HSP: Mission complete.

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@RocketMan-Explorer It's not dead, just idle. I tend to play a game obsessively for a few months, then get kind of tired of it and go play something else. (Right now I'm playing XCOM.) But with a game I like as much as KSP, something or other will always get me thinking about it and I'll get back in the mood and come back and play it again. So, barring unforeseen events, I will be back eventually, I just don't know when.

There's no direct successor to the Defiance in the sense of a small (4-6 kerman) shuttlecraft--in operational service it was replaced by the Dauntless, which carries 20 passengers so it can effectively complete 5 Defiance missions in one go. For some reason I haven't had much luck with smaller SSTOs in the latest versions of KSP (no idea why, everybody else still seems to be able to get them to work) and it pretty much always makes more sense to send a fully-reusable Dauntless instead of several mostly-expendable Defiances.

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Anyone notice Defiance Flight 38 parodied STS-135 almost exactly? I still feel sad that they retired the Space Shuttle, and I felt pretty sad they retired the Defiance.

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Edited by NotAgain
Question already answered.

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And we're back, yet again. This may be it: with Daring 7 on its way to Laythe and Daring 8 waiting for the window back from Eve, the only destinations left are Tylo and Jool before my original goal for this save will be--finally!--done. After that, I'm not sure--maybe I'll keep playing this save, maybe install OPM and explore that, maybe I'll start another project. We will see.

Boring mod stuff:


1.2.2 is still working fine, 1.4/MH has a few bells and whistles I'd like (especially Kerbal parachutes) but nothing worth going through the headache of trying to get this save upgraded so I'm not going to bother, at least for now. I might reevaluate once the flags-and-footprints goal is done, however, especially if Kopernicus is available by then so OPM is an option.

No functional mod changes, but one cosmetic: I've installed KS3P, the post-processing mod (which seems to work fine in 1.2.2). I had meant to use it instead of GEM FX, but I actually kind of like the way they look together. I'll probably be messing with the settings on them for a while, though, so the look of my screenshots might be a little inconsistent for the next few updates. Most of this update is still with the old, pre-KS3P setup though.

TL;DR still in 1.2.2, added KS3P.



@RocketMan-Explorer I was also sad to see the end of Defiance--which as I've said before is one of my favorite designs I've ever built--and I probably would've kept using it were it not for the time factor. Although each individual Defiance mission was pretty easy, with six stations to keep up with, they added up to the point where I was spending most of my time on crew rotations. The Dauntless can do five of those missions all at once, which is a serious time-saver.

Boring financial stuff (Dauntless SSTO vs. Defiance mini-shuttle):


In-character, of course, the Dauntless seems to make more financial sense--though, curiously, not as much as you might think. On the one hand, a Dauntless mission costs only about 26,000 funds (7,000 in fuel plus the vehicle's cost somewhat arbitrarily amortized over 10 flights), or 1300 per passenger, while a Defiance flight costs 38,000 (36,000 for the booster and fuel plus the vehicle's cost, again amortized over 10 flights), or 9500 per passenger. Unsurprisingly, on per-passenger cost-to-orbit basis only, the fully-reusable system is cheaper by a factor of 8. (And that's with the cost of the vehicle. Normally when talking about SSTOs in KSP we only count the cost of the fuel, since that's all that actually matters from a strict gameplay point of view. Considering fuel costs only, a Dauntless mission costs 350 funds per passenger, but I think amortizing the vehicle cost makes a bit more real-world sense, since otherwise a fully-reusable vehicle can be arbitrarily expensive and still be considered cheaper per passenger than even a bare-bones expendable system.)

On the other hand, the Defiance carried passengers directly to their destinations (except Duna) whereas the Dauntless relies entirely on the Starbus fleet to carry its passengers beyond low Kerbin orbit, which requires frequent Super Aqualung tanker missions (315,000 each) to keep the Starbuses fueled up (and never mind the cost of the Starbuses themselves). Since the Aqualungs are used for other things too, it's hard to work out exactly how much this adds up to--with a conservative guess that one Super Aqualung is needed per three Dauntless missions, that adds about 5200 funds per kerbal to the total cost of the Dauntless/Starbus/Aqualung system, which actually makes it only marginally cheaper than Defiance (6500 vs. 9500 per passenger). A less conservative figure might actually make Dauntless more expensive, but then again Defiance also relied on Starbus/Aqualung for access to Duna, which mitigates the difference somewhat. And of course if we ever get Mun or Minmus fuel refineries going, the need for Super Aqualungs will evaporate.

All in all, between in-character finances and out-of-character time savings, Dauntless is definitely the better system--but it is interesting to discover that a mostly-expendable system like Defiance can actually compete favorably with fully-reusable systems.

TL;DR: Dauntless is cheaper, but not by much.



Cargo shuttle Dauntless 2002 returns to Kerbin at the end of mission CS-9, carrying a solar array retrieved from space station Patience II.


Dauntless CS-8, 9, and 10: Patience II disassembly.


One project that's been on the Space Program's back burner for a while is the dismantling and return to Kerbin of Patience II, the first permanent space station (and the general decluttering of near-Kerbin space). With no new interplanetary missions on the horizon for a while, the administration decided it was time to go ahead with the plan.



So the engineers rolled Dauntless 2002 Mortimer's Dream out of its hangar for the first time in a few years and sent it up on mission CS-8 to begin the disassembly process.



The shuttle rendezvoused with the twenty-year-old station and deployed an orbital tug to help maneuver the station modules into its payload bay.



The tug transferred the station's docking node and lab module to Mortimer's cargo bay, then returned to the station; it will continue to be used throughout the process.



The shuttle, meanwhile, returned to KSC with the two modules safely in its payload bay.



On the next mission, CS-9, Mortimer's Dream recovered one of the station's two solar arrays...



...while its new sister-ship, Dauntless 2004, retrieved the other array on mission CS-10. Five further missions will be flown in coming months to recover the station's remaining modules (and the tug).


OOC: Obviously there's no real gameplay distinction between Dauntless 2002 and 2004--they're both just craft files, the same as expendable rockets--but I kind of miss keeping track of specific vehicles with Kerbal Construction Time, so I'm just going to pretend we actually need more than one of each type.

Also, I believe the picture above of 2004's reentry is the only one in this post that actually uses the new KS3P/GEM FX combination. We'll see more of it in the next update.


Lucidity 6, Sanity 5, Clarity 1: Tylo probes.


Although kermanned interplanetary missions are on hold pending the return of Daring 7 and 8, the engineers are already looking ahead to the next objective: Tylo. While Jool's largest satellite is relatively well-understood scientifically, the Space Program has very limited experience actually landing on it--the only probe to do so so far, Lucidity 1, was only barely successful and suffered substantial damage. With this in mind, the administration approved a series of probes to investigate the moon and gain experience operating there before committing to a kermanned expedition.



