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AndrewBCrisp

The Pan-Kerbin Space Program: A Mission Log

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PAN-KERBIN SPACE PROGRAM

"Artsa da Snoisolpxe Sidnarg Per"

("To the stars through big explosions")

Preamble:

After the last war devastated much of the Kerbal civilization, the nations of Kerbin set aside their differences and came together in the hopes of building a lasting peace. For two generations, the new Pan-Kerbin government worked to rebuild shattered cities and knit together a planetary culture. Today, the Kerbal race is united, and the threat of war no longer hangs over the heads of most Kerbals.

Yet, peace is not enough. Kerbals have a deep instinct for adventure and excitement, an instinct that was once channeled into warfare and nationalism. A new outlet was needed, now that armies have dis-armed and nations have vanished. And there were other concerns; the vast crater on the shores of Kerbin's major continent and the pockmarks on the Mun were testament to the violence of asteroid and comet impacts. Someday, that may happen again.

And so, newly elected President Ydennek Kerman, in his opening speech to the Pan-Kerbin Parliament, set forth an ambitious goal: the conquest of space. He declared that it should be the goal of the Kerbal civilization to send Kerbals to every planet and mun in the solar system. Sensing the call of adventure - and the chance for explosions - the Parliament voted unanimously in favor.

Thus was born the Pan-Kerbin Space Program.

This consists of 2 mission logs. The first one - now the "proposal" - which was more of a barreling through career mode, and the second one, based on a new save, which will cover the "real" career of the PKSA. UPDATE 01/04/2014: New missions will be posted on Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Current mission: Anaid 1 New!

The Old Log starts here.

Vignette 1: The Meeting

New Log starts here: Hopper 1

Vignette 2: Photo Op

Start of the Kerbal missions: Kerbal 1

Start of the Venturer probes: Venturer 1

Year-in-Review: Year 1

Surveyor probe lander missions start here: Surveyors 1 through 4

Anaid missions start here: Anaid 1 New!

Edited by AndrewBCrisp
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PROJECT HOPPER

"Before we make big leaps, we must first make small hops" - Werner Von Kerman

Not long after the construction of the Kerbal Space Center, located on the shores of what would one day be called "Booster Bay", the research team, led by noted rocket pioneer Werner Von Kerman, came forward with parts for the first rocket: a solid rocket booster, a liquid fuel engine, a small fuel tank for said engine, a capsule designed to hold a Kerbal, and a radio antenna. Flight Director Gene Kerman noted with some disapproval that there were no provisions for safety among these parts, and so after a short pause, the research team developed a parachute.

At the same time, the first three Kerbal test pilots were selected. Jebidiah Kerman, Bob Kerman, and Bill Kerman would be the first Kerbals to enter space.

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Hopper 1

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Hopper 2

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Hopper 3

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Hopper 4

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Hopper 5

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Hopper 1

Pilot: Bob Kerman

Goal: In-flight performance test of rocket engine, capsule, and parachute.

Flight time: 2 minutes

Hopper 1's flight was short; with the fuel tank exhausted less than a minute into the flight. Bob Kerman deployed the chute, and waited until the craft splashed down in Booster Bay, not five kilometers from the launch pad. After Bob was hauled from the capsule by the coast guard, water got into the capsule and tank, and the rocket sank beneath the waves. "We really need a way to cut the tanks and engines loose from the capsule," Bob was heard to mutter. This gave Werner Von Kerman an idea.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

Hopper 2

Pilot: Jebidiah Kerman

Goal: Test of stage decoupler and radio communications.

Flight time: 4 minutes.

After a short time tinkering in the lab, Werner Von Kerman revealed a device he called a "stage decoupler" which used small explosives to separate one part of a rocket from another. With this, the spent engine and fuel tank could now be discarded, which could be useful for future rocket designs. A test was called for.

Jebidiah Kerman flew Hopper 2 north of the KSC, rather than east, and radioed a report of conditions while flying through the air. When the engine sputtered out, Jeb hit the decoupler switch, there was a small "bang!", and the capsule separated from the rest of the rocket. The spent rocket splashed down in the northern Booster Bay, scaring a fisherKerbal out on the water. The capsule itself settled down 2 minutes later, hitting the water at a much gentler speed thanks to not having to lug 1 1/2 tons of engine and tank.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

Hopper 3

Pilot: Bill Kerman

Goal: First suborbital flight.

Flight time: 10 minutes.

Hopper 3 employed a 2 stage design, intended to lighten the rocket's load as it climbed up out of Kerbin's atmosphere. Bill Kerman piloted the rocket on its flight, although his report back to KSC stated that the rocket was "difficult to steer". The capsule's reaction wheels kept the rocket on course, but attempting to perform what some of the scientists called a "gravity turn" was almost impossible.

Hopper 3's trajectory was a very steep arc, which took the capsule up as high as 109.4 kilometers. The steep reentry angle was a concern, but the heat shield held, and Bill Kerman, the first Kerbal to touch space, returned to the world of his birth alive and well.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

Hopper 4

Pilot: Jebidiah Kerman

Goal: First orbital attempt.

Flight time: 14 minutes.

Hopper 4 saw some changes to the 1st stage, with improved fuel capacity and some fins to help keep the rocket stable on ascent. Jebidiah's report on the ascent was almost the opposite of Bill's. The new rocket turned better, but was a lot more sluggish on ascent. The increased mass was pushing the limit of the rocket's thrust-to-weight ratio.

As a result, Hopper 4 never reached orbit. It's trajectory took it several hundred kilometers east, landing in the grasslands on the next continent.

Mission Outcome: PARTIAL FAILURE

NSYWQCH.png?1

Jebidiah Kerman poses by the Hopper 4 capsule, shortly after the recovery teams arrived.

Hopper 5

Pilot: Bob KermanJebidiah Kerman

Goal: Second orbital attempt.

Flight time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

To overcome the issue of poor thrust, Werner Von Kerman suggested using side-boosters for the next rocket. 2 boosters could provide more thrust to get the rocket off the ground, and then be discarded. After some hasty modifications, Hopper 5 was ready for flight.

Bob Kerman was selected for this flight. However, Bob slipped on a ananab peel on the way to the launch pad, and needed to be replaced. Jebidiah, who was next to Bob when he had his accident, immediately volunteered.

Hopper 5 successfully reached orbit at 75 km with only minimal assistance from the final stage. While in orbit, Jebidiah performed a short spacewalk, testing the jetpack. After two orbits, Jebidiah de-orbited Hopper 5, discarded the last stage, and landed the capsule with minimal trouble... only to be confronted by an outraged Bob and a disapproving flight director on his return to KSC.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

Having sent a Kerbal into orbit and bringing him safely back, the Hopper program was discontinued. To go farther, new rockets would be needed.

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Small update. I've added new programs to the OP. Also, I'm in the process of compiling the results of the Yrucrem program (and sorting through screenshots for the best ones). It should go up either this weekend or Monday.

