underneath. The cloud of smoke from the engines engulfed the entire launch complex, and the flame could be seen from miles away! The rocket blasted off into the sky above a trail of beautiful flame, and the view from the two multiplex-glass windows in the HGR-57 capsule was, as reported by Jebediah Kerman:

CMDR(Jebediah Kerman): CAPCOM, we've got one hell of a view up here. I don't know about 'dem Russians, but I'm confident in saying that the Valentina person ain't seen nothing like this durin' take-off!

PLT(Bill Kerman): I have to agree with Jeb here, the Ruskies certainly didn't have this kind of view.

CAPCOM: Copy that, Daedalus, you've got thirty seconds to MECO, over.

CMDR: Copy, thirty seconds to cut-off. I'd love to just bring up one o' my mixtapes up here and play some good songs durin' launch.

PLT: Like what?

CMDR: Oh, I don't know. Maybe some good ol' rock 'n roll. Like [Unclear].

CAPCOM: Daedalus, MECO T-minus twenty seconds, get your heads in the game!

CMDR: Wait, what!? Bill, get the throttle lock off!

PLT: Ok -- Damn it, where's the throttle lock!

CMDR: I thought you knew where it was! I told you to lock the [Unclear] throttle!

CAPCOM: 15 seconds!

PLT: I can't find it!

CMDR: Damn it,  there it is, Bill!

PLT: Which one?!

CAPCOM: 10 seconds to MECO!

CMDR: That red one on the upper left!

PLT: This one? Okay, no -- this one?

CMDR: Yes!

CAPCOM: 5 seconds!

PLT: Okay, I got it!

CMDR: Great [Unclear] job, Bill! Okay, throttling down... and... cut-off!

CAPCOM: Confirm MECO, over.

PLT: MECO confirmed, over.

The SRBs were ditched at twenty kilometres altitude, and the first stage continued burning until it reached 40 kilometres. The LES was jettisoned at 60 kilometres, and, at thirty seconds to Apoapsis, the first stage engine re-ignited to begin the orbital injection, and the second stage completed the burn. Once 'Daedalus-Freedom-1' reached orbit, Bill performed an EVA, conducting the multiple scientific experiments mounted on the instrument unit on the capsule's nose. Since there was only one EVA suit aboard, Bill had to take the obligatory EVA selfie by himself.

ChwBcUD.jpg

However, unbeknownst to the Unites States of America, ar any other country at the time, the Soviet Union was preparing quite a different vehicle for launch. The rocket, the 'Proton-K,' was the largest and most powerful rocket ever built at the time, and was the brainchild of Vladimir Khelomey. It had a lift capacity to LKO of 22 tonnes, the largest lift capacity of any current launch vehicle. The rocket used hypergolic propellants, and was the result of a heated argument between Khelomey and Sergei Kerbolyov. At the time, Sergei Kerbolyov was the lead designer of a project designated 'N-1,' the Soviet response to America's challenge to land a Kerbal on the Mun. It was projected to have a lift capacity to LKO of 95 tonnes, and a payload capacity for a Trans-Munar Injection (TMI) of 23 tonnes!

However, though the rocket did not use toxic hypergolic propellants, during the first test launch that took place on Year 1, Day 12 (April 16th, 1961), the entire stack (Which, thankfully, was unmanned) exploded, devastating the launch site and striking a crippling blow to the Soviet space program. Khelomey suggested that the heavy lift vehicle that he was developing, which was much closer to completion than the N-1, could be capable of launching a manned Munar or Minmus flyby mission with a modified 'Soyuz 7K-LOK' (Which was in fact developed by Khelomey's rival, Kerbolyov) that had the orbital module removed, and the engine section shortened to save weight so as to be launched via a 'Proton-K' on a flyby of Kebin's moons.

Though Sergei Kerbolyov was disgusted at the idea of keeping men in a cramped cockpit with no facilities for a nine-day flyby mission, the Russian government pursued Khelomey's proposal, as it opened a window for the USSR to get further ahead of the Americans before they launched their own Munar missions. Development of the 'Proton-K' was complete as of Year 1, Day 13 (July 23rd, 1961), and, after the restoration of the launchpads at Baikerbanur, 'Zond-1,' an unmanned test of the 'Zond' modification to the 'Soyuz 7K-LOK,' designed to perform a Munar flyby to test the systems of the spacecraft, was ready to be launched.

The first stage of the two stage rocket consisted of six clustered 'R-7 Semyorka' fuel tanks around a small, 1.875 metre fuel tank designed as a fourth stage for the 'N-1' but never flown, to lower the manufacturing costs and to speed up construction time. It utilized six LVT-270 engines on each of the clustered fuel tanks - the engines were actually manufactured by Wild Blue Industries, still holding up to their company slogan: "We'll serve anyone, no matter where or who you are." Of course, the slogan was coined in the 1920s, when the company solely produced aftershave and novelty watches, but by the time they realised rivals of the United States would also be able to access their more... advanced products, it was to late to turn back. However, because of the trade deal they had set up with the USSR to supply them with LVT-270 engines, the company in turn received 40 tonnes of pure titanium every month. These materials were directed to the construction of supersonic aircraft, particularly US Air Force aircraft, but the Soviets didn't know that...

The second stage consisted of one GF-09 engine, with one 800-H fuel tank, and one 1600-H fuel tank. The 'Zond' spacecraft itself was very simple, with one LV-909 engine, one FLT-100 fuel tank, and one FLT-400 fuel tank. Above the tankage and propulsion systems stood an SC-9001 scientific instrument unit, surrounded by clusters of other instruments, which included ion traps, solar experiment packages, barometers, thermometers, micrometeoroid detectors, RADAR altimetry sensors, film cameras, geiger counters, and a magnetometer. Above that was a TR-18A decoupler, and mounted on top of that was a TN-7R crew capsule, which could hold a crew of three kerbonauts, provided you squashed them in there and that they were no bigger than your average chimpanzee. However, most kerbonauts were not this size, so the crew capsule only contained seating for two, while the extra space was taken up by rudimentary (toilet) facilities.

QZSVCXR.jpg

As the enormous beast slowly lumbers skyward, its six LVT-270 engines producing a combined 1710 kiloNewtons of thrust, there was not a spectator to be seen, only Vladimir Khelomey and a few VIPs, such as the director of the Soviet space program, and Valentin Klushko. At forty-five kilometres altitude, the huge first stage cuts-off, and the vehicle coasts to Apoapsis after aligning itself with the maneuver node for orbital injection. The fairings and the LES are jettisoned at sixty-five kilometres, and at ninety kilometres altitude, with thirty seconds to Apoapsis, the first stage re-ignites to begin the orbital injection, separating with half of the burn left, and the second stage completing the burn. The spacecraft immediately performs the transfer burn to Munar flyby, and extends its solar panels, antenna, and RADAR sensors.

After a close flyby of the Mun, passing just twenty kilometres from its surface, the spacecraft reaches the top of its trajectory arc, and starts falling back towards Kerbin. With four minutes until re-entry into Kerbin's atmosphere, the propulsion-tankage module and the scientific instrument unit are jettisoned. During the real manned mission, the scientific data would have been transferred to the capsule before separation, but, due to the fact that the 'Zond-1' test was just that - an unmanned test - no scientific readings were taken. The 'Zond' spacecraft, however, was the first spacecraft to ever be fitted with an SC-9001 scientific instrument unit.

The re-entry at a speed of 3.5 kilometres per second went surprisingly smoothly, considering the fact that this was the first-ever re-entry performed at that speed. But, as the entire mission was kept top secret until the maiden flight of the manned 'Zond' spacecraft, the monetary prizes to be gained for these achievements were never received. The unmanned boilerplate capsule splashed down just east of Baikerbanur, near the Kerbachillian Archipelago.

The 'Zond-1' test spacecraft during its approach to the Mun:

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However, even with the unannounced successful 'Zond-1' test complete, and the manned flight scheduled to take place in the coming months, the United States wasn't far behind...

Summary:

USSR successfully launched 'Luna-3' Minmus satellite - first artificial satellite in Minmus orbit - Year 1, Day 11 (October 4th, 1960)

USA successfully launched 'Daedalus-Freedom-1' LKO spacecraft - first two-Kerbal spacecraft - Year 1, Day 11 (February 21st, 1961)

USSR successfully launched and tested (unmanned) 'Zond-1' manned Munar and Minmus flyby spacecraft - Year 1, Day 13 (July 23rd, 1961)

---

The pictures I used of the 'Proton-K' were actually taken on a failed mission; you may never see the FASA launch towers again because of a glitch where the tower is visibly retracted, but the game thinks its hitbox is still there ;.;.

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

                                                                                                                               Post #4 - April 18th, 2017 - Part 1

This is a long update, so it shall be uploaded in two parts.

---

Year 1, Day 14. (September 1st, 1961)

It was a special day at the Kerbal Space Centre. Crowds of spectators flocked to the newly-built grandstands near the launchpad, and another 'Daedalus' rocket was being prepped for launch. Of course, the American Munar landing mission outline required maneuvers never before performed - orbital rendezvous and docking - and it was the 'Daedalus' program's goal to complete these maneuvers in LKO before they could be conducted during a Munar mission. And so, two 'Daedalus' spacecraft were scheduled to be launched on the same day to complete these maneuvers.

First came the launch of 'Daedalus-Friendship-2,' with its crew of two kerbonauts, Jebediah and Bill Kerman. It would be a routine mission, simply reaching LKO and staying in a parking orbit until the second spacecraft completed the rendezvous, where the two veterans of the first kerbonaut corps, Jeb and Bill, would perform the docking. It was all in the 'Daedalus' mission manual provided with each capsule, hidden, strapped underneath the console. Not that Jeb ever looked at the manual. It was bad publicity to have your most experienced kerbonauts glancing at a booklet every ten seconds. And Jeb didn't want to be seen as the Kerbal who couldn't do anything without a manual. He wanted to be seen as the cool guy who could fly an aircraft supersonic inverted with his eyes closed while in a blindfold. (So instead mission control radioed instructions to him via the radio)

sR0ehne.jpg

The launch was simple, identical to the first launch, with the SRB separation (SEP) at 20 kilometres, the MECO at 40 kilometres, and the LES jettisoned at 60 kilometres. The orbital injection was completed using the second stage, with more than half of its fuel remaining. The two kerbonauts waited for twenty minutes as they completed one lap of the planet, and the ground crew prepared another 'Daedalus' for launch, 'Daedalus-Independance-3.' This time, the crew would be selected from the new, second kerbonaut corps. The two successful candidates were Wehrus, a pilot, and Jenlyn, a flight scientist. The launch was nominal, and the second spacecraft reached orbit without a hitch.

