The Mission, Controlled!!!
Chapter 7: The Moho Mystique!
My cellphone started blaring his new favourite ringtone, a cacaphony for everyone else, but music to my ears. It was from the assistant to the Magistrate.
"Hello, Nanba Kerman here."
"Hello Director, the Magistrate has agreed to allow scientific launches to other celestial bodies. But for now, keep the mission focussed on the inner planets."
"Eve and Duna will be easier to reach, but will take a long time to do so. Moho has much quicker launch windows, but it's very difficult to get into its orbit."
"I will leave those decisions upto you. And please keep launch costs minimal. Every science launch must be reviewed by an external financial advisor. He/ She will have the power to veto any launch, but within the realms of reason. I will send more details to you over the kmail."
"Yeah sure. But we need to talk more on this subject, I don't like the government intruding in KSC's business in such a blatant manner. And Mortimer won't like it, of that I am sure."
The assistant to the Magistrate let out a sigh, "Ah yes, Mortimer...that kerb...I will need to tell him all about his new 'charge'."
"Yeah, you have fun doing that." I let a malevolent smile creep onto my face as I disconnected the cellphone. It was not all that I asked for, but atleast it was a start.
A soon as I put down the phone, it started blaring up again. This one was from the tracking station.
Apparently, the MOFLO reached it's target!!!
Oh just look at that chunk of rock, its so beautiful!!!
The probe slipped past Moho at a very high velocity because of our non optimal Trans-Moho insertion burn. Luckily for us it was only a flyby. We gathered whatever science data that we could
Before we could even blink, the flyby was over! We gained about 756.2 science from this mission.
Now that the flyby was done, the mission planning for the Moho Orbiter went underway. While reaching Moho was not an issue, capturing into orbit was the biggest issue. Our simulations showed it might take upto 4000 m/s to capture in some unfavorable situation!!
The only way to do this, while not raising a stink from the authorities and a lot of red tape by using a VERY heavy rocket, would be to use electric engines.That will be a little difficult as well. Xenon extraction from Kerbin's atmosphere was banned by the government, as environmental pressure groups opposed 'draining rare Kerbal resources to the void.'
Oh, that Magistrate....He is trying to make my life difficult.
As we seemed to run out of options, I was thinking of making subsequent Moho missions to be flybys. But then Kunfaya came to the rescue!
"Sir, I have something to tell you, but promise you won't get upset!"
"What is it Kunfaya?"
"Xenon mining is banned, but there's no legislation which prohibits argon mining."
"Actually, they considered banning argon mining, but argon is rather plentiful in our atmosphere. Moreover, with the ban on electric engines, there were very less opportunities and motivation for scientists to innovate in argon electric propulsion. For they were afraid their inventions could end up in the trash cans just like the Xenon Engines"
"Yes, true. But when I was in the Kerbal Institute of Improvised Technology, there was this kerbelle who was suspended on the grounds of 'illegal activities'."
"Oh? And you are telling me about her because..."
"Because the illegal activities that she was involved in was the development and testing of electrical engines that used argon! The Dean was an Environmental Maniac and suspended her immediately."
"Wha...argon engines?? Who is this kerbelle? What's her name?"
It was a desolate house in the middle of nowhere. Clearly designed for mobility, and an independent life support system too, from the looks of it. Clearly, the home of a fugitive.
Kunfaya and I knocked on the door, only to get a huge surprise.
Something hit me on the face, almost knocking me out. As I staggered and fell down on my knees, I heard a weapon cocking.
"None of you BARISes move. Not one inch. You are not taking me back, do you get it??" It was a Kerbelle's voice. But it felt heavy, as if she had endured more than what a kerbelle deserves to.
I raised my hand in a gesture to surrender. "We mean no harm!" I managed to get a squeak out. Luckily for me, Kunfaya snapped out of shock," Triksha, its me, Kunfaya! From KIIT! Remember me!"
A look of recognition flashed across Triksha's face as she lowered the weapon." You were the one who topped the fourth semester, yes, I remember you." Her voice was still steady, unwavering.
"We just came here to talk about a mutual problem. I am Nanba Kerman, Director of KSC, by the way."
"Hmmph..come on in then. But remember, one wrong move and I will turn you BARISes into a lead mine."