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PROJECT YRUCREM

“Entry interface in one minute. Wish me luck.†- Seerim Kerman, pilot of Yrucrem 3

The PKSA had demonstrated it can put something in orbit, and bring it back without crashing. Now it needed to do it again. With the Mun and Minmus being the first logical targets for Kerbal expansion, reliable rockets would be needed. Project Yrucrem, named for a Kerbal of ancient myth reputed to be the “fastest Kerbal aliveâ€Â, would help develop those rockets.

Werner Von Kerman, after attending a rocket scientist conference in the city of Wocsom, decided to expand the Hopper 5 rocket design to produce a rocket capable of low orbit insertion at any inclination, or sending a capsule on a Munar flyby trajectory. Stating that “if 2 boosters are good, 4 must be even betterâ€Â, he unveiled the Zuyos launch vehicle:

yHQzAOP.png?1

Zuyos, with the Yrucrem capsule and service module on top.

Throughout the Yrucrem program, the Zuyos performed well, although it was not quite as advertised. In every launch, the Yrucrem needed to use the LV-T45 engine to give it the final push into orbit.

A new rocket was not the only change. Hopper 5’s success was a public sensation, and in short order, Kerbals were lining up to join the program. KSC hired five more Kerbals, including 2 scientists, expanding the kerbonaut corps to 8.

Yrucrem 1

Pilot: Bob Kerman

Goal: Polar Orbit attempt.

Flight time: 3 hours, 57 minutes.

Due to his accident prior to Hopper 5, Bob Kerman was awarded the pilot’s role for the first Yrucrem mission. The new Zuyos rocket performed well, and placed Yrucrem 1 in an orbit that was within 5 degrees of a true polar orbit.

FiSNMi3.png?1

Booster separation on Yrucrem 1

From here, Bob Kerman would perform 3 short spacewalks, recording observations at various points along the orbit. After 3 hours, Bob Kerman reoriented the capsule and fired the LV-T45 engine to bring the capsule down over the North polar ice cap.

jyltCMT.png?1

Yrucrem 1 jettisons its service module.

MhPe6VY.png?1

An Icy Reception awaits Bob Kerman.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

Yrucrem 2

Pilot: Roddas Kerman

Goal: High orbit attempt.

Flight time: 1 day, 1 hour, 50 minutes.

SjtfZz1.png?1

Yrucrem 2 transmits using its new high-gain antenna.

Yrucrem 2 contained a number of firsts, including a high altitude orbit (270 km equatorial), the longest time spent by a Kerbal in space (over 1 day), and the first to employ the new communications and power storage technology. New pilot Roddas Kerman reported no ill effects from his prolonged exposure to microgravity, although he did report getting bored after a while.

JdhFkZr.png?1

Roddas Kerman conducts a spacewalk.

Yrucrem 2 landed in the hot Great Desert of Kerbin, and Roddas exited the capsule and tested the spacesuit in the dry environment in the time between landing and his encounter with the recovery teams.

Sadly, this was Roddas’ only trip into space. A few weeks later, after having a little too much to drink, Roddas took an experimental jet plane out of the hanger for a trial run. The prototype proved too much for him, and he was killed in the crash.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

Yrucrem 3

Pilot: Seerim Kerman

Goal: Munar flyby and return.

Flight time: 18 hours.

While the scientists and seniors at Mission Control wanted to conduct more tests of the Yrucrem in low and high orbit, political leaders wanted some faster progress. Ydennek Kerman was up for re-election, and he wanted something dramatic to show how his dream of Kerbals in space was being realized. So, after some heated arguments between the President’s office and the PKSA, it was decided that Yrucrem 3 would be a Munar flyby mission.

EN0sBpU.png?1

Yrucrem 3 as it approaches the Mun.

Werner and his team concluded that the Yrucrem’s service module could deliver the necessary delta-V to reach the Mun, but only if a free-return trajectory was employed. This meant the capsule would hit Kerbin’s atmosphere travelling much faster than any previous capsule. Space missions were always dangerous, but this could turn into a suicide mission. The KSC asked for volunteers, and, amazingly, got one. Seerim Kerman stepped forward, and would become the first Kerbal to see the Mun up close.

bI6bFDW.png?1

A minute of terror…

The single worst part of the mission was the re-entry sequence. For a full minute, there was a radio blackout between capsule and the KSC. Nobody would know if Seerim had survived the high-speed entry until the capsule deployed its chute and Seerim re-established contact. Cheers went up in Mission Control when they heard the report: “Yrucrem 3 calling. I’m a little broiled but I’m okay. Have a cold drink ready, will you?â€Â

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

Yrucrem 4

Pilot: Hudfrid Kerman

Goal: Inclined Orbit / mountain landing attempt.

Flight time: 3 hours

By comparison to Yrucrem 3’s stunning success, the next and last mission of the Yrucrem program was almost pedestrian. Yrucrem 4 achieved an 80 km high, 38 degree inclined orbit, and it’s pilot, another newcomer by the name of Hudfrid, stayed up almost the same amount of time as Bob Kerman did on his mission. The descent this time took Yrucrem 4 into the mountains on the southern continent, with Hudfrid hoping to land on one of the plateaus spotted from orbit. But it was not to be.

zpdKFLD.png?1

A most undignified landing for Yrucrem 4

The capsule touched down on a mountainside, and began to roll downhill. Hudfrid’s crash harness kept him safe while the capsule tumbled to its final resting place. Almost as if fate wanted to deliver a final insult, the capsule wound up with the hatch on the bottom. Hudfrid would have to wait until the recovery crews winched the capsule out of the mountains before he could be freed.

Mission Outcome: PARTIAL SUCCESS

The lessons learned from the Yrucrem missions were already being put to use, even as the project itself drew to a close. Werner Von Kerman unveiled a “slightly†improved launch vehicle called the Zuyos-G, which had a short career before being shelved - along with the original Zuyos - in favor of newer, better, rockets.

L7IFoBm.png?1

The Zuyos-GA, ready to launch a satellite into high orbit

Mostly, however, the greater distances of Munar missions - and beyond - made it clear that a space communications infrastructure would be needed. The PKSA thus commissioned a small network of ComSats, to be deployed in 300 km orbits around Kerbin, that would serve as the foundation for all future space communications.

iO6cIor.png?1

ComSat 1, in equatorial orbit.

IuiQ8TK.png?1

ComSat 2, one of two satellites in 60 degree inclined orbits.

But the age of Kerbals in space was about to go into eclipse. With the launch of the comsats, artificial satellites and probes were now possible. The age of robotic exploration was about to commence.

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KROBOTS IN SPACE: THE ORBITING SCIENCE LABORATORIES AND FIRST EXPLORER PROBES

"What is Goo, exactly? I have no idea! So to find out, we're going to put it in these canisters and shoot it into space!" - Dr. Genecas Kerman, Goo-ologist

"We've never stranded a Kerbal in space; we're sure as heck not going to strand one on my watch! STRANDING IS NOT AN OPTION!" - Flight Director Gene Kerman, on the suggestion of sending crewed capsules on one-way trips into interplanetary space.

After the heady successes of the Hopper and Yrucrem programs, researchers at the KSC began hitting walls in their work. Literally, in some cases - Test building 6 has some interesting greenish smears in its Impact Test Chamber, and an astonishingly high turnover rate with its research assistants. Mostly, the wall-hitting was metaphorical; hard limits were being reached with rocket research based on what Kerbals then knew about science. It soon became apparent that to develop better rockets, more research into space and its effect on materials would be needed.

