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I started a new savegame with the end goal of colonizing the Jool system. This goal is somewhat inspired by the Jool 500 challenge (although I won't be completing all or even many of the objectives for that challenge). I thought maybe if I feel like someone's watching, I'll actually continue to work on it, so I decided to start a mission report. The early stages of the savegame will basically be powerplay (boring) aimed at unlocking the tech tree quickly. I was thinking of skipping the documentation of these early missions, but for the sake of full disclosure, I'll do a quick and dirty description. First things first. Settings: I'm playing on a full stock install. I'm using standard normal settings with the exception of the funds penalties. This slider has been placed at 10%. This is to help with hiring the several hundred Kerbals that will be required to complete the goals of this savegame. Even at 10%, hiring 500+ Kerbals will be a challenge (but I have a plan). After collecting some science from around the KSC, We were ready for our first launch. Here's the vehicle: There's a "Swivel" under the shroud above the decoupler. This craft was able to launch Jeb into an orbit just grazing "in space high" (>250km) over Kerbin. It was intended for everything above the decoupler to soft land, however the re-entry turned out to be a little too steep, and we lost everything to atmospheric heating except the command pod and parachute. This meant we weren't able to collect experiments from the lower atmosphere (They didn't get collected on the way up) or after landing back at Kerbin, so it didn't return as much science as it could have. Still, not bad for a first launch: After touching down, there were quite a few low level atmospheric focused survey and surface science collection missions available from mission control, so we picked them up: And built this in order to complete them: A couple of the contracts happened to be on the other side of Kerbin. I doubt this craft would've had the range to reach them (definitely not for a return flight), so we just left those alone for now. After picking the low hanging fruit, and picking up a few other contracts that would be incidental to our next mission's objectives, we researched the tech that would be necessary for our next launch: Our next launch would send 2 Kerbals to land in multiple biomes on the Mun in this: Imagine there are a couple of solar panels and a battery between the command pods. Apparently this picture was taken before they were added. We were able to land in 2 biomes, returning science from each, as well as plenty of orbital EVA's. We also picked up a contract for a focused observational survey of the Mun after landing there, otherwise we likely would've been able to land in at least one more biome. There was a bit of excitement on this mission. After hearing from Gene about the new contract to be completed, Jeb aligned the spacecraft using the onboard reaction wheels (and physics warp) for an easy launch into a polar orbit. After reaching the poles, Jeb decided he'd collect the EVA report, seeing as Bob had collected nearly all of the others. After releasing the controls and exiting the command pod, the craft began to spin violently, throwing Jeb into the abyss and nearly tearing Bob's command pod free. Apparently while aligning the craft on the surface, Jeb had inadvertently maxed out the trim on the roll axis. Since Bob didn't know how to set the SAS, Jeb talked him through operating the trim controls. After a few moments the craft's spinning slowed, but not to a stop (does anyone know if there's a command for resetting trim back to neutral?). Using his EVA pack, Jeb was able to rendezvous with and wrestle his way back aboard the spinning craft. The recovery crew would have their work cut out for them hosing out the interior of Bob's command pod. After collecting the data required for the contract, they burned for home. This mission returned a good amount of science and funds: With that, there was plenty of science to unlock the seismometer and the gravioli sensor: Next up, a nearly identical craft was sent to Minmus, this time also carrying a seismometer and gravioli sensor. It was able to land in 6 separate biomes (Greater Flats, Lowlands, Slopes, Midlands, Highlands, and Poles), collecting experiments from each, and returning what Gene called "a buttload" of science: We then researched the tech that would be necessary for the next phase of our program: That brings us up to speed on the current state of the program. The next mission might take a while. It'll be a bit tedious, but should unlock at least most of the rest of the tech tree. I'll try to post a teaser soon. Thanks for reading!