Confused Scientist

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  1. Confused Scientist

    NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

    From Wikipedia: From SpaceNews:
  2. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 32- Apocalypse How? Most of the newer astronauts had moved out to Juno's suburbs, but Jeb, Bob, Bill, Val, and a few other pilots stayed in the crew quarters full-time along with Gene and Wernher; they were the ones with no families, whose children were the rockets that they built. That's is why Val didn't care how loud she sounded as she ran down the hallway, past the library, past the rec room, and towards Jeb's split-level at the edge of the building. Panting, she skidded to a halt at his door and began pounding as hard as she could. When a few seconds went by without any reply, she tried the knob and, finding the door unlocked, entered the apartment. Jeb's desk light was still on in the loft, but Val knew that he had likely forgotten to turn it off as he worked on some blueprints. She jumped around various half-complete stainless steel girders and motor housings spread out in his first-floor workshop and dashed up the stairs to his bed, noticing that it was just a few minutes after midnight as she passed his alarm clock. Then she was shaking his arm, leaning in, whispering, "Wake up, dammit. This is important." "Unnuhhhhghhh..." Jeb murmured. "Iss dark ousside." "Yeah," Val snapped, "it's dark. Open your eyes and look at this." Jeb lifted himself out of his bed and stumbled over to a coffeemaker on his desk. "I was walking on the beach-" Val began, but Jeb motioned for her to stop. After a few minutes, the coffeepot was full and Jeb sat down to listen to Val. "Mornin'," he said to her. "Not really," Val replied. "I was walking out on the beach, and look what I found." She held out a small orange box, made of durable plastic, and Jeb read the words that had been stenciled onto it: KRAKEN'S SPIT REGISTERED JEBEDIAH KERMAN OF JEB'S DROPSHIP COMPANY CLASS II DROPSHIP MANUFACTURED KONTINENTAL DEEP SPACE DIVISION FLIGHT DATA RECORDER DO NOT OPEN IF FOUND VISIT "How did that get there?" Jeb asked. "The Kraken's Spit wasn't anywhere near Bop when the singularity device was detonated." "Doesn't matter," Val said. "I need you to get Bob and go to the junkyard and destroy this." "Why?" "You can never be too paranoid," Val told him. Jeb nodded. "What's Bob got to do with this?" "He's not afraid to fire a gun." "Yes," Jeb gasped, "he is." "Well, he's not afraid to hold a gun, like you." "Fair enough." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Jeb and Bob met under a broken streetlight in the crew quarters. Jeb brought the Korvette around to the front of the building and Bob loaded a shotgun and a few cases of shells. Then he shoved them in the glove compartment along with the Kraken's Spit black box and they took off, towards the factories north of Juno's Landing. Neither of them noticed the truck following them out of the KSC gate, crawling along with its lights off. Bob tried the radio during the drive, but as he spun the dial only one station was broadcasting: Coyote, I am following thirty meters behind their car. We'll be at the yard in about ten minutes and I'll jump them after- Something about the program bothered Bob, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Maybe if he had had more time to drink his coffee, Bob would have asked Jeb to stop the car and speed back to the space center, but instead Jeb pulled the car underneath the rusted metal sign advertising Jebediah Kerman's Junkyard and Spacecraft Parts Co. and parked next to what might be called the main office, if there hadn't been several scorpions living in it. Jeb rolled down his window a bit as Bob grabbed the black box and loaded the shotgun. "Hold on," he told Jeb as he stepped out. "Keep idling." He went around to the back of the car and held the black box behind the tailpipe for a few seconds, then brought it back around and showed Jeb. "How'd it turn green?" Jeb asked. "Since orange doesn't show up very well against Duna's sand, it turns green when exposed to heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide, like in Duna's atmosphere. This way if somebody finds the debris of the flight recorder, it won't be quite as conspicuous." Bob frowned. "I'll be right back," he said. "Keep the car running." Jeb nodded and turned the radio on again as Bob grabbed a flashlight from the toolbox in the trunk and headed into the gloom of the junkyard. Sidestepping rusted hulks and hollowed-out fuel tanks, he shivered as a cool breeze came in from the coast, and a flash of thunder made the hairs stand up on his neck. Wish I'd brought an umbrella, he thought. Soon Bob was at the compactor. He placed the data recorder on the platform and pushed the control levers forward. He leaned against an old truck as another flash of lightning came, bathing the junkyard in light... and illuminating a kerbal in a mask, with a machine gun slung across one shoulder and ammo clips strapped onto the other. "Hey!" Bob yelled. The masked kerbal turned toward him as they reached for the data recorder. Bob saw them reaching for their gun and, thinking fast, jumped and dove at their feet. They wrestled in the dirt, kicking and punching, as flashes of lightning kept coming faster and faster as a thunderstorm drew closer to Juno's Landing. The mystery kerbal definitely wasn't expecting Bob to be such a competent fighter, and after a few minutes of wrestling he suddenly realized that he was holding the machine gun. Jumping off the other kerbal and shoving them in the dirt, he ran over to the compactor and, as quick as he could, reached into the last few centimeters of the gap and pulled out the data recorder. Then, with just seconds to spare, Bob shoved the machine gun into the compactor, smiling as he heard it crunch. He put the black box in his backpack when it hit him- specifically, a piece of rusty rebar right in his temple. Bob went down, crawling in the dirt, before he grabbed another piece of rebar and parried another attack. Another flash of lightning came, and the wind picked up as the masked kerbal backed Bob up against a chain-link fence. The rebar thudded into the fence just centimeters from Bob's face, and as the masked kerbal tried to free the rod Bob rolled out to the side and, grabbing onto the support column of a water tower, pulled himself to his feet. Disarmed, the masked kerbal backed up against the fence as Bob drew his shotgun and pumped the barrel. Just as he took aim, however another flash of lightning came, with a roar of thunder, and the masked kerbal reached out and shoved the barrel up just