Enter Drs Genecas and Joncan Kerman. Genecas, who had recently earned his Ph.D. from Drofnats University, brought with him something Jebidiah called "Mystery Goo" - a term that soon stuck with first the Kerbonaut corps, then with mission control teams, and finally with Genecas' fellow researchers, despite Genecas insisting it be called the "Anomalous Substance." Eventually, Genecas snapped, and called it "Mystery Goo" just like everyone else from then on.

He then got the idea of exposing Mystery Goo to various environments on Kerbin and in space. Working feverishly, he developed a Mystery Goo Container, and after a few drinks with Werner Von Kerman, came forward with the Mystery Goo Test Project.

rNyYh3Z.png?1

MGTP-3 sits on the launch pad, ready to send samples of Goo into the upper atmosphere.

The MGTP ran for four missions before new limits - notably the lack of batteries - prevented more ambitious attempts to study Goo in space. Shortly thereafter, Genecas teamed up with Technological Institute of Sttesuhcassam (TIS) alumnus Dr. Joncan Kerman, a materials scientist specializing in crystalline studies and semiconductors, who had an idea of a materials experiment for space. The two then came up with the Orbiting Science Laboratory, designed to expose Goo and various substances to space.

0praClK.png?1

Orbiting Science Laboratory 1 in low orbit, with its material bay open.

The research results from each recovered OSL capsule advanced Kerbal science by leaps and bounds, enough that some researchers began to speculate that the future of Kerbal space exploration was unKerballed space exploration. Indeed, soon OSL missions were being launched on Munar and Minmus flybys, then on orbital missions around both of Kerbin's muns.

xssXnXm.png

OSL-2 during its Munar flyby.

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The capsule from OSL-5, after its Munar orbital mission, just before recovery teams picked it up.

Dreams of sending robots to space instead of Kerbals soon hit the cold void of reality, however. OSL-3 was lost when it impacted in Kerbin's mountains, destroying the hard-collected high-orbit data. Then the first two one-way probes, Explorer 1, and Explorer 2, became embarrasing almost-failures to the Pan-Kerbin Space Program.

X5uCRjd.png?1

Explorer 1 sits on the launch pad.

Explorer 1 was the first attempt to send a probe into interplanetary space, via Munar flyby. All went well on the initial launch, orbit, and ejection burn, but trouble appeared when Explorer 1's sole science instrument - a thermometer - stopped functioning as soon as it got over 240 km away from Kerbin. Diagnostics turned up nothing, and now the probe is in a solar orbit, where it may one day cross Kerbin's path again.

f4MSOmH.png?1

Explorer 2, sitting on the Atled launch vehicle, prior to its voyage to the Mun.

Explorer 2 was a little more modest in its goals: to record temperature data in low Munar orbit. Here there was more success at least in flight dynamics: the probe was safely delivered into Munar orbit, although the remaining fuel meant that the probe would not achieve circular orbit. But when the probe was disengaged from its booster, the kick from the decoupler was enough to push the probe into a higher orbit than planned. The temperature sensor ceased to function as it did on Explorer 1, leading mission designers to conclude the temperature sensors had a severe range limitation that needed to be built into future missions. Explorer 2 now orbits the Mun as its first artificial satellite, as dead as the world it orbits.

Undaunted, however, the PKSA began design work on the next phase of space exploration: landing on the Mun.

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Author's Note: This will likely be the last time I bundle a number of missions into a single post. We're starting to get to the longer and "meatier" missions on my schedule and I'll be devoting 1 post to 1 mission from here on out. Well, that's the plan, anyway.


KROBOTS IN SPACE II: SURVEYOR 1 - SURVEYOR 5

"Pfeh! Never send a machine to do a Kerbal's Job." - Jebidiah Kerman, on the news of Surveyor 1's crash landing.

ShvjFXM.png?1

Surveyor 1 undergoes final checks before being attached to its Atlad launch vehicle.

The Surveyor program had a goal halfway between caution and ambition: land robots on the Mun and Minmus. The Pan-Kerbin Space Agency had set aside funds and resources for five missions, and the final results were mixed.

Surveyor 1 was launched on 1/019, with the goal being the Northwest Crater on the Mun's near side. Until proper communications satellites could be established over the Mun, it was decided that all landings must be on the near side. Farside targets would have to wait. Even with a target location, there was the question of where to bring the lander down. KSC kept Surveyor 1 in orbit around the Mun for close to 13 hours, going over images of the crater from orbit before selecting what they thought would be a suitable location.

pj6puJU.png?1

Surveyor 1 detaches from its booster, less than 5 km above the surface of the Mun.

It wasn't until the final 100 meters that controllers at KSC realized their site was too rough for a stable landing. In a panic, the mission FIDO attempted to send a revised flight path to Surveyor 1's guidance computer, but with some errors due to his hasty typing. As a result, the lander attempted to spin in place, and chanced to be upside down when it hit the surface. All contact with the lander was lost. Because of its final speed (less than 10 m/s) it is believed that much of the lander survived the impact, but that the more delicate components - to wit the solar panels and omni antenna - were destroyed, rendering the craft deaf and dumb.

Surveyor 2 launched a day later, on 1/020. KSC mission planners decided that the East Crater would be a better target, as there appeared to be fewer craters and ridges there. After a five hour flight, the lander eased into orbit around the Mun. It only took a single pass over the crater to select a landing site this time.

Surveyor 2 followed a similar descent profile to its ill-fated predecessor, but with better results. People in Mission Control breathed a sigh of relief when the craft neared the last 50 m with no sign of treacherous inclines or rocks below the lander. Surveyor 2 became the first soft-landed object on the Mun.

WGpNq8m.png?1

Surveyor 2 on the Mun.

Within moments, the lander began to send back pictures and temperature data. Dean Kerman, the only geologist in the Kerbonaut corps, was present to view the images as they appeared on the big screen. "Well, we can safely say the Mun is not made out of green cheese," he said.

8ofhTGn.png

Surface image transmitted back from Surveyor 2

Surveyor 3 was dispatched to Minmus. Astronomical observations and the few pictures sent back from OSL-6 showed Minmus to be less varied and interesting than the Mun... but for the flat areas. Regions flatter than the great Craters of the Mun, flatter than Kerbin's oceans existed on this small world. Landing on one of these regions was deemed a suitable target. Between the flat, craterless expanses and the miniscule gravity, landing on Minmus was a much easier task.

gjvEqX8.png?1

Surveyor 3 separates from its booster.

The landing confirmed that the flat areas were indeed solid, rather than liquid as some scientists speculated (usually after having a few drinks in the R&D Lounge). A mystery equally strange was uncovered: several rocks were spotted in the distance, of a material different from Minmus' flat regions or its hills. While Surveyor 3 will continue its observations, little more can be done until a proper sample return mission can be launched.

YxkJuam.png?1

Surveyor 3 transmitting its first report from the surface of Minmus.