A Brillig III rocket launched Clarity 1, a heavy communications satellite which will enter a polar elliptical orbit to provide coverage to Tylo's northern hemisphere.



Another Brillig III launched Sanity 5, a mapping orbiter, which will search for subsurface ore deposits which may be mined for surface refueling of future kermanned landers.



Finally, a Brillig IV launched Lucidity 6, a lander, which will transmit data from the surface and help the engineers gain experience in designing spacecraft to land in the high gravity of Jool's third satellite. All three spacecraft will arrive in the Joolian system just over two years after their launch.


S400 Resolute test series: a new utility shuttle.


While the S210 Dauntless heavy passenger shuttle has been operating smoothly for the past several years, the engineers have been puzzling over the problem of building a smaller passenger shuttle for missions that don't require the Dauntless's full capacity. They came up with a number of concepts over the years, but all of the ones that worked at all either had serious handling problems or unacceptably tight fuel margins. Finally, after years of frustrating failures, they rolled out the H-113, which they insist is a highly sophisticated and extremely complex machine and absolutely not...


...a chibi space shuttle. It costs three times as much as the earlier, more economical designs, but it's still much cheaper than the Dauntless with only four passengers. On its first flight--mission KS-6--it proved to have excellent handling and plenty of delta-v to spare in a 250-kilometer standard orbit.



The administration approved the type for operational use, and the revised single-engine H-113B, now under the production designation S400 Resolute and wearing serial number 4001, completed its second orbital flight, KS-7, in advance of operational missions.


Crew rotations and Kerbin system ops.



Starbus Phoebe departed Duna station Permanence for Kerbin.



Madette and Gwenlanna took LC-1 to Minmus to collect data for Mun station Persistence.



The new S400 shuttle lifted off on its first operational mission, KS-8, with the next crew of Permanence--P2 Eiliel, E3 Joelin, S2 Jenra, and S2 Berelle.



On paper, the new ship is Resolute 4001, but somebody called it Cutie and now, much to the annoyance of the PR department and the engineers both, none of the kerbonauts will call it anything else. The shuttle transferred the outbound Permanence crew to Starbus Elizabeth in Kerbin orbit, where it remained to wait for Starbus Phoebe to arrive with the returning crew.


Perception and Beamish I: comsats and a new launch vehicle.


While commercial communications satellites provide decent coverage in the Kerbin system, and old probes continue to relay signals from other planets, the engineers have long wanted to build a proper satellite communications network, with no gaps and reserved solely for the Space Program's use. Unfortunately, they were never quite able to convince the administration that such a project would be worth the (potentially considerable) cost. After many lost arguments, they decided that rather than trying to make the comnet project sound more useful, they might have better luck if they just made it cheaper.

So they developed a new, low-cost launch vehicle, the Beamish I:


Derived from Manxome tankage but lacking an upper stage, the tiny rocket is powered by five 48-7S engines. It's designed to put satellites into Kerbin orbit at the lowest possible cost for an expendable system, and indeed a single launch costs only 3,862 funds (plus the cost of the payload). Of course, it can only orbit half a ton or so, and even that has to circularize with its own propulsion, but that's more than enough to put a simple comsat into kerbostationary orbit. There is even some talk of using the Beamish for interplanetary missions, launching a probe powered by a still-theoretical solar electric engine.



Ion engines still being on the drawing board, however, for now it's relegated to launching the Perception series of kerbostationary comsats.



Perception 1, 2, 3, and 4 were successfully placed at 90-degree intervals in Kerbin orbit, providing coverage to the entire planet except the polar regions, for a total program cost of 24,528 funds--less than the cost of a single interplanetary probe on a Manxome VI.

What the engineers "forgot" to mention to in their report to the administration is that with a range of 5,000 kilometers, the Perception satellites' HG-5 antennas barely have enough power to contact each other, let alone anyone else, rendering the entire system largely useless. Still, the program successfully proved the new launch vehicle, positioning of a stationary satellite network, and getting stuff past the admins' radar, all of which will be useful for future projects, so even among themselves, the engineers count it as a success.


Edited by Hotaru

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13 hours ago, Hotaru said:



On paper, the new ship is Resolute 4001, but somebody called it Cutie and now, much to the annoyance of the PR department and the engineers both, none of the kerbonauts will call it anything else.

AWWWWW! I love it!

Welcome back, @Hotaru. Good to see you.

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Daring 7 approaches Laythe.


Crew rotations and Kerbin system ops.



Dauntless 2002 Mortimer's Dream flew mission CS-11, continuing the dismantling of retired  space station Patience II.



CS-11 retrieved the station's habitat and observation module, leaving only the core, node, and instrument modules left to recover. A kermanned shuttle mission--the last to visit Patience II in space--will recover the station's solar arrays before three more cargo flights bring back the remaining components and the orbital tug.



Starbus Elizabeth arrived at Duna with Expedition Permanence 7.



Starbus Phoebe returned to Kerbin orbit with the Duna station's previous crew.



Resolution 4001 Cutie returned the crew to Kerbin, completing its first operational mission.


Daring 8: departure from Eve.



During the long wait for the return window to Kerbin, the crew of Daring 8 were busy processing the data Erithis brought back from the surface.



The transfer window turned out to be a very sub-optimal one, requiring Famous Last Words to make a periapsis kick and apopapsis plane change before a final burn on the dark side of the planet sent the orbiter on a trajectory back to Kerbin. While the ship is currently on course for a direct reentry, the KSC engineers are optimistic that it may be able to enter orbit instead, allowing its science data to be processed further at one of the Kerbin system stations.


Daring 7: arrival at Laythe.



Two years after its departure from Kerbin, Daring 7--now unofficially named Sunshine on Laythe--approached the Joolian system.



With a comfortable delta-v margin for return to Kerbin, the spacecraft made a propulsive capture directly into an eccentric Laythe orbit.



It then completed a plane-change maneuver near apoapsis to bring its orbit into the plane of the Joolian system; mission scientist Kathelyn performed an EVA to collect observations from high orbit before the circularization burn.



Once Sunshine on Laythe was safely in low orbit of Jool's innermost satellite, LC-4 undocked from the orbiter and headed for the surface.



Aboard the landing craft were pilot P2 Chadgan and junior scientist S1 Vertine.



Although the engineers had had some concerns about the Bravado lander's stability, LC-4 entered the atmosphere with no trouble and deployed its parachutes.



A brief engine burn set it on the surface of Laythe.



Vertine: first Kerman on Laythe!





Edited by Hotaru

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Well, I've hardly been back to KSP a week and I'm already getting severely tired of stupid stock limitations. So I'm going to compromise and start using KIS (for minor tasks like removing the solar arrays on Patience II) and MechJeb (mostly for automating routine maneuvers). The former is in this update, the latter is not but will be in the next one. I still don't have KAS, so no game-changing stuff like struts or fuel hoses, and I'll probably hold off using MechJeb for fancy stuff like automatic landings and transfer burns, so I don't expect either of these things to actually change the way I play much--but hopefully they will help maintain my sanity in the face of the bazillionth identical circularization burn.