as Bob fired. The shotgun pellets buried themselves in the bottom of the water tower. "You missed," the masked kerbal said. "Astronauts never miss," Bob said, and began running as, for the second time in his life, a massive wall of water grew behind him as the bottom of the water tower gave way. Bleeding, and with only the occasional flash of lightning to guide him, Bob tripped over rusted-out motors and piles of old tires during his mad dash back towards the headlights of the Korvette. Jeb looked up as he slammed the door, and as he opened his mouth, Bob cut him off. "Shut up and drive." The motor purred as gravel flew up from the Korvette's wheels as Jeb flung it around in the parking lot and turned back onto Route 77, eastbound. Bob rummaged around in the glovebox for a first-aid kit, but Jeb was worried about a pair of headlights bearing straight towards him on the highway as the storm broke and large, fat drops of rain splattered on the windshield. Jeb turned the windshield wipers on and said, "Hey, Bob, I think this guy up here-" He ducked as a hail of bullets tore the rearview mirror loose. "Get down!" Jeb yelled as he spun the wheel, zigging and zagging to make the Korvette a harder target, but no more shots came. Instead, the truck began swerving from side to side on the highway. "He's trying to run us down!" Bob yelled. "Strap in and hold on tight," Jeb growled. "It's a game of chicken." He pushed down even harder on the accelerator as the headlights grew larger in the windshield, until a collision appeared inevitable- Then Jeb slammed on the brakes and cranked the wheel hard to the left, before spinning his hands one over the other and turning the other way. The car spun out, flipping onto two wheels as the truck flashed past just centimeters from the Korvette, and kept spinning and fishtailing for another half a kilometer down Route 77. "This is the greatest ride ever!" Jeb yelled, as he spun the steering wheel all the way to the left before reaching nearly all the way around to reverse course. Bob, who was mainly focusing on trying not to black out, didn't say anything until the view from his window was less blurry and Jeb was pushing the accelerator again. "I say we gave him the slip," Jeb laughed, "didn't we-" Bob pointed at the rearview mirror, where the same headlights were growing larger. "Don't worry," Jeb said, "we can outrun them. We're in a Korvette." "Uh, I don't think so, Jeb," Bob said, pointing to the dashboard. "The engine overheat light is on." "It'll cool down. See, it's off now." "I'm pretty sure it burned out. It wasn't meant to be on for such a long time at once." His point was proved as the tailpipe sputtered and Jeb felt the tension going out of the accelerator. "Okay," Bob said. "What's our Plan B?" Jeb spun the wheel and the wheels chirped as the Korvette flew onto an access road, winding towards the port south of town. "I've got one," Jeb declared. "I see. Could you maybe, you know, tell me what it is?" "No time," Jeb said dismissively. "Here, throw this out the window." Bob looked at the box Jeb had handed him. "A box of tacks?" "I'm almost out of ideas. Just throw it!" Bob rolled the window down and hurled the box out into the night. The wind and rain battered his face as he quickly rolled the wind back up. "Ha!" he laughed, looking in the rearview mirror. "We punched a hole in their windshield!" "We did what?" Jeb asked. "That was supposed to pop one of their tires." "Oh." The truck had lost some ground after the box of tacks had shattered the windshield, but it quickly regained its ground and pulled up a few meters behind the Korvette. Bob gulped as he saw the driver- still that masked kerbal- lean out the window with a pistol as they approached Kearney Lagoon. "Hmm..." Jeb muttered. "The dashboard clock says sunrise is in half an hour..." He looked out at the ocean, which was only lit by the occasional flash of lightning. "Tonight, there was a new Mun... I have an idea." "Jeb, you better-" He was cut off as the car began bumping up and down in the road, which was terrifying once Bob realized that the bumps in the road were actually wood planks, and that the planks were in the road because the road was actually a boardwalk near Juno's harbor. Jeb pressed down on the accelerator as Bob dared to look out the windshield and, thanks to a sudden flash of lightning, saw that the soaking-wet boardwalk was about to come to a sudden end. "Jeb!" Bob yelled, his voice jumping a few octaves. "What's your plan?" "I can't tell you," Jeb said as he turned off the headlights. "You'd have a heart attack." "PLEASE!" "Well," Jeb sighed, as if he was sitting in an armchair with a pipe instead of facing an imminent, terrible death, "have you ever wondered why no ships ever dock in Kearny Lagoon?" "What?" "I said, have you ever wondered why no ships come in to dock at Kearny Lagoon?" "HOW IN KRAKEN'S NAME CAN YOU BE SO CALM? I'LL KILL YOU BEFORE WE DROWN, YOU SMUG-" Jeb spun the steering wheel hard to the left and Bob gasped as the car went careening off the end of the pier, spinning, twisting in midair, coming closer to the dark, twisting water... and landing on all four wheels as the truck flew out into the ocean. Jeb grinned and straightened out the car. After a few minutes, Bob was able to open one of his eyes. The rain had stopped and the clouds were already clearing. "Jeb... what just happened?" "Well," Jeb said, "do you know how tides work?" "What? No, I don't." "Basically, the way it works is that during full Muns and new Muns, there's a high tide at noon and midnight and a low tide halfway in between." Jeb looked up at the first rays of sun piercing the horizon. "This must be the lowest tide in months." "But... what is this?" "Way back when the explorers were first starting out in this place," Jeb explained, "everybody thought that Kearny Kerman was an idiot, to name this place like a lagoon. This is obviously a harbor, right? Well, look below us." Bob looked. Sand and gravel crunched below the wheels. "Those explorers found out the hard way that this place is a lagoon, and they lost a few ships at low tide," Jeb told Bob. "Look over there; you can see the mast of one. Anyway, that's why the harbor is another five kilometers west of here and this barrier island will take us all the way back to the mainland." Bob exhaled. "So, you looked at a topography map and a chart of the tides just in case-" "Nope!" Jeb shouted. "I just guessed. And that's why... Bob?" Jeb turned in his seat and saw that Bob had fainted. His breathing was shallow, and the color was coming back to his face. Jeb smiled, not quite his usual grin, and turned north and raced the tide back in.
  3. Confused Scientist