The two kerbonauts set up the rendezvous maneuver easily, with only 12 metres per second of DeltaV expenditure. After completing the burn, the spacecraft was met up with the 'Daedalus-Friendship-2' capsule, and, after cancelling their relative velocity, began the docking procedure. The two rookies from the second kerbonaut corps didn't actually perform the docking. Jeb and Bill did in their spacecraft. The tension in both the capsule and at mission control was so thick you could cut in with a knife, as Jeb maneuvered the last inches towards the other port. The docking probe of the 'Daedalus-Friendship-2' slid into the indentation of the 'Independance-1's passive docking port, and latched together, firmly connecting the two craft.

Multiple cheers erupted from mission control as Jeb and Wehrus radioed back simultaneously: "Control, we have hard docking!" The crew of both craft conducted scientific experiments with their two top-mounted scientific instrument units, and Wehrus conducted an EVA, taking a photograph of the two spacecraft with the film camera:

2WPHzlJ.jpg

After twenty minutes, the two craft undocked and re-entered one-by-one, first 'Daedalus-Friendship-2,' and then 'Daedalus-Independance-3.' After both the crafts had been recovered, the United States of America gave itself a well earned pat on the back. And then the Soviet Union punched America in the face, because on Year 1, Day 16 (January 9th, 1962), the manned flight of 'Zond-2' took place.

The launch was kept top secret until two days before it was scheduled to take place, and, instantly, the media was all over the mission, presenting it as 'the mission that would put the last nail in the coffin of American space exploration.' A huge crowd had arrived at Baikerbanur, with the most important people in Soviet Russia turning up to watch the historic launch. The President himself was there, observing the launch from his special seat in the administration building. The 'Proton-K' rocket developed by Vladimir Khelomey was greenlighted for crewed flight in the months following the 'Zond-1' test flight, and the two brave crew members of 'Zond-2,' Valentina Kerman, the pilot, and Bob Kerman, the scientific specialist.

At lift-off, a huge plume of smoke and flame engulfed the launch site, sending many Kerbals scattering for shelter, and the launch was broadcast all across Kerbin on national television. The entire mission was to be televised, from the ascent to the flyby, and even the re-entry, to boost the reputation of the USSR and to knock America back a notch in the world of space exploration. The first stage cut-off at 45 kilometres, and, after aligning itself along the correct attitude for orbital injection, the LES was jettisoned at 65 kilometres, along with the fairing that concealed the 'Zond' spacecraft, and, after using the first and second stages to complete the orbital injection, the crew underwent the hour of pre-TMI (Trans Munar Injection) checks and tests that were required before the spacecraft departed for its Munar flyby and return mission.

Valentina Kerman gave an inspiring speech to all of the Kerbals back on kerbin, tuning in on their radios and televisions as her unforgettable words were broadcast across the world.

All of you on Kerbin, all of you back home... we are about to depart on a historical journey around the Mun... it shall encounter many dangers, many perils -- if only one of the over 1 million components that make up this spacecraft fail, we shall die. If our ablator or heat shield fails, we will die. If the atmosphere and pressure in our cabin fails... we will die. But if we do, we shall do so by advancing the exploration capabilities of all Kermankind. We shall not die in vain! We shall die in our efforts to advance the frontiers of all Kerbals, no matter what nationality or religion you are! We shall die advancing the capabilities of our planet -- we shall die... in the beginnings of our civilisation's journey through space... in advancing the abilities for Kerbals to attempt to answer the question that resides over each and every one of us -- we shall die, in assisting the never-ending search for life beyond Kerbin! Life in the far reaches of the kosmos! And while we may not discover this life within this decade, or this century, or even this millennium, we shall continue to ask this question, we shall continue to pursue the answer, with our technologies and abilities to do so advancing with every second!

Her speech inspired each and every Kerbal on the planet, becoming a memory cherished in the heads of the Kerbals who were old enough to have lived back then, and her words immortalized in the heads of every Kerbal on kerbin, with the speech engraved in plaques, and transcribed into books. The speech even caught the eyes of those Kerbals who didn't even believe in otherworldly life, and those that believed that space travel was a hoax. The budgets of the space programs of both global superpowers doubled almost overnight, with more and more people becoming interested in spaceflight and exploration.

And with the speech over, it was time to perform the TMI burn. It took a mere forty-five seconds, and, with the transfer burn complete, and with no red lights showing on any of the panels, the crew of 'Zond-2,' Valentina and Bob, lay back in their seats and settled in for the trip.

An image taken during the approach to the Mun:

ryU3B4F.jpg

As the spacecraft approached the Mun, Bob checked Valentina's suit and cleared for for an EVA. However, when she attempted to exit, the hatch was stuck. No matter what she did to open the hatch, it was firmly closed and not showing any sign of opening, so the EVA was cancelled by mission control, and replaced by an observation study to be conducted using the telescopes, and broadcasted around Kerbin. The spacecraft passed within 15 kilometres of the Mun's surface, taking photographs, and writing log entries. All of the spacecraft's systems performed nominally, and, after Loss Of Signal (LOS), the inhabitants of the planet Kerbin eagerly awaited the acquisition of signal that would occur in twenty minutes as the vehicle passed by the far side of the Mun.

To the relief of mission control, and everybody else, for that matter, the spacecraft radioed back after its flyby: "Control, come in, control. Its Valentina here, come in control." After conducting the multiple experiments that were inside and clustered around the SC-9001 scientific instrument unit, the two kerbonauts jettisoned the tankage/propulsion module at 100 kilometres altitude, and aligned their spacecraft upon the Retrograde vector for re-entry.

As the flames began to lap up the sides of the capsule, the plasma blackout initiated, and contact with the spacecraft was lost. After two minutes of re-entry, however, radio contact was acquired once again, with Bob happily calling, "Control, this is 'Zond-2,' are parachutes are deployed and our science data is intact, over.

After the success of the 'Zond-2' Munar flyby mission, the Soviet Union were drawing up plans for an ambitious Minmus flyby mission - but the United States, not to be outdone by the USSR, were already developing a new rocket: The 'Jool-1' - A rocket developed under a new program, to replace 'Daedalus,' called 'Artemis.' And the goal of this 'Artemis' program? To land an American Kerbal on the Mun.

The first stage of the 'Jool-1' rocket, called the 'J-11,' consisted of one Jool H-1A engine - the most powerful single-chamber rocket engine ever built, producing over 2000 kiloNewtons of thrust! - along with an ADTP-2-3 adapter, connecting the engine to the enormous 13900 J-1 LF/O tank, the largest fuel tank ever built at the time, using eight clustered 'Icarus-Cygnus' fuel tanks around a 'Daedalus-Hercules' core tank. (Yes, I sucked it up and used BDB's Saturn 1B fuel tank, as it was cheaper than making my own custom clustered fuel tanks; it is a career game, after all, and I was nearly broke at the time!) Connecting it to the second stage was a BDI-0300 interstage fairing and decoupler, with built-in retro motors. Construction of the massive 'J-11' first stage was contracted to BDB International, who worked in tandem with Kerbodyne Inc. to manufacture the stage.

The second stage, the 'J-111,' was made of one J-10K cryogenic fuel tank, underneath which, hidden behind the BDI-0300 interstage, was a single Jool H-2S cryogenic engine - an efficient upper stage engine that produced 570 kiloNewtons of thrust to complete the orbital insertion - and, surrounding the rear end of the J-10K cryo fuel tank, were four J-IV ullage motors, for assisting the stage separation during flight. Mounted atop the J-10K fuel tank was a Jool SLA Spacecraft MEM (Munar Excursion Module - the name given to the Munar lander) Adapter. The adapter was designed to conceal the Munar landing module during flight, but it was perfect at storing other payloads as well. Every single component of the 'Jool-1' rocket was brand new, save the first stage fuel tanks, and specifically designed to serve the goal of landing on the Mun. The development of the 'J-111' second stage was contracted to Kerbodyne Inc.

The entire 'Jool-1' lifter was capable of lifting over 25 tonnes to LKO, more than the USSR's current heavy lift vehicle, the 'Proton-K,' and though not capable of launching a mission to the Mun, it would be an important stepping stone in learning how to handle large rockets, as well as having the capacity to test the spacecraft designed to take Kerbals to the Mun without actually going there - by testing all of the systems in LKO. And, speaking of spacecraft, the rocket was designed to launch an 'Artemis CSM (Command/Service Module),' a new spacecraft, with a capacity for four kerbonauts, as well as two weeks worth of life support supplies.

The service module, which contained the propulsion and life support systems, along with the electronics, communications, and tankage, consisted of an AJ10-137 engine, a small, low-thrust engine specialised for vacuum flight, along with an 'Artemis' Block-1 service module, which was a small fuel tank. The tank also had two small shelves, hidden behind service module doors, which contained the batteries, antennae, and scientific instrumentation such as magnetometers, SC-9001 scientific instrument bays (Pirated from a Soviet spacecraft that failed to reach orbit and splashed down in US waters, kept top secret by both governments), film cameras, micrometeoroid detectors, ion traps, thermometers, barometers, solar experiment packages, geiger counters, and seismic accelerometers. The capsule itself was a new product developed by LeBeau Space Industries, trying to get on NASA's good side after not being able to supply them with a capsule for their 'Daedalus' program, and was called the Kappa NK-V Serie SX. It included a LES, and, after a thorough inspection by NASA officials, development of the 'Artemis' CSM was contracted to LeBeau Space Industries.

And so, on Year 1, Day 18 (August 4th, 1962), the 'Jool-1' rocket was rolled out on the Mobile Launch Platform (MLP) crawler platform, onto KSC's Launchpad-1A, and prepped for launch. The cargo that the 'Jool-1' rocket could carry inside the Jool SLA Spacecraft MEM Adapter would vary from mission to mission, but for this particular one, named 'Artemis-1,' it would be carrying a Mission Module (MM), which was simply a large, cylindrical, pressurised container, which could hold supplies and equipment, with enough supplies (If it was full) to last a two-month long mission. The 'Artemis-1' mission was the first manned launch of the 'Artemis CSM' spacecraft and the 'Jool-1' rocket after a long series of extensive unmanned test launches and flights. The crew consisted of one lone kerbonaut, Jebediah Kerman, who was to stay in LKO for three days, testing the various safety equipment aboard the craft.

zKfmTIq.jpg

The launch was viewed by millions of spectators worldwide, and was pinned as 'the mission that would put America back in the lead of the Russians.' The huge H-1A engine created a plume of smoke and flame that engulfed the entirety of the KSC, with the clothes of everyone within five miles smelling like smoke and kerosene for days afterwards. The rocket majestically rose into the heavens on a plume of flame and smoke that was visible form hundreds of miles away, and, this time, you really could feel the vibrations of launch within a fifteen-mile radius. Spectator's eardrums rang for weeks afterwards, with the director of NASA at the time, Gene Kerman, saying:

It was the loudest rocket launch I had ever heard in the entirety of my career, and that's saying something, since I used to be an Air Force officer that oversaw the test launches of heavy-duty ICBMs with some hefty ordnance.