Surveyor 4 was a return to the Mun, launched just 4 days after Surveyor 2's triumphant landing. It was also a return to the Northwest Crater that had claimed Surveyor 1. A location further north was selected within the crater, seen to be potentially smooth and stable. As with the previous landings, Surveyor 4 used its booster to kill orbital velocity, detached the booster to crash on the surface, and then descended on its own LV-1 engine.

OcP8OLK.png?1

Surveyor 4, less than a few hundred meters above the Mun.

The landing was almost textbook in its perfection, with the craft coming close to killing all of its velocity before touching down. Pictures taken on the way down and at the landing site itself revealed a diverse location, with craters and rocks all in viewing distance. Given the richness of detail, Northwest Crater has been bumped up the list as the probable location for a crewed landing.

ayqs7F6.png?1

Sunrise on the Mun, as seen by Surveyor 4.

After a string of successes, Surveyor 5's mission to land in the midlands east and north of the previous landings appeared simple. And indeed, as the craft made its final burn, there was no indication of difficulty. Two inclination changes were made to the lander's orbit, first to position itself over the midlands, and a second one just before the final descent burn, fine-tuning the landing to a spot that should have been safe.

CVGZkzf.png?1

The final approach path of Surveyor 5. Inclination change and final descent burn paths are shown in gold.

Unfortunately, disaster struck on final approach. While the landing site was smooth and stable enough, a guidance system malfunction caused the craft to start flying parallel to the surface. Attempts to right the craft failed, and the vessel came down on its side. Further damage was prevented only by shutting off the engine and praying.

9y4KYEx.png?1

Surveyor 5's final resting place.

Yet, despite the botched landing, contact with Surveyor 5 remained open. The camera had been damaged beyond repair, but comms and temperature sensors remained functional. Mission Control personnel shrugged and marked it down as a "draw".

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Hello folks.

As I've been working on this mission log - and of course on the career mode missions its based - I've found I'm getting more dissatisfied with the results, to the point I am seriously considering starting over on career mode and rebooting this mission log. There are a number of reasons for this:

1. The breakneck in-game pace.

To keep everything straight in my own mind, I set up a nice little spreadsheet in Google Drive where I can enter vital information about each mission. Who piloted it, what the goals were, what the results were, date of launch, time elapsed, and so on. The thing is, looking back over my progress thus far, I've noticed an unsettling fact. Missions are happening too fast from a standpoint of realism.

For example. Year 1, Day 1 saw a total of 10 missions launched. Day 2 saw 4 missions. In total, my in-game date now stands at Day 34 and I've launched a total of 38 missions. Even if one assumes the VAB has a nice big assembly line churning out rockets on demand, and funding that would make NASA green with envy, that's a bit much.

2. The mission grind.

This might seem a little odd given the above complaint, but I've found, looking back at my missions, that they seem more timid and tedious then when I first thought them up. Take the Hopper program, for example. I could have skipped Hopper 2 and gone with the much more ambitious Hopper 3 and netted more science for my trouble. A lot of missions were redundant, and I could have made better progress (and gotten more enjoyment) if I'd taken some more risks along the way, set my goals higher.

Admittedly, since I'm starting out with career mode, I'm still feeling my way, finding a way to play that I like (sandbox has spoiled me a bit, I'm sorry to say). I'm not looking to go the Scott Manley route ("unlock the entire tech tree in just 3 missions!"), but my snails-pace at science progress isn't satisfying either.

The above two complaints are mostly a case of gameplay, and are thus are easily fixed by starting over and learning from the experience. Since they are tied to this mission log, however, a reboot necessarily affects how this log will work going forward and so this leads to my third - well, not complaint, more like concern:

3. Flat reports.

Judging from the lack of responses to the missions posted thus far, I'm left to conclude that my current writing style/skills are lacking. Certainly, it doesn't look like people find them interesting.

Part of this I can understand: we have a number of people blogging their missions using one method or another now, and Yet Another Mission Log can seem a bit boring. It's a little hard to stand out from a crowd when everyone else is doing the same thing. But writing is also a difficult skill to master - especially when one does not get feedback on what one is doing right - or wrong.

So, I'd like to ask those of you who read this a few questions, in the interest of improving quality.

1. What of the above reports did you find grabbed you? Were there interesting parts and if so, what?

2. Contraiwise, what bored or irritated you? Where do you feel the reports were weakest?

3. How did you find the screenshots that accompanied the reports. Are there suggestions on how to make them better, if possible? Camera angles, for example?

4. Are there thoughts or concerns you might have that don't fit the above?

I look forward to your answers. Thank you, and keep flying!

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Nothing wrong with your writing style in imho, just there are a LOT of career mode reports floating around. But yours is well-documented and illustrated, and I have enjoyed reading it.

-Will

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Thank you, wminsing. It's good to know my writing isn't as "flat" as I feared. When I restart, I'll probably stick to the style and general format as I've used here.

The biggest change will likely be: fewer but more ambitious missions. Minor stuff (mostly exploration of Kerbin itself for science points) will be kept off-stage. When I'm ready to start posting new missions again, I'll set up a separate thread for the new log, and point to it from this one.

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I enjoyed reading it and like the way it is done. It looks like proper raports from mission no dialogue etc. Which makes it easier to read I like all the pictures as well. It inspired me to start my own mission log which I will do soon in similar style. Keep the good work and if you need changes to enjoy it mor go for it. It's your mission log and we will enjoy it more if you do as well.

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I like this mission report. Writing is good (important parts are brought out) and I like the pace (though 38 missions in 34 days are a bit much :D). Btw, 1 Kerbin day is 6 hours. So, your 34 days are actually 136 Kerbin days. :)

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Feniks and ProfessorJeb: thank you both for your responses. Again, it's nice to know that the style works for people.

I've been running some missions on a new save and I've adopted something I've heard a few others try; delaying the use of science points for a set time. The idea here is to simulate the time it takes to take data and turn it into applied technology. The rate I'm settled on is to assume 5 science points consumed per game-day, after which new rockets using the technology can be built. This is still a fast pace compared to how we did things in our history, but more acceptable. I've also decided that the Kerbal Space Center's R&D division has space and personnel to work on a maximum of 3 projects simulateously, so, if I have the points to do so, I can unlock 3 nodes at once.

e.g. In the new save I completed Flight Control and Science Tech on day 24 of Year 1. The next level techs beyond that are 90 points apiece so that's 18 days before I can unlock them - day 42. Since then I've unlocked one other 45 point tech so that leaves me with 2 projects I can unlock by that date so long as I have the points for them. Then I can start new projects after that.

I'm also putting hard limits on what I can do by year. Year 1 for example will see crewed orbits and crewed Munar / Minmus flybys, but only uncrewed planetary flybys if I have the tech available by the time the various launch windows open up (first one - to Duna - opens up on Day 58 of year 1). Year 2 will likely see uncrewed Munar and Minmus landings, more probes, and possibly a Munar "sample return" mission or three. I won't get to crewed Munar and Minmus landings until year 3.

So far, the result is a more realistic pace to missions and advancement, and that will be reflected in the new log once I get to writing it. I'm also taking more screenshots - I will still only use a few per mission report, but I'd like to have a greater variety to choose from :)

BTW, Feniks, welcome to the forum. Good luck with your mission log, and I look forward to reading it when it starts.

