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  1. Kerbin System Operations - Y1 D70-72 As Minmus Base returns to daylight late on day 70, the crew of Minmus Station awakens and begins their operations for the day. Captain Kauffman runs down his systems checks on Cargo Lander 2, then brings it online and undocks it with its latest cargo stack, the radiator tower module and pylon dispenser. He sets his sights on landing near the base core module, then burns to deorbit. The lander falls towards the surface and then, at just the right moment, Kauffman burns for landing. And touchdown! Fifty meters away this time. He's getting better. As he is safing the lander, XO Kimball brings Cargo Drone 5 online, lifts it off the core module, and brings it over to the lander. She docks it with the pylon dispenser, and then lifts the entire stack off of the lander and deposits it about 25 meters west of the core module. The radiator module will be the center of the refinery complex, so placing it here will place the refining equipment a comfortable distance away from the base living and working areas. The radiator will also act as the first leg of the chain of connections leading to the base reactor, which will be placed on the hillside to the west. A little over an hour later, Minmus Base comes around in its orbit again, and Captain Kauffman lifts the cargo lander off to rendezvous. When it reaches Minmus Station's 50km altitude, it burns to match velocities. Only 1.7km away, like he's getting the hang of this. He closes the distance and then brings the lander in to dock with the next cargo stack on the station. As the crew are waiting for their next landing opportunity at Minmus Base, Orbital Tug 1 arrives at the edge of Minmus SOI. It can't make any meaningful plane adjustments, so it plots its orbital insertion burn, arriving at periapsis in a couple of hours. Meanwhile, dawn has broken at Minmus Base once more. XO Kimball will be taking the reins this time, so she undocks Cargo Lander 2, burdened with the reactor module and its radiator tower. Chief Scientist Klinger has helpfully scouted a good location west of the base site to place the reactors, so Kimball aims the lander at the rover's current location and deorbits. She guides the cargo lander through its descent burn... And touches down 20 meters away from the rover. She takes a moment to do a little victory dance in front of Captain Kauffman, who is thoroughly unimpressed. While these two are having a moment, Captain Kilpatrick of Minmus Base is taking the opportunity to get a little practice in with the cargo drone in surface mode. He fires up Cargo Drone 5 and lifts it off of the refinery radiator, and then guides it over the 170 meters to where the cargo lander had touched down. He slows the drone as it approaches, and then deftly guides it in to dock with the cargo stack. Then, he uses the drone to lift both the reactor and its radiator tower off of the lander. (This would have been difficult on The Mun, and impossible on Kerbin. Hooray for low gravity!) He deposits the reactor about 150 meters from the refinery tower and levels it. And then deposits the radiator tower about 25 meters closer than that and levels it as well. Then he undocks the drone and flies it back to the refinery tower. The layout of Minmus Base is beginning to take shape. After the long flight and heavy lifting at the reactor site, the drone is at roughly 30% fuel load. Not too shabby, actually. As Minmus Station comes back around in its orbit, Kimball takes the controls again and guides the cargo lander through its ascent back to the station. She burns to circularize about 2.2 kilometers away from the station. And then guides the lander in to dock with the hab module and airlock stack. So now the crew must wait for the next Minmus day to conduct the next landing. Meanwhile, Tug 1 arrives at its periapsis and burns to enter its 100 kilometer parking orbit. It's first rendezvous burn is in an hour. Which is before the next dawn at Minmus Base. So here it comes: It's next burn to match velocities with Minmus Station is in an hour, which is still before daybreak. As the station passes around to the night side of Minmus, Captain Kauffman takes control of the tug and guides it in to dock with the station. They then wait until the station has passed into daylight to continue operations. Kauffman undocks the tug with the attached tank stand. And guides it over to dock with the monoprop tank. He then undocks the tug and moves it over to dock with an unused port to await refueling. Then XO Kimball fires up Cargo Drone 6 and uses it to remove the docking adapter from the tank stand, clearing the way for the monoprop tank and stand to be landed at the base. So, with two more landings we will have all of the hardware necessary to make Minmus Base habitable on the surface. However, it remains to be seen if Cargo Drone 5 will have enough fuel to complete the tasks remaining, or if we will need to insert a third landing in there to bring down the monoprop tank before the crew can come down and complete the base construction. However, at this point, it will be at most four more landings before Minmus Base is declared habitable.