Vertine and Chadgan pose with LC-4 and the mission flag on the surface of Laythe.


Daring 7: Liftoff from Laythe.



Chadgan and Vertine stayed on the surface of Laythe through the afternoon...



...the sunset...



...the night...



...and the sunrise.



After a full circuit around Jool, they boarded LC-4 and lifted off to rendezvous with the orbiting Sunshine on Laythe.



During the ascent, however, it became increasingly obvious that the lander wasn't going to have enough fuel to make it into orbit. Realizing this, Chadgan turned the ship around and fired a retro burn to send LC-4 back toward land.



Since the parachutes weren't re-packed on the surface, the landing craft has to land on engine power only, which it was never designed to do.



Fortunately, however, LC-4 had just enough fuel left to set down again on the shore of Laythe. Chadgan planted a flag to mark the spot of the unplanned second landing; he and Vertine will have to wait about three years for a larger landing craft to be sent from Kerbin to retrieve them.


(OOC: I honestly don't know what happened here. The delta-v map claims 2900 m/s of vacuum delta-v is needed to make Laythe orbit from the surface; LC-4 has 3600. I figured 700 m/s was a pretty generous margin, but after a dozen or so attempts, the best I was ever able to do was still about 400 m/s short of orbit. I have three theories: that KER isn't taking into account the angled engines, that the lander's relatively low thrust-to-weight ratio is costing it a lot of delta-v in gravity losses, and that the delta-v map figure is simply wrong (or at any rate hopelessly optimistic). I suspect some combination of the three is the actual reason.

In any event, I have to admit this setback was a bit disheartening. I'd thought we were down to two destinations left--Jool and Tylo--but now I basically have to do a whole other Laythe mission as well. This was a big factor in convincing me to go ahead and start using MechJeb to expedite things.)


KS-9: crew rotation.


(OOC: I'm always saying I'm going to stop posting pictures of these, but somehow I never actually do. The fact that they're my only chance to show off some of my coolest designs--the Dauntless, the Starbus, and the torus stations--may be a contributing factor.)



While the engineers puzzled over the Laythe problem, Dauntless 2103--formerly 2101, renumbered for consistency with the serial numbers of other types and unofficially christened Profit Margin--lifted off on mission KS-9, a regular Kerbin system crew rotation, commanded by veteran pilot P5 Vasya.



It first stopped at Kerbin station Immutability, dropping off P4 Janbe, E3 Jochelle, S4 Erigee, and S3 Temy and picking up the previous crew.



It then rendezvoused with Starbus Phoebe; Vasya and the crews for the Mun and Minmus stations transferred to the starbus while the returning Immutability crew stayed aboard Profit Margin.



Phoebe dropped off P2 Jate, E3 Phoberta, S4 Gledia, and S3 Tangel at Mun station Persistence.



P5 Burmin, E4 Paty, S3 Debina, and S3 Alvis took LC-1 down to Base Constancy.



It may or may not be an coincidence that Burmin--whose last command resulted in the loss of Starbus Valerie on Minmus--got assigned the smallest and most uncomfortable of the five Kerbin system stations. He redeemed himself somewhat in the eyes of the administration, however, by making a perfect landing (which is to say, without toppling over) right next to the base.



Once it had picked up the previous crew of Base Constancy, Phoebe flew to Minmus and dropped off P3 Virlina, E5 Barsen, S3 Thomptrey, and S2 Harfen at Minmus station Perpetuity.



It then landed at Base Tenacity to deliver P3 Gemliana, E3 Jantrice, S4 Rodnard, and S2 Addon.



After a series of aerobraking passes, Phoebe arrived back in Kerbin orbit.



Vasya and the downbound station crews transferred to Profit Margin for the return to KSC.


Aqualung 23: Kerbin orbit cleanup operations.



With the Patience II disassembly process well underway, the engineers turned their attention to the problem of low-Kerbin-orbit debris. Rather than build a dedicated ship to deorbit the larger debris, they decided to reactivate two old asteroid-retrieval spacecraft, Aqualung 23 and Aqualung 24.



The reactivated Aqualung 23 successfully deorbited a propulsion module left behind by Daring 6...



...and an old Frumious first stage which the engineers believe was used two decades earlier to launch Aqualung 8.

The two tankers will continue to be used to deorbit large debris, while kermanned shuttle missions retrieve smaller items. Debris in higher orbit is considered a lower priority, but the administration hopes to have the entire Kerbin system cleared within a decade if possible.


Daring 8 and KS-10: return from Eve and Patience II disassembly work.



Half a year since its departure from Eve, Daring 8 arrived back in the Kerbin system.



The ship spent most of its fuel capturing into a wide elliptical orbit of Kerbin.



A weeks-long series of aerobraking passes brought it down to a 150x150 kilometer orbit, where it used the last of its fuel to circularize.



Meanwhile, Dauntless 2103 Profit Margin lifted off again on mission KS-10, in a combined mission to Daring 8 and space station Patience II. On board were mission commander P3 Lemlock, engineer E2 Crisdia, and rookie pilot P0 Asrine as well as a four-kerman crew for the Daring 8 data processing mission.



Profit Margin's first stop was Daring 8; it picked up the returning crew and dropped off P4 Gilbree, E2 Gergun, S3 Tambe, and S1 Kevin, who will remain aboard for a year and a half processing the Eve data still remaining in the lab. The shuttle also picked up some unprocessed data, which will eventually be sent to Mun station Persistence.



With the Daring 8 crew safely aboard, Profit Margin then rendezvoused with space station Patience II, now reduced to just three modules and the orbital tug. The crew of KS-10 are the first kermen to visit the station since the last regular crew departed aboard Defiance 25, as well as the last ever to visit it in space.



Using a newly-invented portable screwdriver, flight engineer Crisdia carefully removed the station's eight secondary solar panels and stored them aboard the Dauntless. The tug's arrays--which, unlike those on the station, are retractable--will continue to provide power during the disassembly process.



The shuttle then made a small detour to intercept a small piece of debris, which turned out to be a separator left over from Audacity D-4, one of the missions that assembled Patience II over twenty years earlier. Crisdia performed another EVA to bring the separator aboard the Dauntless.



Profit Margin then rendezvoused with Super Aqualung 16 to drop off the Eve data and take on fuel for landing (having used up its margin on the long series of rendezvous and orbital altitude changes). The data will be stored aboard the Aqualung until the next Kerbin system crew rotation. 



Finally, the shuttle returned to Kerbin, the solar arrays, separator, and Daring 8 crew all safely aboard--including...



Erithis: first kerman to return from the surface of Eve!