    Strategic Bomber Procurement (Reboot!)

    The KerbalX photo is broken on the La-252. Of course, I'm not sure I really want to see this thing, given that you have to steer around the VAB.
  4. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    The next chapter will be temporarily delayed. Jeb swears he doesn't know how that jet engine ended up sticking out of my attic, or how he was still able to fly that plane after it fell off.
  5. Confused Scientist

    Space Shuttle Gravity Turn

    Oh, okay. I was wondering... I recall a book by a shuttle astronaut (Mike Mullane, I think) where he said that if the SRBs were separated while they were still burning, they would most likely be held in place against the side of the ET until burnout; if the shuttle separated from the ET at the wrong time they would collide. Also, it's important to keep in mind that some aspects of the shuttle's roll program (for example, the 'upside-down' roll attitude) are intended to minimize aerodynamic forces on the wing.
  6. Confused Scientist

    Don't Click This

    On a serious note, the thread isn't locked.
  7. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 31- Fly Me to the Mun, but Change Planes in Dallas Wind and rain rattled the windows of the VAB as Bill walked to the side of the massive Moa booster, looking for all the world like a tree that had fallen over in the woods. This time, four strap-on boosters had been combined with an uprated Stage II engine, giving the fuel for a Munar orbit. "Hey, Wernher!" he yelled. "Is she ready?" Wernher smiled and walked over from the Raven XII capsule, where he had been supervising the checkout of the new, lightweight acceleration couches. "Yes, we are ready," he told Bill. "Unfortunately we have to wait until this tropical depression passes before we can roll out and go vertical on the pad." As he spoke, an errant flash of lightning shook the air inside the building. After the rumble faded away, Bill head footsteps behind him as Sunny joined them, keeping pace with the second stage of another Moa being lifted on a crane above her. "The press wants more photos of Raven XII," she told Wernher. "Can you tell me about the star tracker in the SM? The press will eat that stuff up." They went over to the side of the SM, and Wernher cranked the instrument bay open with a wrench. "So," Bill said, "the way it works is that our CM pilot, Alice, will be in charge of navigating our capsule into the proper Munar orbit and back out again. We will update our position during the star journey with this astrolabe, or sextant, or whatever." There was a pause. With all of the workers swarming around the next Moa down the line for the Air Force, it was quiet by the Raven XII booster. "What," Sunny finally said, "that's it?" Bill shrugged. "It's Alice's job to fly the Raven. On any other mission, I'd be the Phoenix commander. This time I'm just along for the ride." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The rush at Juno International Skyport was incredible, with Kloncordes and Kontinental A- and B-Series jets landing at all hours of the day and night. Cheap motels and fancy costal resorts were booked for hundreds of kilometers north and south of the Kerbal Space Center, while the Route 77 Diner and the newly-renamed Bungalow Bar and Rock Tavern hired extra waiters and chefs. One night, after Jeb was tasked with finding the remains of a plywood glider that had crash-landed after a test flight from the top of the VAB, he drove along the space center perimeter wall and saw countless kerbals pressed against the chain-link fence, trying to catch a glimpse of the Moa as is trundled to the launchpad on a pair of railroad tracks. One of them was holding the shattered pieces of the glider. The day of the launch dawned with fog rolling in over the beach, slipping in and out between the engine bells on the Moa. The astronaut bus slid down a single clear lane on the road to the pad, with the convoy of support vehicles gliding past the endless traffic jams of tourists spreading out blankets on the damp grass. At the pad, Bill, Alice, and Samlock stepped out of the van as vapor swirled around their feet. Flashbulbs went off around them, and they waved as they carried their suit cooling systems with them to the tower. At the top of the elevator shaft, Wernher greeted them. "Today is a very important day in the history of kerbalkind. Today we-" "Hold on!" Val yelled from a room in the back of the gantry. "We're not filming this. The camera isn't ready." "Well, put out a camera and let's go." "Hold on. Let me call Sunny." As Val dialed, there was a strange silence. Bill walked over to the side of the gantry and looked out at the beach. If he covered his right eye, he saw unspoiled, pristine shoreline, just the way it had been for millions of years. If he covered his left eye, he saw thousands of cars and a whirring, humming rocket ready to take him to the Mun. "Okay, the camera's ready." Bill picked up his cooling unit and returned to where he had been standing in front of Wernher. "Today," he said, "is a very important day in the history of kerbalkind. Today we embark on a historic voyage to our closest neighbor, the Mun. For a thousand generations, there was always something over the next hill, across the next valley, over the horizon of the ocean. Finally, it is time to cross the longest gulf of all and begin our journey to the stars. We are committed, and we will not back down." A walkie-talkie on Wernher's belt squaked. "Prop loading has commenced," he said. "Crew is 'go'." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Moa shuddered as the last few access arms pulled away from the booster. Out the left window, Bill watched the access arm swing away from the spacecraft. In Mission Control, Gene flashed a quick grin at Wernher, who was standing at the flight director's console with him before focusing out on the control room again. "T-minus two minutes and counting. Spacecraft is on internal power. All stations, give me a 'go', 'no-go' for launch. CAPCOM?" "Go." "Talker?" "Go." "Timer?" "Go." "EECOM?" "Go." "FIDO?" "Go." "RSO?" "Go." "Guidance?" "Go." "Booster?" "Go." "All stations, we are 'go' for launch. Let's head to the Mun." He watched as the clock in Mission control counted off the last few seconds to launch. "T-minus ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three-" "Ignition!" "-two, one, booster ignition and liftoff of Raven XII on kerbalkind's first voyage to the Mun!" As the last words left the timer's lips, a deep rumble washed over the control room as four solid and four liquid engines lit up in their combined fury, bathing the launchpad in molten-white light as they began their long journey to the