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Space Race: KOSMO v KASE (Chapters 6 up)

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Foreword:  This mission report will be a little different.  For the purposes of the story there will be 2 (to start) different space programs.  The actual Save file will be in Sandbox mode so all comments about Reputation, Funds, and Science are for flavor.  The competing programs will be KASE (Kerbin Academy of Scientific Exploration) which will serve as a NASA analog to start with and KOSMO (Kerbin's Orbital Science and Mechanics Organization) which will serve as the USSR's space program analog.  At the start KASE is working on making the theory of Kerball'ed sub-orbital flight a reality (Mercury) while KOSMO is working on orbital satellites (Sputnik).  History wise for this S.A.V.E. (See @Parkaboy comic for that acronym) Wherner's Z-2 is the only object to have ever gone suborbital.  While KASE spends its time training its Nauts and trying to build a capsule that can survive splash down without sinking, KOSMO is working on Stayputnik.

The plan is to Kerbalize the space race including recreations of parts of Vostok, Mercury, Gemini, Soyuz, Apollo, and allow things to diverge as the story develops its own life.  I've brainstormed out as far as a Duna trip but we'll see how things actually go as I give the characters life and allow them to define their programs..

KOSMO is the space program of the New Kerbin Order and uses the Kraken's Belly launch site at the start.  The NKO was founded on the ideal that an egaltarian utopia would end the need for war, poverty, hunger, and conflict.  They Kerbrads - or Kerbal Radicals - were a small and poorly developed faction during the last war but an influx of captured science and technology has turned them into a power the whole world recognizes.

KASE is the space program of the United Kerbdom and uses Hanbert's Cape at the start.  United Kerbdom is a large and powerful nation with a strong foundation of traditions.  Its colonies attempted a rebellion roughly 200 years ago but lost due to having poorly rationed their snacks.  United Kerbdom claims to stand for freedom, tradition, and "simply what's right."  During the last war United Kerbdom lead the Council of Kerbin Allied Nations (CKAN) to victory and signed the global peace accords with the NKO.  So far United Kerbdom considers KASE a publicity arm of the government more than a serious space program.

Both agencies will be exploring the idea of more bases.

The Cast:  KASE's staff will have a lot of familiar names.

Wherner Von Kermon:  Head of research and development.  Wherner was liberated from a think tank belonging to KRAUT (Kerbin's Really Atrocious Ubervillain Technocracy) during the last war.  He had been instrumental in the development of KRAUT's Zoom MkII (Z-2) rocket.  Wherner has seen enough death and destruction to be wary of the military's control of KASE but is too focused on rockets and discovery to care overly much.

Jebidiah Kerman:  Jeb was dubbed "Kaptain Kerman" by the news reels "A real Okayhoma farmboy turned war hero!"  His actual rank is Lt. Kernel.  Jeb was thrilled to get accepted into the KASE pilot training program.  His time in the war left him ready to live on the edge but never crossing it.

Bill Kerman:  Ex-military Engineer core, Bill is somewhat resentful about working under an Ex-KRAUT scientist.  Bill is a perfectionist at heart which is why Wherner recruited him specifically.  Bill will be the head engineer on the Mk1 manned capsule. 

Bob Kerman:  youngest of the three, Bob is a recently graduated academic who is eager to learn more about the solar system.  He's got no experience working with the military or for anyone who lacks a sense of humor.

Gene Kermz:  A retired Military commander who is glad to be home from the front.  Gene runs a tight ship but has never, never, left a Kerbal behind.  He's a demanding boss but knows the value of a good soldier.  How he'll deal with scientists is anyone's guess.

Mortimer Kermberg:  Mort's job is to keep the lights on and keep parliment happy with the program.  While the bean-counter is generally disliked by just about everyone on site he knows that they've got one chance to make things work because what's going on is expensive and no sane Kerb is going to keep writing them checks if they aren't producing results.

Walter Kermsey:  Walt's job is Public Relations which means he's the one who keeps trying to interrupt pilot training for Press conferences, interviews, and other things.  He'd be very happy to turn KASE into reality TV if only the TV cameras were lighter and more portable.  He's submitted requests to the R&D team many times but they never get approved.

Linus Kermlich:  Linus is another ex-KRAUT genius.  He's refused to work on any part of the program which is combustible saying that he wants no part in making anything which could be a weapon.  He's got interesting ideas about capturing solar power in photovolic cells but his research has yielded nothing yet.

Valentina Kermov:  One of the few female pilots during the last war, she'd been regulated to flying CAP for medical convoys and rarely saw action.  When the war was over she was able to arrange a posting at KOSMO though she still doesn't know what her ultimate assignment will be.

Konstantin Kermovsky - KOSMO's lead scientist, a reclusive and strange man whose understanding of rockets rivals or even exceeds Wherner's.  Konstantin had been playing with the idea of SRB boosted planes when KOSMO recruited him.

Valeri Kermasov - A gifted engineer with a preference for automation over redundancy.  Valeri has worked hard to get to stand in Konstantin's shadows and work on his R7 orbital project.  Valeri believes that Kerballed flight is a mistake and that the pilots are needed only to help the engineers design better flight programs.  She's not always on good terms with the other, better known, Val.

Yelena Kermdakova - A gifted scientist with a knack of politics - she focuses on satellite designs and works closely with Valeri.  Unlike Valeri she desperately wants to switch KOSMO's design over to Kerballed flight mostly because she wants to go to space.  Yelena dreams of seeing the day when Kerbals can walk on the Mun - an idea that KOSMO directors call a pipe dream: "there aren't enough struts on Kerbin to build a rocket big enough for that".

Ivan - Is a "Political" or an officer that reports directly to the government.  This character is one that no one tries to befriend and no one dares make an enemy of.

Serge- an aging engineer who tries to keep his program running despite Ivan's interference.



Mods:  I realize not all of these matter in a Sandbox game...

Antenae Range, Asteroid Day, Chatterer, Coherent Contracts, Community Resource Pack, Community Tech Tree, Contract Configurer, Various Contract Packs, Contract Windo +, Crowd Sourced Flags, Crowd Sourced Science, Dang It!, Distant Object Enhancement, Diverse Kerbal Heads, DMagic Orbital Science, EVE, Final Frontier, Firespitter, Kerbal Alarm Clock, KAS, KIS, Kerbal Konstructs, Kerbal Planetary Base Systems, Kerbin Side, Kronal Vessel Viewer, Lore Friendly Serious Parody Flags, MagiCore, MKS Lite, Module Manager, OSE workshop, Planet Shine, ScanSat, Scatterer, Sensible Screenshot, Stage Recovery, Star Trek TOS suit and IVA textures, Texture Replacer, Toadicus Tools, Umbra Space Industries Tools, USI Core, USI Life Support, Ven's Stock Revamp, Waypoint Manager.

KOSMO chapter 1:  Getting with the program.


Valentina took a deep lungful of the mountain air.  She almost hadn't believed it when she'd flown up to Kraken's Belly, but there was a compound secluded in the mountains.  This was it.  This was KOSMO.  From just the other side of the mountains it would be impossible to tell that there was a compound here, let alone one as big and important as the NKO's advanced rocket science division.  Quietly she killed the engines on her old IG-6 and coasted into a landing at a nearby village.  Officially she'd been assigned to crop-dusting duty at the Kerbal's Industrial Farmlands in a nearbye town.  There were few who knew what KOSMO was, let alone that it existed.  Unlike KASE.  Valentina sighed thinking of Jeb. 

Jebidiah Kerman would be with KASE now, she knew it in a way she couldn't describe.  They'd met briefly a few times furring the war.  She'd been envious of his plane, he'd complimented her on her flying, and they'd shared many drinks together.  It never went beyond comradeship, neither of them had wanted it to.  Now the war was over and they were suppose to be enemies.  The Council of Kerbin Allied Nations (CKAN) had declared global peace and urged every nation towards peaceful endeavors.  Still there were two ideologies boiling to a conflict over the future of Kerbin.  The New Kerbin Order had decided that the old orders were inherently flawed.  It had been born of dreamers seeking utopia.  The old guard over in United Kerbdom would eventually need to be converted to the NKO's more egalitarian system.

Valentina shook the thoughts from her head.  This was KOSMO.  From here history would be written.  She got out of her plane and headed to report in.  As she pushed open the new door of the "general store" she was surprised to see an aging field marshal sitting at a desk looking through many files.  The desk was in complete disarray from her point of view, though the old Kerb had no trouble finding her file the moment she walked in.  "Lt. Valentina Kermov.  On Schedule I see.  Good, good.  Ivan does not appreciate late arrivals.  You will report for medical exam and evaluation in the morning.  Barracks are out back, grab a bunk.  Transport leaves at 0400, so sleep early."  All of this was said without more than a passing glance.