  2. Kerbin System Operations - Y1 D68-70 As day 68 continues, Orbital Tug 6 reaches its mid-course correction burn, just skirting The Mun's SOI on its way to Minmus. Back at Minmus, Orbital Tug 5 reaches its first rendezvous burn. It arrives at Minmus Station about an hour later and burns to match velocities. Then Captain Kauffman takes the handoff from Mission Control and guides the tug in to dock. Now, the crews at Minmus Station begin preparations to land the first modules of Minmus Base. The first step will be to remove the docking adapters from the engines on the landers. First, Captain Kauffman brings Cargo Drone 6 online and maneuvers it over to dock with the supply module to clear a port on the docking complex. On the other side of the station, XO Kimball undocks Tug 5 from Clavius and moves it over to dock with an unused port on the docking complex. She then fires up Cargo Drone 5 and brings it over to dock with the docking adapter on Clavius. Now Captain Kauffman brings Cargo Drone 6 down to dock with the docking adapter on Cargo Lander 2. He removes the adapter from the lander's engine, freeing the engine and also clearing the docking port on the docking adapter. Kimball likewise removes the docking adapter from Clavius' engine, then uses Drone 5 to bring it over to the other side of the station with Drone 6. They dock the two adapters together, making them much easier to handle for the trip back to Kerbin. Kimball then undocks Drone 5 and brings it back over to the other side of the station to dock. And Kauffman brings Drone 6 up to dock with the supply module, starting the stack of hardware to return to Kerbin. Now that the landers' engines are free, it's time to start stacking hardware for the surface. Captain Kauffman brings Cargo Lander 2 online, then undocks it from its cargo stack so that the docking adapter between it and the base core module can be removed. Kimball takes over with Cargo Drone 6 and brings it down to dock with the docking adapter. She then removes the docking adapter and brings it up to dock with the returning hardware stack. Then Kauffman brings Cargo Lander 2 back in to dock with the core module. Now the stack is almost ready to go. It will also be carrying down Cargo Drone 5, but they will wait until the lander undocks for its landing in order to mate the drone with the stack. As Minmus Station comes around in its orbit again, dawn breaks over the base site, and everything is go for the first landing! Captain Kauffman undocks the lander and core module from the station. Then, as the sun peeks over the horizon, XO Kimball undocks Cargo Drone 5 and brings it over to dock with the core module to hitch a ride down to the surface. With the stack now complete, Kauffman brings the lander retrograde and fires its engine for deorbit. The lander descends towards the surface. Then Kauffman ignites its engine for final descent. And touchdown! About a hundred meters from the intended base site. Well, the good news is that this area is just as rich in water, and only slightly less flat. After a brief consultation with Mission Control and Management, it is decided to not attempt to correct, but to simply build the base at the location of the landing. Kauffman brings Cargo Drone 5's main engines online and lifts the core module off of the lander. He guides the drone to a spot about ten meters away from the lander and sets the module down and levels it. The first module of Minmus Base is on site! Back at Minmus Station there is some housekeeping to do before the cargo lander returns on the next orbit. Captain Kauffman would like to reshuffle the base modules at the station into the stacks they will be landing in. First Captain Kauffman undocks Orbital Tug 3 with the base reactor module and backs it away from the station. Then XO Kimball undocks Cargo Drone 6 and brings it over to dock with the docking adapter connected to the base habitation module. She removes the docking adapter, then backs the cargo drone away from the station as well. Then Captain Kilpatrick of Minmus Base lends a hand. He brings Orbital Tug 2 online and undocks it with the airlock module and pylon dispenser. And then...uhh...where was I? Oh yeah, right. Kilpatrick brings Tug 2 over and docks the airlock module with the habitation module. Then Kimball brings the cargo drone over and docks it with the docking adapter on the reactor radiator module. She then removes the docking adapter and uses the drone to bring both adapters up to the returning hardware stack. Meanwhile, Kauffman brings Tug 3 over and docks the reactor module with its radiator module so they can be brought down in one stack. He then undocks Tug 3 and moves it over to an unused port on the end of the hydrolox tank. Minmus Base XO Kern wants to get into the action as well. He undocks Tug 4 with the refinery radiator tower and backs it away from the station. Then Kilpatrick undocks Tug 2 with the pylon dispenser and brings it over to dock with the supply module. He then undocks Tug 2 and brings it over to dock with an unused port on the docking complex. Now