Mun. Their roar was but a side effect of the thousands of gallons of fuel being burned, of everything coming together to shove Bill, Alice, and Samlock back in their couches and turn the sky black outside their windows, to make the stars shine during the day, and to hide Kerbin from her children for the first time in history. Samlock was a rookie, and Bill turned to him after the second stage cut off. "How does it feel to be one of the greatest explorers since the Vikings?" "I think I forgot to close the garage door when I left," Samlock replied. Two orbits later, the Raven was on its way, thanks to a second burn with the Moa upper stage and a final boost that used up a quarter of the service module fuel. Bill got to work extending the solar panels while Iris opened the service bay doors and tested the astrolabe (or is it a sextant?). "Well," Bob said from Mission Control on the first night of the mission, "it's been the best flight so far. How about you guys record a video for all of the kerbals at their TV sets at home?" "All right," Bill said, and he grabbed the camera. "How does... uh-oh... Samlock, how do I load the film? No, it can't possibly... whoops. Do we have some tape? I don't think it's supposed to be hot to the touch!" Bob was doubled over laughing in his chair. "Uh, Alice," Bill continued, "I think I broke... oh. I was trying to put that thing in backwards!" A live color picture came up in Mission Control. "This is Kerbin," Bill announced. "It is the eternal home of every Kerbal who has ever lived or died. It is the only known planet in the universe capable of supporting life," he said, reminding himself not to mention the microbial life in Laythe's seas or the space crabs in the caverns of Minnmus. "It is our home, and... I am about to turn it upside-down." And with that, he spun the camera once as Alice laughed. "I think you just made two billion kerbals lose their lunch," she said. "Hello, and welcome to the Raven!" Bill yelled. "We are here about a third of the way between Kerbin and the Mun. Tomorrow is Halloween, so KSP let us each pack two candy bars to celebrate when we make Munar orbit tomorrow night. Anyway, let's talk about orbits. We're on a free return trajectory right now. Who at home knows what that means?" There was silence in the spacecraft for a few seconds until the radio crackled. "Uhhh... Bill, I think you just have to tell them." Samlock laughed. "Oh! Of course. Until we fire our engines tomorrow night, our trajectory will send us swinging around the back of the Mun. The Mun's gravity will slow us down enough so that we will fall down back into Kerbin's atmosphere, without ever having to fire our engines. Tomorrow-" Bill was interrupted by the radio. "This is Juno. Please stir your number two oxygen tank." Alice reached out and flipped the switch. "Anyway, tomorrow we will fire our engine to slow our speed even more. Now, you may ask what our plans are for tonight. Well, we have just enjoyed a delicious dinner, complete with dehydrated steak, dehydrated potatoes, and dehydrated water. Later, Alice will do some stargazing as she aligns our navigation platform using an... astrolabe..." "It's a sextant," Alice reminded him. "Sextant. Thanks. Well, that just about wraps things up, so, until next time, we are Raven XII!" As he shut off the camera, Alice flipped the switch to finish stirring the tanks. "It looks like we have-" BANG! "What was that?" Samlock yelled. "I don't know, I don't know!" Alice cried. "Everybody quiet down and maybe we can hear something..." All they heard was Bob laughing in Mission Control. "We sure got you good with that one!" he yelled. "You should have heard yourself scream!" ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Late the next night, Gene was in Mission Control again, peering at the Raven's fading comm signal as is drew closer to the edge of the Mun. "Raven, Juno, you're LOS in five seconds," Jeb told the spacecraft. "We copy, Juno. We'll see you on the other siiii-pop-kshhhhhhh..." "They're around the edge," Gene told the control room. "If they don't do the injection burn, we can expect them to come around the other side on a return trajectory in five minutes. If they get into a good orbit, they'll come back around in ten. Anything between that, and the spacecraft is in trouble." Two clocks were started, one counting down to five minutes, the other to ten. As the final seconds ticked away from the first clock, the tension grew in Mission Control, until finally Gene cleared his throat. "Jeb, try the spacecraft." Jeb nodded. "Come in, Twelve." Nothing. "Come in, Twelve." "All right," Gene said. "They must have made a burn. Five minutes left." The second five passed even slower than the first five, until finally Jeb couldn't wait anymore and he began hailing the spacecraft himself, thirty seconds early. "Come in, Raven. Come in, Twelve." Nobody moved as the clock reached zero. "Come in, Bill." There was a pop of static in the control room, and then Bill's voice came through, loud and clear, and Jeb could tell he was reading from a book: Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more." Jeb listened for five minutes as the book was passed from hand to hand, until finally it came back to Bill. "Quoth the Raven," he whispered, "Nevermore." He took a deep breath, and then laughed. "I'd just like to say two things: One, I'd like to thank the public domain, and two, happy Halloween!"
  8. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 30- Scaling Everest The Mun's glow glittered in the surf off the shore of the Kerbal Space Center, its reflection scattered by the wake of a fishing trawler. A few kilometers inland, one light was still on in the astronaut crew quarters, and from the open window came the sounds of an electric typewriter at the hands of Stella Kerman: The Committee has determined that Raven X's guidance computer shut down following a loss of hydraulic control fluid to the first stage engine gimbals. The limits of the guidance program were exceeded, and manual control of the ascent was transferred to the spacecraft three minutes before the abort. The debris of the first stage was recovered from its splashdown point in the south Lazulic Ocean, and a dust cover was found obstructing the secondary hydraulics line, rupturing the tubing after the limits of the primary line were exceeded. The dust cover was identical to the ones that were responsible for the previous Moa launch failures during- There was a knock at her door, and Valentina stepped in. "Can't sleep?" "I'm not tired," Stella told her. "I need to stay limbered up for the EVA tomorrow. It might be harder than we think to take that cap off of the end of the solar panel. I still can't believe we