septemberWaves

Eloquent Spacecraft Systems Long-Term Career

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This is a mission report for my long-term KSP career. In a heavily-modded game over the course of quite a long time (I anticipate several months to a year) I plan to conduct some very extensive exploration of all planetary systems in the game. I have some early-game, mid-game, late-game and end-game goals, which will be outlined later. The planetary layout is also different, including changes to the original positions of some modded planets to allow for a particularly unique version of the Kerbol system (and also to avoid conflicting orbits). Ultimately though, the biggest challenge of this playthrough is that all celestial bodies and orbits are increased in scale by 4, approximately doubling the required delta-v to do just about anything.

I did have to restart this career for reasons explained here. The first several posts in this thread are from before the restart (which had some different settings, a different planetary layout, and was done at the stock scale). Documentation following the restart begins here.

Planetary Layout

Spoiler

Kerbol/Sun

    Moho - Almost always the closest celestial body to Kerbol, Moho is a fairly small planet that is quite challenging to get to.

    Arkas - Arkas is a large planet with an incredibly dense atmosphere.

        Vin - A tiny moon of Arkas.

        Kras - A large-ish moon of Arkas with a very interesting surface.

    Eve - A huge planet with a thick atmosphere and high gravity. In terms of delta-v it's the easiest planet to reach, but one of the hardest to escape from.

        Aden - Eve's first, average-sized moon.

        Neith - Eve's second moon.

        Gilly - A small asteroid that was captured by Eve's enormous gravity.

        Faz - Eve's largest moon. It is in a high orbit around Eve, which is synchronous with the orbit of Gilly.

    Kerbin - The Kerbals' homeworld. The only place in the Kerbol system known to support life.

        Mun - Kerbin's first moon, and one of the first destinations for space exploration.

        Minmus - Kerbin's second moon. Very small, and quite friendly to landers.

    Harvest - A trojan moon of Kerbin, Harvest shares Kerbin's orbit of Kerbol, but is 60° behind.

    Duna - An average-sized planet with a minor atmosphere and several faint rings.

        Ike - The larger of Duna's two moons.

        Nyke - Duna's smaller moon. Nyke is similar to Harvest in that it shares Ike's orbit, but is 60° behind.

    Mios - Mios is a small planet with an equatorial ocean and a fairly significant atmosphere.

        Glac - A very small moon orbiting within the largest gap in Mios's rings.

        Serc - Serc is an unusual moon of Mios with retrograde rotation. It's probably a captured asteroid.

    Dres - A dwarf planet in the asteroid belt that is largely underrated.

    Richell - A large brown planet which rotates retrograde, albeit quite slowly. Its atmosphere is not very dense but extends to a surprisingly high altitude.

        Iber - Richell's only moon, Iber orbits slightly inside the larger and fainter of Richell's two main rings.

    Jool - An enormous green gas giant.

        Laythe - An ocean moon nearly the size of Kerbin. It is speculated that Laythe's oceans may support some kind of primitive life, as its atmosphere is known to contain oxygen.

        Vall - A small moon of Jool, which is in many ways similar to Minmus.

        Tylo - The largest moon in the entire Kerbol system, Tylo is more massive than some planets. Its lack of an atmosphere is likely to make it challenging to land on.

        Bop - A tiny moon in an inclined orbit of Jool.

        Pol - Jools most distant moon. It is similar to Bop, and both are probably captured asteroids.

    Keelon - The largest terrestrial planet in the Kerbol system. Keelon has crushing gravity and is likely to be the most difficult place to return from, if such a task is even possible.

        Manai - An unusually hot moon orbiting close to Keelon. Much of its surface is molten despite its distance from Kerbol.

        Revus - A large, icy moon in a high orbit of Keelon. Its composition suggests that it may be a captured comet, but its size would imply otherwise.

    Sarvin - Sarvin is a blue gas planet with several moons.

        Daphy - Sarvin's first moon. Daphy is small and mostly unremarkable, but it does have a rather dense atmosphere close to its surface.

        Potatus - An incredibly oblate moon in an inclined orbit of Sarvin.

        Fonso - A large moon with a very interesting surface.

        Shayle - Sarvin's most distant moon. Shayle is small and somewhat reminiscent of Minmus.

    Rega - A distant dwarf planet beyond the orbit of Sarvin. Its most remarkable feature is its huge ring system.

    Eeloo - Eeloo is usually the furthest object from Kerbol. It is rather small, but has a not-insignificant atmosphere and several moons, prompting debate over its status as a dwarf planet.