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About your laythe problem - my guess is that it's the angled engines and gravity losses. It could also be that the dV map doesn't factor in any aero losses but you should still be able to buffer that with the spare 700 m/s. The angled engines are definitely not doing you any favors though, even if they look really keewwwl.

Edited by qzgy

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After a bit of investigation, here's what I've worked out:

LC-4 had 3600 m/s of vacuum delta-v whereas the map says 2900 m/s is required, so it should have made orbit with 700 m/s remaining--yet in fact it came up 400 m/s short, so somewhere we're losing 1100 m/s.

It looks like the angled engines cost a little over 100 m/s, which isn't nothing but still leaves 1000 m/s unaccounted for.

Its sea-level TWR on Laythe is 1.31, which is a bit low but still within what I normally consider acceptable for a launch vehicle. Obviously this will result in some gravity losses, but one would think that 2900 m/s would already be taking into account normal gravity losses, so only the difference between LC-4 and a higher-TWR vehicle should matter. I'm skeptical that this alone could account for the remaining 1000 m/s of "missing" delta-v, but without more testing I can't prove it for sure.

A third possibility occurs to me: that LC-4 is suffering from aerodynamic losses. It certainly looks aerodynamic--and I've made sure that each part is connected to a same-sized part above it (there's a Rockomax flat adapter clipped in between the top of the lander can and the upper fuel tank, for instance)--but it does have the two angled nacelles producing extra drag, and I imagine the flat bottom and associated exposed 3.75m node aren't helping either. Again, I question whether this could account for a full kilometer per second, but between aero and gravity losses I suppose it's possible. It's either that or the delta-v map figure is just plain wrong, at least for a vertical-launch vehicle like LC-4.

For the rescue lander, I'm just going to overdesign it to the point where it can make orbit on Kerbin--I figure that should be good enough to orbit Laythe as well, and never mind the delta-v map. We'll see what happens.

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Did you check to see is there were any problems with the individual part tweaks?

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On ‎04‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 6:19 AM, Hotaru said:



Damn, that's a brilliant image. That Starbus is looking more than a bit 'Star Trek'.


On ‎04‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 6:19 AM, Hotaru said:


And, wow. That's all I have to say. Wow.

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Yay Hotaru is back! And those screenshots look absolutely gorgeous!.... :o (I thought Daring-7 was the best one) Vertene and Chadgan kind of look like Parzival from Ready Player One.... don't worry, I won't give any spoilers...

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Hey @Hotaru, could you give me the craft file for Defiance? I've tried to make a craft that looks like Defiance, but it always fails.

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@RocketMan-Explorer Here you go, with apologies for the delay: Defiance Shuttlepod craft file (Dropbox link)

Instructions are in the craft description. I believe I've removed all non-stock parts (should just be the decals) so this should work fine in a stock game. Only tested in 1.2.x but I see no reason it wouldn't work in 1.3 or 1.4 as well.



Dauntless 2002 Mortimer's Dream in formation with retired space station Patience II during mission CS-12.


CS-11, LLC-4, CS-12: Kerbin system ops and a new flight computer.


After a quarter-century of listening to pilots complaining about manually executing routine maneuvers, the KSC engineers created the AR-202, a self-contained flight computer capable of auto-executing basic maneuvers. Although they claim the AR-202 is theoretically able to complete an entire interplanetary mission from takeoff to touchdown on its own, they insist it is absolutely not self-aware or capable of commandeering spacecraft. They also insist it can be easily defeated removed with a portable screwdriver if necessary.



The first test unit was fitted to Dauntless 2004 for mission CS-11, to retrieve the node and instrument modules from station Patience II.



The AR-202 successfully guided 2004 through ascent and rendezvous despite some problems putting up with compensating for the Dauntless's slightly offset engines. After the tug had berthed the two modules in the shuttle's payload bay, however, the unit got confused developed guidance problems and had to be put in time out switched off until reentry. 2004 landed safely and the modules were recovered, but the administration remained skeptical of the AR-202 system.



Somehow, the engineers convinced the administration to give the AR-202 another chance, and a second unit was fitted to landing craft LLC-4, launched on a Brillig III for Minmus station Perpetuity.



The unit on LLC-4 was the first fitted to a kermanned spacecraft, the administration (and the station crew) having agreed to this only after the engineers reiterated their assurances that it could be switched off or removed if it tried to take over the space station developed any problems.



To everyone's relief, however, the unit behaved itself performed well, and LLC-4 made the Space Program's first fully autonomous rendezvous and docking with station Perpetuity in high Minmus orbit.



The administration flatly refused to allow it to attempt an automated landing, however, so when station commander Virlina and scientist Harfen took it down to the surface to collect data from the highlands and midlands for processing, they set LLC-4 down manually. The delivery flight and surface excursion went completely without incident, and the administration gave their tentative approval for the units to be fitted on other kermanned spacecraft.



Despite the problems experienced on CS-11, another AR-202 was fitted on Dauntless 2002 Mortimer's Dream for mission CS-12. 



There was no sign of the behavior guidance problems experienced by the CS-11; the unit controlled 2002 through ascent, circularization, rendezvous, deorbit, and reentry without serious trouble, although it still complained about experienced some difficulty with the offset thrust.


Duna ops & crew rotations.



The crew of station Permanence took LC-2 on the Space Program's first mission to Duna's highlands, the highest elevation of that planet visited so far.



A few weeks later they boarded Starbus Elizabeth for the return trip to Kerbin.



Meanwhile, Resolution 4001 Cutie (retrofitted with an AR-202 unit) took off with the Duna station's next crew, P2 Madette, E3 Daphthy, S4 Valcee, and S2 Addan.



Daphthy performed an EVA to fit another AR-202 onto Starbus Phoebe.



Once the unit was confirmed working, Phoebe departed for Duna while Cutie remained in orbit to await the returning crew.



Meanwhile, a Vorpal III rocket launched Super Aqualung 18 on a slower, more efficient transfer to Duna to provide fuel for the next few Starbus flights and surface excursions.


Daring 7B/ALC-1: Laythe rescue lander.


With the crew of Daring 7 landing craft LC-4 still stranded on Laythe, the engineers rushed to come up with a new lander design in time for the next launch window. Despite much scratching of heads and proposing of theories, they were unable to come up with an explanation as to why LC-4 fell so far short of its predicted performance. Speculation on the cause of the problem ranged from lower-than-anticipated thrust due to sabotage by krakens the lander's angled engines, to unexpectedly high air or gravity drag, to Laythe being occupied by a vengeful spirit having higher mass than previously believed, but without further testing it was impossible to determine the problem for sure.

So the engineers resorted to over-designing the rescue lander to the point where it could make orbit on Kerbin, the thinking being that no matter what the cause of the shortfall (as long as it wasn't the vengeful spirit thing), any vehicle that could orbit Kerbin should be able to orbit Laythe as well.