Even Gangly Kerman, the Kerbal who was renowned everywhere for being the toughest guy around, who refused to feel emotion, was ecstatic about the noise. He laughed and smiled, and afterwards said:

It was the loudest thing I'd ever heard, and it was beautiful! All that smoke, all that fire... and the noise... oh, that noise! It was unnatural. You couldn't compare it to thunder, because it was a thousand times louder than thunder, and the flame was a thousand times brighter than lightning... and that thing just shot up into the sky! That rocket was just... there one minute, and gone the next it was so fast!

The first stage cut-off at 35 kilometres altitude, with an Apoapsis of 90 kilometres, and began the orbital injection at 83 kilometres altitude. The first 'J-11' stage depleted its fuel and was jettisoned with half of the orbital injection left, with the second 'J-111' stage almost completing the injection, with a periapsis of 60 kilometres. The 'Artemis' CSM had plenty of time to complete the transposition and docking maneuver it needed to complete, which entailed opening the SLA Spacecraft Adapter, decoupling the CSM, which would yaw 180 degrees until its nose was facing the docking port on the MM (Mission Module), where it would use a short burst of its RCS thrusters to propel it forward into a docking with the MM. After the two docking ports latched together (They were new, androgynous docking ports, and they allowed system-level redundancy, as well as rescue and collaboration between any two spacecraft, in the event of an emergency), the MM would decouple from the SLA Adapter, and, with another short burst from its RCS thrusters, the 'Artemis' CSM would pull the MM away from the spent 'J-111' second stage (This maneuver is called extraction), and complete the orbital injection with its 'Artemis' CSM Main Engine (ACME).

This maneuver was completed successfully, and Jebediah Kerman reached orbit in the brand-new 'Artemis' CSM and MM. There, he would test safety equipment vital to the 'Artemis' missions that would land on the Mun, such as the newly-developed container mounts, that could help with construction of long-term outposts in orbit or on the Munar surface, and the Kerbonaut Safety Tether (KST):

edGNI1E.jpg

Summary:

USA successfully launched both 'Daedalus-Friendship-2' and 'Daedalus-Independance-3' - first orbital rendezvous and docking - Year 1, Day 14 (September 1st, 1961)

USSR successfully launched 'Zond-2' Munar flyby spacecraft - first manned Munar flyby - Year 1, Day 16 (January 9th, 1962)

USA successfully launched 'Artemis-1' - first manned flight of the 'Jool-1' rocket and 'Artemis' CSM + tested vital equipment for US Munar missions - Year 1, Day 18 (August 4th, 1962)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
Bill and Bob aren't interchangeable!
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                                                                                                                        Post #4 - April 19th, 2017 - Part 2

Year 1, Day 18. (August 18th, 1962)

As the United States were moving forward with their new 'Jool' series of heavy lifters and 'Artemis' spacecraft program, the USSR was taking quite a different approach. After the failure of the first N-1 launch on Year 1, Day 12 (April 16th, 1961), the Russian government weren't taking any chances with their newly-rebuilt launch site, so they decided to postpone the second N-1 test launch until further notice, and launch other projects in case of another explosion at Baikerbanur. As Sergei Kerbolyov and Vladimir Khelomey were in fierce competition for their respective programs to be pursued at the time, they were both prone to a bit of plagiarism. Khelomey had proposed a series of manned space stations using his OPS (Orbital Piloted Station) cores, designated 'Almaz,' to perform top-secret military reconnaissance over certain areas of Kerbin. However, while Khelomey had caught the attention of the Russian government, Kerbolyov immediately found the blueprints to the OPS station cores, equipped them with technology and systems from his in-development 'Soyuz' spacecraft, and dubbed the station DOS (Durable Orbital Station).

The Soviet space program reviewed both proposals, and deduced that both stations were viable programs to be pursued in the near future. Both Kerbolyov's and Khelomey's design bureau set to work, manufacturing the necessary components to construct the stations. Kerbolyov's DOS station was completed first, and, after development of the 'Soyuz' spacecraft, the Soviet Union's answer to the American 'Daedalus' spacecraft, capable of orbital rendezvous and docking, was complete, the station, named 'Salyut-1,' was mounted atop its 'Proton-K' lifter rocket and rolled out onto Launchpad-P at Baikerbanur Cosmodrome.

J2EK12Y.jpg

The launch of 'Salyut-1' wasn't as popular among the media as the previous launches, and attendance was mediocre at best. The huge 'Proton-K' rocket blasted off the pad, the smoke and flame from its six LVT-270 engines was directed through enormous ducts, away from the launch site, billowing from huge openings in the concrete structure that Baikerbanur cosmodrome was based on. After an uneventful launch, with the first stage cutting-off at 45 kilometres, re-igniting at 75 kilometres altitude to begin the orbital injection. The second stage completes the orbital injection and is jettisoned, with the 'Salyut-1' space station now in an 80 kilometres by 79 kilometres stable orbit.

Almost immediately, on Launchpad-K, a new rocket was being prepped for launch. It was a modification of the trusty 'R-7 Semyorka' that had launched the first Kerbals into space during the 'Vostok' program. This modification was simple; it replaced the four MGU27A strap-on LRBs with four LVT-45 engines, four FLT-800 fuel tanks, and four ANC-Type B nose cones - named the FVA-B LRBs - other than the change to the boosters, the engine of the first core stage, a BPT-180 engine, was also replaced by an LVT-45 - other than that, the rocket remained unchanged.

Its crew, Valentina and Erillian Kerman, strapped themselves into the brand-new 'Soyuz' ascent and descent module, and the rocket was rolled out onto the pad on the crawler platform. The rocket lifted-off as the 'Salyut-1 space station passed overhead, as the mission planners for 'Soyuz-1' were confident that their craft could launch directly into a rendezvous. The new rocket, christened the 'Soyuz-FG,' shot upwards on a pillar of flame and smoke as the five LVT-45 engines burned away.

The four strap-on FVA-B LRBs were jettisoned at 40 kilometres, and the first core stage cut-off at 47 kilometres, with the rocket coasting to Apoapsis. The fairings and LES were staged away at 60 kilometres, and the first core stage re-ignited at 75 kilometres, with thirty seconds to Apoapsis, and was separated when it ran out of fuel, with half of the orbital injection complete. However, when Valentina attempted to ignite the second stage... it didn't ignite.

Transcript from the 'Soyuz-1' mission during orbital injection:

Background(Outside): Thunk!

CMDR(Valentina Kerman): We have stage separation! Readying second stage ignition... igniting second stage...

Background(Outside): Fzzz...

PLT(Erillian Kerman): Uh, Val, I'm only a rookie, but I'm fairly sure that when you flip the 'ignition' switch, the engine is supposed to ignite!

CMDR: [Unclear]

CAPCOM: Soyuz-1, we detect no upper stage ignition, can you confirm, over?

CMDR: We can [Unclear] confirm that, damnit. This engine won't start!

PLT: Yep, engine shall not ignite, we have passed Apoapsis, altitude at 75 kilometres. We need suggestions, over.

Background(Radio): [Indistinct muttering] "Can we do an RTLS?" "No, can't do that, we'll need a trajectory flip." "Could we ATO?"

CAPCOM: Soyuz-1, check DeltaV levels, over.

CMDR: Copy that, CAPCOM, spacecraft DeltaV minus the upper stage is about 400 metres per second, over.

Background(Radio): "Damn. [Unclear]" "AOA?" "Could we do -- wait, no. we need to do an ATO if we want to AOA." [Indistinct muttering and whispering]

CMDR: Do we have an abort option!?

Background(Radio): "Wait... could we do a TAL?" "Hang on -- yeah, yeah, we could do a TAL abort."

CAPCOM: Soyuz-1, abort TAL, repeat, abort TAL!

PLT: Copy that, CAPCOM, hitting the atmosphere now, we're jettisoning the orbital and service modules.

Background(Outside): Thunk! Thunk!

CMDR: We have orbital and service module separation, over!

PLT: I can confirm that, orienting along the Retrograde vector now!

CAPCOM: Copy that, Soyuz-1.

The Soyuz-1 mission ended in a failure, with the second stage engine failing to ignite. The PR department did get a good photo out of it, though:

ZLsmamn.jpg

After the failure of the 'Soyuz-1' mission, the design and engineering teams were baffled. However, the problem was soon solved, the appropriate people sacked, modifications made, and the second soyuz mission, 'Soyuz-2,' was ready for launch only one week later, on Year 1, Day 19 (August 25th, 1962). This new rocket replaced the BPT-180 engine with an LV-900 engine, complete with a small toroidal fuel tank for increased DeltaV.

The new 'Soyuz-FG2' rocket blasted off into the sky, the smoke and flame engulfing the launch site as it ascended into thinner and thinner atmosphere, where the engines would have increased Isp. The crew, once again Valentina and Erillian Kerman, were confident that this launch would be flawless, thanks to the new engine and improved fuel systems. And, to the relief of mission control and the (New) engineering and design teams, it did.

The 'Soyuz-FG2' rocket on Launchpad-P at Baikerbanur Cosmodrome:

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The 'Soyuz' spacecraft successfully reached orbit, once again launching into a rendezvous, with an encounter with only a 9 kilometre separation to be reached within thirteen minutes Mission Elapsed Time (MET).The 'Soyuz' spacecraft itself was simple - the 'Zond' spacecraft that took the first Kerbals on a Munar flyby - Bob and Valentina Kerman - was of course derived from the 'Soyuz 7K-LOK' vehicle that was being developed by Sergei Kerbolyov for the Soviet Munar landing program, which was in turn a modification of Sergei's simple 'Soyuz' spacecraft, which was designed for LKO operations such as space station rendezvous and docking, and rescue missions, and all manner of other things that could be done in LKO with a reasonable amount of DeltaV.

The capsule that the crew would sit in, the T-N7R capsule, would house the two crew members during launch and re-entry.  (The T-N7R capsule itself was capable of holding three, but the Soviet space program decided it best to have one vacancy, in case of an emergency) On top of that stood a decoupler-parachute hybrid, the T-V2K, which connected the ascent/descent module to the T-KY1 orbital module, which housed the supplies, living space, and, most importantly, toilet facilities.

On top of the T-KY1 orbital module was a T-4GZ docking active probe, which was a non-androgynous docking port. Back underneath the T-N7R crew capsule was an LP-71H stack decoupler, which separated the ascent/descent module from the service/propulsion module. The service module itself consisted of a T-47Z orbital maneuvering engine, which came equipped with four TR-C monopropellant RCS thrusters and two radial T-RYD solar panels, which had built-in antennae.

The 'Soyuz-2' spacecraft rendezvoused with the 'Salyut-1' space station shortly after launch, achieving soft-docking (When the active docking probe of the T-4GZ port slides into the indentation of the passive T-PR9 docking port, but hasn't latched together) at MET twenty-one minutes, and hard-docking (When the two docking ports have latched together) was achieved at MET twenty-four minutes.