"Thank you sir."  Val said trying to be chipper.  "Anywhere to get..."

"Canteen is next to Barracks."  The old soldier said curtly before going back to his papers.

Val whipped off a salute and left in the direction she'd been pointed.  secretly she hoped that KOSMO itself would be friendlier.  It hadn't been easy getting a transfer from the air-service to this organization and she was hoping that the effort was worth it.

The next morning she stood in the dark stomping her feet to shake off the pre-dawn cold.  An old truck, more of an engine with a flad bed on the back pulled up to the stop and asked to see her transfer papers.  Some mumbling later she was on the truck headed into the mountains.  The ride was cold but uneventful.  The sun was already high in the sky when she finally made it to the site.  There were large buildings, taller than any hanger she'd worked in before though not as wide and a landing strip far too short for a plane to fly from. 

"You will wait here until you receive an assignment." The driver said curtly before turning around.  The New Kerbal Order insignia on the truck caught the sun impressively as he sit the door.  "Do not speak until then."

Valentina nodded and looked out at the cold mountain base, shut away from outside eyes by the mountains.  It was nearly half an hour later when she was approached by a young woman in a white coat.

"Lt. Valentina Kermov?"  She said looking Valentina over twice.

"Yes."  Valentina said snapping off a salute.

"Actually you outrank me Lt.  Yelena Kermdakova, you'll working with me on the navigation program."

"Me?  I'll be designing a training curriculum for the pilots?"

"Pilots?"  Yelena asked surprised.  "Kraken no.  The program for the computer.  Valeri and Konstatin have no plans to put pilots in anything."

"Oh."  Valentina said casting her eyes down.  This wasn't what she gave up her plane for.

"Cheer up."  Yelena said pulling Valentina closer.  "United Kerbdom announce that they're starting a program too, when Kommand gets nervousness about their pilots we'll get ours.  Just keep your head down and watch out for Ivan."

"Whose Ivan?"  Valentina asked.

"We're not sure.  Officially he's a bean-counter in charge of janitorial issues but even Konstantin keeps controls his temper with Ivan.  The last kerb to spout off at Ivan was gone the next day.  There are rumors he's Kommand's eyes on the project."

"Should you be telling me this?"  Valentina asked somewhat worried.

"Probably not, but I need a friend and took a chance."  Yelena said with a shrug.  "I know that kerballed space-flight is the future but no one listens to me.  I thought I might as well try to make friends with one of our pilots."

"I'd certainly like a friend too."  Val said with a smile.  Together the two set off into Kraken's Belly.



Next time... KOSMO's engineering team is beginning final tests on the R7 rocket while Val and Yelena struggle to get a computer program that can run effectively in a small enough system to fit on the rocket.

Edited by loch.ness
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Tomorrow is Lunar New year and I'll be spending most of it with my fiance and her family.  I'll get edits to KOSMO chapter 1 up (to catch and correct the remaining typos) and try to get KASE chapter 1 up too.  After that I can start having real fun with the characters.

Eventually I'd love to do WWII style newsreel cinematic for the back story for this - I know how to do the video editing work but I've never tried recording gameplay and don't know how well some of my builds would fly from cinematic angles.  I'll be trying to record a reel for Jeb next week and see how that works.

I'm trying to have fun with acronyms and such.  When I came up with Okayhoma I just couldn't resit.

Also, thanks on the note for the Bi-plane.  That's the first one I've ever built that actually flies - and she flies very well.  She produces lots of lift (can glide into an un-powered climb at 50 m/s and do very tight turns at 120m/s).  Landed it gently at 23m/s.  Jeb's plane is suppose to be more advanced but isn't anywhere near as responsive or fun to fly as Val's.

Edited by loch.ness
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KASE Chapter 1:  Runners to the starting position.


Bill shook his head as Jeb buzzed the beach in his old fighter, "The Hawk."  He tried to shout over the roaring of the little plane, "I said I don't think its a good idea for him to be flying so low next to the site!"

Bob shrugged.  For as long as he could remember Jeb had been doing things which, technically speaking, were not a good idea and then getting praised for doing them.  He'd won medals, promotions, even his posting at KASE by flippantly disobeying every safety directive he came across when it meant getting the job done.  "You worry too much Bill.  This isn't the army anymore.  You saw the name.  'Kerbin Academy of Scientific Exploration.'  Its going to be like grad-school only better.

Bill closed his eyes and shook his head.  "You nearly got kicked out of K.I.T. for that pasta squid thing didn't you?"

"Hey, the Spagetification Kraken did eat my dissertation... and the provost's cat."  Bob said defiantly.

Bill's lips twitched upwardly, as close to mirth as he typcially showed, "Yeah... I still have no idea how you got the noodles to move like that..."

"Between you and me."  Bob said leaning in, "Mystery Goo."

"That doesn't answer anything."  Bill practially vibrated with rightous indignation as his younger brother ran off waving Jeb down.

Jeb made one more loop over the water enjoying the golden sparkle of the evening sun on the gentle waves before setting his plane down on the beach.  When the engines had begun to purr to a rest he jumped from his seat and slid down the ladder to embrace his brother in mutual glee.  This was KASE and KASE would send him to space.  That had been the promise anyway.

"Looking good Bob."  Jeb said proudly.  "And no sign of pasta anywhere -"

"-yet!" They both said in tandem as Bill vibrated to their sides.

"None of that you too... do you have any idea-"

"Relax Bill, we're just enjoying the moment."  Jeb said waving dismissively at the engineer.  "We're going to be up to our brows in serious and work later.  Let the kid enjoy the moment."

"I'd feel better if we enjoyed it in a solmen and respectful way.  We're standing on the shoulders of giants here."

"Like a kerbal pyramid!"  Bob added.

"I'm not holding pom-poms."  Jeb quipped.

"Gah!"  Bill said throwing his hands up in disgust.  As he did this two well dressed kerbals had just walked up behind him and were watching him with curiosity.  The slightly less well dressed one spoke first.

"You must be the Kerman brothers which means that you must be the infamous Kaptian Kerman!"  The less-well-dressed kerb said walking past Bill and straight to Jeb.  "Where is your golden shield and your patriotic jumpsuit?"

The Better dressed Kerbal shook his head and let out a sigh.  Bill watched this with a strange sense of empathy.  It felt, for that moment, as if he had just met a kindred spirit.  "Walter I've explained before, the Reels were not suppose to be true-to-life but more for morale."

"Nonesenes Mortimer, why elese would they be called 'Reals'?"  Walt said dissmissing his companion with a wave.  "We'll need to get you a new suit Kaptain Kerman, I've already lined up 3 talk shows for next month when you can talk about all the amazing advances we're making."

"Woah!"  Bob said with wide-eyed-wonder, "We're already making amazing advances?"

"I'm guessing the first amazing advance we've made is finding out that we've no idea what we're doing."  Bill said with less than wide-eyed-cynacism.

"You give them too much credit Mr. Kerman."  Mortimer said dryly.  "I imagine they won't figure that out until sometime next winter.  Still, there is a bright side.  They did schedule a metting next month with the agenda item 'What were we suppose to be doing again?' so there is hope that I'll be surprised."

"I see."  Bill said drawing himself up seriously.  "This place needs me."  He looked around in what he thought was a dramatic way.  After a minute passed he realized that no-one other than Mortimer was paying any attention.  "Kraken, when Jeb does that he gets applause... how come it never works for me?"

"I couldn't even begin to guess."  Motimer said in a not unkind way.  "Bill Kerman I believe.  Do you want to be addressed by rank?"

"No, I'm done with military."

"Captial.  Wherner is looking forward to meeting you.  He requested you by name actually, said your work to date is among the most impressive he's seen."

"Wherner... Wherner Von Kerman?  The KRAUT scientist?"

"The same, though he's a somewhat changed Kerbal from his war-time days."

"I'd have thought the Kerb who invented the Z-2 would be locked in a hole somewhere serving time."

"Some would say he is."  Mortimer said nodding at Walter and Jeb acting out Kaptain Kermin adventure flicks while Bob pretended to opperate a camera.

"Point taken."