didn't check for it... I mean, we knew Sam put it there." Valentina sighed. "And now we're not so sure again." "Right." Val nodded and sat down on the edge of her bed. "A two-orbit rendezvous, docking over the north pole, and then four hours to remove that damn cap from the solar array. Then we just repressurize the station and bring aboard all of the food from the Raven. If the mission goes well... you know, I heard Jeb in the break room the other day, talking about sending Raven XII to a Munar orbit. I ran the numbers, and with the performance increases in the Moa and the new lightweight service module, it's doable if we burn off all of the RCS." Stella nodded. "Last week I saw some of those satellite photos of the Munstock launch site. They had something big on the pad... and then this morning, it was gone. The leading theory is that they rolled out their booster to check how it fits on the pad, then took it back inside. We think that they will be ready to launch in a month, which is about when Raven XII is set to launch. We really need to get to the Mun, especially since the first Phoenix flight test is finally scheduled for next week." Val nodded, but she wasn't listening. She reached for the nightstand to grab the TV remote and, remembering that it hadn't been invented yet, went over to the television and turned on the news. "-and that's all for Juno's local news. Now we turn to Cape Austral, where the Marketta-Dougheed-Bloeting Company keeps their Munstock launch site. The directer of the Bloeting Company is now speaking in front of the press. Let's go live to that conference." "Yesterday, Munstock successfully launched the first test flight of our Mink V Munar booster. The test payload is in deep space as we speak, and if all goes well, it will splash down in the Lazulic Ocean two days from now, after which preparations will begin immediately to send crew-" Val turned off the TV. "Let's run out there and get a good flight tomorrow." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The following is the audio recording from a surveillance camera outside of the Phoenix clean room, near a custodial closet: Unknown voice: Roger. I understand. I will place the charges in the number three fuel tank of the Phoenix descent stage, with detonation occurring during the ignition test. [A set of footsteps is heard rapidly approaching the camera.] Bob: Is there a janitor's closet anywhere? I really need some paper towels, or a mop, or... what? [A faint voice is heard shouting from down the hall in the direction of the cryogenic fuel storage plant.] Bob: Or a fire extinguisher! Oh, good. [A door can be heard opening.] Unknown voice: Coyote, over and out- gah! What are you doing here! Bob: Oh, hello, [unintelligible]. Nice radio you've got there. I can't really stay and talk, I- what's that? [More voices are heard shouting from down the hall.] Bob: Aw, nuts. Unknown voice: Yeah, it's a... ham radio. Bob [shouting down the hall]: I told you not to bring your sandwich in there! [Footsteps are heard running down the hall.] ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Another day, another rocket lifts off from the Kerbal Space Center and fades away into the blue infinity. Next to Val and Stella, Iris Kerman took the right-hand seat, and spent most of the two orbits on the way to Cuyahoga staring out the window. After an hour and a half, the Raven was motionless below the station, and Val took the controls. "Stella, calibrate the radar... thank you. Iris, hit the floodlights." Val reached out and grabbed onto the translation T-stick. "Whew! This think has a kick!" Cuyahoga grew larger in the left hand window, looking like a wounded dragonfly with only one solar panel hanging off to the side. "Visual on the docking port!" Val fired the thrusters again. "All I have to do is drive it straight forward into the port," she said. Stella nodded. "I'll head into the equipment bay so I can observe the docking port from the inside." As the Raven drew closer, Valentina slowed the approach. "It looks like RCS gas is deflecting off of the station." The spacecraft hung motionless two meters from the port. A red light and a green light flashed on the station, beckoning the Raven in. "One last burst..." Three thumps echoed through the capsule. "Soft dock!" "We copy, Raven," Jeb said from Mission Control. "Go for hard dock." In the equipment bay, Stella threw the docking latch switches. "Probe retraction... hard dock. Initiating pressure checks." "Good," Val said. "Iris, check the pressures, then suit up. Stella and I are going to go on EVA as soon as we can." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In Mission Control, Gene stood up at the console. "Red team, approach your stations." A new group of controllers strolled down from the door to their consoles; Jeb and Bill shook hands as they met at the CAPCOM station. "White team, shift change. Red team, take your stations." Gene stood up and handed his headset to a slightly younger kerbal, who cleared his throat. "All stations, flight director is now Sean Kerman." Bill nodded. "Flight, CAPCOM." "Go, CAPCOM." "Val says they are ready to open the hatch. The pressure in the capsule is at zero... the crew and spacecraft is 'go' for EVA." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ "Okay, Val... Sean says you're good to open the hatch." Valentina and Stella pulled themselves out onto the docking adapter, and Iris handed them their toolbox. "Okay," Stella said, "it's twenty meters to the solar panel, we've got full tanks of oxygen, half of a granola bar each, it's dark, and we're wearing spacesuits." "Hit it." They started off hand over hand, climbing around the spy camera lens and the UHF command antenna as Bill listened to the comm feed in Juno Control. "Ugh... there aren't any handholds. Okay, do we have the collapsible ladder? Thanks... Okay, it's installed. Watch out for the seeker cameras... Uh, set it up. Okay, Juno, we're at the work site. Preparing to remove the cap now..." At the top of the Raven/Cuyahoga spire, with bright blue Kerbin hanging below the distant bell of the service module engine, Val couldn't shake the feeling that she was climbing to the summit of an icy mountain as she moved past the solar panel and down onto the bottom of the station to make way for Stella to remove the cap. "The inline radiators are still intact," she reported. "It looks like a coolant line is broken, but it should be an easy fix." "Good," Stella said. "Just yank off the cap, repair the burnt out solar panel servos, and hook up a new coolant feedline. Okay, here comes the cap... ungh!" Val grinned. "Looks like we got it, and a good-" "Uff... ow! Uh, no dice, control. The cap doesn't budge." "We copy, EV1," Bill