A wide range of designs were proposed, ranging from simple modifications to the basic Bravado LC type to multi-stage systems to ruggedized space planes. Unfortunately, most of these possibilities either lacked sufficient delta-v margin to keep the administration happy or were too heavy to safely land fully-fueled on an unprepared surface.

The only design that met all the requirements was the Daring ALC, a distant descendant of the Bravado LC powered by four dual-cycle Rapier engines previously developed--but ultimately not used--for the S400 light passenger shuttle program. The engines run in closed-cycle mode from liftoff through about Mach 1, then switch to air-breathing mode up to around Mach 4 before switching back to closed-cycle for the final push into orbit and circularization.


After initial trials showed that it had enough delta-v to achieve orbit on Kerbin (and therefore presumably on Laythe as well), a prototype unit was launched on a boosted Vorpal I to test its behavior during fully-fueled entry, descent, and landing.



The suborbital flight approximated the conditions the ship would encounter at Laythe; the prototype performed well during reentry and made a smooth landing.



With the system proven to their satisfaction, ALC-1 was launched on a Vorpal IIID rocket as Daring 7B.



It will arrive in the Joolian system just under two years after launch, land autonomously on Laythe, and (hopefully) bring the two stranded kerbonauts back to the Daring 7 orbiter.


Daredevil "Archibald:" Jool ascent vehicle.


Although the engineers had originally planned a series of tests for the Jool version of the Daredevil ascent vehicle along similar lines to those performed for the Eve version, it turned out accelerating a spacecraft at Kerbin to the speeds necessary to approximate an arrival at Jool was harder than actually sending the thing to Jool for real, and since the main expense was the launch vehicle it was hardly cheaper to send incomplete test units than complete spacecraft, so they decided to just launch an all-up test and see what happens.



Daredevil "Archibald," the Space Program's first attempt to return a payload from the deep atmosphere of Jool, went up on a Vorpal IIID rocket on a two-and-a-half-year slow transfer.



Despite sharing its name with the Eve ascent vehicle, the Jool Daredevil is actually almost a completely new spacecraft, made up of six stretched Eve Daredevil boosters surrounding a nuclear core and topped by a single-seat cabin derived from the Audacity reentry vehicle. Nobody seriously expects "Archibald" to work, but the engineers do anticipate getting a lot of useful information from seeing exactly in what manner it goes spectacularly wrong.


Lucidity, Sanity, Clarity: exploration of Tylo.



Relay satellite Clarity 1 arrived at Tylo and entered an eccentric polar orbit, providing coverage to the satellite's northern hemisphere.



Survey orbiter Sanity 5 captured into a low mapping orbit a few weeks later and surveyed Tylo for mineral deposits.



Finally, Lucidity 6 landed in the Galileo crater of Tylo's northern hemisphere, making the Space Program's first completely successful landing on Jool's largest satellite and, more importantly, establishing a practical figure for the amount of delta-v required for such a landing (3655 m/s). The engineers are confident experience gained from the Lucidity program will be useful in avoiding a repeat of the Daring 7 incident when it comes time for a kermanned expedition to Tylo.




P4 Kerzer, first kerman in orbit, one of the original 3 kerbonauts, and veteran of 15 space missions, notably Audacity 3, first orbit of Kerbin, Intrepidity 4, first fully successful Mun landing, Bravado 4, first kermanned visit to Ike, and Daring 4, first kermanned mission to Eeloo.

P5 Melxie, first kerman in space & first to set foot on the Mun, another of the original 3, and veteran of 20 space missions, notably Audacity 2, first kermanned mission to reach space, Intrepidity 3, first kermanned Mun landing, Bravado 5, first kermanned mission to Gilly, and Daring 5, first expedition to Moho.

E3 Chris, veteran of 8 space missions, notably Valor 5, first operational flight of the Valor mini-shuttle and first flight of multiple kerbonauts and Intrepidity 3, the first kermanned landing on the Mun.

S5 Eririne, first kerman to set foot on Bop and veteran of 8 space missions, notably Intrepidity 5, the first kermanned landing on Minmus, Defiance 3, first operational flight of the Defiance shuttlepod, and Daring 6, first kermanned mission to land on Vall, Bop, and Pol.

E3 Mitrie, veteran of 9 space missions, notably Intrepidity 4, the first fully successful kermanned Mun landing.

P4 Lodald, veteran of 11 space missions, notably Bravado 3, second kermanned landing on Duna, and Daring 4, first kermanned mission to Eeloo.


Edited by Hotaru

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Thanks for continuing to update, Hotaru! My favourite thread on the forums. When it's over do you think you'd be willing to compile the whole thing into a PDF and make it available for download?

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@Lithobrake This post covers most of year 30.

@Moss Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying it! Compiling the entire thread (even just my posts) into a single document would be a bit of a project, but on the other hand I actually wouldn't mind having such a document myself. So no promises, but I'll see what I can do when the time comes.



ALC-1 in Laythe orbit. 


Transience: exploration of Minmus.



The crew of Expedition Tenacity 3 took Mark IV rover Transience on an excursion to collect data from the Great Flats of Minmus.



The rover handled the roughly 100-kilometer trip without much difficulty.



Gemliana, Jantrice, Rodnard, and Addon collected data, samples, and observations from the Great Flats as well as the surrounding hills before returning to Base Tenacity. (OOC: Outbound trip was mostly with Bon Voyage but return leg was manual.)


KS-11, KS-12, KS-13: crew rotations.



Starbus Elizabeth arrived in Kerbin orbit from Duna; the downbound crew from station Permanence returned to Kerbin on Resolute 4001 Cutie.



Almost immediately, Cutie's new sister-ship, Resolute 4002, lifted off unkermanned on mission KS-12 to recover the crew of the Daring 8 data processing mission.



4002 rendezvoused with Daring 8 orbiter Famous Last Words; the DPM crew boarded the shuttle and returned to Kerbin, finally bringing to an end the last stage of the Space Program's first kermanned mission to the surface of Eve.



A few weeks later, Dauntless 2103 Profit Margin flew mission KS-13, a regular Kerbin system crew rotation, commanded by P3 Eiliel. Starting with the crews launched on KS-13, station tours will be extended from two years to three (a move the administration has been considering ever since the introduction of the more comfortable torus stations) and Mun base Constancy will be retired.



It stopped first at Kerbin station Immutability to drop off P3 Lemlock, E3 Rotine, S5 Ziggy, and S4 Johndo and pick up the previous crew.



It then rendezvoused with Starbus Elizabeth to transfer the crews for the Mun and Minmus; engineer Erithis installed an AR-202 unit on the Starbus before it departed for the Mun.



Elizabeth stopped at Mun station Persistence to drop off P5 Vasya, E1 Grathy, S4 Agalinne, and S1 Kevin. Their mission, Expedition Persistence 11, is currently planned to be the final mission to the twenty-year-old station, although the administration is giving some thought to authorizing one more expedition if the station's science lab is still productive.