"Notwithstanding that things are never quite that simple.  I'd recommend keeping an open mind.  Wherner is quite pleased with himself and his brilliance, which is not without cause as he is one of the brightest minds alive, but he's also very glad to use his talents for King and Country as part of United Kerbdom.  For that we are thankful."

"Are you a fellow engineer?"

"Good orbits no," Mortimer said with a wry smile.  "I do care a good deal about efficiency but I've no time for the, mechanical sides of the craft.  I'm the accountant for our little project."

"Oh."  Bill said somehow becomming a bit more serious.  His kindred spirit had turned out to be the tax collector.

"No need for that.  I keep the lights on and the plumbing working for the program much as you'll do for the pilot."

Bill nodded.  On the one glove he'd hit it off well with Mortimer, on the other he'd never known an engineer and accountant to stay friends once the project got into the prototyping phase.  Budgets made poor buddies.

"So, Kaptian Kerman... what should I call you around site?  Kap?" Walter said gleefully.

"Actually I'm Lt. Kernel Jebidah Kerman.  That's Kerman with 2 L's."  Jeb said with a smile before setting off to find out if the canteen had good snacks.

Walter stopped walking to scratch his head and he wrote the name out in the air with his hand.  Bob walked past him trying not to laugh.

"Hey Jeb, what do you think the spaceship looks like?"  Bob asked as he caught up to his older brother.

"So long as I fly it I don't really care."  Jeb said with a large confident grin.


Next time...  Bob works on materials for an ablative heat-shield after getting over the dissapointment of not having a space-ship yet.  Bill starts work on capsule designs and Jeb tries to get enough sleep to keep up with his training and public appearances.

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KOSMO chapter 2: Stay Put Nic.


Even with the mountains blocking the view in every direction, Valentina was sure everyone for on the continent could see Yelena's smile.  The orb in front of her had represented years of work from many teams and of all of these, Yelena had been the one to add the final touches and complete the computer.  It was perhaps the smallest computer anyone had ever built.

"How did you get the ticker tape reader into that form factor?"  Valeri asked critically.

"We didn't."  Yelena said beaming.  "That's the brilliant part.  It would be too big and weigh far to much to have an auto-pilot capaple of a program that complex."

"That is why the team has been working for the last year on this."  Valeri glowered at the scientist.

"But we don't need it if we've for a radio transmitter and receiver hooked into the control systems."

Valeri was about to chide Yelena again when she paused.  It was just possible she was thinking kind thoughts.  "Too much room for error."  She said at last.

"We run into that either way, we're not using simple ballistics like the Z-2 did.  We'll need course correction and stabilization."  Yelena responded.  Her grin invited the others to join in.

"How would the pilot know?"  Valeri asked turning to Valentina who seemed more willing to cower under the engineer's glare.

"Radar telemetry will allow us to have near real-time knowledge of where its pointed and how fast it is going."  Valentina said trying to remember everything Yelena has zipped through on their way to the demonstration pad.  "It will also allow us to gather more data on atmospheric effects in the upper atmosphere to aid in future designs."

"Yes."  Valeri said nodding finally.  "So that we won't need pilots in the future."  Valeri and Valentina shared a less than friendly glance before Yelena grabed them both for a group hug.

"I'm calling it 'NIC' for 'Now I See.'  We don't have a working camera for the first one or I'd call it Nicu."

"In the mean time where do we put NIC?"  Valentina asked.

"Well, we still have to figure out how we're getting it back to the ground after everything."  Yelena said.

"We're not."  Valeri said calmly.  It would never survive the heat from friction."

"So we're going to be leaving it up there?"  Yelena asked, crestfallen at last.  "My little Nic?"

"Guess you'll have to stay put NIC."  Valentina said to the orb.

"Oh, I like that."  An old kerbal said wandering up to the three at the test sight.  "Stayputnik... it sounds whimsical while also being very clearly ours.  I'm sure it will bring wide eyed wonder to our people."

"Dr. Konstantin."  Valeri said snapping off a salute and then running to see if the older Kerbal needed anything.

"I'm fine young Valeri.  I'm pleased with the progress the science teams are making.  This should fit nicely on the new candle we are dipping.  See about getting it configured for the Beep test.  We are needed back in the VAB, I need your young eyes to look at a fuel flow problem we're having."

Now it was Valeri's turn to beam out a grin that could be seen from Duna.  She ran along after Konstantin while Yelena looked at her creation.  "I liked Nic better, but Stayputnik it is."

Edited by loch.ness
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KASE chapter 2: Fire Safety


"This is Bob Kerman starting Heat Shield composite A shield test."  Bob adjusted his safety glasses and then dutifully recorded the readouts from the TooHot thermometers to establish his baseline.

"This is a bad idea Bob."  Bill said as he hooked up the fuel lines to Wherner's Dachshund test rocket.  "You don't have nearly enough space between the rocket and the test shield, not to mention that your test composite is way too conductive.

"That's the idea!"  Bob said grinning excitedly.  "Thing about it like a Faraday Cage, only for heat!"

"That has to be the worst idea that's come out of this place."  Bill said while locking down gimble controls on the Dachshund nozzle.  As he said he wondered at how KASE could already have a long list of bad ideas without having yet launched a single rocket.  They hired Jeb to fly for them, not one but two ex-KRAUT scientists, let Bob try out his ridiculous heat-a-day cage... better known to culinary enthusiasts everywhere as an oven.  The only way this could be worse would be if-

"Alright, let me know when you're ready over there, I'll keep my eye on the read-outs."

"Wait... you plan to stand next to the shield while a rocket engine fires at it?"  Bill asked.  He wonded yet again if Bob could read his mind.

"Yeah, I'll be in the head shadow, well mostly."  Bob said taking a few more measurements.

"Mostly?"  Bill squeaked.

"Look I've plotted out the likely blast range and radius, I'll be fine.  Probably."

"Probably?"  Bill twitched.

"Come on Bill, before we loose the light."


Bill wasn't sure why he actually lit the engine.  It might have been a flash of wounded pride that no one had listened to him.  It might have been a desire to prove how much they should have.  It might have been that dark voice every good kerbal pretended wasn't there telling him that it would be the last time Bob scared him half to death.  He wasn't sure why he actually lit the engine, but he did.  What happened next happened to fast for anyone to see.

Bob's ridiculous heat conducting shield worked, for a given degree of work.  The Thermometers burst almost instantly as the support beams began to melt around the shield.  Bob's eyes flashed wide as something, Kraken knows what since there was nothing but metal, flashed into a burn.

The explosion roared up from where the test shield had been.  Bob started hitting the Daschund desperately trying to shut it down.


"Bob!"  He screamed over the roaring flames.  He knew he had screamed because he could feel the effort tearing through his throat, but he couldn't hear anything.  "Bob!"  He cried again forcing an entire lungful of air into that single syllable.

The Dachshund kept on roaring.


Several meters away on the cape's airstrip, Bob coughed.  He felt himself cough, but he couldn't hear anything but a constant ringing.  At first his arms and legs wouldn't move at all.  A faint sensation, like an echo of the pain he'd feel when the endorphin wore off, tickled up from absolutely everywhere.  Slowly he pushed himself up off the ground and limped out of the exhaust smoke.  When he saw Bill he did his best to wave and then sat down smiling.

It had worked  in a way.  The shield had survived the test and so had he... because the conductivity had melted through the platform underneath the test.  He'd already been thrown clear by the collapsing platform when the explosion went off.  Sure this was a bust as a heat-shield, but the composts would probably be great for getting heat to a radiator.

The following days were spent trying to calm down Walt who was sure that this incident would interfere with Jeb's talk show schedule and Bill who bounced back and forth between worrying about Bob's recovery and lecturing him about being more responsible like a tennis ball at Kimbleton.



Next time KASE: Chapter 3 "What's the Beep?" Bill is showing Jeb what his team has been making while Bob recovered only to be interupted by Bob and Linus chattering about a strange beep on their radio.

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KOSMO Chapter 3:  What Goes Around


"Everything checks out Dr. Konstantin.  Shall I call over to Serge and give him a go for launch?"  Valeri couldn't help the smug grin on her face as she asked the question.  The Dr. Konstantin had asker her for help on this rocket and now it was flawless.

"There is no rush Valeri, let us check everything again." Konstantin said looking up at the R7 cheerfully.  "I've seen the latest intelligence about United Kerbdom's program and they don't even have a mission in mind.  We can take the time to do this right and still be far ahead of them."


"Do you think it is possible they have someone here collecting information for them too?"  Valeri asked, not because she was dissapointed at the delay but rather because Konstantin's comments had lit a patriotic fire in her belly.

