My Contract: Take temperature scans of three locations on the Mun. Well, I'd already successfully orbited the Mun so it was a small step from that to placing the orbit in a precise location. I can handle this! I made a manned ship with lots of science on deck, intending to take a scientist to reset the experiments. That way I could take high and low Munar orbit data while I was there for the temperature scans. After making sure the stages were all sequenced correctly and a scientist was on board I saved the ship after naming it Kapollo I. I had to leave the VAB for something and when I came back it was empty. No sweat; I'd saved the ship so I selected the Kapollo I and went to the launchpad. The liftoff and parking orbit went smoothly. I reached the Mun in a relatively uneventful fashion, with a fair amount of fuel left. The temperature scans required an almost polar orbit, and while I wasn't in an equatorial orbit I had to spend some fuel to get in the ballpark of the three temp scan locations. Before I began the scans though, I wanted to get my low orbit experiments done. Temperature, Barometric Pressure, Goo, Science Lab, all done. Now to get my scientist to collect the data and reset so I could use them again in high orbit later, before breaking orbit for Kerbin. Comedic Error #1: I'd been in such a hurry after coming back to the VAB that I failed to recheck the capsule, and now instead of a scientist, who should greet me but Jeb! I know I should have seen him in the lower right corner, but truth be told I'm still new at this and I didn't notice. Besides, once I'd begun my gravity turn I spent most of the time in Map View. So no more experiments, except temperature and pressure if I was willing to transmit the science at a steep loss of science credit. Since I would have to return for other missions I'd collect the high orbit data along with surface data then. I kept the data I had, intending to return and get 100% credit. Comedic Error #2: The first two temperature scans went well with just a moderate expenditure of fuel. The third one kept missing the marker before, looking very closely, I realized that at that location if I aligned the orbit exactly, then by the time I got there the rotation of the Mun had left me wide of the mark! The third time I allowed for the Mun's rotation and completed the contract! Yeah I'd had a bit of a hiccup, but the contract was complete and I was ready to head home...although I was a bit nervous about how low my fuel had gotten. Sure enough there was just enough to break Munar orbit and "coast" into an oblong orbit of Kerbin that had a PE of a few hundred thousand meters and an AP of around 10 million meters, just inside the Mun's orbit. Jeb was stranded!! However, I'd rescued over half a dozen astronauts from Kerbin orbit and one from a Munar orbit, so I told Jeb to hang tough: I'll be back. Part of the fun of this game is that I let myself become completely enveloped in whatever is going on, as if it was real life. Case in Point: The first time I achieved a stable orbit of Kerbin my fuel was so low that I felt like Apollo 13...would I make it back? I literally had an elevated heart-rate and goosebumps as the seconds counted down before initiating the retrograde firing. All this is to say that while I could have come back a week later for Jeb, I felt a real sense of urgency and immediately launched a rescue mission. My haste would bite me. Comedic Error #3: After managing to match Jeb's HUGE orbit of Kerbin, no easy feat for this newbie, I lowered my orbit a bit so as to catch up with him. Although in real time it didn't take that long, when you factor in the 1000x warp I was using there was a lot of game time speeding by. After twenty or so orbits I was within 25km of Jeb and ready to fine tune my orbit. On the last 1000x orbit something really weird happened. Both Kappolo I and the Rescue Ship were coming under the influence of the Mun!! We were going to be flung out of Kerbin orbit to who knows where on the next go around. Why hadn't I kept a closer eye on the Mun? Its orbital path was much too close for comfort and if you repeat the ship's dramatically large, oblong orbit enough times you are bound to get up close and personal with Mr. Mun! I truly though Jeb was going to be "Lost in Space" for real. I switched to Jeb's Kapollo I, to see if maybe I could make a last ditch effort to have Jeb EVA to the Rescue Ship, which at this point was 25km away. All my previous rescues had been within 5km, so yeah, I was desperate. Then the fuel gauge caught my eye. There was no light green bar visible but on the far left there was this number: 1.29!! Holy smokes!! Could there be enough vapor to get me out of this jam? I quickly returned to map view and created a maneuver node and played with it to see what would have the best chance of altering the orbit enough to clear the Mun's influence with the vapor I had available. I'd only have one shot: If it didn't work the next lap would send Jeb and the Kapollo I out of Kerbin's SOI. Anxiously I initiated the burn and watched with relief as Kapollo I's orbit shifted out of the Mun's SOI. I quickly switched back to the Rescue Ship, approximated Kapollo I's orbit and did the burn. I now busied myself with bringing the two ships back together as the emergency burns had extended the distance between them from 25 to around 300 kilometers. After creating a "catch-up" orbit for the Rescue Ship that bit off 10km per orbit or so (my fuel was now becoming a concern so I opted to just do laps at 1000x warp to shave off the distance between the ships), I sat back and let them go around about 27 times before switching back to 1x to fine tune them in preparation for Jeb's EVA. Comedic Error #4: Remember my haste would bite me? I'd been using four solar panels for some time so I wouldn't have to keep such a close eye on whether they were facing the sun or not. Well the rescue ship I'd quickly launched only had two, and you guessed it: when I went to fine tune the orbit I had NO POWER!! This was the situation: Kapollo I had no fuel and the Rescue Ship had no power!! Jeb's only hope would be to EVA farther than he ever had before, and use his jetpack and body weight to try and nudge the Rescue Ship enough to catch a few rays of the sun. It worked!! It wasn't much but just enough to provide a bit of power to turn the solar panel to face the sun full on. Whew!! Looked like we were home free! Comedic Error #5: I set up a retro burn at our AP and brought the PE down to 45km. I didn't want to make it too steep because due to fuel constraints I was coming in from just inside the Mun's orbit in one go. At around 52km or so we started lighting up with atmospheric friction. Feeling confident, I jettisoned the engine and remaining fuel and turned the capsule so the heat shield would take the brunt of the heat being generated. All seemed normal until at around 45km we quit descending and started gaining altitude!! I glanced at the ship's speed: 2800m/s!! I'd forgotten to factor in the additional speed we were reentering the atmosphere with!! We were bouncing off!! Long story short: It took six more orbits, with each one taking a big chunk off the AP, and bleeding off 75m/s and a few hundred meters of altitude on the reentry, before on the last go around we literally circumnavigated the entire planet, from day to night and back to day, dropping to 41.3km bouncing back to 51km and finally coming down for good!! Definitely my longest reentry ever, although I only have three weeks of playing under my belt. The heat shield usually only drops a couple units of ablator but this reentry it dropped around 40!! I know this has been really long-winded, but I hope it makes someone smile. I had to get it all written down whilst still fresh in my mind. Even with all the totally preventable errors I made, I feel good that I was able to find a way to get Jeb back home to Kerbin!!