A photograph of the station, with the 'Soyuz-2' spacecraft docked to the station in the middle-left area of the image, and the station in the middle-right area:

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After the success of the 'Salyut-1' launch and the 'Soyuz-2' mission, the Soviet Union was ploughing ahead in the world of space exploration, with multiple jewels in their crown. They had put the first Kerbal in space, performed the first Munar flyby, launched the first artificial objects to Munar and Minmus orbits, and had now launched the world's first space station. The crew of the station had already set a space endurance record of two weeks when the United States decided they should do something about this new Soviet triumph - and that something was also launching a space station.

The development of the 'Skylab' space station was rushed since the beginning, with Congress and the Kermanndy Administration yearning for a station to be launched as soon as possible - and, while all the professional designers and rocket scientists were arguing amongst themselves, a bright intern at the R&D department at KSC suggested: "We already have Jeb up there in LKO, testing out the safety equipment for the 'Artemis' program - why not just keep his ship up there and expand it? You know, replace the Mission Module full of supplies with a lab or a habitat module, and boom - you can stay up there for weeks, maybe even months!"

The intern in question was promoted, and the concept was pursued. The idea came to fruition on Year 1, Day 21 (January 3rd, 1963), with the launch of 'Skylab-2' - the original 'Artemis' mission that had launched Jebediah Kerman into LKO to test equipment had been renamed 'Skylab-1.' The MM that was housed inside the SLA Spacecraft Adapter was replaced by a new module, the Experiment Logistics Module (ELM), which was a fully-equipped laboratory, with an androgynous docking port at each end, nicknamed 'Clamp-O-Tron' docking ports. However, the docking port's real name was the COT-125M. But everybody just called it the 'Clamp-O-Tron.'

The 'Jool-1' rocket sat on Launchpad-1A, with the umbilical clamps feeding the bipropellant fuels into the 'J-11' first stage and cryogenic fuels into the 'J-111' upper stage. At T-minus zero seconds to launch, the four, huge launch clamps that were holding the massive rocket down during the ignition sequence released their grip, folding up into their cowlings so as to be protected from the fiery exhaust from the massive H-1A first stage engine.

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The massive 'Jool-1' rocket blasted off the pad in a cloud of smoke and flame, the roar of its single H-1A engine heard for miles around. The first stage cut-off at 35 kilometres, with the LES tower being jettisoned at 60 kilometres, and the orbital injection beginning with the first 'J-11' stage at 83 kilometres altitude. The first stage was separated with more than half of the injection burn complete, and the single H-2S cryogenic engine of the 'J-111' upper stage completed the maneuver.

With the launch complete, the SLA Spacecraft Adapter slowly opened, revealing the ELM within it, the 'Artemis' CSM decoupling from the adapter and spinning around to face the ELM's frontal docking port using its monopropellant RCS thrusters. With another short burst from the thrusters, the CSM connected to the ELM's docking port, and both the spacecraft decouled from the adapter, and with the help of the CSM's RCS thrusters, slid silently away from the derelict 'J-111' cryogenic upper stage.

The two crew members of 'Skylab-2' were Wehrus and Jenlyn, who would dock with 'Skylab' and spend over one month there, testing the endurance levels of Kerbals in space. Jeb, on the other hand, after completing the tests of the safety equipment, which would last another twelve hours, would de-orbit in his 'Artemis' CSM, while the 'Skylab-2' CSM would stay behind at the station. The rendezvous was completed perfectly, with the new navigation equipment performing nominally.

When the spacecraft came around to dock, however, a problem arose. The RCS thrusters were not responding to the controls. (I had run out of monopropellant during the rendezvous) And so, instead of aborting, as would be normal procedure in this kind of situation, Jebediah Kerman was confident that this fancy new autopilot feature called 'Target' and 'Anti-Target' could orient the two craft so that their docking ports could face each other, requiring only a short burst from the 'Skylab-2' CSM's main engine to propel the crafts toward each other.

And so, with this daring maneuver completed, the two crew of 'Skylab-2' powered down the Artemis CSM Main Engine (ACME) and entered the 'Skylab' space station. While there, the two would conduct scientific research inside the ELM, and observe the stars, Mun, Minmus, and Kerbin, scribbling down reports and taking photographs of places that were interesting to the United States Air Force...

Only thirteen hours later, Jeb was relieved of his duty on the station, mostly because his work with the safety equipment was done, but also because the station could not support three Kerbals for the two months the 'Skylab-2' mission was scheduled to last. So, Jebediah climbed back into his 'Artemis-1' CSM, undocked from the station, de-orbited, and splashed down just east of the KSC. He laft the MM attached to the station, as it housed enough pressurized cargo space for over half a year's worth of supplies!

The 'Skylab' space station, after Jebediah Kerman undocked and landed:

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(Not much to look at now, but sooner or later it'll get a lot bigger)

Summary:

USSR successfully launched 'Salyut-1' space station - first Kerbin space station - Year 1, Day 18 (August 18th, 1962)

USSR failed to launch 'Soyuz-1' LKO spacecraft - Year 1, Day 18 (August 18th, 1962)

USSR successfully launched 'Soyuz-2' LKO spacecraft - docked to 'Salyut-1' space station + first crew transfer in LKO - Year 1, Day 19 (August 25th, 1962)

USA successfully launched 'Skylab-2' LKO spacecraft - docked to 'Skylab' space station + first US space station - Year 1, Day 21 (January 3rd, 1963)

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New updates pending next week, and much shorter than the previous updates.

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Posted (edited)

                                                                                                                                   Post 5 - May 7th, 2017

Year 1, Day 29. (March 18th, 1963)

At the beginning of 1960's, NASA was in its boom years. Huge amounts of funding was being directed their way by both the government, and private companies. The 'Artemis' program was proceeding smoothly. The first 'Jool-1B' rockets, to launch the first men to the Mun, were almost complete. And so, NASA decided to ask a question it had never asked itself before. How do we lower the cost of space travel? How do we make launches to LKO refund almost as much as it costs to launch them in the first place? And though NASA was hardly strapped for cash, developing a reusable launch system would save more funds to be directed to other projects.

And so, Wernher Von Kerman proposed his idea for a reusable launch system to LKO with the STS; The 'Space Transportation System.' It would utilize a small shuttle, capable of carrying 6 crew to LKO, dubbed the 'X-20,' and a large carrier rocket plane, which would take off vertically, and lift the shuttle to an altitude of 90 kilometres, where the 'X-20' would separate, and the carrier rocket plane would re-enter, and land at a different site.

The the design for this carrier rocket plane was soon finalized in the coming months, and, finally, the contract to build and test it fell on the United States Air Force's doorstep. Well, not entirely. The rocket plane was developed under a joint USAF-NASA project. But it was the Air Force doing most of the work, with NASA just pulling the strings. Original plans for the carrier rocket plane had not actually utilized a rocket plane at all - rather, they would have utilized a high-altitude variant of the 'B-52 Stratofortress' bomber, named the 'B-52A.' However, when the 'JX-4' hypersonic turbo-ramjets were unavailable, NASA decided a different approach was needed - one that utilized a heavily modified 'B-52' that would launch vertically, with 5 immensely powerful rocket engines strapped to the back.

This new design utilized 5 WPT-x1200 liquid-fuelled rocket engines, attached to an MK3-3M engine mount. The rocket plane also featured 2 auxilliary J-404 afterburning turbofan engines for atmospheric flight, after deploying the 'X-20' shuttle at the required altitude. The entire carrier rocket plane would be capable of carrying over 6 kilo-litres of liquid kerosene and 8 kilo-litres of liquid oxygen. In total, that was 110 metric tons of rocket fuel.

The modification and construction of this rocket plane variant of the 'B-52' took just over a month, and the first rocket carrier plane, called the 'B-57A,' was prepped and ready for launch at the KSC.

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The aircraft itself, as it was to be reused many times, was named the 'Yeager Jäger.' Its one and only pilot, the brave Wehrnand Kerman, brother of Wernher Von Kerman, and legendary US Air Force test pilot, sat in the pilot's seat of the 'B-52' cockpit, the only component of the 'B-52' that the 'B-57A' rocket plane retained. Thousands of Kerbals flocked to the KSC, reporters and families alike. The press swarmed around this launch like bees around honey, pinning it 'the easy way to space,' and 'the cheapest and safest way around the world.' In fact, one Kerbal, Walt Kerman, the head of public relations at NASA, proposed that the 'B-57A' and 'X-20' rocket planes be used as ultra-fast travel around Kerbin. After all, you could orbit the whole of kerbin in just 20 minutes!

The launch was broadcasted around the world as the 'Yeager Jäger' blasted off the pad in an enormous cloud of smoke. Plumes of flame trailed from the craft's 5 WPT-x1200 engines as it rocketed towards the heavens. The huge rocket plane continued its ascent upwards, before cutting off its engine at 45 kilometres altitude. The 'B-57A' coasted to Apoapsis, until, at 30 seconds to Apoapsis, it re-ignited its engines, increasing its horizontal velocity by over 1 kilometre per second.

Wehrnand oriented the aircraft along the correct attitude for re-entry, 15 degrees above the horizon. As the flames lapped over the wings and nose of the craft, the vertical speed gauge displayed that the aircraft's vertical velocity was slowing... and then it started to ascend again. The craft had skipped off of the atmosphere! This was the first recorded act of doing so in Kerbal history, and Wehrnand Kerman was, following recovery, paraded around New York City, and celebrated as 'another great American hero.'

The aircraft re-entered again, albeit with much less flames than the first one, and glided towards the nearest available land mass - Kermuda Island. It had been abandoned for years. As legend has it, an old airfield was once located there during the Great War, but there is no evidence to support this. (If I ever get into modding, I might use KK and put a small runway there for 'B-57A' landings) Wehrnand ignited the auxilliary J-404 jet engines, and flew towards the island. As the altimeter reached 1 kilometre, he extended the landing gear. The land approached quickly, and at 500 metres above sea level, he deployed the airbrakes. The two rear rear wheels touched down first, and the drogue parachutes unfurled from the rear of the aircraft. The frontal wheel made contact with the ground mere seconds later, and the aircraft slowed to a halt after 12 minutes of flight, reaching a maximum altitude of 91 kilometres, and landing over 400 kilometres downrange of the KSC.

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Summary:

USA successfully launched 'Yeager Jäger' 'B-57A' reusable rocket plane - first ever atmospheric skip - Year 1, Day 29 (March 18th, 1963)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

Post 6 - May 7th, 2017

This update shall focus solely on the USAF's manned space missions, and these missions were performed for no real reason other than to show off the array of other launchers that may or may not appear later in my career.