        Alu - Eeloo's first moon. Alu is very large compared to Eeloo, and if it were more massive then the two would likely be a binary system.

        Beros - Eeloo's second moon.

        Kyx - Eeloo's third moon.

    Corolet - A comet that passes by Kerbin every so often. Corolet's eccentric orbit takes it closer to the sun than Moho, and further away than Eeloo.

The Plan

Before restart:

Spoiler

Early-game:

  • Basic autonomous and crewed exploration of the Kerbin system
  • Early stations in orbit of Kerbin, Mun, and Minmus
  • Crewed flybys of Duna and Eve
  • Crewed orbits of Duna and Eve
  • Crewed landings on the moons of Duna and Eve
  • Commsat constellation to cover the Kerbin system

Mid-game:

  • Beginnings of a Kerbol system communications network (with commsat constellations covering every planetary system as far out as Mios)
  • Extensive probe-based exploration of every celestial body as far out as Sarnus
  • Autonomous flybys of Urlum, Neidon, and Plock-Karen
  • Extensive crewed exploration of Eve, Duna, Mios, and their moons
  • Crewed landings on Dres, Richell, and Richell's moons
  • Possibly a crewed landing on Moho
  • Partially reusable interplanetary transport infrastructure for planetary systems between Eve and Richell

Late-game:

  • Fully reusable interplanetary transport infrastructure for every planetary system
  • Extensive communications network for the entire Kerbol system
  • Reusable landing vehicles for every celestial body with a surface
  • Bases and stations in all useful locations

End-game:

  • Kerbals have set foot in every biome
  • Science data has been collected from every experiment in every accessible location

Now:

Spoiler

Clarification of terminology:

  • Inner planets: Arkas, Eve, Kerbin, Duna, Mios, Richell
  • Dwarf planets: Moho, Harvest, Dres
  • Giant planets: Jool, Keelon, Sarvin
  • Outer planets: Rega, Eeloo

Beginning:

  • Basic autonomous and crewed exploration of the Kerbin system
  • Stations in orbit around Kerbin and its moons
  • Probe flybys of Arkas, Eve, Harvest, Duna, and Mios
  • Autonomous orbiters around Eve, Harvest and Duna
  • Autonomous landings on Eve, Harvest, and Duna

Early exploration phase:

  • Surface bases on Mun and Minmus
  • Expand Mun and Minmus infrastructure
  • Expand stations in Kerbin system
  • Autonomous landings on moons of Eve and Duna
  • Autonomous landings on Arkas, Mios, and their moons
  • Autonomous Moho, Dres, and Richell flybys
  • Autonomous landing on Richell
  • Autonomous Dres orbiter
  • Crewed flybys of Eve and Duna
  • Crewed landing on Harvest
  • Expand communications network for inner planets

Advanced exploration phase:

  • Stations in orbit around Eve and Duna
  • Crewed landings on moons of Eve and Duna
  • Autonomous flybys of Jool, Keelon, and Sarvin
  • Autonomous landings on Dres, and moons of Arkas, and Mios
  • Autonomous orbiters around Moho, Richell, and Jool
  • Autonomous flyby of Corolet
  • Crewed flybys of Arkas, Mios, and Richell
  • Sample return missions from Harvest, Duna, Mios, and Dres
  • Autonomous orbiters around Jool, Keelon, and Sarvin
  • Autonomous landers on small moons of giant planets
  • Expand communications network for giant planets

Efficiency phase:

  • Upgrade launch vehicles for partial reusability
  • Create partially reusable Mun/Minmus infrastructure
  • Begin ISRU operations on Mun and Minmus
  • Create partially reusable interplanetary transport infrastructure
  • Create reusable crew landers for moons of Eve and Duna

Total autonomous exploration phase:

  • Autonomous flybys of Rega and Eeloo
  • Sample return missions from all moons of giant planets
  • Autonomous landings on Keelon and Moho
  • Atmospheric entry probes at Jool and Sarvin
  • Sample return missions from upper atmospheres of giant planets
  • Autonomous orbiters around Rega, Eeloo, and Eeloo's moons
  • Autonomous orbiter/lander mission to Corolet
  • Autonomous lander missions to any celestial bodies not yet landed on
  • Atmospheric entry probe for Kerbol
  • Expand communications network for outer planets

Crewed inner planet exploration:

  • Stations around all inner planets
  • Fully equipped surface bases wherever useful
  • Crewed landings on all inner planets and their moons
  • Fully reusable interplanetary transport vehicles for all inner planets
  • Crewed landings on dwarf planets

