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Eyes Turned Skyward


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An alternative history of an alternative history of NASA

Eyes Turned Skyward

So as some may know, I've been teasing an Eyes Turned Skyward playthrough using KSP. My original idea was to follow the ETS timeline from Skylab on, with all the appropriate predecessor craft and debris in place (Such as the LM's and SIVB's ejected into solar orbit). However, after having my save end up corrupted twice, alongside my ever growing interest in the actual ETS spacecraft, I've decided to skip most of that.

Instead, I will create an alternate history to that of ETS. The idea here is that I will start with Spacelab (and I'm going to actually advance the game time up to that equivalent timeframe. Day 1 in my game will correspond to Freedom 7) and follow the timeline roughly from a US perspective (All non-US launches and missions outside of Station modules will be skipped or modified), and will basically follow a "No Revert" rule for every flight. Essentially, I'll keep to the timeline as much as my piloting skills will allow me to. Also, to keep things interesting (as much of ETS is just time spent on a space station), my version of the timeline will see an increased interest in a manned Mars landing. As such, as time goes on I will be sending more craft to Mars/Duna than the original timeline had, and the Artemis and Orion missions will have more aspects to them that will support that end-game mission.

Doing this this way allows me to start playing with the ETS specific rockets and spacecraft out of the box rather than trudging through the only slightly changed history leading up to Spacelab, and will give me something to do once I catch up with ETS. It will also finally have me landing a Kerbal on Duna, which is something I've yet to do.

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Now for some technical jargon about how I'm going to be playing, because it won't be a typical Career mode playthrough. Naturally, I'm going to start the game with everything unlocked and ready to go. I will also have a communications system ready to go around the Mun and Kerbin. (Though the Mun's isn't that great) During the playthrough, and particularly once I reach the Artemis missions, I'm going to be cherry picking certain contracts that will be interesting to do. Indeed, the Artemis missions will largely be contract landings. Orion is going constitute the bulk of my Duna testing, as I'll design my version of Orion around what my Duna missions will look like, though it will also serve as a semi-permanently manned outpost. I do have some precursor craft in place, but all you'll really see is Apollo 12's landing site.

The mod list I'm using is incredibly extensive and a lot of it consists of kitbashes and my own personal config edits. Much of the ETS specific rockets and spacecraft will largely consist of rockets created out of those edits (as that was what it took to develop crafts that resembled those crafts and performed to a similar level), though none of them are "cheat" parts. I edited configs to create parts that would come close to matching the performance of the ETS crafts. A Saturn 1C in my game is going to have the same relative capabilities of the timelines S-1C, for instance.

All missions will follow the timelines mission time, where available. Missions will be spaced out the appropriate amount of time as well. The main reason for actually bothering with time is because 1, I want to actually bother with resupply missions. 2, it'll throw curveballs later on as I'll find transfer windows that wouldn't necessarily be available at the start of the game.

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Mission List:

Saturn 1C Demo Flight, Spacelab 1, and Spacelab 2 - See Below

Spacelab 2 Return, Spacelab 3, ASTP-2, AARDV-3

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To begin with, we're going to do a trio of missions.

SATURN 1C Demo Flight

Spacelab Program

Year 16, Day 229

The development of the Saturn 1C rocket was crucial to the Spacelab program, as it would serve as a replacement for the older, more expensive Saturn 1B. This demo flight successfully placed a 20ton mass simulator into a 150km orbit (that was designed to come down quick and safely), demonstrating its capability to reach the intended altitude of Spacelab.

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Spacelab 1

Spacelab Program

Year 17, Day 75

The launch of Spacelab was one that was a tense moment for many astronauts just as it was for all those in Mission Control. Everyone remembered the problems that plagued Skylab during its launch, and Spacelab could be prone to the same failures. Launched on the final flight ready Saturn V, the space station is to be visited by its first crew later on in the day. The launch would go on to be near picture perfect, with only the loss of signal with the onboard cameras*, leaving flight controllers slightly worried, as they wondered if they should trust Spacelabs computers on whether or not the solar panels had deployed properly.