---

With the 'Artemis' program proceeding smoothly, the United States Air Force only saw fit to launch its own space missions. It had yet to redeem itself for the 'Voyager 1' launch failure, and, with the success of manned spaceflight for NASA, the US Air Force decided that it was time to put its own men into space, to perform "scientific research." Specifically, this "research" was conducted in the airspace above the USSR, which was a 7-minute window appearing every 18 minutes during a regular low Kerbin orbit flight. Basically, the USAF wanted to launch manned spy satellites to point powerful telescopes and cameras at Soviet Russia.

After a few months of planning, designing, and arguments among the US Air Force's rocket designers, the blueprints for the 'Moho' spacecraft were finally settled upon. Every single component of the 'Moho' spacecraft was custom-built by the Bloeting Aerospace Corporation, after BDB International declined the contract for construction of the parts due to an overflow of contacts from NASA for the bulk buy of every single component of the 'Jool-1' rocket.

The spacecraft consisted of a 'Moho' capsule, a 'Moho' retrofire pack for the de-orbit burn, a 'Moho' heat shield, an RW-50 EVA tether, a 'Moho' landing and control module, just a glorified parachute with built-in RCS, and a 'Moho' science and antenna unit, which contained the telescopes and cameras to be used for the orbital reconnaissance. Mounted to the top of the capsule was a small launch escape system from Home-Grown-Rockets Ltd, surplus from the bulk order of 20 launch escape systems during the 'Daedalus' program.

Another 'Eagle' rocket was plucked from the seemingly bottomless pile of ICBMs, and the 'Moho' spacecraft was mated to the top of the booster. Wehrnand Kerman, after returning from his 'B-57A' test flight, was the ideal candidate for this mission - he was, after all, an Air Force test pilot, and not a NASA kerbonaut - which meant that he could keep his mouth shut. And, alas, on Year 1, Day 34 (May 7th, 1963), the 'Moho-Eagle-1' rocket was prepped and rolled out onto the launchpad at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

(I installed the Historian mod on Friday - the 'B-57A' flight above was performed last week, and these missions were all completed on 2 days ago)

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The 'Eagle' rocket blasted off the pad, its 2 XLR-89-5 and single XLR-105-5 engines spewing globules of fire and smoke as the tiny spacecraft ascended towards the far reaches of space. The 'Eagle' ICBM had an interesting design - it ascended using three engines - the 2 outer ones were designed for atmospheric flight, whereas the single central one was designed for vacuum operations. The 2 outer engines would be jettisoned at 20 kilometres altitude, where their thrust was so low, the atmosphere so thin, that they simply became dead weight. The 1 XLR-105-5 sustainer engine would continue the flight towards orbit, and complete the orbital insertion with 100 litres of extra fuel remaining. The 'Moho' spacecraft would separate, and four retro-rockets would lower the 'Eagle' rocket's Periapsis into the atmosphere, where it would harmlessly burn up. The LES would be jettisoned during vertical the ascent, at an altitude of 45 kilometres.

2 'Moho' flights were conducted, both crewed by Wehrnand Kerman, the US Air Force's one and only pilot capable of spaceflight. At least, until more USAF pilots were enlisted into the kerbonaut training program. The 'Moho' program was cancelled after 2 flights in favour of the more advanced, rendezvous-and-docking capable 'Gemini' spacecraft, which was capable of carrying heavier reconnaissance equipment.

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The successor to the 'Moho' program, the 'Gemini' program utilized existing hardware and technology to launch brand-new military spacecraft. To be launched using the tried-and-tested 'Hercules M-24' lifter rocket, the 'Gemini' spacecraft consisted of an M-63E capsule, M-68V RCS thrusters, an M-7RC landing parachute, a C-16 antenna, an M-C32 nose docking mechanism, and, mounted to the rear of the capsule, there was a 1.5 metre diameter heat shield, a TR-15 stack decoupler to separate the capsule and assorted systems from the service module, which was constructed from a pre-fabricated M-O7N fuel tank, two PIO-1 solar panels, another RW-50 EVA tether, and a 48-7S orbital maneuvering engine.

The contract to construct and test this new spacecraft was awarded to TRAILS Manufacturing Ltd, and, after only a month, on Year 1, Day 40 (July 21st, 1963), after 9 unmanned test flights, 'Gemini-10' was ready to be launched, sitting atop a brand-new 'Hercules M-24' rocket at Vandenberg Air Force base. The launch went smoothly, with the 4 SRBs separating at 20 kilometres, MECO at 45 kilometres, LES jettison at 60 kilometres, alignment of the spacecraft along the attitude for orbital injection a 70 kilometres, re-ignition and separation of the 1st stage at 85 kilometres, separation of the 2nd stage with 100 metres per second of DeltaV left in the orbital insertion burn, ignition of the 'Gemini' service module engine to complete the orbital insertion, and cut-off the the 'Gemini' spacecraft's engine when a stable, circular orbit of 80 by 80 kilometres was reached.

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Wehrnand Kerman depressurised the M-63E capsule, and exited through the spacecraft's hatch. Though the 'Gemini' capsule could seat 2 kerbals in relative comfort, only 1 kerbal was aboard, as this was a simple test flight. (Really, I'm not hiring any more Kerbals for a long while. I mean, have you seen those hire prices?! 148,000 Kerbucks for just one more kerbal?! :P) The United States Air Force still got more than their share of photographs of top-secret Soviet military installations, though. And he also witnessed a solar eclipse!

After a simple 40 minute flight, with 2 orbits completed, Wehrnand climbed aboard his capsule once again, de-orbited, re-entered, and splashed down safely just off the coast of KSC. The recovery crew still had a hard time finding him, though, as his capsule was painted completely black!

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Summary:

USA successfully launched 'Mohos 1+2' LKO spacecraft - first manned orbital reconnaissance mission - Year 1, Day 34 (May 7th, 1963)

USA successfully launched 'Gemini 10' LKO spacecraft - Year 1, Day 40 (July 21st, 1963)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
Misspelled Wehrnand's name evn though it was written in huge block capitals in 2 screenshots!
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Dang it! I was cleaning out my screenshots folder (Over 8000 screenshots backed up over 6 months) and I deleted all of the screenshots of the Soviet 'Zond-3' Minmus flyby! ;.;

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Posted (edited)

Bonus #1 - May 12, 2017   <Non-Canon>

One Life For Yourself, And One For Your Dreams.

Spoiler

Year 1, Day 46 (August 3rd, 1963)

   Jebediah and Bill Kerman impatiently hurried down the corridor of the KSC astronaut complex. "What the hell does Gene want us for now!" complained Jeb. "We've only got ten hours until the launch!" "Look," interrupted Bill. "If he's waking us up this near to one of our most important launches, it's got to be something important." Various other Kerbals strolled by in the opposite direction, smiling at them. Gene had told them to meet him in the conference room immediately. As they approached the door, Jeb noticed that there were two armed security guards blocking the way.

"Identification, please," barked one of them, whose face was buried in a book filled with ID numbers. "Identification?" replied Jeb. "Use your eyes, dumbo!" The guard looked up from his notebook. "Oh, I mean... I... Umm... I'm sorry, sir. Right this way, sir." He walked over to the door and slid his security card over the scanner. The door swung open, revealing a smart, white room, with three rows of benches on one side, and a podium, complete with microphone and projector screen. Gene was standing at the podium.

"Jeb! Bill! Get in here now!" he barked. "Yes sir," they replied, sheepishly entering the room. The security guards sealed the door behind them, and waited in the corridor. Jeb and Bill sat down on the front bench, and Gene began talking.

"Exactly three days ago, the US Air Force conducted the secret launch of a space station, with the cover story of the test of a new booster, the 'Hercules M-22L.'" Gene flicked a switch on the podium, and an image of a rocket, with one large core stage and two radially-mounted SRBs, appeared on the projector screen.

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"What's so bad about them launching a space station?" asked Bill.

"What's bad? What's bad is that that station has an arsenal of twenty-four MIRVs. That stands for Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicles. Basically, the Air Force have put up a station that has nukes on it. And they can be launched at the press of a button. And impact an area anywhere on kerbin in just three minutes."

"Jesus," exclaimed Jeb and Bill simultaneously.

"And that's not the worst of it," continued Gene. "In doing so, the US Air Force have broken the 'Space Militarisation' treaty of 1959. This treaty, signed by the USSR, the US, an assortment of European countries, and China, states that, and I quote, 'The weaponization of space, the Mun, Minmus, or other celestial bodies by one nation for gaining a strategic military advantage over any other nation is strictly prohibited, under all circumstances, as an expansion of the 'Space Liability' treaty of 1958.' Which means that we broke an international treaty. In secret. And if this secret goes public, which it inevitably will, NASA will be the first to take the blame, with immense repercussions for the entire country!"

"Kraken..." sighed Jebediah. "So, what do you expect us to do. Go up there and catch it?"

Gene smirked. "As a matter-of-fact, yes. Remember that old 'ROTV' concept that Wernher came up with a few years ago, back during the inception of the 'Jool' rocket program?"

"Yeah..." replied Bill. "It was where he planned to just strap some landing legs, a radial crew cabin, and a whole load of parachutes to a 'J-111' stage, which could make orbit on its own, barely, and use it as a reusable spacecraft, which could perform LKo missions, de-orbit, and land. It could even, with some modifications, carry a light payload, am I correct?"

"Spot on. But Wernher didn't think launching a payload from it was very efficient. Wernher's dream was to have the 'ROTV,' an acronym for Re-usable Orbital Test Vehicle, recover debris and de-commisioned satellites from Low Kerbin Orbit. Of course, Wernher never considered using it for... unsanctioned theft of US Air Force property."

"Hang on a moment," interrupted Jeb. "We're stealing a USAF station from orbit, without permission, in complete secret, and if we fail, the United States get caught breaking an international treaty - just the plot of your average 'Special Agent Kirrim' film, isn't it?" He smiled.

"But seriously, guys - this is basically space piracy. We're going to illegally steal a USAF spacecraft, in secret, and return it to Kerbin. If we fail, we could be court-martialled. Or worse..."

Gene waited, thinking that the two kerbonauts would decline. Instead, they both blurted, "We're in!"

---

"So, you've accelerated the construction of the first 'ROTV,' so that it can be launched, without a payload, with both of us onboard, and capture that USAF space station?"

"Yes," replied Gene.

"But... the public know about this launch. It was scheduled to be launched today anyway, just later in the evening. How are we supposed to cover it up?"

"Well, the 'ROTV-1' launch was supposed to be a test flight - so our cover story is going to be exactly that - the first crewed test flight of a brand-new LKO spacecraft. And the USAF are hardly going to report us for capturing their space station - they are breaking an international treaty, after all." Gene smirked once again.

"Okay then," added Jeb after a long pause. "Let's light this candle and get up there!"