Crewed giant planet exploration:

  • Sample return missions from lower atmospheres of Jool and Sarvin
  • Stations in orbit around giant planets
  • Crewed landings on all moons of giant planets
  • Partially reusable interplanetary transports for all giant planets
  • Fully equipped surface bases wherever is useful
  • Crewed landing on Keelon

Crewed exploration of other celestial bodies:

  • Crewed landings on dwarf planets, outer planets, Eeloo's moons, and Corolet
  • Surface bases on dwarf planets, Rega, Corolet, and at least one celestial body in the Eeloo system
  • Station around Eeloo
  • Partially reusable interplanetary transports for dwarf planets, outer planets, and Corolet

Total efficiency phase:

  • Upgrade/replace all vehicles for total reusability and additional efficiency
  • Expand ISRU operations at all existing surface bases

End-game:

  • Communications network covering every location in the Kerbol system
  • Total autonomous and crewed exploration of every biome on every celestial body
  • Every science point collected
  • Fully reusable infrastructure for transporting crew and payloads to anywhere in the Kerbol system

Mods

Spoiler
  • Arkas
  • B9 Part Switch
  • Buffalo MSEV
  • Coherent Contracts
  • Color Coded Cannisters
  • Colorful Fuel Lines
  • Community Category Kit (dependency for Planetary Base Systems)
  • Community Resource Pack
  • Community Tech Tree
  • Contract Configurator
  • DMagic Orbital Science
  • DMagic Utilities (CapCom, ContractsWindowPlus)
  • Duna Restoration Project
  • Editor Extensions Redux
  • EVA Parachutes & Ejection Seats
  • Final Frontier
  • Firespitter (the fuel switch mod, not the parts pack)
  • Fuel Tanks Plus
  • GPO Speed Fuel Pump
  • Heat Control
  • Hide Empty Tech Tree Nodes
  • Kerbal Alarm Clock
  • Kerbal Attachment System
  • Kerbal Joint Reinforcement
  • Kerbal Inventory System
  • Kerbol Origins
  • Kopernicus
  • KRnD
  • Lithobrake Exploration Technologies
  • MechJeb2
  • Modular Rocket Systems
  • Modular Flight Integrator (dependency for Kopernicus)
  • Module Manager (dependency for everything)
  • M.O.L.E
  • Near Future Construction
  • Near Future Electrical
  • Near Future Props (IVAs for Near Future mods and Stockalike Station Parts)
  • Near Future Propulsion
  • Near Future Solar
  • Near Future Spacecraft
  • Planetary Base Systems
  • RLA Stockalike
  • Sigma Dimensions (used to rescale system)
  • SpaceY Expanded
  • SpaceY Heavy Lifters
  • Stockalike Station Parts Expansion
  • Surface Experiment Package (requires KIS/KAS)
  • Trajectories
  • TRP Hire
  • Vx Series II Engine Pack
  • Xen's Planet Collection

 

Starting Game Settings

Before restart:

Spoiler

 

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The contract configurator window was used to disable certain contracts that I never use (such as part testing and tourism). I may reenable contract types later if I feel like they would be beneficial to gameplay.

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The starting science was used to unlock these tech tree nodes. It is what is needed for the Janus 1 spacecraft and launch vehicle, as well as for MechJeb's ascent autopilot (so that I can get good screenshots).

Now:

Spoiler

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The initial science was used to unlock all of the 1st tier science nodes except for one (which only contained Planetary Base Systems storage parts). It also provided a boost to science collection, which is going to be somewhat challenging with 60% returns. I will reduce this once I have my first space station with a lab.

 

In every mission report in this thread, the majority of the flight documentation will be contained inside a spoiler to avoid cluttering the page with too many images at once.

Edited by eloquentJane

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Part 1: First Steps towards Space

After a brief and uninteresting sounding rocket (to complete some early contracts), the KSC was able to launch the first crewed spacecraft to orbit.

Valentina Kerman piloted the first Janus 1 spacecraft into low Kerbin orbit. The vehicle is a Janus 1 CT-1A, a very simple spacecraft designed only for brief orbital missions. It is launched on a Cinnabar 101, with a C1 upper stage integrated into the Janus spacecraft (technically the launch vehicle is a Cinnabar 100, as the upper stage is part of the payload).

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Spoiler

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Liftoff was successful, and ascent proceeded nominally.

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First stage cutoff as intended 80km apoapsis is reached.