"That is what we have Ivan for."  Konstantin said looking wistfully up into the clouds.  "We weren't suppose to need kerbals like Ivan anymore.  That was one of the promises back in the early meetings."

"Surely the revolution takes time to reach the promised land Doctor."  Valeri said placing a kindly hand on the older scientists arm.

"Surely."  Konstantin said but without any real conviction.  "Alright, lets get out of the blast range and let Serge know he can fire off the test."

They set off for the bunker to watch the test launch.  There wasn't a launch.



"What happened!"  Valeri shouted as she ran towards the falling debries.

"Wait until its save little one!"  Konstantin shouted as he struggled up to his feet.

"Fire control to the launch pads"  The suddenly very awake voice of Serge came over the loud speakers.  "This is not a drill!  Medical to the launch pads, damage control to the launch pads!"

Valeri came up short in the burning smoke covered area around the launch.  One piece of shrapnel at her feet looked wrong.  It had been burned in the explosion and oxidized.  It had turned green.  "We didn't use any copper in that part of the rocket."  She said her eyes narrowing.

"I will inform Ivan, there will be a new test soon."

"We only have 2 more R7s built."  Valeri said looking around at the frantic teams working to put out the flames.  "We can't let this happen again.


The next day Ivan was sitting next to Serge and KOSMO's most decorated pilot.

"Yuri, do you understand your orders."  Ivan asked taking the papers away from him in just such a way that no one else could see what had been on the paper.

"Yes Kermrad Ivan, I just... I thought this was an orbital test."  Yuri glanced at Ivan and then at Serge.  Sweat had begun to form on his brow.

"It is, in its own way."  Ivan said, patting Serge on his shoulder.  "We are using this... 'orbital test' to send a message to the ones responsible for yesterday's disaster."

Yuri looked down at the control seat that had been made ready for him and nodded.  Once he had done that Ivan took out a lighter and burned the papers he'd just read.

"Do be sure to take care to follow those orders carefully Kermrad Yuri."  Ivan said coldly.  "We are already looking for a traitor and you were in the mountains doing survival training durring yesterdays test... alone."

Yuri swallowed hard and glanced over to Serge for help.  The old mission commander just sighed and picked up his phone.  "Launch pad, this is control.  Are you go for orbital test 2?"  After a pause he nodded and turned back to Yuri.  "They are go.  Whenever you are ready kid."





Serge's eyes narrowed as the rocket's telemetry suggested it had been swung retrograde by its manuvering thrusters.  "What are you doing Yuri?  We need that last burst of speed to send us orbital!"

"Relax Serge" Ivan said dismissing the mission commander.  "He is following orders."

Serge scanned over the radar telemtry again and picked up his phone.  After a hurried conversation he stormed over to Yuri and Ivan.  "That things headed straight for the CKAN head-quarters!

Ivan dismissed Serge with a wave, "A tragic and unforseen accident with the upper stage caused a tragedy all of the New Kerbal Order will mourn.  We shall built monuments to the fallen and make many tearful displays."  On Yuri's face, sweat was clearly building up as his eyes twitched from the read outs to the controls.




When the transmissions finally failed Yuri nearly fainted.  Serge let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding in.  Ivan's eyes narrowed.  "Yuri..."  He said slowly.  "You missed."

"Its a lucky thing too... you almost started a war!"  Serge fumed at Ivan.

"We all have our orders Serge, but some of us actually follow them.  Yuri, you will report to my office in one hour for debrief."  And with that Ivan turned and walked away.

Serge waited until he was sure that Ivan was no longer even near the building.  "Kid... did you miss on purpose?"

Yuri nearly swallowed his tongue when Serge asked that question.  Despite that he still shook his head no.

"Yeah... work on that answer when you talk to Ivan."  Serge said.  "I approve of what you did but if I can tell you're lying you know he will."

"Who is in charge of the next attempt?"  Yuri asked when he finally could.

"We only have one more rocket."  Serge said calmly.  "Konstantin has enough pull that he won't let it be used like that... but they'll build more.'

"But who will get to send the commands for the first Kerbin Orbit?"  Yuri asked again.

"If you don't work on your lying it will be Valentina."

"Good, she's as good a pilot as they come."

And the next day Yelena, Valeri, Konstantin, Valentina and Serge stood in the control room and cheered as history was made.  Ivan smiled in a grim way at the back of the room.  No one asked about Yuri.





Next Time at KOSMO- With the success of Stayputnik KASE has stepped up to make a real program.  Kommand is not willing to let KASE make the first kerballed flight and are demanding that KOSMO beats them to it.  Who will make a working capsule first?



Edit:  Question - the first half of this post has pictures not showing up for me even though the link is right and works.  Are they working for other people?

Edit 2:  I seem to have corrected the problem on my end.

Edited by loch.ness
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KASE chapter 3 - What's the Beep?


"Forgive me, but I thought I was being sent to watch over some professors as an early retirement. "  Gene Kermz said as he looked over the Cape.  Four hawks were parked at the hangers and more were on their way.  This place was looking less like an "Academy" and more like an "Airbase" every day.

"As I understand it, Parliment has stepped up our timetables in reponse to the incident at CKAN headquarters."  Mortimer said as he continued the tour.  "Of course we actually have a budget worth mentioning now, though all of it is going into infrasturcture to support the new arrivials."

"Alright."  Gene said, looking around.  "Lets find my office and you can get me up to speed.

"Are you sure you want the details of budgetary issues on your desk so soon Marshal?"  Mortimer asked with a half eager smile.

"I meant up to speed."  Gene said looking Mortimer dead in the eyes.  "I'm sure someone on this beach is connected to Making Inquiries Stick, and I'm guessing its you."

Mortimer smiled and shook his head.  "Sadly I was denied access to M.I.-Sticks despite several applications.  Aparently they feel my family was too high profile to make a decent operative.  I can get you a copy of what they sent to White Home though."

Gene smiled as he looked over Mortimer again.  "Well, resourcesful at least.  You sure your not a spook?"

"Sadly not."  Mortimer said returning the smile.  "Though being an aristocrat is pretty much the same thing these days.  I'll meet you in your office later."

Gene kept walking around the cape trying to mentally log everyone's name.  Most of the people here were engineers, technicians, and scientists with no concept of a chain of command.  They'd have to learn and he had the unhappy job of being that teacher.

"Jeb!  Becareful with that, don't let it get scratched!"  Gene turned to find Bill and Jeb man-handleing a golden disk larger than both of them towards the tall ware-house like building just off that airstrip.

"I know."  Jeb said as the thing wobbled again.  "This blasted thing is heavy though."

Gene stepped up to the two of them and grabbed a side as well.  "Let me help."  He said as he helped lift it.  It was heavy.  "What is this?"

"The new heatshield.  Bob won't listen to the doctors and had the materials tested while he was stuck in medical."  Bill said in Jeb's direction without looking up.

"Why tell me?"  Jeb asked.  "I was there!"

"Then why did you ask."

"I didn't."

"I did.  Gene Kremz.  I'll be taking charge of operations around here."  Bill looked up and noticed the third Kerbal and then over the Jeb and then back to Gene.

"Who was in charge before?"


Mortimer unfolded the papers on Gene's desk and stook there letting the Marshal take in what he was seeing.  "This is the part that hadn't been completely redacted mind.  I couldn't get us access to the rest, though perhaps Von Kermon could."

"No, I don't even want him to know we've seen these."  Gene said calmly.

"Might I ask why not?"

"Von Kermon designed weapons in the last war.  He's been very ... vocal about what he things is the "militarization" of his work.  The incident at CKAN was proof that these instruments are weapons which we can be tamed to other uses.  United Kerbdom doesn't wish to risk loosing Von Kermon's support until he delivers us something to rival what the NKO has made."

"And after?"

"If it were up to me?"  Gene said picking up a cup of tea.  "I'd get us on equal footing with them and then arrange a meeting where we agree to work together.  What little of this stuff I understand tells me that what we're doing is incredibly hard.  More resources would only help.  I'm in no rush to see another war."

"I sense a "however" looming."

"However," Gene smiled.  "I won't let us be caught off guard if they insist on starting one first.

"The other two are mockups of Bill Kerman's project.  The capsule hasn't been completed yet but it should be capable of landing in water from where we will recover the pilot."

"What's that tower like thing?"

"Its on the attached file."