---

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The real story: I had launched the USAF 'MORL' space station, which was planned to feature in Post #6 - but I decided to leave it out of the final update, as, quite frankly, it was useless - I didn't need another station. But I didn't just want to terminate it from the tracking station either - so I decided to launch a recovery mission - but realised that there was no way I could come up with a sane plot point for why NASA would just steal an Air Force space station - until now. :cool:

---

The 'Jool-1' rocket gracefully lifted off the pad atop a plume of flame, with a cloud of smoke shrouding the lower segment of the rocket. The Jool H-1A engine spewed a trail of orange-red flame as it climbed higher and higher, approaching the edge of the atmosphere; the beginning of space. The first stage cut-off and was separated at 40 kilometres altitude, and the H-2S engine of the 'J-111' 'Jool-1' rocket upper stage ignited at 75 kilometres altitude to complete the orbital insertion.

The H-2S engine was shut-down shortly after completing the orbital insertion, and the four radial 'BID-132' Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines ignited, completing the small burn required to set the 'ROTV-1' spacecraft on its rendezvous trajectory towards the United States Air Force 'MORL' space station. Shortly after this, Jebediah Kerman activated the spacecraft's RADAR jammer, which would make it invisible to RADAR - and therefore, anyone on the ground.

A short deceleration burn later, and the SLA Spacecraft Adapter of the modified 'J-111' 'ROTV-1' spacecraft swung open, revealing a small docking port. The spacecraft slowly inched towards the 'MORL' space station, RCS thrusters aligning it along the correct attitude for the capture.

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With the 'MORL' station snuggly secured within the payload bay, the 'ROTV-1' spacecraft de-orbited itself over the western Pacific ocean, and, using a new technology known as ballutes, landed safely in the East Coast of the USA. These ballutes were a combination of balloons and parachutes - a donut-shaped, toroidal balloon, which had a heat-shielded bottom, and was activated by helium gas inflating it during deployment. These ballutes could be deployed at much higher altitudes that regular parachutes, and could be deployed at hypersonic speeds.

The primary ballute of the 'ROTV' deployed at an altitude of 45 kilometres, and the secondary drogue parachutes were deployed at 20 kilometres. The landing legs of the 'ROTV-1' spacecraft extended at an altitude of 5 kilometres, and the entire stack, both 'MORL' and 'ROTV,' touched down at 30 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (MET), and recovery crews, who had signed the act of secrecy before hand, recovered the spacecraft, hauling it back to KSC for another flight. The 'MORL' space station was destroyed and its remains hidden. Shortly afterwards, NASA privately disclosed the information of the 'MORL' and the secret objective of 'ROTV-1' to the current President of America at the time, Jaysef Kerman, who promptly "had a word" with the US Air Force. Multiple people were sacked, the appropriate Generals court-martialled in secret. The news of the secret 'MORL' mission would not be revealed to the world until the 1990s.

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Summary:

USA (USAF) successfully launched top-secret 'MORL' space station - Year 1, Day 45 (August 1st, 1963)

USA (NASA) successfully launched 'ROTV-1' - LKO spacecraft - first act of space piracy - Year 1, Day 46 (August 3rd, 1963)

Now I'm on multiple watchlists because I looked up what a MIRV was. :P

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

Post #7 - May 17th, 2017

Year 1, Day 48. (August 31st, 1963)

A 'Jool-1' rocket sits atop the launch pad at the KSC. Crowds of people flock to the space centre in droves, with cameras and popcorn in hand. Sitting, strapped to their seats on the inside of the capsule, are Jebediah and Bill Kerman. Beneath them, concealed within the SLA Spacecraft Adapter, is a 6-way docking hub, and a small extension tunnel, both to be added to 'Skylab' as extension modules. The extension tunnel, designed to give the STS 'X-20' shuttle enough clearance to dock with 'Skylab' when the time comes, was manufactured by the C7 Aerospace Division, and so was the 6-way docking hub.

The huge rocket rose into the heavens atop a pillar of flame and smoke. However, only 4 seconds into the flight, disaster struck. A clog in the combustion chamber in the H-1A engine, where the kerosene fuel and the liquid oxygen oxidizer mixed to produce an explosion that was directed downwards through the engine's nozzle, producing upwards thrust utilizing Kermewton's third law, caused the resulting explosion from the fuel mixture to tear apart the engine structure, and a large segment of the lower 1st stage fuel tank. The huge explosion from the failing engine ignited all of the fuel in the bipropellant 'J-11' 1st stage.

The launch escape system of the 'Artemis' CSM fired, wrenching the capsule away from the rocket. A few of the flames from the 'Jool-1' rocket explosion lapped up the sides of the capsule, though no serious heating issues were experienced. Both Jebediah and Bill were safely pulled away from the rocket, and the LESwas jettisoned, with the duo slowly parachuting down into the flaming inferno. The sound suppression system of the launchpad, which spewed over 1000 litres of water over the pad during the launch of large rockets, to protect the structural integrity of both the launchpad and the rocket, fired once more with its backup supply of water, dousing the fire and allowing Jebediah and Bill to land safely in a pool of over 1 kilo-litre of freshwater, onto a heavily scorched and devastated launchpad.

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The spectating crowds were nearly killed, with over 16 serious injuries, and 23 minor injuries. Thankfully, none of the spectators were killed, but the disaster struck a crippling blow to the American space program. NASA had to pay over 700,000 Kerbucks in total insurance costs to the spectators, and the private space companies and aerospace contractors were no longer willing to hire NASA for their launches.

The 'Jool-1' rocket explosion also drew question to the use of crew for simple station extension and resupply missions, which cold just as easily be done using autonomous spacecraft. After the source of the clog traced (An improperly refined mixture of kerosene which was too thick, supplied by the questionable source of 'Found Lying By The Side Of The Road'), and the safety procedures of NASA reinforced, work began on a new form of autonomous spacecraft - the 'Automated Transfer Vehicle.'

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The 'Automated Transfer Vehicle,' or 'ATV' for short, was a simple autonomous spacecraft, whose development was contracted to BDB International, the aerospace (and defense) contractor that supplied NASA with may key components to their spacecraft and rockets, such as the 'J-111' first stage of the 'Jool-1' rocket, and the DIOSCURI-1 SRBs. The 'ATV' had enough fuel for orbital rendezvous and docking, and had storage for monopropellant, pressurised, and unpressurised cargo.

Its main control point was a 'Titan' Instrument Unit, a heavy-duty probe core manufactured by Wild Blue Industries. Beneath the probe core was a large pressurised cargo container, surrounded by 6 PIO-1 solar panels, 2 communications antennae, and 2 pressurised science return containers. Beneath the large pressurised container was an X200-2 kerosene/liquid oxygen fuel tank, which was surrounded by 4 RCS maneuvering thrusters. Beneath the fuel tank was an AJ10-137 engine, identical to the one used on the 'Artemis' spacecraft.

After 2 months of development, preparation, and 1 simple suborbital test flight, the first orbital mission of the 'ATV' was ready on Year 1, Day 51 (October 3rd, 1963). The method that the 'ATV' would use to carry its payload, if any, was quite different compared to the 'Artemis' mission's transposition and docking method. In fact, the 'ATV's' method was also a whole lot simpler. Instead of launching on top of the payload to make way for a LES, like the 'Artemis' spacecraft had to, the 'ATV' simply launched with the payload firmly secured to its frontal docking port. On top of it.

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With an extended fairing, this rocket did look more than slightly disproportionate, though, in reality, the extended fairing structure did not interfere with the ascent at all, as the payload itself weighed just under 3 metric tons - more than within the 'Jool-1' rocket's limits. The payload itself was a simple extension, to be delivered to the 'Skylab' LKO space station; Another 6-way docking hub, and a large solar truss segment, which had, in total, 8 functional solar panels, each capable of producing a maximum of 17 Electric Charges (ECs) per second. And, stored within the 'ATV's' unpressurised cargo compartment were 20 structural struts, which could be attached during EVA.

The launch went smoothly, with the entire stack lifting gracefully off the pad on a pillar of flame and a cloud of smoke. The 'J-11' 1st stage cut-off at 35 kilometres in altitude, and the rocket coasted to Apoapsis, the 'MechJeb' flight computers calculating the DeltaV required for the orbital insertion burn, and aligning the spacecraft upon the correct attitude. The 1st stage burned out and was separated at 84 kilometres altitude, and the 'J-111' 2nd stage ignited, completing the orbital insertion, and setting the spacecraft on a trajectory that would come within 1.4 kilometres of 'Skylab.'

The 'J-111' stage was jettisoned and remotely de-orbited with 3 minutes until closest approach, and the 'ATV's' main engine ignited, bringing the two spacecraft's relative velocity down to 5 metres per second. The 'ATV' then burned towards the station once again, and then killed its relative velocity within 100 of the 'Skylab' space station.

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However, when the RCS controls of the 'ATV' were switched on by the remote mission controllers down in Houston, Texas... nothing happened. The RCS was unresponsive. The spacecraft did, in fact, have the adequate kerosene/liquid oxygen LF/O fuel mix, but the RCS maneuvering thrusters failed to ignite. And so, in a bold move that was never before attempted in aerospace history, NASA decided to dock the station to the extension. After all, the station was quite small at the time.

And so, using the 'Skylab-2' 'Artemis' CSM's RCS thrusters to maneuver the station to the correct position for a docking, the mission controllers successfully docked to the extension. And so, after completing the post-docking check, the 'Skylab-2' CSM was cleared for, once again, another undocking, this time extracting the ELM module from the MM pressurised cargo container, that was already docked to the 6-way docking hub, and transferring it to the opposite end of the station.

After swinging the entire spacecraft around, Wehrus Kerman re-docked the Experiment Logistics Module to the other end of the 'Skylab' LKO space station.

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After the ELM was re-docked, Wehrus was cleared for, once again, another re-docking. This time, it was a simple maneuver - undocking the 'Artemis' CSM, and rotating it slightly to align it with the rest of the station modules. This re-docking procedure went smoothly, all up until the time to fire up the RCS and dock back with the ELM - when, once again, the RCS failed to ignite. Even though they had worked perfectly during the docking with the solar truss and 6-way docking hub. The thrusters were unresponsive. Again. And the 'Skylab-2' CSM was slowly drifting away from 'Skylab,' both backwards and ever so slightly to the left.

And so, another bold maneuver was attempted - firing up the 'Artemis' CSM's main engine to put boost it back towards the ELM's docking port. A flawless plan. Right? Right? Wehrus throttled up the engine slightly, and the spacecraft slowly collided into the space station, bouncing off of it and sending it wobbling away. In a panic, Wehrus couldn't turn off the engine, but, thankfully, the spacecraft was now heading towards the docking port. The kerbonaut cut the engine just in time, and the 'Artemis' CSM successfully docked back to the 'Skylab' space station, after two fiascos involving unresponsive RCS.