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I like reading your mission reports. The style is fine and entertaining. Your format helps draw me into reading it. Keep it up. :)

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Thank you, Nessus. Rest assured format will not be changing. Only the content of actual missions.

However, there should be some connective tissue between this old log and the new one. So, without further ado, I present:

Past Prologue: The Meeting

"...and zat vas ze last slide. Lights?"

A click from the other side of the room, and light filled the Octo Office. A staffer moved to pull up the blinds on the windows, while those assembled blinked and chatted amongst themselves.

President Yddennek Kerman, seated behind the olivewood desk, looked around at the various people assembled for this meeting. It had been a week since his speech to the Parliament, since his "Grand Dream" of Kerbals to the planets was announced. Now came the details, and Yddennek already saw he had a problem.

"A most interesting presentation, Professor Werhner," he began. "You certainly paint a rosy picture of our first steps into space. I do have some questions, though."

"Of course, Mr. President." Werhner Von Kerman adjusted his glasses over his mustached face.

"First, why not a full Mun landing mission? Why these... what did you call them again?"

"Ah, 'probes', Mr. President."

"Yes, thank you. Why send probes to land first?"

A Kerbal dressed in a dark turtleneck and tan jacket and pants spoke up. Yddennek recognized him as Carl Kerman, the astronomer from Llenroc University, and an impassioned science eductator. "There are a number of reasons to send probes first instead of Kerbals, Mr. President. Probes are much lighter, and can operate much longer in space without needing bulky life support equipment. This will make learning about the planets and muns much more effective--"

"But eventually," Werhner cut in. "Once ze first probes have landed safely on ze Mun, ve can send landers piloted by Kerbals. Zey can let us test ze technologies ve need to properly explore ze Mun."

"Maybe," Yddennek said, folding his hands on his desk. "But we can't give parades for probes. I'd prefer Kerbals in our spacecraft."

"With respect, Mr. President," Carl Kerman replied, "we need to take the long view. Planetary pride is one thing, but to connect our space program to it exclusively can lead to disaster. Probes can help us answer many key questions, especially before we risk Kerbals in space."

"Carl," Werhner said to his colleague in a low voice, "You just don't correct ze President!"

Yddennek held up a hand. "I appreciate Dr. Carl's consul on this matter, Professor. I... suppose... a mixed program, with Kerbals and... probes...may be best. Now then: about the funding?"

Werhner approached the desk, relieved at the change of subject. "Yes, here is our proposal for ze first three months of operation." He handed Yddennek a folder.

Yddennek blinked at the figures. The last time he saw numbers this large was in a discussion of the Planetary GDP. "Are you serious?" he asked, handing the folder to his Finance Minister.

"I believe zis amount of funding vould give us ze needed resources to move forward vith our program, yes."

"Out of the question," the Finance Minister said, handing the folder back to Yddennek. "We'd have to cut into several other programs to finance this. Medicine, education, law enforcement..."

"Perhaps we can try for a tenth of that figure, Professor," Yddennek said. "See where we go from there."

"But zis is ze needed level of funding! Vithout it our missions and research vill proceed at a snail's pace--"

"Now, Professor," Carl said, "You just don't correct the President."

Werhner sighed and nodded. "Ja. A tenth vill be sufficient. For now."

"For now," Yddennek agreed. "Later we may look into raising your funding. Depending on your progress. How soon can you get a rocket together?"

"Vell, a basic rocket could launch vithin two days."

"You've selected a pilot?â€Â

“Oh yes. Three, in fact.†Werhner put another folder on the President’s desk. “All three passed ze entrance tests with flying colors. Ve will likely launch them in sequence.â€Â

Yddennek looked over the pilot profiles and their pictures. Bill and Bob looked sober, even solemn in the photos. But this pilot named “Jebâ€Â... If Yddennek had an eyebrow he’d be raising it right now. The pilot sported a goofy grin. And this guy would be the first to launch?

Well, if the proposed missions were anything to go by, the first launch wouldn’t even enter space. This “Jebidiah Kerman†could become an interesting footnote in the future of spaceflight, while Bill or even Bob might become the First Kerbal in Space. Either one of them would look good for a photo-op.

Yddennek nodded and stood. “Very well then. Professor Werhner, Dr. Carl, with the changes suggested, your proposal has my support. You may start as soon as you’re ready.â€Â

On that note, the meeting broke up.

First of the new missions will go up on Wednesday.

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Thus begins the new save and the new missions. We'll be sticking to 1 mission per post.

From Proposal To Reality:

After the previous series of tests, some bureaucratic changes were made at the request of the Pan-Kerbin government. The Kerbal Space Center also underwent some changes in light of President Yddennek’s restrictions to the proposed budget. Research and Development amalgamated several of its labs into three primary sections, allowing for a maximum of three research programs to be conducted simultaneously. The Vehicle Assembly Building had the capacity of building up to two small/medium rockets at once, although construction would take longer than Werhner Von Kerman’s optimistic predictions. Even so, it is projected that, given sufficient resources, monthly launches would be possible.

Project Hopper was streamlined slightly, going from five proposed missions to four. Mission 1 was the only one that came close to the proposed design and flight plan...

Hopper 1: Setting a Benchmark

Date: Year 1, Day 1

Mission: Hopper 1

Pilot: Jebidiah Kerman

Goal: Ascend to 5 km altitude or higher and return to the ground safely.

hKhy13j.png

Hopper 1 sits on the launchpad.

Although rocket engines had undergone static fire tests, the first real trial for the new space program was to actually get a rocket off the ground and bring at least part of it back in one piece. As no automated guidance system yet developed by the labs was reliable enough, the PKSA fell back on the tried-and-true method from the early days of flight: test pilots. Jebidiah Kerman was selected on account of his winning the rock-paper-scissors contest between him and the other two pilots, Bill and Bob.

BXkE3Ww.png

Hopper 1, shortly after achieving max. altitude

Hopper 1 ascended to a maximum altitude of 5.5 km, but rather than going east as planned, Jebidiah steered the rocket west. As the rocket began its descent, Jeb activated the parachute and disengaged the internal reaction wheels, letting gravity and drag keep the rocket lined up for a soft landing.

t6LZPs1.png

Hopper 1 on final descent.

Barely 5 minutes after launch, Hopper 1 touched down less than 10 km west of the KSC. Almost immediately thereafter, an explosion was reported and contact with the capsule was lost. Fire and rescue vehicles were dispatched at once. The first responders found, amid the smoke, an intact capsule and fuel tank, but of the rocket engine itself, there was only shrapnel.

Y2qNnIC.png

Hopper 1, sans engine, as the response teams close in.

Jebidiah Kerman emerged from the capsule shortly thereafter, carrying a flagpole, and dropped to the ground. Before paramedics could approach him, he grinned and stuck the flagpole in the ground, saying only “I claim this land for Kerbin!†He was rushed to the center hospital, where doctors pronounced him fit.

sOtqkaV.png

Jeb plants a flag.