"Launch Escape System.  In the event of a catastrophic failure the LES will deploy to attempt to pull the pilot clear enough of the exploding rocket to enable parachutes...  Will that work?"

"We're currntly building a mock-up to test later this week."

"Little Bobby?"

"A pet name being given to a simple SRB powered rocket to test recovery of a boilerplate capsule.  If those tests go well, then we'll start pilot training."


In another room, Dr. Linus Kermlich was carting a radio into Bob's hospital room.

"You need to hear this."  Linus said, nearly buzzing with joy.

Bob looked up from his scribblings with an arched eyebrow.  "What is it."

"Shush."  Linus said fiddling with the controls.  After a short time there was only one sound in the room.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

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KOSMO Chapter 4:  "Ivan to Work"


Valeri glanced over Yelena's designs without being a couple of times.  None of them were what she wanted Veterok to be.  The ejector seat was proving to be the most difficult part of the design - but given the predicted violence of re-entry she didn't trust the pods chutes with a life.  This was the sort of thing mechanized and automatic rockets were intended to avoid.  "The Mk. III seems to be the only reasonable way forward."  Valeri said looking at them.  "The orbital sphere should help balance entry heat and protect the parachutes.  It won't offer much support on landing though."

"When can we expect to begin building it?"  Yelena said trying to hide her excitement."

"When Konstantin gives us the go-ahead.  I'll pass your recommendations and designs over to him."

Yelena beamed proudly as she turned to walk out of Valeri's office.  Kerbals were going to space and her name would be on the designs for Project Veterok.  She wanted, no needed, someone to share this moment with.  She hoped Valentina would be as excited as she was even through the ranking pilot was Yuri and he'd get to go up first.


"Kermrad Yuri."  Ivan said looking at some papers on his desk as though he was bored.  "Try telling it to me again from the beginning."  

Yuri wasn't bored, he was sweating from head to foot and anxiously looking at the door to the little office, a door which had no visible guard or lock.  He thought and thought again, but he had no idea what Ivan wanted to know from him.  "I've already-" He started.

"And I'd simply like you to tell me again."  Ivan said without a smile.  "Friendly like.  Why did you seek a transfer to KOSMO?"

"I'm a pilot and there is no greater feat of flying than here."

"Would you say you are a good pilot?"

"You'd have a hard time finding a better one."  Yuri said tersely.  Now Ivan smiled.

"I see."  Ivan said flipping back through his notes.  "Then would you say that you always land what you pilot where you intend to?"

"What... of course not."  Yuri said surprised.  "No one is perfect.  There is always weather, and aerodynamics.  landing a plane is... its about seeing where you can be and finding them best spot to be all without winding up a smear on the ground."

"I would like you to think of this conversation as landing a plane then Yuri."  Ivan said leaning back.  "Do your country a favor and make sure you don't become a smear."

"I've done nothing wrong.  The aerodynamics of that rocket were forcing it into the ground, I couldn't have pulled up if I'd wanted to."

"I said I wanted to talk about the beginning."  Ivan said waving his hands to brush Yuri's comments away.  "During the war you befriended one Jebidiah Kerman."

"Jeb was a fine pilot and a good ally."

"Are you aware that he is competing with you to be the first Kerbal in space?"

"I can think of no one I'd rather compete against.  Either way a good Kerb gets the honor."

"I see."  Ivan said folding his hands.  "You value your friendship with this enemy more than your duty to your country?"

"What?  No!  I just said he was a nice person and had been a good ally during the last war."

"Is he still a good ally?"

"To someone I'm sure."

"Someone here?"

"Kraken no!"

Ivan leaned back and smiled.  He'd recorded enough of the conversation that, once cut, would satisfy Kommand that his hunch had been correct.  It was clear that Yuri was no traitor however, the spy was still somewhere in Kraken's Belly and he'd have to go hunting for them.  A false arrest would tighten security and embolden the spy however.  His report would include all of this so that, if Kommand read it, Yuri would get an honorable transfer.  Ivan didn't expect they would read it.

"I would suggest you gather your things."  Ivan said calmly.  "The polar research stations are understaffed and I suspect you'll be 'transferred' there soon.'

"Can I ask one thing then?"

"I might not answer."

"Who gets to fly to space if not me?"

"Valentina Kermov will have that honor... unless her interview shows similar deviance."

"I'm not a spy or a Saboteur and neither is she!  She's a patriot, she always believed in the NKO, more than I did.  I just flew for the love of flying and to protect my home... she believes."

"Your appeal is touching Yuri.  A word of wisdom though.  Spies always say they aren't spies, so saying you aren't one doesn't help.  Further, if someone thinks you are a spy - anything you say about someone else makes them suspect."

"Thanks... I'll tell the MPs you were my best friend."

"Oh, I am Yuri.  I am.  That just isn't clear yet."


Next time at KOSMO - boilerplate and "lesser life-form" testing of the Veterok system while Val gets some pilot training.

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Caught up-- love the "Kaptain Kerman" stuff, and the many many puns. And oh no, IKBM,s stop the madness before it's too late! Hopefully they will find their way to glasknost and kerbpollo-koyuz détente!

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10 hours ago, Kuzzter said:

Caught up-- love the "Kaptain Kerman" stuff, and the many many puns. And oh no, IKBM,s stop the madness before it's too late! Hopefully they will find their way to glasknost and kerbpollo-koyuz détente!

Both the New Kerbal Order and United Kerbdom realize that an orbital rocket is just an ICBM without a military payload.  Currently NKO has that ability while UK does not - so there is going to be some tension as things go forward.

Vostok Veterok is going forward though I think I need to trim down my part mods.  I don't need/want half of Tantares, Tantares LV, or SXT but there are pieces I do want for sure and I so I'll need to trim them surgically later on.  I can run with everything plus those three but it crashes alot more frequently and loads a lot slower.

KASE has not yet named the mercury analog though they've got the capsule built now.  They've been developing the payload first and slowly working up to the launcher.  KOSMO did things in the opposite order.

They are still in the early days of the space race.  The military side of the race is what pushes their budgets and those budgets will push towards the détente.  I expect both programs will have a few twists and turns before a détente can be reached in space.

The puns however will continue.

I'm hoping to capture some of the zeitgeist of the real space-race and science fiction movements as we go - starting with the wide-eye'd wonder of "Flash Gordon" like exploits that Jeb thinks he's signing up for, moving into a more Bradbury inspired caution as incidents like that one destabalize things and hopefully getting into Clarke like discovery and wonder.


If I get far enough I'll be asking if its okay to have the Kerbfleet comics be actual comics in this universe (Wherner would be a big fan).  I think I need to get to the start of Apollo before local anyone starts imagining something as awesome as the humblebee.


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10 minutes ago, loch.ness said:

If I get far enough I'll be asking if its okay to have the Kerbfleet comics be actual comics in this universe (Wherner would be a big fan).  I think I need to get to the start of Apollo before local anyone starts imagining something as awesome as the humblebee

Of course you can, I'd be honored! I wonder who would write them in your 'verse... and how they'd explain Kenlie's fiction-within a fiction-within-a-fiction...especially the part that isn't fiction. :) 

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Oh I am looking forward to having Bob, Linus, and Wherner debate the feasibility of ESP meta-fiction while Walt tries to figure out how to get royalties out of the whole thing some how.  I'll keep pushing through the early days so that the young Kuzzter C. Lark can get inspired enough to start writing serials for Adventure Magazines.

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KASE: Chapter 4, "Little Bobby"

Sleep?  What was sleep?  Bill couldn't remember the last good night sleep since he started working on the project.  The project.  It had had so many names.  Moho, Quick Silver, Hermes, Loopy.  After Bob suggested that last one he'd been kicked off the naming team.  They'd settled on The Mercutio project.  Bill liked that, even though it hadn't been his suggested.  He'd often told people he'd been named after Billy Shakestrut.

"This is Bill Kerman reporting pre-flight inspection of Little Bobby 1 complete.  All signs go here."

Flight one would be testing the Mercutio with its LES under aerodynamic pressures and then splash down.  Flight two would be a launch pad abort test with an unfueled SRB connected.  Both tests made Bill incredibly nervous because of a technical limitation KASE had not yet overcome.

"Roger that."  Jeb said over the radio.  "This is Kaptain Kermin aboard the S. Gallihalit.  All indicators are green here.  When do we go?"

"Hold your horses Kernel."  A third voice came over the radio waves.  "We're picking up a good cross-wind and ploting your expected course.  If that thing starts to sink you'll want us ready to find you.'

"Roger that Marshall."