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And, after what seemed like hours of post-flight checks and double-checks, Wehrus Kerman was cleared for an EVA. He depressurised the 'Artemis' capsule, while Jenlyn stayed in the ELM, and exited through the capsule's hatch. He secured the tether around his waist, and released his grip on the ladder's rungs. He used his RCS (Which, thankfully, was still working!), to jet over to the docked 'ATV,' and removed the EVA struts from the unpressurised cargo compartment. He bolted two each to the surface of each module, and secured one from the 'Artemis' spacecraft and the ELM it was docked to. After all, the CSM was their escape craft, and it wasn't going to be leaving anytime soon. He also attached two structs to the 'ATV,' the docking hub, the solar truss, the MM, or pressurised cargo compartment.

After the (partially) successful flight of 'ATV-2,' and the delivery of the solar truss and docking hub to the station, there was one final component to be delivered to the station before it reached operational capacity - the docking port extension, so that the STS 'X-20' space shuttle could dock to the 'Skylab' space station. "And, while you're at it," added Wehrus, "Get us a nice big shipment of EVA-attachable lights. This place is pitch black on the night side."

And so, the plans for the 'ATV-3' mission were drawn up. But NASA realised that it needed a new, lighter launch vehicle. Though the 'Jool-1' rocket was good for hauling heavy payloads to LKO and beyond, the 'ATV-2' mission had made orbit with over half of the fuel left in the 'J-111' upper stage. And NASA were not happy with leaving space debris in orbit, especially if the extra fuel within could have been used for larger and heavier payloads. So, NASA contracted a the Rockomax-FTP Corporation, the result of a recent merger between Fuel Tanks Plus and Rockomax, to construct a new light to medium payload lifer to LKO.

This new lifter family, named 'Atlas,' would have many configurations, including those with 2 stages, those with 3 stages, and those with strap-on SRBs. An 'L' would be added to the end of the configuration number if the SRBs were SRM-1205 SRBs rather than S1-KD25K SRBs.

'Atlas' Rocket Family Configurations.
M-150  1-and-a-half stages. No strap-on SRBs.
M-200  2 stages. No strap-on SRBs.
M-202   2 stages. 2 strap-on SRBs.
M-203  2 stages. 3 strap-on SRBs.
M-204  2 stages. 4 strap-on SRBs.
M-206   2 stages. 6 strap-on SRBs.
M-300  3 stages. No strap-on SRBs.
M-302  3 stages. 2 strap-on SRBs.
M-303  3 stages. 3 strap-on SRBs.
M-304  3 stages. 4 strap-on SRBs.
M-306  3 stages. 6 strap-on SRBs.

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The variant of the 'Atlas' rocket that would be used to launch the 'ATV' missions from then onwards would be the 'Atlas M-200,' the latest lifter in the 'Atlas' rocket family, capable of hauling up to 14 tons into Low Kerbin Orbit. But before construction of the next 'ATV' autonomous spacecraft could begin, the problem with the RCS maneuvering thrusters had to be identified. NASA interrogated the manufacturers, the fuel suppliers, and even the engineers that assembled the engines, and came up with nothing. All hope seemed lost. Without working RCS thrusters, spacecraft couldn't dock. If spacecraft couldn't dock, then NASA would have no way to transport crew and supplies between their space stations.

But then the problem was solved when one of the inspectors simply approached one of the 'ATVs' on the production line, and examined the RCS thrusters. And discovered the problem instantly. Etched into the underside of the thruster, partially faded, were the words: 'Liquid Nitrogen Intake Thrusters.' The thrusters only had one intake valve. For liquid nitrogen only. Instead of the two intake valves it was supposed to have. For RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen. In short, the RCSthrusters had the wrong fuel intake.

And the 'ATV' spacecraft was not equipped with monopropellant nitrogen tanks. It was only equipped with kerosene/liquid oxygen fuel tankage - the fuel which the main engine of both the 'Artemis' CSM and the 'ATV' used - and the fuel which the RCS thrusters were supposed to intake. So the thrusters with the incorrect fuel intake were fitted during construction. And it was the same story with the 'Artemis' CSM.

During the docking of 'Skylab' to the station extension, the 'ATV's' RCS thrusters failed to ignite because they had none of the correct fuel to intake, and so the 'Artemis' CSM had to dock to the extension. Then the CSM flipped around and docked another component of 'Skylab' to the extension. And, in doing so, depleted every last litre of its remaining supply of nitrogen monopropellant.

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And so, after these problems with the RCS were fixed on the production line, and after construction of the relatively small payload, a docking extension to allow extra clearance of the docking port from the station, to allow an 'STS' shuttle to dock to 'Skylab,' was complete, on Year 1, Day 56 (December 21st, 1963), the payload was mounted atop the 'ATV' spacecraft, the combined spacecraft and payload mated to the launch vehicle, and the 'Atlas M-200' rocket rolled out onto the launchpad atop an MPL (Mobile Launch Platform) crawler platform.

The rocket blasted into the heavens, a plume of flame billowing from its powerful RE-M3 1st stage main engine. A cloud of smoke hung around the rocket as it ascended through the depths of the lower atmosphere, breaking free from the chains of gravity as a sonic boom sounded across the western-Atlantic ocean. The 1st stage cut-off at an altitude of 40 kilometres, and, as the spacecraft approached the peak of its trajectory arc, at an altitude of 89 kilometres, the 1st stage engine re-ignited, depleted its remaining propellants, and was jettisoned, retro-rockets pushing it away from the second stage, which was equipped with 4 small ullage motors, boosting it away from the 1st stage as the 2nd stage RE-L10 engine ignited.

The 2nd stage engine cut-off after a 1 minute and 40 second orbital insertion burn, and, after completing the necessary burn to put the spacecraft on its rendezvous trajectory with the 'Skylab' space station, was jettisoned, and was remotely de-orbited, to burn up over the south-Pacific ocean. The 'ATV' spacecraft approached the station, and, with a short burst of its main engine, matched speeds with it.

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This version of the 'ATV,' modified so that it was equipped with the correct thrusters, and renamed the 'Block 2 ATV,' had monopropellant storage, to refuel the deleted supplies of the 'Artemis' CSM that was docked to 'Skylab,' and likely to stay there to serve as an escape craft should the need arise. The spacecraft fired a short burst from its RCS thrusters, and, after a few seconds of free floating, docked together with the 'Skylab' space station, 90 kilometres above Kerbin's surface, hurtling through space at over 2 kilometres per second.

After the docking, Wehrus was sent out on EVA to remove the EVA-attachable lights from the unpressurised cargo bay of 'ATV-3,' and attach them to their allotted locations. He grabbed four of them, and floated down to the ELM module, bolting them to a location on the outer hull of the module. He then realised that the module was still partially shrouded in darkness, and removed four more lights from the cargo compartment, attaching them to the ELM, at offset angles relative to the first lights on the module. After 15 minutes of working, the station passed onto the night side of the planet, and darkness fell upon the station. He climbed back into his cabin.

After the sun rose again over the horizon, Wehrus depressurised the 'Artemis' capsule once more, exiting to attach more lights to the surface of each module. He also removed the remaining equipment from the 'ATV-2' spacecraft, and it undocked, de-orbiting itself, and burning up as a streak of orange flame over North America. The second 'ATV,' 'ATV-2,' also undocked, and relocated to the newly-freed frontal docking port of the station.

This time, Wehrus attached four lights to the surface of the MM/container module of the station. He then secured two more EVA struts, leading from the 'ATV' to both the ELM, and the MM. Then, darkness fell upon the station once more, and Wehrus headed back inside.

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As the sun rose above the pale-blue horizon of Kerbin once more, Wehrus headed out for his 3rd EVA of the day. This time, he simply grabbed a handful of eight lights, the exact number of lights remaining, and floated over to the solar truss. He mounted three lights to each side of the truss segment, and also lit up the docking port at the end of the truss, designed to allow more segments to be added later. After this tiring 15 minutes of work, Wehrus headed back in, exhausted, and refusing to do any more work for the rest of the day. And, as we all know, a Kerbin day lasts 6 hours. And he had spent a total of 45 minutes on EVA. 15 minutes each time. Tiring work, I think you'll agree!

Summary:

USA failed to launch 'Skylab-3' LKO spacecraft - no fatalities, multiple spectator injuries - Year 1, Day 48 (August 31st, 1963)

USA successfully launched 'ATV-2' unmanned LKO resupply spacecraft - RCS thrusters failed to ignite, but successfully docked -Year 1, Day 51 (October 3rd, 1963)

USA successfully launched 'ATV-3' unmanned LKO resupply spacecraft - successfully docked - Year 1, Day 56 (December 21st, 1963)

---

Anyone who can point out the two references to a real-life rocket in the above post will have a blueprint (Like the one shown above) made for them.

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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35 minutes ago, NISSKEPCSIM said:

NASA decided to dock the station to the extension. After all, the station was quite small at the time.

I've done the same before in RSS/RO, also after I misconfigured the RCS thrusters to use a fuel different than what I put on the craft. 

 

37 minutes ago, NISSKEPCSIM said:

Wehrus throttled up the engine slightly, and the spacecraft slowly collided into the space station, bouncing off of it and sending it wobbling away.

It's always amazing to me what these low-energy impacts can do in space and/or KSP, what with giant stations going super-wobbly. At least it all worked out in the end!

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I'm just glad that someone is using the bays on the Apollo SM. I never really had a use for them during testing, I was worried that they might be useless or maybe too small.

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My game performance is now down to 10 FPS whenever I turn on the lights of 'Skylab.' So I'm only going to be turning them on during screenshots.

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Posted (edited)

Please be advised that after Friday, the 26th of May, I shall be accepting payloads submitted for launch by "private companies." Preferably, payloads must under 15 tons, but the limit is 25.

The only mods you can use are MOLE, Tantares (Either LV or spacecraft), TRAILS Plus, Home-Grown Rockets (With the patches for use in 1.2.2), Fuel Tanks Plus, KAS/KIS, and Ven's Stock Revamp. I'm not installing mods just for your payload, because my game already crashes way too much!

Payload submission form below:

Spoiler

Manufacturer: Name of manufacturer (Your company).

Name: Name of payload.

Weight: Weight of payload.

Height: Height of payload.

Width: Width of payload.

Length: Length of payload.

Description: Short description of your company, its interests in space, and your payload.

Mission objective: Detailed objective of your payload (Eg: Launch to LKO, transfer to Munar orbit, land, etc.).

Kerbal X file: Your craft file. I accept Kerbal X, Kerbal X, and only Kerbal X!

(Optional) Launcher: The rocket you want me to use to launch your payload.

Country contracted to: Who you're contracting this mission to; The US or Russia.

(Optional) Rewards: Basically, just like the rewards you get from completing normal contracts. Though I'm hardly strapped for cash, so this is optional.

 

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
Dang it! How did I mix up May with April!

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No update today, sadly, as I had no time, but I hope to get it uploaded by Wednesday.