called. "Maybe have Val try?" "Well, we figured out before launch that I was stronger, so... Val?" "Yep?" "I need you to come over here with a spare oxygen bottle and a spare coolant feedline from the toolbox." "Okay, I've got them." Bill was getting worried. "EV1, what is your plan?" "I have removed a bolt from the cap that has been placed over the end of the solar panel, and... yes! It fits into an adapter that screw into the coolant feedline. Now we just hook up the coolant line to the oxygen tank." Bill realized where this was going. "Oh, no. Don't-" "Annnd... we turn the valve!" The cap went shooting off of the end of the solar panel and swung around on the end of the coolant valve, knocking into Val's faceplate before Stella turned off the gas. "It doesn't look like your visor cracked," she said. "Let's get back to work." They were thrilled when, after another hour of work, the solar panel extended and rotated on its mountings to face the sun, matching its partner on the other side of the station. Then, after a brief repair job at the radiators, Stella and Val were back in the capsule with the hatch closed, ready to save the inside of the station. "It's over thirty degrees Celsius in there," Val said. "No idea what else is going on. Do we have our oxygen masks?" Iris nodded. "And goggles for toxic fumes." "Dehumidifier?" "Check." "Humidifier?" "Check." "Good. Get them warmed up." "Uh, there's a tornado forming between the humidifier and the dehumidifier." "Don't worry about it. Okay, let's go!" A wave of heat and moisture rolled out of the docking tunnel when the hatch was opened. "Turn off the humidifier! Okay, we need to throw the circuits in Lighting Panel 31 to start the ECS." Stella went over there. "All circuits on Lighting Panel 31 are closed." As she said that the lights flickered on in the station, and Val could see a thousand papers and bits of glass floating in the air. "Activate the ECS on Main Control Panel 3, using checklist 18 alpha." Iris threw the switches and the fans in the back of the station kicked in. "We'll wait for this debris to get sucked into the filter, and then we'll get to work repairing the wiring and restocking the pantry." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ There was a camera on the station, and when the repairs were complete after a few days Iris was eager to try it out. The station was surprisingly empty except for two large red chairs with bulky seatbelts bolted, surprisingly enough, facing a blank wall, and near the back end of the pressure vessel the walls caved in a little to make room for the environmental control system. "Val," she said, "you know how we have that ring of storage lockers in the aft module, by the spy telescope controls?" "Yeah." "I want to see if we can do something..." Twenty minutes later, the broadcast was ready. "Welcome to Radio Free Cuyahoga!" Val shouted. "Iris Kerman is manning the camera, with special guest Stella Kerman." "How ya doin'?" Stella asked. "Very good. Now, let's take a tour. This console over here is our Kerbin Observation platform, and the Air Force is really happy that they have it. Stella, do you know some of the things the military wants to use this telescope for?" "Well, obviously surveillance and orbital unit deployments are a useful fighting tool, but what else is there?" "All sorts of things! We can use this camera to survey our crops from orbit, or search for wreckage after a plane crash. I believe General Boedecker called these 'Battles on the Homefront'." "Fascinating," Stella said. "Now, for our feature presentation: Val runs the hamster wheel!" Iris pointed the camera towards the ring of storage lockers in the aft end of the station, where Val was bracing against a wall. "Ready?" Iris asked. "On your marks- hey! You have to wait for me to say go!" Val took off racing around the ring. "It feels weird," she told her crewmates, "kind of like walking uphill in the ocean. So, for those of you watching at home, I am able to run because the centrifugal forces hold me in place. What causes these forces? The cunning circular shape of this station." The radio crackled. "That's great, Cuyahoga," Bob called, "but we need you on the horn now." "We're still broadcasting!" Val yelled, and Iris shut off the camera. "Okay, Juno," Val laughed, gripping the microphone, "what do you need?" "The Phoenix I flight test is launching now. The Air Force wants you to test a missile detection system. Please use checklist C-8 to activate Defense Panel 29 beta." "Okay, the panel is active... oh! It's telling me that it has the thermal signature of a launch... and here comes radar!" "Uh... the Phoenix hasn't launched yet." Val gasped. "What... are we at war?" "Hah! Just kidding." "Very funny." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The station was quiet that night, with most of the systems shut down in preparation for the Raven's departure and the arrival of the first Air Force flight the next month. Valentina was resting in her cot, listening to the sounds of Cuyahoga reverberating around her. The RCS sounded like a popgun firing outside the hull... Bam. The oxygen pumps were a gentle whine... Thrummmm. The parts of the spacecraft exposed to the sun expanded noisily... Bang. And something caused a horrible scratch that filled Valentina's ear... Skrtchhh. Val sat up in her bunk. Am I dreaming, or am I just crazy? This feels familiar... She got up and floated towards the source of the sound, a panel almost hidden behind the large red chairs that was stenciled ominously with the words "Structural Bulkhead Four". Grabbing a wrench, she removed the panel, exposing a simple control panel, mostly empty except for a few dials, a set of encoder discs that were still set at "0000000," and two keyholes, about a meter further apart than she could reach. Trying not to panic, she woke Stella up. "I know that if we get into a war, the Unified Territories needs to win," Val whispered. "Communism works, but not the way the red nations are doing it right now. I'm just afraid that this will just cause a war, though." Stella nodded. "The Great Purge doesn't happen for, what, another fifty years? A quarter of a lifetime. I'm thinking it would come a lot sooner if we don't destroy this panel." Val sighed. "You're right. I was just a baby during the Great Purge... I was abandoned by my parents before President Mireya's Southern States Exchange Plan, where unwanted children were sent to the Southern States so they could fix the problem of their aging population. In exchange, they forgave our national debt. We just can't let that happen to the children now." They looked into each other's eyes and saw the same spark. "Let's smash this thing."
  9. Confused Scientist