"My title here is 'Flight'"  Gene said glancing sideways at the various uniformed and not-uniformed people sitting in their dusty little mission control office.  The scientists were uncomfortable using his rank and the soldiers were uncomfortable using his name.  The compromise seemed to be working though.

"Roger that flight."

"Flight, I'd like to again press to reverse the test order... if we know the LES works first-"

"Bill, I agree with you."  Gene said calmly, "But we have orders to show spectacular progress today... launching a piloted craft will do that, abort tests won't."

"Can't we televise the second test?"  Bill pleaded.

"Walt's already setting up press feeds and lining up interviews."  Gene said with a long frustrated sigh.  "And Mort said we won't have enough roots to finish the Too Hot launcher without renewed funding package from Parliament, so we need this."

"Alright... just promise we'll abort if anything fails pre-check."  Bill said looking back at Little Bobby with a renewed sense of panic.

"That's a given."


Pilot's official report:  Lt. Kernel "Jeb" Kerman.

Report begins:  Woaaaaaahhhhhooooooaaaaah!  (Please note... this continued for the duration of the flight.)

"Splashdown confirmed!  Can I do that again?"

Report ends...

Note from Linus:  Please teach pilots to file reports... ones like this are of no scientific value.

G-Force testing continues, currently we know that our test apparatus produces high G-Force and nausea.  The Janitorial staff have all threatened to quit. 

Note from Wherner:  Initial designs for the Too Hot suborbital rocket have been finalized.  We are ready to begin engine and fuel testing once funded.

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KOSMO Chapter 5:  First Kerbal in space.


Project Veterok was began in earnest as the news of "Little Bobby" reached Komand.  Veterok was not an "Advanced piloted life-support capsule" the way Mercutio was, it could better be described as a hollowed out Stayputnik with a window.  Veterok would re-use the R-7 launcher with an additional orbital and decent module.  The orbital maneuvering engine was hypergolic allowing for multiple small burns to compensate for its 0.5 degree gimble and 326 m/s worth of delta V.  

Despite Val's initial excitement it turned out that Veterok 1 would simply be a pad test of the new orbiter and that she couldn't even climb into the ship because they had not actually hollowed out the capsule.  Veterok 2 was another orbital test flown remotely.  Veterok 3-5 involved testing the g-force on "more primitive life forms."  Vertok 6 was up next.

"So."  Valentina began as she walked over to Yelena and Valeri investigating the Veterok 6.  "Which less evolved life-form are we sending up to space this time?"

"Pilots"  Valeri said simply.  It took a few seconds for the response to register with Valentina and several more minutes for her to stop screaming in excitement.  It was sometime the next day when she thought that there might have been an insult in that response.

It was the next week when she was being strapped in to Veterok 6.

"Okay, last checks."  Yelena said with her boot on Valentina's shoulder as she strapped her into her command seat as snugly as possible.  "Parachute?"

"Here."  Val said pointing at the controls.

"Gimble controls?"

"On the stick."


"Here and here.  Pitch, Yaw, Roll, and translation."


Val's smile grew wider and wider.  "Here!"

"Okay now listen.  During launch and re-entry you'll be pulling strong gs.  We hope to keep that within this green line - but if it starts to drift you might pass out.  If its on re-entry flip the coms switch first and we might be able to trigger the chute remotely.  If its on launch... well ... make sure its not on launch."

"Its already Yelena."  Val said focusing for a moment.  "I'm ready for this."

Not far away in the dusty office that served as mission control Serge smiled to himself.  Ivan was away with a delegation to CKAN explaining the "accident" with the R-7 and trying to reasure the Council of Kerbin Allied Nations that the New Kerbin Order had no intentions of using its space program as tools of war, especially seeing as they were the most technologically advanced nation on the planet.  News of today's launch would come to him and to the Council as further proof of that advancement and Serge would make sure it was a triumph for all Kerbal kind.  A Kerbal would go to space today.

"This is Flight to all systems, give me a go/no-go for launch."  He said into the microphone.

"Booster?"  "Go"  "Telemetry?" "Go" "Recovery?" "Go" "Pilot?"  "Woooo hoooo!!!!!!!"

"Since I'm guessing that means go, we are at T minus 30 seconds to launch."  Serge said leaning back in his chair.  "Alert the camera crews."


The launch went beautifully.  The new thrust limiters on the first stage kept control better than it had on the Stayputnik launches.  Val started her turn at 100 m/s and followed her prograde vector exactly as the plans had said to.  "Climbing to 15,000 meters.  Coming up on Booster separation."


"Looking good here Valentina."  Serge said as the whole of mission control mugged for a photo.

"Can't see anything.  Permission to eject aero-shell?"


Silence followed for a long time before Valentina's voice came back with an impish glee.  "Aero-shell separation!  I can see stars!"


"Val, the shell separated a bit early but your well out of the soup.  Sending you final burn numbers."  The rest of the burn was as clean and as anyone could have hoped for.  "You are coming up on final booster separation.  You'll only need a few small bursts to hit a stable orbit."

"Roger that Flight."  Valentina said with a wistful smile.  "Getting ready for course correction with the decent module."


"I'm crossing into the night Flight, will contact you again in a few minutes."

As the sun rose over the arc of Kerbin Val found her helmet glued to the hatch window.  Her breath was fogging up her helmet and there was nothing she could do about it.  "I wish you could see what I can... its just so beautiful."

'Roger that Veterok.  Yelena tells me that you are go for EVA."  A very loud and long squeel came back over the radio.  "Veterok, be advised, we're suffering a coms failure."

"No... that was Val's happy sound."

"Nevermind Veterok."


"That was awesome... but I'm worn out."  Val said when she'd finally gotten herself back into Veterok and figure out how to close the hatch again.  "Much more tiring than I thought it would be.  Um... Flight.  What do we do if we need the bathroom?"

"Hold on to your mulch Valentina, its time to come back down."  Yelena said nodding to Serge.

"What if you... really need to go?"

"The suit is equipped with moisture absorbing pads and seals to prevent anything form floating upwards to your helmet."

"You don't really mean..."

"Why did you think we sent up animals in suits?"


"Don't worry, you'll be under gravity soon enough."

"Ready to Start decent burn on your mark."





Recovery team's report:  Veterok capsule sustained mild impact injuries upon landing but they were within crash tolerance of the pilot.  The heat-shield's had been completely burned off, a measurement of 0.41 remaining was detected.  The pilot was in good spirits, a bit groggy from the landing and eager for "a shower and change of clothing."

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Will get a post up soon for the next part of KASE's story.  I might need to push a defacto Detente up time-line wise because Kerbin Side has been causing trouble for me with lag, miss-matched height-maps, and crashes.  I love having the alternate launch sites - but I only need the cape and the Belly - I'll try trimming it down and see if that works, otherwise the rest of Mercutio and Veterok might get launched from the KSC.

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KASE Chapter 5:  Lost... Almost.

"This meeting of the Council of Kerbin's Allied Nations is now called to order."  A rather stern faced Kerbal glowered at Walt and Ivan.  "In light of the R-7 launch failure incident the Council has passed a movement to bar any member nation from owning and operating rocket programs that launch from any site other than the newly commissioned Kerbal Space Center.  The KSC will have facilities built to respect the autonomy of KOSMO and KASE as representatives of their respective nations."

Walt glowered at Ivan.  He didn't believe for a minute that the R-7 incident had been an accident.

"In light of KOSMO's most recent achievement, placing a Kerbal into orbit, we are allowing their team priority access to the research and development facilities.  Dr. Konstantin has informed us that Veterok 7 will be ready for launch soon using the R-7E for orbital endurance testing, placing Valentina in orbit for 6 days to measure the physical and psychological effects of longer duration space travel."

Ivan grinned maliciously at Walt, his face suggested that he could already see the headlines "KASE closed" being printed.

"We have completed a suborbital flight out of the cape recently using the Too Hot launcher and the Mercutio orbital capsule."  Walt said quickly rising from his chair."  Ivan's grin egged him on.  "This makes the one and only Kaptain Kerman the second kerbal in space and with construction of the Descartes launch vehicle we'll be ready to send more Mercutio missions up to match Veterok's abilities."


"Or your team could all come work for KOSMO, the second best can learn from the best."  Ivan said calmly from the sidelines.

"Mr. Kermsey, the council has not recognized you to speak just yet."  The stern face Kerbal said in what was, predictably, a stern voice.  "While the advances KASE has made are playing well in the press the council has asked you here about a different matter."