Vasya and Grathy took LC-1 down to the surface to pick up the final crew of Base Constancy. With the extension of station tours to three years, the administration has decided to close the relatively small and cramped station.



Constancy, which was originally supposed to be little more than a pilot program, has been in continuous service for 17 years. The departing crew posed for a picture with the station before boarding LC-1 to return to orbit.



Engineer Grathy, of the station Persistence crew, happened to be the last to board the lander and, at least for now, the last kerman on the Mun.



With the base powered down, LC-1 lifted off, leaving the Mun uninhabited for the first time in 17 years.



Once the returning Constancy crew were aboard, Starbus Elizabeth departed the Mun for Minmus.



A few days later it arrived at Minmus station Perpetuity, where it dropped off P2 Gilbree, E2 Gergun, S5 Darina, and S2 Munvan before heading for the surface.



Elizabeth landed at Base Tenacity to deliver P2 Gregger, E4 Erithis, S3 Leeuna, and S3 Tambe and pick up the previous crew.



Erithis helped the departing crew strip the wreck of Starbus Valerie of useful components--mostly lights and thrusters--and load them on Elizabeth for return to Kerbin. (OOC: Mostly to help with frame rate, which even on my new machine is pretty low around the Tenacity site. The next step may be to strip the base itself, and possibly the rover as well, of their unused docking ports, which are no longer needed and which I understand are serious FPS-killers.)



With the parts recovered from Valerie and all the downbound crews safely aboard, Elizabeth returned to Kerbin orbit to rendezvous with Dauntless 2103.



Profit Margin brought the returning crews back to KSC.



Finally, a Vorpal II rocket launched Super Aqualung 19 to replenish the supply of fuel in low Kerbin orbit for future Starbus trips.


CS-13: Patience II retrieval.



Dauntless 2004 lifted off on mission CS-13, the final disassembly mission to retired space station Patience II.



The cargo shuttle rendezvoused with the station's core module, launched on a Manxome IIB rocket almost three decades ago and now reduced to approximately its original appearance.



The station was stowed in 2004's cargo bay and returned to Kerbin. While CS-13 completed the process of dismantling Patience II, there are still a number of other potential targets for retrieval remaining in the Kerbin system, including many old comsats and retired Minmus station Endurance I.


Duna system ops: return to Ike.



The crew of Duna station Permanence boarded LC-2 for an excursion to the surface of Ike, the Space Program's first kermanned visit to the satellite since Bravado 4 twenty years earlier.



The mission will probably be the last for LC-2, which, after more than two decades of operation, is finally scheduled to be retired at the next Duna/Kerbin window. Its replacement, LC-5, will have a number of improvements including an AR-202 unit and an improved undercarriage.


ELC prototype: Tylo lander testing.


With the Laythe situation (hopefully) resolved, the engineers turned their attention to the next and last solid body left unvisited by kermen--Tylo. The landings of Lucidity 2 several years ago and Lucidity 6 recently have given them valuable experience landing on Jool's largest satellite--in particular, the Lucidity 6 lander established that the deorbit, descent, and landing process requires 3655 m/s worth of delta-v. While they have no doubt that it could be done more efficiently, after the LC-4 fiasco they're inclined to play it safe (even if the administration wasn't breathing down their necks). They figure 3655 down, 3655 up, plus a bit of margin, and a TWR on the order of 1.5 should be more than enough to accomplish a landing and return to orbit with fuel to spare. 

Unfortunately, it turns out it's actually pretty hard to build a vehicle, even a multi-stage one, with 8000 m/s of delta-v, TWR of 1.5, a compact enough layout that it won't topple over if it lands on a slope, and a low enough mass to be sent to Tylo on an existing vehicle without refueling. The engineers experimented with a stretched version of the LLC as a 2-kerman landing and ascent vehicle, but the size of the descent stage it would have required (even using nuclear power) proved to be prohibitive. Other setups, most involving a three-stage configuration (descent, takeoff/landing, and ascent) all ended up coming up either short on fuel or thrust or being too tall and thin for the engineers' liking.

So they went back to the drawing board and took the same approach they had with the Daredevil program: a single kerman in an exposed seat (the lack of atmosphere is actually a help here), with a bare-bones spacecraft optimized mainly for mass.



The result was the ELC, an 18-ton, 3-stage vehicle with 8600 m/s of vacuum delta-v and a minimum TWR of 1.49. After some unkermanned testing verifies the staging, veteran pilot Burmin took the landing and ascent stages for their first kermanned test flight. (The descent stage is a modified Brillig upper stage with a Poodle engine.)



The short flight verified the vehicle's balance with a pilot in the seat as well as checking the ladder arrangement.



The administration wants a P5 driving this thing for the first landing; Burmin (being the only P5 available) is scheduled to command Daring 9, objective Tylo, at the next window. If all goes to plan, he will be the first kerman to set foot on Jool's largest satellite.


ALC-1: Laythe rescue.



Two years after its launch, ALC-1 approached the Joolian system.



A flyby of Laythe put the vehicle in Joolian orbit; a burn at Joolian periapsis put it on course for a second encounter and capture into Laythe orbit. The flyby only saved about 200 m/s compared to a direct capture, but the engineers wanted all the margin they could get.



After the capture burn, a series of aerobraking passes brought the ship into a 60x60 km circular orbit.



The transfer stage took ALC-1 through capture and deorbit; it was jettisoned before entry. The vehicle entered the atmosphere (though successful, entry was not as stable as it had been on Kerbin) and deployed its parachutes.



A brief engine burn set ALC-1 on the surface about 6 kilometers inland of the LC-4 site. The landing was more accurate than the engineers had been hoping for, but with no rover, the two stranded kerbonauts still have a long walk ahead of them.




S5 Laselle,  veteran of 12 space missions, notably Intrepidity 3, first Mun landing, Bravado 1, first mission to Eve and first to leave Kerbin's sphere of influence, Bravado 6, first expedition to the Jool system, and Daring 8, first mission to the surface of Eve.

P5 Geneming, veteran of 10 space missions, notably Intrepidity 15, an early Mun landing, Bravado 1, first Eve flyby, Daring 3, first mission to Dres, Daring 6, first mission to Vall, Bop, and Pol, and Daring 8, first landing on Eve.


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Liftoff of Daring 9 on a Vorpal III rocket.


Daring 7 & ALC-1: rescue from Laythe.



After two and a half years on the surface, Chadgan and Vertine powered down LC-4 for the last time, collected their science data and samples, and set out for ALC-1.



It was a long walk, the rescue lander having touched down about six kilometers inland of the LC-4 site.



Finally, they reached the lander and planted a flag to mark the spot where they (hopefully) will end their unintentional exile.



Not sorry to see the last of Laythe's dunes, they boarded ALC-1 and prepared for takeoff.