    Strategic Bomber Procurement (Reboot!)

    Also keep in mind that the speed of sound in water is 1498 m/s. So, if your airplane catches fire, at least if you slow down the water will cool you off.
  10. Confused Scientist

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    [09:09] MAV: You're sending me to space in a convertible. [09:24] Houston: There will be Hab canvas covering the holes. It will provide enough aerodynamics in Mars's atmosphere. [09:38] MAV: So it's a ragtop. Much better.
  11. Confused Scientist

    Ban the user above you!

    Both of you are banned for replying before I could reply below my old post and say 'Banned for being my evil twin'.
  12. Confused Scientist

    Ban the user above you!

    Banned for having two-tone profile picture.
  13. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    First page, second post.
  14. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 29- Being Right Sucks Two thoroughbred stallions galloped through the desert, their hooves kicking up clouds of dust as they traveled along the mountain. Jeb sat behind Bill on one horse, and Bill sat behind Chief Una on the other. It had taken him a few tries to climb to the saddle- Jeb had never seen a horse before, and he was terrified of it- but luckily Bill knew how to ride, and he took the lead in following Chief Una. After an hour of riding, the sun had begun to fall towards the horizon when a camp appeared near a small stream. "It's a hunting camp," the Chief explained as they stopped their horses and climbed down. "We're about two hours' riding time from the Turquoise City, our final destination." Jeb nodded. "Turquoise City... didn't the explorers call it Pueblo Turquesa?" "That's Teneh'lo in our language." Bob fell from the saddle and landed in a dead yucca. "Ouch..." he whimpered. "He'll be fine," Chief Una told Jeb. "Lucky that wasn't a cactus. Come on, let's get some lunch and get back on the trail." "We've already had lunch," Bill said as he came up to them. "Good. Come on, let's refill our canteens and we'll be on our way." Jeb went over to the yucca that Bob was lying in and pulled him out. "How're you doing?" Bob sighed. "I hate the desert." They walked over to the stream and knelt down to fill their canteens. "So," Bill said, "after we landed we were almost killed by a flood. What was that about?" "Hmmm..." Chief Una muttered. "Do you know about how some people like money so much, they don't care how they get it?" Jeb couldn't help but remember all of the times the Moa had blown up... and every time, Sam had gone right back to work trying to fix the problem. Still hard to believe he could turn on us like that. "Yep, I used to know someone like that." "The farms at Crystal City are hungry for more water, so some pie-in-the-sky engineer decided to dig a new canal. I think his name is Elton or something. Anyway, he decided that to give the farms around Crystal City a new river by using a two kiloton-blast to tear a hole to the ocean through the Mogollon Trench." He looked out over the valley as an antelope wandered up to the stream. "The Painted Desert has been the home of my people for a hundred generations. In fifty years, it will disappear." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ When the sun sets in the desert, it lights up the clouds like ripe tangerines as the sky begins to fade into a deep, violent purple and the mountains turn pink. Thin, wispy clouds catch the sun's sinking rays and turn the sky inside out, going dark against a violet background. The sun finally sinks below the horizon, and the sky still glows for a few more minutes until every star in the sky shines, and the only sounds echoing across the land are the deafening chirps of crickets and the baneful cries of a few wolves and coyotes and the Mun rises above the mountains and bathes the desert in its ghostly light. So it was as Chief Una drove his horse faster and faster, riding off into the sunset. Jeb couldn't quite shake the feeling that he was in a movie, and Bill wished he had a camera. Bob wished he had a set of watercolors so he could have painted the sunset. Finally, the darkness of the desert was broken, with lights and fires appearing just a few kilometers down the stream they had been following. "There it is," Una said. "The Turquoise City, home of my people in the Painted Desert ever since we moved off of the plains." The horses followed a path down into the river valley and kerbals standing at the doorways of adobe houses waved at them as they passed. The houses and apartments grew more numerous as they drew closer to the center of town, and Jeb began seeing ladders leading to the underground kivas. They tied up the horses in a small lean-to stable and then Chief Una led them to a large bonfire in the town square with a pot of stew bubbling over it. "You are guests of honor," Chief Una explained. "Eat quickly so we can call in the rescue teams." Jeb, Bob, and Bill had almost forgotten that they had been in space twelve hours ago, and they ate heartily. As they did, kerbals came up and spoke to Chief Una in a language they did not recognize. Sometimes they would laugh, and most of the time Bill noticed that Chief Una would gesture towards them. "Everybody is eager to meet the astronauts who think they can fly to the moon," the chief explained when he came back over. "Some people think that it is a fool's