Soon we were discussing the present scenario at the KSC. The permission to launch science missions to other planets, difficulties regarding the Moho missions, I laid all my cards on the table.
"So now you need my Argon engines. Heh, the irony. I was incarcerated for those engines, and now the government needs my help." She let out a dry laugh. "Well, I will help you out. But I have my conditions. I want them fulfilled, every last one of them."
" Triksha, we can not promise to fulfill each and everyone of your condition!" Kunfaya retorted.
"Then I guess, its Good Night! Show yourself out." The fugitive scientist got up from her seat and headed to the kitchen. "Oh wait! I can lend you those engines if you grovel in front of me. It would be sooooo Cathartic to see KSC begging me for my tech!"
I turned around, a weary smile on my face. "I am a poor kerb, all I have is my knowledge and my pride. They are not for sale. Thank you for sparing your valuable time for us." I waved a good bye and got out of the house, with Kunfaya following me.
"You still haven't heard my conditions yet, Mr. Director." Triksha called out from behind us.
"Hmmph, please feel free to elaborate."
"I will be the sole supplier of these engines, no big corporations will be allowed to be the subcontractor, especially not the Ionic Symphonic Protonic Electronics!"
"I am listening, please go on."
"Secondly, I want immunity from all the charges that have been wrongfully levied on me, and compensation for my incarceration."
"I will consult my financial advisor. You take care until then."
After an extensive discussion with Mr. Mortimer, I finally got that pardon and monopoly for Triksha. Mr. Mortimer wasn't too happy about her getting a monopoly in the electric engine market, and neither was I. So, we included a very tiny clause in the legal document that the pardon and monopoly would be valid as long as she works for KSC and KSC only. The clause was written in a manner that would not be visible to Triksha. I doubt it would be visible, even to seasoned lawyers.
If she doesn't toe the line, then I would simply disassociate KSC from her company, and she would be in for a huuuuge shock!
A few days later, Triksha signed the document, and it was validated by the Council. After acquiring one of her experimental engines and refining it even further, we decided to use it in the next Moho Orbiter. If all went all, we could even use the setup for sample return missions from the inner planets!
The Moho Orbiter for Scientific Experiments (MOOSE) was launched from KSC on a beautiful dawn.
Ascent into the clouds. This is so beautiful I will frame this and put it on display in my office!
Separation of the strapon boosters.
The core booster soon ran out of juice and was staged, followed by the second stage ignition.
The second stage completed the circularization burn and the probe was in 85X85km LKO orbit.
What happens when the photographer tries to be overly artistic..... (Is there a real life rocket which deploys fairings like confetti??)
The second stage had no juice left, so it was discarded and the TMI stage was activated.
Turns out we overestimated the amount of fuel needed, as a result we had a lot more delta-v in our insertion stage (about 2000 m/s!!)
About a 110 days later, the probe reached Moho, and BY KRAKEN WHAT IS THAT MIST???!!!!
Regardless, the probe was inserted onto Moho orbit. 2 burns were used, the first involving the LFO stage, and the second involving the ion engines.
The probe was established in an elliptical polar orbit, from where it will keep on observing Moho and produce science.
The next day, disaster struck! A Kerbin observing satellites collided with one of those small KubeSats. It was a one in a million chance, considering the fact that both satellites were inclined 90 degrees with respect to each other. What's more, there were no spares for that satellite yet!
A decision was made: Those pesky KubeSats will have to go. A plan was formulated and a time limit of 60 days was imposed on each kubesat. Moreover, the Kubesats should have their own propulsion to deorbit, once the 60 day time limit was over.
For now, we had to repair the broken satellite, or deorbit it if repair proves to be impossible. Also, we had to deorbit all of the kubesats strewn around in LKO.
But for this, machines just won't cut it! It was concluded that krewed presence would be needed in order to fulfill this. We had the ability to transport Krew to orbit, and sufficient studies on this subject had been done a few decades ago. It wouldn't hurt to try!
Thus the mothballed design, Carryminati mk-1 was worked upon, and Cariminati mk-II was born.
Thus the first 'Proper' scientific mission was successful. What will this lead to? More probes across the solar system? Maybe, or maybe not, the future is uncertain. And what does the emergence of krewed missions signal? Stay tuned to find out more!