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Spacelab 2

Spacelab Program

Year 17, Day 75

First manned mission to Spacelab. Commander Richming Kerman, Command Module Pilot Meller Kerman, and Flight Scientist Matt Kerman are to be the stations first inhabitants, and will perform checkout of the station in preparation for the stations later missions. They will spend 30 days on station. Due to a launch delay caused by a flux in the technical jargon intake valve and a slight diagonal breeze*, the launch would miss its initial window and SLM2 would take an extra two hours on orbit before rendezvous with the station.

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*In reality I only saved the pictures of the deployed station for SLM2, so that it'd look cooler.

*In reality I forgot to wait until Spacelab was in a proper position for an efficient rendezvous, but as I'm going with a no revert rule, I rolled with it. The dV required was well within the limits of SLM2.

Edited by G'th
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Today, we have another trio of missions following the return of Spacelab 2 to Kerbin.

Spacelab 2 Return

Spacelab Program

Year 17, Day 106

Spacelab 2's end came to a close after their 30 day mission in anticipation of ASTP-2, set to begin next month. Their mission comprised mostly of legwork to prepare the station for ASTP-2, verifying the integrity of the station and sprucing up the interior. They awoke that day ready to leave, as the station had become cramped with so little to do in the latter days of the mission.

The crew readied the station for dormancy, and transferred over to the command module. Undocking went smoothly, with Flight Scientist Matt Kerman snapping some pictures of the station as SLM2 gained distance from the station. Matt would continue snapping pictures until Richming smacked him for not having his seatbelt on minutes before reentry.

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Spacelab 3

Spacelab Program

Year 17, Day 136

Spacelab 3 was to be the first true mission to Spacelab, as it will mainly constitute the Kermerican half of the second Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Headed by Apollo 17 veteran Erfin Kerman, the mission will take place over a period of 3 months, with the Kussian and Kermerican crews sharing the space station. Though the mission would prove to be an important step for KS/KSSR relations, it would ultimately be the last big collabaration between the two nations for the foreseeable future.

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Apollo-Soyuz Test Program 2 - Soviet arrival and docking.

Spacelab Program

Year 17, Day 136

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AARDV-3 - ATSP-2

Spacelab Program

Year 17, Day 166

The flight of AARDV-3 would be the first of many flights of the Autonomous Automated Rendezvous and Docking Vehicle to resupply Spacelab. Based on the Apollo Block III Service Module, the Aardvark (as its come to be known) carries a payload consisting mostly of life support supplies and scientific equipment. Also included was an experimental EVA extension pack, meant to allow extended EVA operations free from handholds on the station. Not only would this experimental piece of equipment allow easier construction of the Spacelab Maneuverability System (a series of ladders and handholds to make frequent EVA's more feasible, as well as allow for eventual non-pressurized cargo to be delivered to the station), it would also serve as a lifeboat for Kerbalnauts on EVA in emergencies, as it will allow a Kerbalnaut thrown from the station to return. The EVA-X pack would see its first use with Commander Erfin, taking pictures of the station from 20m away, giving those back on Kerbin a full view of the station*.

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*As my screenshot style is mostly aimed at being IVA only or as something that could reasonably have been shot from a camera on the craft, this is how I explain the glamour shot of the station at the end.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My original reasoning was simply because this was meant to be Eyes Turned Skyward inspired, rather than a 1:1 telling of that timeline. It was also because at the time that I started this, RSS and many of the other rescales weren't working as of yet.

However, I have since lost the save file due to a myriad of shenanigans.

But not all is lost for this, as I have since resolved that once things are in place, I will reboot this using RSS and will actually follow the timeline from Freedom 7 on. (possibly even earlier) But I'm currently waiting on RVE to be working again, at least for Earth, before I really get into preparing for it. At this point, I simply can't play the game without clouds and such. It just takes away from the experience.

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