"Oh?"  Walt said looking surprised.  He'd only come prepared to talk about how fast they were catching up to KOSMO's lead in the space race.

"It has come to the attention of this council that several gifted scientists and engineers form United Kerbdom have simply gone missing over the last couple weeks.  Most recently Dr. Becka Kerbinhamer and Dr. Robert Kerman."

"He prefers to go by Bob actually."

"Where is he Mr. Kermsey?"

"I cannot say.  I've been told by our mission director that he was re-assigned to a different project."

"The plane Dr's Kerman and Kerbinhamer were on left with a full supply of military equipment and landed without the equipment or scientists, but did not make any landing in between.  Can you explain this?"


"I'm sorry, I only know what you've been told.  I didn't even know a plane had been involved."

Gene shifted in his chair.  He knew he was about to be called but he didn't actually know anything else.  "If it pleases the council?"  He said before they could call him.  When he got a stern nod he rose.  "I don't know anything else either except his brothers have received letters from him with the address marked as 'Lost, almost.'  What I am authorized to say is that KASE's Dr. Linus Kermlich has been working on a new technology for harvesting Kerbol's light as an energy source.  Its not refined enough to power Mercutio, but we think that in cooperation with KOSMO we could put together communications satellites around Kerbin."

"And give you access to our technology?"  Ivan said, rising in suspicious ire before he had time to think.

"Actually, since we don't yet have a working orbital launch system or autonomous control unit, we were going to offer Dr. Linus's research and the aid of our facilities to help you, but allow you full control of launches."

"The Council approves.  The next 5 launches are set aside for KOSMO to send up Valentina in Veterok 7 and the Communication Satalites. After that the next Mercutio mission can run."

Mortimer sat in the back of the meeting watching Walter and Ivan make angry eyes at each other, Serge and Gene sigh and shake their heads, and the Council murmur in silence.  The photovolic pannels could have made KASE more than enough roots to run KOSMO out of business and instead they'd just given away the technology.  Whatever Bob was doing had to be big.


Bob Kerman

Lost Almost [Redacted]

Dear Jeb:  

Man it is [Redacted] here.  Wish I'd [Redacted] more [Redacted].  Still, its nice to work with [Redacted] again.  Remember I dated her a bit back in [Redacted].  You'll never believe what we're working on here, not sure that I do.  Can't say much, only [Redacted], you know just like [Redacted] did during [Redacted] when testing possible applications for [Redacted].  I hope Bill is doing well.  He'd love to be part of [Redacted], so many [Redacted] in one place.

Oh yeah one more thing... Not sure why you drew big black lines all over your last letter... makes it really hard to read.  Heard about Mercutio's flight.  I'm so proud of you big brother.  Once [Redacted] is done hope you'll be proud of me to.


Dr. Robert Kerman.


Bill looked at the letter and turned it over, then turned it over again.  Beside him Jeb was looking out the window at the teams packing up their offices at the Cape, but his mind was where Bill's was.  "What has he gotten himself into this time?"  Bill asked at last.

"I've no idea."  Jeb said shaking his head.  "I think we can get him back here if we do something really amazing though.'

"Like what?"

"I've been talking with Wherner about this idea I have... about getting two ships to meet up in orbit."

"Do you have any idea how hard that would be to pull off?"

"That's the thing."  Jeb said smiling."  Wherner seems to think that it wouldn't be too hard to do eventually but getting it right reliably would be really hard.  If we could do that first, we'd get an edge over KOSMO."

"I'll start thinking up plans, you get back to training, still need to make orbit before you start dreaming of bigger things."

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On 2/18/2016 at 0:36 AM, boccelounge said:

I'm really enjoying the [REDACTED] out of this.  Nice craft, and even better characterization. Thanks-- looking forward to more.

First up, thanks and glad you are enjoying this.  I've been a bit behind on getting stuff done as I switch gears IRL, but I'll try to get up the next chapter soon.  Imgur isn't behaving for me, but I don't really have many pictures for the next part - the Vostok capsule from Tantares doesn't have an IVA and its a 6 day long space flight.  Launch was no different from before (only it launched form the KSC).  

Working on my next generation launchers (Soyuz, Atlas, and Tital) though not quite balanced right - also working on some pie in the sky dreams for the post Mun day (Van Bruan had big dreams, why not Konstantin and Van Kermon?)


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KOSMO Chapter 6: 6 days, 72 nights.


Day 1:  

Orbit achieved.  It feels amazing to be back in Zero Gee especially after all of Valeri's comments about how much I eat.  I am not chubby, I'm in fighting shape.  If you ask me some of those smarty heads could do with some push-ups.  Oops... she's part of the team that's going to be listening to these logs.  ...  ... ... .  Yeah, I meant all of that so lets keep going.
Veterok 7's capsule pressure is holding.  I am removing my suit now and... ew... why does the entire thing smell like garlic?  Did the cleaning team eat one of Serge's home cooked meals before going over this thing.  I mean, they are tasty but phew... Not like I can open a window.  Speaking of food, I should probably be taking out the first bit of NOMS.  Lets see I've got, orange, green, other green, suspiciously brown, off pink, very pink, red, and blue.  What food is blue?  Is anything we ever eat blue?  I'm trying blue because I've got plenty of them.  Apparently blue is vaguely berry flavored sugar.  I get two tubes of NOMS per meal, so lets go with other green.  Oh, okay... spinach paste.  Wouldn't be bad with some garlic... guess I just need to breath in through my nose while I eat.  Seems I should be thanking Serge after all.

I've done some numbers up here and on this 6 day mission I should be able to see around 72 sunsets and sunrises, or I would if I could keep the window pointed that way and stay awake.  I'm thinking we need a better word for "Day" while we're up here.  Can't think of one though.


Okay... so after speaking with Serge through the new communication satalites, which are awesome, I've got a big complaint for the tech crew.  6 days endurance testing without a bathroom?  I heard rumors that the Mercutio has some sort of vacuum tube system which is frightening sounding but also sounds worlds better than - use the empty Noms containers and try not to miss any... they do know that stuff floats up here right?

Mulch.  Yeah, you heard me, I said Mulch.

Well, dinner was orange and off pink.  This was orange-ish drink and, well it could have been anything because it tasted like chicken.  Not good chicken mind you, but that sort of boiled chickeny flavor that we say tastes like chicken because we don't want to say "mystery meat."  Apparently I need to record what the flavors are because ground control doesn't actually know.  No one bothered eating any of it after the animal testing stage.  Fantastic.  Still, the menu might not be all that awesome but the view is extraordinary.  I'd eat here again.  Well, I mean, if I had the choice not to I'd still eat here again.


Day 2:  

I've figured out that if I give the pod some spin then I can attract things to the walls where it is easier to clean it off.  I'm very thankful for the garlic smell now.  Have to block the window when I sleep, and when using the spin, otherwise I get very dizzy.  Get dizzy with the spin anyway, but not too bad.

Had a Green and a Very Pink.  Very pink appears to have been Ham in a past life and I think Green was what people would think apples taste like if only ever drank Cider.  Not a bad combination all told.  Sleeping up here was weird, you sort of float into things a lot.  I wound up anchoring myself in the command chair for the night but it wasn't too comfortable.  I think I need to secure my arms and legs when I sleep.

One thing that doesn't get old though is the view.  I've watched the day side of Kerbin slip by majestically several times now.  I can't see any boarders down there, just one big, beautiful ball of home.

Final note to the Engineering crew - please note that if your Kosmonauts have eaten before the voyage then the amount of mulch produced does not equal the amount of NOMS ingested.  I used some extra bags that were on board for something to take care of that.  Future crews would be very thankful if you remember that in the future.

Lunch was the Red and Suspiciously Brown flavors which gave us what I think was cherry medicine with sugar and very cooked beef.  I ate them at the same time so I'm not sure which is which.  With all of the food being these paste tubes, I'm very happy for my water rations though would prefer a bit more to drink and less to eat next time.  I think all of the flavors are recorded so I won't report dinner.


Day 3:  

I've found a wonderful new part of "things float."  If I let my water rations out they float in the air and I can chase them with a straw!  Its the most fun I've had in days.  Need more water supplies.

I've had plenty of rest up here but it does seem like I'm just not sleeping well.  I feel tired and groggy a lot.  Its not just sleepy headed though, My arms and legs feel tired even though they barely need to do anything.  I think I'm a bit taller too.