Two years and 250 days after Chadgan and Vertine first set foot on Jool's innermost satellite, ALC-1 lifted off to rendezvous with the Daring 7 orbiter.



At around Mach 1, the engines switched to air-breathing mode.



Around Mach 4, they switched back to closed-cycle mode. The KSC engineers noted that ALC-1 did not perform nearly as well on Laythe as it had on Kerbin; they suspect Laythe's atmosphere has a very different density profile resulting in more drag at higher altitudes, which may explain the trouble experienced by LC-4.



Nonetheless, ALC-1 achieved orbit with plenty of fuel to spare.



It rendezvoused with Sunshine on Laythe a few orbits later; Chadgan, Vertine, and the science data were transferred to the Daring orbiter while ALC-1 was jettisoned in Laythe orbit.



At last, more than five years after its launch and almost three years behind schedule, Daring 7 burned out of Laythe orbit.



Because the mission was relatively straightforward, Sunshine on Laythe still has plenty of fuel left; the engineers expect it to make a full propulsive capture at Kerbin, which will permit a data processing mission to finish off the data remaining in the lab while the rest is transferred to one of the Kerbin system stations.



A second burn a few hours later in Jool orbit sets Sunshine on Laythe on a fast transfer back to Kerbin; it will arrive in just under two years.


Starbus S500: new passenger shuttle.


While the S400 Resolute is an adequate interim solution to the problem of a 4-6 kerman shuttlecraft, it seems that everyone has complaints about it. The engineers say it's inefficient, the administration says it's expensive to operate, and the pilots say it has poor handling at low speed, especially fully-fueled, and behaves awkwardly in space. Even the AR-202 units don't get along well with it; they have trouble auto-executing maneuvers and have yet to make a successful autonomous docking.

Ever since the Resolute entered service, the engineers have continued to tinker with some of the more efficient designs they had explored during the S400 development program, and somewhat by accident completely on purpose, they hit upon a new configuration that promised to fulfill all the administration's requirements (notably the ability to operate with safe margins up to a 250-kilometer orbit) much more elegantly. Excited, they presented the design--internally designated H-114--to the administration. Initially skeptical, they were won over largely by the engineers' assurances that the new vehicle would have operating costs on the order of half those of the Resolute, and authorized construction of a prototype under the production designation S500 Gallant.



P3 Virlina and rookie P0 Piper took the prototype, serial number 5001, for its first flight on mission KS-14.



Although it required a very different flight profile to the Dauntless and Resolute, 5001 had comfortable fuel margins and behaved well throughout the one-orbit flight; the crew reported that it handled smoothly at all speeds and the AR-202 unit had no trouble executing maneuvers.

While the two existing Resolutes will continue in service in a reserve capacity, the administration has cancelled the production order for Resolute 4003 in favor of two more Gallants in addition to the prototype. The type is expected to eventually replace the Resolute in operational service, and a light cargo version is under consideration.


(OOC: While I hadn't actually meant to replace the Resolute any time soon, I came up with this thing kind of by accident while fiddling around in the SPH, and it was just too good not to use. It's twice as efficient, carries 6 kerbals instead of 4, handles a lot better, and whereas MechJeb doesn't really get along with the slightly off-center thrust on the Dauntless and Resolute, the Gallant has its engines near enough to the center line that MechJeb can handle it without any trouble, which is a huge improvement in usability.)


KS-15 & LC-5: Duna crew rotations and new landing craft.



Starbus Phoebe departed Duna orbit for Kerbin after picking up the crew of station Permanence.



Meanwhile, a Vorpal I rocket launched LC-5, the replacement for the twenty-year-old LC-2 Duna lander.



LC-5 features a number of improvements, including a more advanced parachute system, an AR-202 unit, wider landing gear, and modifications to allow easier access to the passenger cabin. (OOC: The old one had the cabin clipped fully into the adapter at the base, which made it very hard to click on it to transfer crew; this one has the adapter moved down slightly so it's possible to click on the upper rim of the cabin without having to clip the camera inside the adapter.)



Resolute 4001 Cutie took off on mission KS-15 with the next Permanence crew, P2 Jate, E4 Lizdrien, S3 Alvis, and S2 Milotte. KS-15 will probably be the final mission of the S400 Resolute, due to be replaced by the new S500 Gallant for the next rotation.



The Permanence crew transferred to Starbus Elizabeth in Kerbin orbit and departed for Duna. In keeping with the administration's policy of extended station tours, Expedition Permanence 9 will be the first four-year mission to the Duna station; previous crews have stayed only two years.


Jool Daredevil test series.



Two and a half years after its launch from Kerbin, Daredevil "Archibald" approached the Joolian system.



Distant flybys of Laythe and Tylo and a close encounter with Vall adjusted "Archibald's" orbit to facilitate an entry on the day side of Jool.



Entry was smoother than expected; "Archibald" experienced a peak load of just under 5 Gs and showed no signs of instability.



The engineers were surprised to discover that the upper heat shields had slowed the ship much less than expected; it was still descending at over 100 meters per second when they were jettisoned.



"Archibald" ignited its engines and jettisoned its lower heat shield, but proved not to have enough control authority to manage a start flying tail-first at 100 m/s; it went out of control and broke up shortly after ignition. In spite of this, the engineers got quite a lot of useful information out of the mission. The entry and descent system was demonstrated to work very well, several issues were uncovered with the transition from descent to ascent, and the target altitude for the ultimate kermanned mission was set at 120 kilometers.



Three test vehicles, "Benjamin," "Charles," and "Daniel," were launched on brief flights to test revisions to the design--notably the addition of parachutes, tail fins, extra reaction wheels, and gimballing T-45 engines in two of the boosters instead of aerospikes, to provide more control authority in the first moments of the ascent.



Next, a Vorpal II launched Daredevil "Ernie" into Kerbin orbit to test the full entry and descent system.



"Ernie" made a smooth reentry and transition to ascent.



It continued into Kerbin orbit, validating the staging of the boosters, and then performed an LV-N burn which set it on course to impact the Mun, demonstrating the nuclear motor's ability to make extended burns without overheating.

While the engineers still have some concerns--notably about the behavior of the parachutes in the Joolian atmosphere, and whether the system will have enough delta-v to achieve a stable orbit--they believe they have solved all the issues they can with Kerbin-based testing; the next unit, "Franklin," will go to Jool at the next window for another attempt at an unkermanned ascent.


Daring 9: destination Tylo.



The core module of Daring 9, the Space Program's first attempt to land a kerman on Tylo, was rolled out with mission commander P5 Burmin, pilot P1 Piper, engineers E5 Barsen and E2 Gwenlanna, and scientists S4 Gledia, S3 Jenra, and S2 Heidi.



A Vorpal III rocket put the Daring propulsion and command modules in a 200-kilometer orbit.