Kern brings Tug 4 in and docks the refinery radiator with the pylon dispenser. And now Kern undocks Tug 4 and brings it to rest on yet another unused docking port. Now Kimball brings Drone 6 back around to pick up the last of the docking adapters. First from the radiator module. And then from the reactor module. Then, just as the sun dips below the horizon, she brings the drone over and docks it to the increasingly large returning hardware stack. So now the modules for the base have been sorted into three stacks for four landings: The refinery radiator module and pylon dispenser, The reactor module and reactor radiator module, The habitation module and airlock module, and, The supply module. With all of the docking adapters and tugs moved out of the way. The music has stopped and everyone has a chair! So the crews on Minmus Station take a well deserved rest while the station passes around the night side of Minmus. When they reach the day side again, it is time for Cargo Lander 2 to return to the station. XO Kimball will be doing the honors this time. As the station reaches the rendezvous point, she ignites the lander's engine and burns for orbit! The lander reaches the station's altitude and burns to match velocities, coming to rest about two kilometers away. Nice job, Jackie! She uses some gentle nudges from the lander's main engine to bring it closer to the station, then brings it in to dock with its RCS thrusters. As we come to the close of this very exhaustive report, we are still awaiting the arrival of Tugs 1 and 6. But in the meantime we will continue to land hardware at the Minmus Base site as long as the monopropellant in Cargo Drone 5 holds out.
  3. One of my high school friends on Facebook went to see Weird Al in concert in San Diego a couple of nights ago and said it was the worst concert they had been to in years. I don't think I can be friends with them anymore.
  4. Brother Andrew passed away yesterday. He spent most of his life smuggling Bibles into places where they were banned, and calling attention to religious persecution. His life story is really quite remarkable, I encourage you to take the time to read about it. I like to think he didn't walk into Heaven through the Pearly Gates, but snuck in through a back way. Just for old times sake.
  5. I hate YouTube. Today YouTube started putting random clips from Battlestar Galactica in my feed for no reason at all. And now I want to rewatch Battlestar Galactica. Stupid YouTube.
  6. When I was a kid, my first name, my brother's first name, and our dog's name all started with the same first letter. So my dad would get them confused, especially when he was mad. He would yell out all three in sequence sometimes.
  7. Jewish is absolutely Middle Eastern. Do not let anyone ever tell you it is not. I had Moroccan food in Morocco when we pulled in to Tangier back in 1989. A whole gang of us ventured out of the port and found a restaurant. Sat on cushions on the floor around a big table. They carried out a big tray of couscous, chicken, and pita. It was lightyears ahead of eating on the boat, but that's about all I can say about it. Best food I had on that Med run was in a little restaurant in Palau on Sardinia. We spent a lot of time pulled up along side the Orion, a submarine tender that was tied to a pier in La Maddelena, Italy, which was a rock off the coast of Sardinia. There was this little restaurant in Palau, St. Michel's. The owner was actually a retired American sailor. He had been stationed on the Orion, fell in love with the area, retired, moved there, married an Italian girl, and opened a restaurant. Best seafood I ever had. We would get off of the liberty barge on the pier in Palau, and there would be this line of fishermen on the pier. If you waited long enough, you could follow one of them up the street to one of the restaurants and watch him sell his catch to the cook at the back door. You would order a plate of steamed mussels and clams, and they'd be a big as your thumbnail. You'd go to jail for serving those in the United States. But, tender, like butter. Just amazing. Fresh calamari, caught fifteen minutes before they served it, right off the pier. Never had anything like that anywhere else in the world. Apparently tomorrow is chicken marsala. Wife bought a big tub of mushrooms to support pizza production tonight, so tomorrow they go to chicken marsala. And possibly to omelettes tomorrow morning.
  8. Well. That's different. I made pizza. It is Saturday, after all.
  9. Just say 'R2D2'. For clarity. As far as putting some sort of active defense on large bombers: Here's the thing. Those bombers are 50+ year old weapon systems. The last time they were considered front-line aircraft, The Beatles were still together. I can't really speak for it's Russian counterparts, but the B-52 is specifically not used in any sort of contested airspace anymore. It either carries standoff weapons, or it flies in totally uncontested, asymmetrical warfare environments. So, installing an active defense system on it would be a waste of payload weight.