It was concluded that the engine bell, stressed by heat, had weakened and crumpled when the rocket touched ground. Although the fuel had been expended, the remnant vapors were ignited by a spark from the crumpling engine, destroying the engine bell. “It’s a miracle the tank itself didn’t go up,†one engineer was heard to mutter.

Jebidiah himself admitted to a moment of panic when the engine blew. “I expected the rocket to either tip over or stand upright, not explode,†he said. “I was lucky today. I really think future rockets should have a way to cut spent engines and fuel tanks loose, or we could run out of pilots fast.â€Â

Flight time: 5 minutes

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

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Hopper 2: Touching Space

Date: Year 1, Day 11

Mission: Hopper 2

Pilot: Bill Kerman

Goal: Perform a suborbital flight out of Kerbin’s atmosphere and return to Kerbin safely.

Building on the experience from Hopper 1, Hopper 2 was a two-stage rocket, employing what Werhner Von Kerman called a “decoupler†to jettison the spent stages as needed. The fact that these decouplers required explosives caused some concern among the test pilots, but Werhner insists they are “completely safeâ€Â.

LMWDzcV.png

Hopper 2, ready for launch

Between the decouplers, larger fuel tanks, and stabilizing fins, Hopper 2 would be able to reach space itself. Pilot Bill Kerman was selected to fly this mission.

wdoc5he.png

Liftoff!

Hopper 2 lifted off and began to turn east once it had passed the 5 km mark, where the atmosphere was starting to thin. The decoupler worked as advertised, separating the spent first stage from the rocket, and after a couple of seconds, Hopper 2’s upper stage engine fired, carrying the rocket to the edge of the atmosphere before it was spent. At T+2:24, Bill Kerman became the first Kerbal to enter space.

XAOTJS6.png

2nd stage ignition

Hopper 2’s trajectory took it to a maximum altitude of 116.5 km before it began its descent. Bill jettisoned the now-useless second stage and oriented the capsule so that its heat shield was pointing downward. “I feel fine,†he radioed back to KSC as he neared max. altitude. “It’s really beautiful up here.â€Â

zEfFpWC.png

Hopper 2 reaches maximum altitude.

wgMHqgp.png

A view from inside the capsule.

The heat shield kept Hopper 2 safe on its descent, as the craft shed most of its velocity through the thickening air. At T+8:24, with the capsule travelling at just under 250 m/s and at an altitude of 5.7 km, Bill deployed the parachute. The capsule splashed down two minutes later, just off the coast of the Eastern Peninsula.

C6iE5RC.png

Hopper 2’s firey return.

“This was an incredible experience,†Bill told reporters afterward. “My capsule passed the terminator into night on my way down, and I saw such stars… more than I’d see from the ground. If I looked at the horizon, I could see where the atmosphere ends and space begins. I have no words to describe it. You really have to see it for yourself.â€Â

Flight time: 10 minutes, 26 seconds.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS.

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Hopper 3: Dangerous Science

Date: Year 1, Day 16

Mission: Hopper 3

Pilot: Bob Kerman

Goal: Suborbital flight to study Mystery Goo in space.

Not five days after Bill Kerman’s voyage past the atmosphere, the KSC was abuzz with a third launch. Hopper 3, a copy of the Hopper 2 spacecraft, was rolled out onto the launchpad with one important modification: the addition of two special sample containers, each containing a substance known as “Mystery Gooâ€Â. It’s discoverer, Dr. Genecas Kerman, hoped that by observing the effects of vacuum and radiation on the Goo, we may be able to determine exactly what it was. Bob Kerman was selected as the pilot for this mission.

JnTmvHd.png

Hopper 3 prepares for a night launch.

Problems emerged less than a minute into the flight. Bob had completed the spacecraft roll and had started to pitch the ship in what the scientists called a “gravity turn†when he reported issues with steering the spacecraft. “It’s sluggish,†he radioed to KSC Mission Control. “I’m having a hard time keeping it on target.†As there were no problems with the engines or other systems, Flight Director Gene Kerman gave the go-ahead for the mission to continue, although the ascent path was watched with growing worry.

Oj2g9uo.png

The ascent.

As Hopper 3 entered the upper atmosphere, Bob activated the first of the two sample containers. “The Goo is getting cold,†he radioed, while on-board recorders gathered more detailed information. Bob waited until the craft reached its maximum altitude of 149.9 km before activating the second container. “The Goo’s become a brittle sphere,†was his report.

Uq8FLWm.png

In Kerbin’s shadow.

While Dr. Genecas jotted down these observations, conversations between Flight, GUIDO, Tracking, and FIDO brought out a serious situation. Hopper 3’s trajectory was much steeper than Hopper 2. The spacecraft was falling almost straight down, and there were concerns that the ship might not survive re-entry. Unfortunately, with the last of Hopper 3’s fuel exhausted, there was nothing to be done. Bob’s life was in the hands of the fates.

Flight informed Bob of his situation; if the kerbonaut experienced any fear over the news, he gave no sign over the radio. Bob simply acknowledged the message, then closed the covers over the sample containers and oriented the capsule for re-entry.

GvdUGHf.png

Bob’s Trial By Fire.

Radio contact was lost with Hopper 3 as soon as it dipped below 35 km. Observers that night reported seeing a “brilliant meteor†streaking down towards the East Sea. Alerted by KSC, elements of the Coast Guard and Pan-Kerbin navy were dispatched towards Hopper 3’s splashdown site to recover the capsule - or its wreckage.

LOMQyNc.png

Recovery teams found the capsule dark and silent.

The capsule was found floating on the waves, although it did not respond to radio messages. When brought aboard one of the frigates, engineers cut the hatch off, to find Bob Kerman unconscious - but alive. Analysis of the flight recorders showed the G-level had exceeded 8.4 G’s. Bob would later report blacking out at that moment, but recovering long enough that, as the capsule got to within 5 km of the ocean surface and still travelling at almost 300 m/s, he was able to deploy the parachute.

Bob has been rushed to the KSC hospital where his recovery from his high-g trauma is being closely monitored. Doctors report that he will be fit to fly in space again after a few weeks of rest. The sample containers also survived their ordeal, and the data recovered is being studied carefully by KSC’s science team.

“This is a risky business,†Bob told reporters from his hospital bed. “We always figured someone would not be coming back. I admit I felt sad when I realized that someone might be me. I was afraid my death might mean people would become afraid of space travel.

“On the whole, I’m glad I made it back alive. But if somebody does die on one of these missions… promise me we’ll keep going. We’re doing something important here.â€Â

Flight time: 8 minutes.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS.

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Hopper 4: A Kerbal in Orbit

Date: Year 1, Day 45

Mission: Hopper 4

Pilot: Jebidiah Kerman

Goal: Achieve orbit and return to Kerbin safely.

aBLpwkS.png

Hopper 4, with the new side boosters and controllable fins.

After Bob’s near-death experience with Hopper 3, Gene Kerman told the R&D section they needed a better way to control rockets. So, while the Hopper 4 rocket was being built, Flight Control technologies such as inline reaction wheels and controllable winglets were developed and tested nearby. Almost a full 30 days after Hopper 3’s flight, Hopper 4 rolled out onto the launchpad, with Jebidiah Kerman in the pilot’s seat.