Day 4:  

The menu is starting to get old.  I've got a lot of Red left which was a bad choice looking back.  I thought I'd try to avoid it because I didn't like it as much but now I'll wind up with two for dinner and one for each meal if I'm not careful.

Still love the view.

Miss gravity, give it a hug for me.


Day 5:  

Power levels are okay but dropping a bit, the fuel cells are running out of fuel.  At current consumption the service module will run out just before the end of the mission which is great work but - couldn't we build for redundancy in the future?

I'm definitely feeling less fit and I really, really want to move around.  Say hi to Gravity, hope to feel ya soon.


Day 6:

I think I'm falling for Gravity, well that and the de-orbit burn.  Yay for Gravity.

Um... Gravity sure is clingy.  I sure hope the parachute still works.



Dear Valeri,

With the success of Veterok I'm committing my design notes for future programs to these letters which will be sealed and delivered to you upon my retirement.  I've never been good at talking with people but in our time working together I feel as though I now what what it might be like to have a daughter.

The R-7 and R-7E will not continue to be powerful enough for the next phase of our project.  The sketch below is of a yet unnamed rocket and orbiter I imagine to be our workhorse in LKO for the forseeable future:


From top to bottom - there is a LES system much like what KASE designed for Mercutio.  An Orbital module much like the Veterok probe only containing a full flight computer so that the pilots do not need to take control often.  The return capsule, re-designed to save on heat shielding.  The Service Module with enough supplies for a crew of 2 for 6 days.  The ideal design contains Linus's photovolic panels for power, but a fuel cell reaction would do as well.

Under that is a scaled up R-7E, but larger in all respects.  We will be working on this together, but I include it so that you know the other letters are genuine.

Next I include a dream neither I nor you are likely to live to see - a reusable interplanetary ship for missions to Duna.  I've wanted to sent a kerbal there since Reading P.K. Bell's Waring Worlds about the tragic battle between Ike and Dres which left Duna stained red and the survivors fleeing to Kerbin.  I know this is silly fiction like Bell's Transparent Kerbal and Time Warp Machine but it sometimes a fantasy is worth allowing your mind to wander for.

This is the Space Quest, a sketch of a Deep Space Vehicle.  I based it off of a submarine from a comic book I stole from Von Kermon back before the war.


The nose should be a docking port as well, but I had already drawn in when I realized that.  The large sections in the middle are hollow with mechanized doors for stowing lander and possibly even colony support.  The entire ship should spin creating mock gravity similar to what Valentina's notes described. Two command decks are in the front of the ship and the main habitats, and labs are in the middle.  The Engines... I don't know if anything like them really exists... I imagined something very efficient but with low thrust.  Using the heat of the ship to pre-heat the fuel.  Sadly, that's only a theory.  Nothing we know of would create enough heat on its own to make the kind of difference I'd want. 

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KASE Chapter 6:  I burn, therefore I am.

Dear Bill,

This is your brother.  I heard the Descartes launch vehicle has been finished and with a near perfect balance of thrust to weight and Delta V.  I heard Linus's photovolic tech finally got developed which is great.  We're working on something called a [Re-].[dact].[ed]. Its not my project though.  That one is Dr. Marie Kermie's, she's our specialist in all things [Redacted].  Wish you were here, we could use someone with your skills in [Redacted] for containing then [Redacted] so that it doesen't [redacted] prematurely.

Also, let Jeb know that things are going well with me and Becka.  Seems that old flame hadn't burned out so much as been deprived of oxidizer if you catch my meaning.

Can't wait to tell you all about [Vigorously Redacted].  One last thing, could you ask Jeb to stop drawing black lines all over your letters... it really makes them hard to read.

-Your Brother,

Bob Kerman

Wherner felt the need to puff out his chest as he walked by Konstantin and Valeri in the KSC canteen.  The Descartes was ready to launch and it was a masterpiece.  "Hallo Doctor Konstantin."

Konstantin sighed when he saw the smug look on his rival's face.  "I heard you finally got your Descartes rocket built.  Is it still built out of solid rocket fuel like your original designs?"

"Wait, you two know each other?"  Valeri asked raising an eyebrow at her mentor and his rival.

"Before the war Wherner was one of my students."  Konstantin said before looking back at Whenrer.  "His original rocket designs were... eccentric."

"He wanted to build a rocket out of solid propeleant... that's"

"Ingenious.  Ze Rocket vould say to ze stars, 'I burn zerefor I am.'"  Wherner said a little defensively.  "Ja, it didn't vork.  Ze dream became a thing more real and useful."

Valeri stared at Wherner and Konstantin.  She recognized mutual respect and a small flare of competition where she'd expected a large pyre of competition and a mutual loathing.  In a quiet part of her she realized that both of these Kerbs only really cared about touching the stars.

"I would be honored to come to the launch Wherner, I heard you balanced your thrust on Descartes well?"

"Nein, it is perfection."  Whener said with a big wide smile.

The launch itself was quite a show.  The Descartes' starting burn causes almost can't lift the rocket and so it hangs in mid air, dust and smoke blasting away from it while the roar shakes the foundations of the space center.  Slowly it begins to climb, creeping its way into the heavens.  The more it burns, the lighter it gets, the more it climbs.  The maneuvering thrusters keep it locked on its gravity turn when the weight begins to cause problems.

Jeb later reporter that he'd nearly made orbit, at 84,000x30,000 projected course when he separated Mercutio.  The orbiter performed even better than it had on sub-orbital flights and cruised to a gentle splash down off the coast after a full day in orbit.



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KOSMO Chapter 7 - Kometa Down

In the months following the successful launch of KASE's Mercutio Descartes, KOSMO worked tirelessly putting up more satellites and Veterok missions.  It soon became clear though that to advance their understanding of Kerbaled spaceflight they would need a scientist in space.  Yelena was equally excitated and incapable of piloting Veterok.  In time Konstantin managed to get project Kometa approved.

Kometa would use a scaled up R-7 capable of launching a 2 person  extended duration orbiter with fuel and thrust to spare for heavier payloads later on.  The orbiter would feature 3 modules, an orbital module with extra living space and flight computers capable of automated flight; a service module with fuel, life-support, and scientific equipment; and a new 2 kerbal capsule.  Valentina would supervise the first Kometa flight to ensure the computer was capable of piloting future missions after which Valeri was set to go back up with Yelena for an extended duration test.  After fierce negotiation KOSMO had managed to purchase the tech behind "The Bill" - KASE's space toliet.  It was rumored that inventor Bill Kerman was not happy about its unofficial name.  Some work had been done to ensure the two Kosmonauts would "Fit the Bill."


When the day of the launch came, Both Yelena and Valentina were all smiles.  It was hard to see whose smile was larger, but there was a bounce to Yelena's step which hadn't been there before.

"This is Serge in mission control.  How are you looking Kometa?"

"Yelena and are are go go go!"  Valentina chirped through the speakers in the crowded mission control office.

"Go go go!"  Yelena echoed.

"Roger that, all systems are ready over here.  You are at T-miuns 3 minutes to launch."

"Serge, we should abort."  Valeri said tersely one the coms were switched off.  "We haven't done boilerplating or entry tests with Kometa, we haven't even tested the launch."

"We did extensive material testing and simulations."  Serge said though his grim face said he agreed with her.  "And this should be a simple up, orbit, down."

"I still don't like it."

"Neither do I, but Ivan said he's got people looking into something KASE is calling Pleiades  which outstrips Veterok and could match Kometa if we're not careful.  Kommand ordered us to step up launches even at the cost of tests."

"Fine, but a single red light and we abort, yes?"

"Of course."

"Kometa, you are now T-minus 2 minutes."  Serge said flipping the coms back on.

The launch was perfectly smooth and Kometa reached a graceful orbit.

Sadly, that is where things began to turn.  Kometa's re-entry burn began too early causing them to come down into a range of mountains.  Radar did not pick up evidence of their chute opening.  KASE has offered to assist in the search and rescue missions with Jeb offering to coordinate with KOSMO's people in the air.  Ivan protested at first, but Serge agreed provided Gene give him operational command for the mission.

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I'll try to get the next update up soon.  I'm trying to avoid what @Kuzzter calls YAML (Yet Another Mission Launch) though with KASE being ready to go into Gemini analogues and KOSMO still testing early designs for Soyuz that might be a bit difficult.


I'm probably going to start jumping ahead in larger increments for a bit even if it means waiting a bit longer to make a bigger post.  I would like missions at Duna when 1.1 hits with stock only return vehicles so that the crews can come back since most of my mods will stop working for a while then.

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