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Post #8 - May 26th, 2017

Year 1, Day 58 (December 25th, 1963)

On a chilly, slightly breezy Christmas morning, with clear skies and a sun just barely peeking up over the mountaintops to the west, another 'Atlas M-200' rocket was being prepared for launch. Its payload was unlike any other that came before it, a small, autonomous spacecraft, filled to the brim with various scientific experiments. The one thing that set this spacecraft apart from any other? The fact that all of the experiments were designed by high-school (Secondary-school) students - And it all started with a program called the 'PRI.'

The 'PRI,' which stood for Public Relations Initiative, was a program started by NASA only five months before, which challenged high-school students across America to create their own experiments to be performed in space. Entries were then received by post, and then studied by computers and scientists, who ranked these experiments into a top 200 - the top 200 would make it onto an unmanned science spacecraft, which would carry 25 experiments per flight. Such a spacecraft would need to have parachutes and a heat shield, so that it could safely land with the science results intact.

Experiments that were cleared for allowance into the top 200 included items like the studies of plant growth while in zero-G, and the examination of simple creatures like insects and guinea pigs, and how they would be affected by long periods of time in space. However, a new spacecraft had to be designed to carry these experiments, and, though some had suggested the use of an 'ATV,' this was impossible, as the 'ATV' autonomous spacecraft was not equipped with a heat shield or parachutes - or a storage unit for scientific experiments, for that matter. And so was born a new autonomous spacecraft - the 'SELFIE.'

'SELFIE' stood for Scientific Logistics Facility for Experimentation. One of the interns at the engineering department giggled wildly whenever the word 'SELFIE' was mentioned, though nobody was completely sure why. For that matter, nobody knew what a selfie was, or what it did - but they were sure it meant something else that that intern wasn't telling them.

The contract to develop the 'SELFIE' was awarded to Wild Blue Industries on Year 1, Day 41 (August 1st, 1963), and, after construction, and after multiple test flights, 'SELFIE-1' was mounted atop its 'Atlas M-200' booster, rolled out onto the launchpad at the KSC on the MLP Crawler Platform, and ready to fly.

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This time, NASA once again decided to launch into a rendezvous. As the launch was taking place on Christmas morning, most people were confined to their homes, giving and receiving gifts, and preparing Christmas dinner; going to morning mass, or simply sleeping in. And so, the majority of spectators were observing the launch from the comfort of their homes, and those that weren't were safely located over 3 kilometres away, standing on the roof of the Administration Building.

The huge RE-M3 engine of the 'Atlas M-200' rocket's 1st stage roared to life, propelling the spacecraft upwards, through the lower atmosphere, higher and higher, until it shut down at an altitude of 40 kilometres, and oriented itself along the correct attitude for the orbital insertion burn. It re-ignited once more, before it's kerolox propellants were depleted, and the 2nd stage, consisting of an RE-L10 cryogenic engine, separated from the spent first stage and completed the insertion burn using its hydrolox propellants.

The fairing was jettisoned mere seconds after the 1st stage separation, revealing the brand-new 'SELFIE' spacecraft. I had a small, thin propulsion stage, and then a sharp slope outwards, going from the 1.25 metre diameter size group to the 1.875 metre diameter size group. Above the propulsion module and the sloped adapter was a large pressurised cargo bay, filled to the brim with equipment such as mapping antennae, supplies, and, most importantly, scientific experiments!

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The 'SELFIE-1' autonomous spacecraft separated from the 2nd stage of the 'Atlas M-200' rocket shortly after completing the rendezvous burn, and the spent stage was remotely de-orbited, burning up over the south-Pacific ocean. The spacecraft slowly approached the 'Skylab' space station, with small, slow bursts from its RCS maneuvering thruster aligning it on the correct course, and lowering its speed relative to the station.

As the spacecraft approached the station, time seemed to slow down and become jittery. So much lag! it swung itself around to face the right direction, and carefully maneuvered into the correct position for docking. It slowly inched towards the docking port. "The seconds that were ticking by were painfully drawn out; Each second felt like a minute," said kerbonaut Jenlyn Kerman, who was observing the docking from the ELM at the time. Though there was no real danger, as the spacecraft's systems had been rigorously tested beforehand, but any slight miscalculation could lead to an explosive decompression, or worse... a rapid unplanned disassembly. And, Jenlyn's flight on 'Skylab' was her very first mission, so it was a lot more tense than kerbonauts who had flown before on other missions would have felt.

After a successful docking, the cargo bay doors of the 'SELFIE' swung open, revealing the mapping antenna, which extended itself to monitor the weather patterns of Kerbin. Inside the cargo bay was an array of pressurised containers, each one containing scientific experiments. After Wehrus Kerman conducted an EVA to secure the 'SELFIE' to the station with two of the EVA-attachable struts, he headed back inside, and Jenlyn set to work conducting the experiments.

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However, the Soviets weren't far behind. So far, they reasoned, they only had one space station, 'Salyut-1,' in LKO, and it was simply a single-launch station, with no expansion modules, whereas the Americans had been expanding their station since its launch on Year 1, Day 18 (August 4th, 1962), but the Soviet Union had simply launched their space station on Year 1, Day 18 (August 18th, 1962)... and left it there. Though the crew of 'Salyut-1 Expedition-1,' in the 'Soyuz-2' spacecraft, had broken the space endurance record, staying in LKO for over a year, they were confined to a tiny, cramped living module, with only the bare minimum of amenities installed. So the USSR decided it was time to launch an expansion module.

However, there was a problem. The DOS 'Salyut' space station cores were never designed to receive expansions - they only had small sized docking ports, compatible with the original 'Soyuz' spacecraft. But the Soviet government had recently ordered a redesign, which swapped out the small-sized docking port on the 'Soyuz' spacecraft, and replaced it with a medium-sized docking port - one which would be used both by the next generation of 'Soyuz' spacecraft, known as the 'Soyuz-T,' and those modules of space stations which were designed for expansion.

Which meant that, if the Soviet space program wanted to launch an extension module, all of the docking ports on it would be the medium-size non-androgynous passive docking ports, to allow for extension - except one, which would have to be a small-size non-androgynous active docking probe, as use on the original 'Soyuz' spacecraft to dock with 'Salyut-1.'

So this new module was designed, and designated DOS-2-O. The 2 signified that it was the second variant of the DOS space station module, and the O stood for Core (Russian = Основа / Osnova, meaning 'Core'), signifying that it was designed to be the core module, with a 6-way docking hub mounted to the front, and enough living space to sustain a crew of 4 for at least 1 year. Such a module would have to have enough life support, power generators, and crew capacity to sustain such a large number of kerbonauts, and would also require a thermal control system, and storage for nitrogen monopropellant, as fuel for the small maneuvering thrusters onboard.

The module itself was given a name before launch - 'Zemlya,' Russian: Земля, meaning Kerbin, and also meaning soil.

With construction of the DOS-2-O module complete, the Russian engineers realised that any current launch vehicle in their arsenal would be incapable of launching the payload - so Vladimir Khelomey proposed that, learning from his successful 'Proton-K' heavy lift rocket, a new design: The 'Proton-FGR.' FGR stood for Functional Cargo Rocket (Russian: Функциональная грузовая ракета), and was a design that took everything successful from the 'Proton-K' rocket, such as the hypergolic Dinitrogen Textroxide and UDMH (Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine) propellants, with their reliability and the ability to be ignited many times, as well as their ability to be stored at room temperature for many years, and incorporated them into a larger, more powerful lifter, with a higher payload capacity to LKO.

This 'Proton-FGR' design also made upgrades to the 'Proton-K' lifter. Rather than using an inefficient core of clustered fuel tanks, the 'FGR' version instead had one large G-3M UDMH/Nitric Acid engine, and a number, varying from none all the way up to 8, of asparagus-staged hypergolic-fueled boosters, which would drain their fuel into the core stage, and then be jettisoned. Such an improvement would increase the lift capacity from 20 metric tons, up to 35 metric tons. This new version would also have a 2.5 metre-diameter core rather than the old 1.875 metre-diameter core of the 'Proton-K.'

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The contract to build and test the 1st stage, as well as the asparagus boosters, was awarded to Tantares Space Technologies, while the development of the 2nd stage was contracted to Home-Grown-Rockets Ltd. After much designing and planning, the variant of the 'Proton-FGR' rocket that would haul the 'Zemlya' DOS-2-O station module was finally selected; The 'Proton-FGR-26.'

The first number, in this case 2, corresponded to the number of core stages the rocket was made out of, and the second number, in this case 6, corresponded to the number of strap-on asparagus-staged boosters. And so, after construction was complete on Year 1, Day 59 (February 23rd, 1964), the DOS-2-O space station module was mounted to its 'Proton' lifter rocket, and the 'Proton-FGR-26' was rolled out onto Launchpad-P via train, where it was righted to vertical position using crane, and the launch gantries rose into place.

At zero hour, the entire stack gracefully lifted off the pad on a pillar of flame and a cloud of smoke as it ascended towards the far reaches of the cosmos. The plume of smoke could be seen from miles away as the rocket roared upwards through the clouds. The 6 asparagus boosters were staged away at an altitude of 25 kilometres, and the main G-3M engine cut-off at an altitude of 40 kilometres. The entire rocket coasted to Apoapsis, aligning itself along the correct heading to perform the orbital insertion.

The G-3M main engine re-ignited with ease due to its use of hypergolic propellants, giving the DOS-2-O space station module a much-needed boost in getting to orbit, before its fuels were depleted, and it was jettisoned. The second stage PS-01L cryogenic hydrolox (Hydrogen/liquid oxygen) ignited and completed the orbital insertion burn, with enough metres per second of DeltaV to spare to complete the rendezvous and velocity match burns with 'Salyut-1.'

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The second stage was decoupled and remotely de-orbited, and, with Valentina and Erillian Kerman aboard 'Salyut-1' to oversee the operation, the docking procedure commenced. The 'Zemlya' DOS-2-O station module used its built-in RCS thrusters to swing itself around and face the right direction, and then, with another short burst, it started to slowly inch towards the rear docking port of 'Salyut-1.'

The active docking probe of the 4G-Z docking port on the 'Zemlya' module's docking hub slowly extended as the spacecraft drifted towards the passive docking port of 'Salyut-1.' The active docking probe slipped into the indentation made way for it by 'Salyut's' passive port, and the two mechanisms connected, marking the successful docking of the first extension module of the 'Salyut-1' space station. Shortly afterwards, the four enormous solar panels mounted to the sides of the 'Zemlya' module extended, providing immense magnitudes of power to the 'Salyut' station.

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Summary:

USA successfully launched 'SELFIE-1' unmanned LKO spacecraft + docked to 'Skylab' space station - Year 1, Day 58 (December 25th, 1963)

USSR successfully launched 'Zemlya' space station module + docked to 'Salyut-1' station - Year 1, Day 59 (February 23rd, 1964)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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