A1ip01U.png

A flawless liftoff.

In addition to the new control technologies, Hopper 4 also sported a new innovation: side-boosters. Efforts to build more powerful engines to work with existing fuel tanks had failed, so Werhner concluded that using a couple of boosters to act as a first stage would be a suitable workaround. Sure enough, the boosters performed as advertised.

GsjR1E5.png

Jebidiah jettisons the boosters on ascent.

Taken together, Hopper 4 was able to execute a proper gravity turn, and achieved a 79 km x 74 km orbit at T+5:21. The mission plan called for Jebidiah to remain in orbit for about an hour - enough time to complete 1 ½ orbits, before returning to Kerbin. However, Jeb decided to add a couple of EVAs to the itinerary, despite heated demands from Mission Control to stay in the damn capsule!.

gELm8um.png

Kerbin as seen from inside Hopper 4

Jeb kept from floating away on both times, and was safely back in his capsule when the time came to execute the deorbit burn. The resulting reentry path was much shallower than Hopper 3, and while it took longer for Jeb to return to the surface, the ride was much gentler, with smaller G-forces acting on capsule and kerbonaut alike. The splashdown and recovery were both uneventful, aside from Jeb’s constant chatter and jokes among the recovery teams.

ErLn35c.png

Hopper 4 coming in for splashdown

“Most times we see the sun rise four times each day,†Jeb said after being cleared by PKSA medics. “I saw it rise twice in an hour. I love this job!â€Â

The Pan-Kerbin President greeted Jeb at the KSC Astronaut Complex to present him, Bill, and Bob with the Medal of Kourage, denoting acts of Kerbal bravery. The President stayed only for a short speech, departing soon after due to “affairs of stateâ€Â.

Now that Kerbals had achieved orbit, the Hopper program would be closed, with plans for more ambitious missions to be realized in the coming months.

Flight time: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS

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Just wanted to pop in and say that I have really enjoyed these career-mission write-ups. Don't let a paucity of posting get you downâ€â€they're well-written, and as someone coming back to KSP after many months (and had never even been to Duna even before my absence), these early-game missions speak to me far more than things like multi-launch space stations cruising around the Jool system.

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Hey, thanks Landwalker :) I've been a little busy these past few days, partly due to some real life stuff, and partly due to writing the next vignette ("Photo Op"). I'm ahead on my missions - have 8 more done with screenshots - so there's plenty of material for future logs.

"Photo Op" should be up by Saturday, and new missions will go up after that - aiming for one log every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after this.

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Vignette: Photo Op

Date: Year 1, Day 47

The black groundcar drove through the open gates to the KSC, with green and white police cars in front and behind as escort. Inside the black car, President Yddennek Kerman read over his speech notes one more time, then sighed and looked out to his destination.

The lawn in front of the Astronaut Complex was now covered in seats, all facing a platform and podium festooned with bunting in the colors of the Pan-Kerbin flag: green, cyan, and white. Aside from a skeleton crew and security guards, almost the entire staff of the Kerbal Space Center was seated for this occasion. As the car pulled up, Yddennek saw the eleven seats on the platform. The center one was empty - his, of course, while the five on stage left were occupied by members of his cabinet: Ministers from Science and Technology, Finance, Education, Defense, and State. On stage right, two seats were occupied by Professor Werhner Von Kerman and Flight Director Gene Kerman: the PKSA's driving force, he thought. The remaining were occupied by three Kerbals in orange flight suits.

"You'd think they could have dressed up for this," he muttered.

His secretary, seated across from him, looked up from his agenda-book. "I wouldn't worry about that, sir. I think it shows a bit of humility. It should look good with the right spin."

Yddennek smiled, hardly reassured. "Have you met this 'Jebidiah Kerman' Hilfred?"

"Yes, sir."

"What's your opinion of him?"

"Honestly, sir?" Hilfred shrugged. "I think he's a bit of a flake, sir."

"That's what I'm afraid of," Yddennek said, and sighed again. "Our first Kerbal in orbit, and he's liable to treat this occasion like a frat party."

Further conversation was pre-empted as the car stopped and the driver got out to open the door for Yddennek. He stepped out, straightening his suit as best he could. Somewhere, he could hear a band playing the Pan-Kerbin anthem. For a moment, Yddennek was blinded by the flashbulbs of the typical photographer ambush.

Time to get this over with, he thought, and he walked onto the platform and over to the podium.


The speech and award ceremony went, thankfully, without incident. Yddennek presented each with the Medal of Kourage and a few words commemorating their accomplishments. Bill had accepted his with just a muted "Thank you," goggling slightly at the planetary leader as though he had just been praised by the school principal. Bob was a little more solemn, but Yddennek noticed how weak his handshake was. Stunned by the attention, or something else? The report Yddennek had received did say Bob had recovered from his high-G ordeal, but still...

Jeb had grinned as he accepted his award, but didn't say anything more than "Thank you, Mr. President." Yddennek let out a - he hoped - covert sigh of relief as the pilot went back and sat down.

After the ceremony, snacks and drinks were served in the Astronaut Center lobby and lounge. Yddennek was introduced to the new kerbonauts, recently hired and going through their first weeks of training. Aldemy, a flight engineer involved with designing the proposed Mun lander, Obwig, a geologist whose goal was to study the Mun, and Kenwise and Milwig, both pilots with dreams of space. Yddennek made sure to say some words of encouragement to each, relaxing some as they talked. So far, this event wasn't the embarrassment he thought it would be--

Someone cleared his throat. "Excuse me, Mr. President?"

Yddennek turned to the source of the voice, to see Jebidiah Kerman standing before him. Not smiling. In fact, Jebidiah looked a little subdued.

"Yes, Jebidiah?" Yddennek said warily.

"I, uh..." Jeb took a breath. "I wanted to thank you. Not just for this-" One four-fingered hand touched the Medal pinned to his flight suit. "- but for, well, everything."

"You mean the Space Program?"

"Yeah." Jeb looked away for a second. "Before all this, I'd... well, I was something of a drifter. I flew planes, did some stunts, but I didn't know what to do with my life.

"But then you came on TV and told the world how we should go to the planets and the stars, and... in that moment, I knew what I wanted to do. Now, here I am; I've seen our planet from orbit, and I know this is where I belong. In this job, in this program. I'm part of something important now." Jeb smiled. "And you made all of this possible. So... thank you. Thank you for changing my life." He held out a hand.

Yddennek took it, suddenly finding it hard to breathe. "That's... that's very touching, Jebidiah." It truly was. Yddennek was stunned at this pilot's attitude - so different from what the reports said he was. Perhaps all the brazen attitude was an act, covering up something vulnerable and uncertain. "I'm glad this program has had such a positive effect for you. I hope it will be positive for all of us. For our civilization."

"Yeah, me too. And, please, call me Jeb."

"Alright... Jeb." Yddennek smiled.

Jeb grinned. "You're an alright guy. Hey, I got an idea! Bob! Bill! Gene! Werhner! Let's get a group picture here!"

"I, ah--" Yddennek blinked at the sudden about-face. "Perhaps we can--" But it was too late. Three photographers had heard the word "picture" and were now converging on the group, cameras out like weapons.