errand." "And," Bob asked, "what do you think?" "I have not yet made up my mind, but I will not stop you from trying. Either way, we must call the space agency and tell them to send helicopters." Chief Una led them to a large house on the edge of the town square. "It is my family's house," he said, gesturing to the structure. "We keep a satellite phone there. Thank you, by the way, for inventing satellites." Two children, a boy and a girl, ran out the door and greeted Chief Una, speaking over each other. Una laughed and said something to them, then whispered to Jeb, "They want you to bring cheese back from the Mun." Jeb laughed as well. "Wait out here," Chief Una said, "and I will bring you the phone." He came back out with a large metal briefcase and opened it. Dialing the number on the keypad, Jeb realized that it had been nearly five years since he'd used a cell phone. "Yeah, hello. This is Jeb... Don't worry about that now. We're safe at the Pueblo Turquesa... I don't know. Look at a map or something... The capsule? It's at the bottom of a lake... Yes, we have the black box. We never turned off the VOX... Why, yes, it is part of that new canal. Look, if you could just send the helicopters... Hang on a minute." Jeb put a hand over the mouthpiece and turned to Chief Una. "What's the closest road?" "Route 450 comes right into the north end of the pueblo." "Thanks." Jeb put the phone back to his ear. "Uh, yes, you can land on Route 450 a half kilometer north of the pueblo... Okay, that sounds good. All right, Val, see you tomorrow." He turned to the small group of crewmates and Chief Una, who were watching him expectantly. "Valentina says to drive to an old farm north of the pueblo." "Good," Chief Una said. "Tonight, there is one more thing we must do. Follow me to the south kiva." Jeb, Bill, and Bob followed him to a small bluff, where a ladder led deep into the ground. "Careful, now," Chief Una cautioned, "the wood is very old." Bill was the first one down, and he found himself in a square room scarcely larger than the guest room in Gene's old cabin on the beach. An old kerbal sat in the corner, and she breathed slowly, her eyes closed as if there was some faint light only she could see. "This is our medicine woman. It is tradition for any travelers to learn their fortunes in this kiva and come out wiser. Secah'te?" The old kerbal brought out a chipped, cracked tin mug. "Drink," Chief Una ordered Jeb, Bill, and Bob. "It is secah'te, piñon tea." Bob was closest to the medicine woman, and he downed one large gulp. Almost immediately he felt a warm feeling rise up from his throat, and a thin smile spread across his face as he passed the mug to Jeb. Once it had made it the rest of the way across the circle, the medicine woman gripped it with a sudden ferocity and drank the rest of the tea. Then she set the mug down and began to speak, her lips moving very slowly. "I... will tell your future," she began. "It is hard... I cannot tell what is the past and what is the future. Ah..." she gasped, "I see animals! I see... I see... a roadrunner. A jackalope. And... and..." Jeb thought he saw her brow furrow, just a touch. "And... a swordfish? Yes, a swordfish... Strange. All of these animals... they are spirits of your past, yes?" The medicine opened her eyes and stared at Bob. "Er, yes." "Good." She closed her eyes. "Now... to glimpse the future. I see... a raven. And the raven, he flies with another bird... a phoenix. They fly together... and the phoenix will bring glory to you, Jebediah." Jeb's eyes widened. "But... I also see a coyote. Beware the coyote... he is a trickster, and he is not who he seems... He hunts the phoenix. The raven has eluded him... but the phoenix, for all of his beauty, is very delicate. Be careful, Jebediah. Be very careful." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The next morning dawned crisp and cool, and Chief Una took a deep breath as he stepped from the truck. "The winds are good today," he said to nobody in particular as Jeb, Bill, and Bob climbed out of the truck. "It smells like a good day to fly." Jeb came up and stood next to him as Bill unloaded the flight data recorder and black box from the truck bed. After a few minutes of watching eagles soar on the thermals that were already rising from the desert so early in the day, the chop-chop-chop of rotors grew louder and louder until a small white and yellow Navy chopper set down in the old cornfield. "It's time to go," Bill said. "Thank you, Chief Una. Give everybody in Teneh'lo our thanks, and I want you to know that I think of you as a friend." Bob nodded. "Maybe when it's time to go to the Mun we can invite you to the launch." Chief Una smiled. Jeb didn't say anything. To him, it seemed like Chief Una wanted to say something to him, and he did. "Jebediah," he said, "take care in your travels. I think that the Mun has many mysteries; it is time that we found out what some of them are." The door of the chopper slid open. "Hey, guys!" Val yelled. "Hurry up. We need to leave!" "Goodbye, Jeb, Bob, and Bill. May we meet again sometime." Chief Una watched as the astronauts ran across the field to the waiting helicopter; before the door was even closed the chopper rose into the air and turned back towards the east, rumbling off across the horizon. Chief Una smiled. "I think they're going to do great."
  15. Confused Scientist

    The Ctrl+V thread!