A Vorpal I launched the orbital module, which was assembled by Aqualung 33, launched on a Brillig IV.



A boosted Brillig I delivered the landing craft, ELC-1.



During the same window, two more Brillig IVs launched Lucidity 7 and Lucidity 8, probes to the Joolian atmosphere, which will gather temperature data and test entry paths in advance of the Daredevil program.



Except for the lander, the assembled Daring 9 spacecraft is almost identical to Daring 6 and 7; differences include removal of the radiators to save weight, extra reaction wheels to improve handling, and an AR-202 unit to automate routine maneuvers.



Fully assembled, Daring 9 departed Kerbin on a fast transfer to Jool; it will make a direct burn into Tylo orbit in just under two years.


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On 5/31/2018 at 2:26 PM, Hotaru said:


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P4 Kerzer, first kerman in orbit, one of the original 3 kerbonauts, and veteran of 15 space missions, notably Audacity 3, first orbit of Kerbin, Intrepidity 4, first fully successful Mun landing, Bravado 4, first kermanned visit to Ike, and Daring 4, first kermanned mission to Eeloo.

P5 Melxie, first kerman in space & first to set foot on the Mun, another of the original 3, and veteran of 20 space missions, notably Audacity 2, first kermanned mission to reach space, Intrepidity 3, first kermanned Mun landing, Bravado 5, first kermanned mission to Gilly, and Daring 5, first expedition to Moho.

E3 Chris, veteran of 8 space missions, notably Valor 5, first operational flight of the Valor mini-shuttle and first flight of multiple kerbonauts and Intrepidity 3, the first kermanned landing on the Mun.

S5 Eririne, first kerman to set foot on Bop and veteran of 8 space missions, notably Intrepidity 5, the first kermanned landing on Minmus, Defiance 3, first operational flight of the Defiance shuttlepod, and Daring 6, first kermanned mission to land on Vall, Bop, and Pol.

E3 Mitrie, veteran of 9 space missions, notably Intrepidity 4, the first fully successful kermanned Mun landing.

P4 Lodald, veteran of 11 space missions, notably Bravado 3, second kermanned landing on Duna, and Daring 4, first kermanned mission to Eeloo.




Edited by The Minmus Derp

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@The Minmus Derp I find retiring veteran kerbonauts helps give the save a sense of history, not to mention making room for new hires without having to pay for and keep track of an infinitely-expanding roster.



Daring 9 commander Burmin, at the controls of ELC-1, begins his descent to the surface of Tylo.


Duna ops.



Starbus Phoebe returned to Kerbin orbit to rendezvous with Resolute 4001 Cutie.



Cutie returned the downbound crew from Duna station Permanence safely to Kerbin, making the final landing of the S400 Resolute ahead of the type's planned replacement by the S500 Gallant.



Starbus Elizabeth arrived at Duna with the crew of Expedition Permanence 9, which will remain for four years. It also delivered some science data from Minmus collected by the crew of Base Tenacity, which, together with the remaining Ike data, should keep the lab running for several years.



LC-5, the new Duna lander, arrived under its own power, refueled, and docked at station Permanence, replacing the twenty-year-old LC-2.



LC-2, originally launched with Bravado 2, was the first (and so far only) kermanned vessel to land on Duna; it was transferred to a parking orbit and powered down.


Lucidity 7, Lucidity 8, & Daredevil "Franklin:" exploration of the Jool system.



With the test series complete, a Vorpal IIID rocket launched Daredevil "Franklin," the Space Program's second attempt to return a payload from the atmosphere of Jool.



"Franklin" was launched on a slow transfer to save fuel; it will arrive in just under three years. The vehicle, together with its two transfer stages, is very near the Vorpal III's maximum LKO payload of 300 tons; the engineers are concerned that if the Jool Daredevil gets any heavier they will have to resort to on-orbit assembly or refueling.



Meanwhile, Lucidity 8 arrived in the Joolian system; flybys of Laythe and Vall followed by a long circularization maneuver put it in an inclined low orbit of the giant planet before a final burn from its transfer stage sent it into the atmosphere.



The probe transmitted a considerable amount of atmospheric data during its entry and descent, as well as establishing some useful information for the Daredevil program (low orbit speed is about 6700 m/s and parachutes don't work over 5000 meters), before it was destroyed by atmospheric pressure.



Since Lucidity 8 had achieved all its objectives, the engineers decided to redirect the identical Lucidity 7 to a direct entry at Laythe to investigate the possibility of using the satellite's atmosphere for aerocapture.



The probe successfully captured into an elliptical orbit; the engineers were pleased to note that the maneuver was much less violent than an aerocapture at Jool would have been.



With no propulsion to raise its periapsis, Lucidity 7 entered the atmosphere a second time, transmitting as much atmospheric data as its batteries would allow before falling into Laythe's ocean.


Transience and LLC-4: exploration of Minmus.



Gilbree and Darina took LLC-4 down to the surface from Minmus station Perpetuity to collect data from the satellite's flats.



They first made a landing in the Greater Flats, then completed a suborbital hop to the Lesser Flats before returning to the station.



The crew of Base Tenacity took rover Transience on an excursion to collect data from the north polar region...



...and the Lesser Flats.


Daring 7: return from Laythe.



Just under two years after departing Laythe orbit, Sunshine on Laythe finally returned to the Kerbin system.



A long burn of the ship's three remaining LV-N motors captured it into an elliptical orbit.



This was mission commander Hayberta's view of Kerbin during the maneuver.



A second burn a week later put the ship into a 180x180 kilometer orbit.



Dauntless 2103 Profit Margin took off on mission KS-16, piloted by P4 Janbe.



Profit Margin rendezvoused with Sunshine on Laythe in Kerbin orbit, picked up the returning crew, and dropped off P3 Eiliel, E3 Jantrice, S3 Debty, and S2 Urjorie to begin the data processing mission.



The DPM crew remained in orbit while the Dauntless returned to Kerbin.



At last, seven years after their departure and three years later than expected, the crew of Daring 7 returned to Kerbin.




Daring 9: Tylo.



Two years after its launch, Daring 9--unofficially christened It's Later Than You Think--approached Tylo.



A long burn captured the ship directly into an eccentric Tylo orbit; two more maneuvers lowered the orbit to 35x35 kilometers.



With It's Later Than You Think safely in orbit, mission commander P5 Burmin--last of the original three kerbonauts still in the Space Program--prepared to board the landing craft.



Burmin boarded ELC-1 for the descent to the surface. 



ELC-1's RCS was used for the initial deorbit burn; it and the docking adapter were jettisoned on an impact trajectory. The descent stage burned off most of the ship's orbital velocity before it was jettisoned as well and the landing stage engines ignited to put it on the surface.



With plenty of fuel left for the return to orbit, Burmin set ELC-1 down on the surface of Tylo. 



Burmin: first kerman on Tylo!




Edited by Hotaru

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