Gene looked at Jeb, reading Yddennek's worried expression. "Jeb, maybe we should let the President be on his way..."

"That's all right, Gene," Yddennek heard himself say. "One picture can't hurt." Much.

"Sure! Get in close everybody!" Jeb got beside the President and faced the camera. Yddennek felt Jeb slap his shoulder as the kerbonaut said, "Okay everybody, say 'snacks'!"

Flash!


The picture made the front page on papers all around Kerbin. Gene and Werhner were on one side, Bill and Bob on the other. And in the center, Jeb, with his trademark grin, and Yddennek, trying to grin and regain his balance at the same time.

Yddennek didn't talk much about that incident, nor did he say anything about what Jeb had told him earlier. But he did get a copy of the photograph framed, and it hangs above his desk in his home study to this day.

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Thanks, ProfessorJeb!

Running a little late with this, but here is the next mission:

Kerbal 1: Walking Above the Clouds

Date: Year 1, Day 88

Mission: Kerbal 1

Pilot: Kenwise Kerman

Goal: Complete 10 orbits and test new science module. Perform a spacewalk using the EVA jetpack.

Getting a Kerbal to orbit and back was a good first step, but much still needed to be done before Kerbals could travel to the Mun. Many questions about the effects of microgravity on Kerbal physiology still needed to be answered. The conditions of vacuum and high radiation were poorly understood (despite the claims of the Kerbovac vacuum cleaner company), especially when it came to various materials and to Kerbal tissue. Jebidiah’s comment on vacuum’s effects (to wit: “Vacuum sucks.â€Â) were not at all helpful.

Since the PKSA had only so much funds to work with, it was decided that future missions would need to accomplish several tasks at once. “Killing two Kerbals with one rocket,†was the comment heard by one staffer in the planning meeting (said staffer soon resigned for “health reasons.â€Â) The Kerbal program was intended to test endurance in space, study the effects of vacuum and radiation on various materials, and to test new technologies by sending rockets further from Kerbin than before.

kVF64bm.png

Kerbal 1 flying high above the KSC on the Trigon-II booster.

A Trigon-II launch vehicle put Kerbal 1 in orbit, with recent recruit Kenwise Kerman in the pilot’s seat. A departure from earlier designs, the Trigon-II was a single stage booster, with three LV-T30 engines providing the needed thrust to send it into space. Kenwise cut the booster loose before the orbit was circularized, and used Kerbal 1’s own LV909 engine to complete the circularization. Kenwise was able to achieve an 85 km equatorial orbit, and he started in on the planned experiments at once.

MUTdXL2.png

The new science module open and at work.

While Jeb had technically become the first Kerbal to exit a capsule, Kenwise recieved the honor of performing the first true spacewalk, testing the newly developed EVA jetpack. Kenwise jetted a few meters away from the spacecraft and stayed in open space for 2 minutes with no ill effects. “Handles smoothly. Wish I had one of these to commute with,†he radioed back to the KSC.

Iz7mYvk.png

Kenwise at 85,000 meters.

As endurance was another test, Kerbal 1 completed 10 orbits of Kerbin before Kenwise shut the science module doors and executed a de-orbit burn. The re-entry trajectory was much shallower than the early capsules, with internal G-forces never getting above 3 G at any one time. As there was some concern about the science module’s ability to survive landing (due mostly to several prototypes experiencing spontaneous unplanned restructuring in the VAB after being dropped from a small height), Kerbal 1 was fitted with two of the new Mk2-R radially-mounted parachutes. These parachutes brought the capsule to a gentle landing in the highlands west of the Great Desert.

x5NMGEs.png

Kerbal 1 glides to a landing

One piece of drama did unfold at landing, however, as the capsule came down on a hillside. No sooner had the parachutes cut loose then the capsule tipped over, rolling slightly before settling down. Kenwise exited the capsule and inspected the science module, reporting that the spacecraft was free of damage. This fact was confirmed by the recovery teams which arrived shortly thereafter.

mB5JgKI.png

Kenwise Kerman, standing next to the Kerbal 1 capsule with science module.

Total Mission Time: 5 hours, 44 minutes.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS.

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Kerbal 2: Aiming Higher

Date: Year 1, Day 96

Mission: Kerbal 2

Pilot: Milwig Kerman

Goal: High orbital science and endurance study.

With the successful return of Kerbal 1, the PKSA now had a suitable science platform for the next phase of tests. Kerbal 2 would put this platform into a high orbit, and stay up long enough to simulate the time needed for a round trip to the Mun.

zOqE0Fv.png

Kerbal 2 lifts off from KSC

Kerbal 2’s launch went as well as its predecessor, putting the spacecraft and its pilot, Milwig Kerman, into Low Kerbin Orbit reliably. Once there, Milwig then used Kerbal 2’s engine to push the craft into a 300 km equatorial orbit, and once the orbit was stable, began the mission’s regime of experiments.

MBloGGT.png

Kerbal 2 passes over the West Sea.

Rough calculations for a round trip to the Mun suggest a travel time of 10 to 15 hours, depending on the transfer orbit used. To simulate this, Kerbal 2 completed 20 orbits at the higher altitude. Milwig became the first Kerbal to sleep in space, even though he was only able to get three of the six hours suggested by KSC’s flight surgeon. He also conducted a number of hand-eye coordination exercises to test how living in microgravity affects the nervous system. These exercises had been performed before launch to provide a baseline, and would be performed again after recovery. KSC’s flight surgeon, who monitored the experiment from Mission Control, reported no appreciable change in Milwig’s reactions.

Eventually, it was time for Milwig to return home. Milwig decided to attempt something not previously achieved by previous missions: to land at KSC itself. After coordinating with Mission Control, Milwig fired Kerbal 2’s engine to de-orbit the craft, hopefully on a trajectory that, taking drag and gravity into account, would allow him to land on the shorelines near the KSC.

2Qpg751.png

Kerbal 2’s re-entry.

Unfortunately, the trajectory wasn’t accurate enough, and Kerbal 2 splashed down in the East sea, some thirty kilometers from the KSC. The staff at Mission Control radioed their condolences to Milwig while he waited for his capsule to be recovered. The pilot accepted them with good grace.

JVyOdZI.png

Kerbal 2’s capsule, safely down in the East Sea

Of his stay in space, Milwig said, “I wasn’t bored. Between the various science experiments and the hand-eye coordination work, I managed to keep pretty busy. And when I wasn’t busy, I had the best view in the world. That more than anything made it hard to sleep - I just wanted to keep watching Kerbin pass underneath me.

“All the same, these capsules aren’t the most comfortable in the world. We really need bigger capsules to give us some moving room.â€Â

Total Mission Time: 16 hours, 29 minutes.

Mission Outcome: SUCCESS.

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Very good series. Honestly I liked the first run through you did, but yes, I can see why you'd think things went a tad fast. This new run through does seem slightly better over all, but it may just be the way you're going slightly more into the personal details than the first time.

I saw you put a limit to construction as well as research (two small rockets built simultaneously) but have you limited the tonnage built per day? If you've already said and I missed it I apologize in advance.

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