  10. Kerbin System Operations - Y1 D66 - 68 Continuing where we left off.... Tug 4 arrives at its periapsis around Minmus and performs its orbital injection burn. Its first rendezvous burn is in a couple of hours. A little while later, Tug 2 arrives at its first rendezvous burn. About an hour later it is burning to match velocities with Minmus Station. Mission Control hands over control of the tug to Captain Kauffman, who guides it in to dock with the station. A few minutes later, Tug 4 reaches its rendezvous burns. After an hour of catching up with Minmus Station, it performs its second burn. Captain Kauffman takes control of this tug as well and guides it in to dock. We are definitely beginning to accumulate hardware at Minmus Station. Then Tug 5 arrives at the edge of Minmus' SOI carrying the lander, Clavius. It isn't able to make any meaningful inclination adjustments, so it aligns itself for its orbital injection burn and begins to coast towards periapsis. Meanwhile back at the ranch back at Kerbin, Orbital Tug 6 has finally returned from Minmus, the last of the first wave of tugs that departed over two weeks ago. It reaches its parking orbit and burns to circularize. It plots a rendezvous with Kerbin Station and settles in to wait. Back in orbit around Minmus, Tug 5 reaches its periapsis and burns. Its first rendezvous burn for Minmus Station is in over 2 1/2 hours. Tug 6 however reaches its first rendezvous burn on the night side of Kerbin. Twenty minutes later it is pulling in to Kerbin Station. XO Keegan takes over control of the tug and guides it in to dock with the refinery stack destined for Minmus. Once it's docked, the duty engineers, Keenan and Killian, get to work refueling the tug. Then, as Kerbin Station comes around in its orbit once again, it reaches the departure point for Minmus. Keegan undocks Tug 6 with its cargo stack and backs it away from the station. Once it is clear of the station, she turns it back over to Mission Control, and it burns for Minmus. So another couple of days of operations are done. Everything we need to get Minmus Base operational is either at or on its way to the outer moon. Over the next couple of days we should be able to begin landing operations.
  11. That's what I'm driving now, a first-gen (AKA best-gen). But it's getting hard to find a first-gen with less than 200,000 miles on it, and I'm not getting any younger either. Pulling axle seals and wheel bearings is a game for thirtysomethings. When my dad taught my brother to drive he took him down to the National Guard armory and put him behind the wheel of one of the old Jeeps (which they still had there in 1981, no HMMWVs yet). Three-speed manual, crash gearbox, no synchro. No forgiveness, from the Jeep or the instructor. But my brother knew how to drive a manual after that, for sure. By the time it came around for me to learn, Dad had retired from the Army, so he didn't have access to the armory anymore. I just got yelled at in the Toyota Van. But I was more like Dad than my brother was, I yelled back. Yep. And I think we both clearly remember why that is. I'm nervous giving the truck to Thing #1 because it's one of the old-style 4x4s with the high CoG, rollover risk. Very easy to over drive the vehicle, especially on dirt roads and inclines. Going to spend a lot of time with him on that.
  12. I have a self-driving car. I drive the car myself. Dream mod for the truck is still to convert it to a manual transmission. All I need is the transmission, the transfer case, the drive shafts, the engine computer, the interior trim parts, and about a week of downtime. And all of those are getting harder and harder to find these days. Speaking of kids: Thing #1 gets his permit next month. I have attempted to disbelieve this multiple times, but somehow it is still happening. He wants my truck more than anything else on God's green earth, so when he gets his license next year we'll probably give it to him. Then I'll have to start looking for something else, probably a late 2nd-generation Tacoma.
  13. When we were looking at new-to-us cars for the wife, the first question we had on each car was, "Does this one have a driver assist system? Yes? We're not buying it. Next." Heard way too many horror stories about outrageous maintenance costs, systems quitting in the middle of the road due to resets, etc. Sure, you can turn it off. But why pay for something I am going to pull the fuse on and never look at again?
  14. One thing I learned when we started to look for a replacement for my wife's 2007 Pilot a couple of years ago: New cars are awful. The newer, the awfuler. In their ongoing effort to create new features to charge more money for, they have begun to treat new car buyers like they are idiot children. I've never been a classic car enthusiast before, but the automakers are really trying to make me into one.
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