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The first stage ignites again to begin the circularization burn. It is then separated once empty, and the upper stage completes the burn, making Valentina the first kerbal to orbit Kerbin.

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After an orbit, the spacecraft decelerates and prepares to re-enter the atmosphere. The service module (an unaltered C1 upper stage) is jettisoned before re-entry.

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Re-entry and landing both go as planned. Valentina achieves several Final Frontier accolades. Notable accolades include being the first kerbal to orbit Kerbin.

 

The next launch is Kimula Kerman in a Janus 1 CT-1B. This variant contains some science equipment. The flight will be sub-orbital, but will include the first space walk around Kerbin.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful and the launch proceeds nominally.

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Here the Mun can be seen. The ultimate goal for the Janus program is to land a kerbal on the Mun and return them to Kerbin.

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Booster cutoff and separation.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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The Janus 1 vehicle is now in space.

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Kimula performs the first spacewalk around Kerbin, and conducts some science experiments to gather valuable data and fulfil a contract.

Re-entry was in the dark so there are no good images, but it was as successful as on the previous Janus 1 flight.

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Kimula's mission summary. Significant accolades include the first kerbal on EVA around Kerbin, and conducting an EVA whilst not in a stable orbit.

 

The final launch of today was dictated by contract requirements. The plan was to end the Janus 1 program here and begin the Janus 2 program, but it was decided based on funding sources to fast-track to a crewed Minmus flyby instead. For this, Kimula will fly again, in a modified version of the previously launched Janus 1 CT-1B. The spacecraft has added solar panels (thanks to the research conducted on previous missions). It is launched on a 3-stage variant of a Cinnabar rocket - a Cinnabar 1431, which uses the type 1 core with 4 SRBs, and has a C3 second stage as well as the C1 upper stage that is integrated into the Janus 1 spacecraft.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Booster separation.

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Here Minmus is just about visible above the rocket.

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Flight continues nominally.

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First stage cutoff and separation, second stage ignition.

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Circularization took place in the darkness so there were unfortunately no good images.

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Here is the Janus 1 CT-1B in orbit, attached to the C3 upper stage. The C3 will begin the trans-Minmus injection burn, and the C1 on the Janus 1 spacecraft will finish it.

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Transfer burn was successful.

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A mid-course correction burn was required to adjust the Minmus entry trajectory.

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The Janus 1 spacecraft approaches Minmus.

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Kimula performs an EVA and conducts some science experiments high above Minmus.

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At periapsis, the spacecraft executes a small burn to correct the re-entry periapsis for Kerbin. After this, another EVA and more science experiments were conducted.

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The spacecraft approaches Kerbin. After leaving Minmus, the spacecraft ended up on a long return trajectory taking several weeks.

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The service module separates before re-entry.

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Re-entry and landing are successful.

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Kimula's mission summary. Notable accolades include being the first kerbal to conduct an EVA in space around Minmus.

 

 

 

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Part 2: Docking, Mun Flyby, and a Cubesat

With the new funding thanks to the Minmus flyby, the Janus 2 program could commence. The crewed part of this program consists only of two launches, which will rendezvous with each other in Kerbin orbit and conduct the first docking maneuver in space.

Valentina and Kimula launch together in the first Janus 2 CT-1C. This is the first multi-kerbal spacecraft, and is launched on a Cinnabar 224, with the C4 upper stage integrated as part of the payload.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Booster cutoff and separation.

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First stage cutoff and separation as intended 100km apoapsis is reached.

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Upper stage ignition, and commencing the circularization burn.

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This spacecraft will stay in orbit to await the next launch.

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Katina and Isathy pilot a second Janus 2 spacecraft. This one has the optional RCS ports on the payload, and will commence the docking maneuver once rendezvoused.

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Liftoff is successful.

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Ascent was fairly nominal. This spacecraft is aiming for an 80km apoapsis, and the Cinnabar core will begin the circularization burn.

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Stage separation was successful and circularization was completed as planned.

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Once in orbit, the spacecraft made a few maneuvers to rendezvous with the Janus 2 that was launched earlier.

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A rendezvous maneuver was planned, and executed successfully.

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Katina's spacecraft approaches Valentina's, and kills relative velocity.

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The docking maneuver was successful (after time warping to the light side of Kerbin).EdCfbPb.jpg

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Mission complete, the two spacecraft undock and prepare to return to Kerbin. Katina and Isathy de-orbit first.

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Service module separates before re-entry.

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Re-entry and landing are successful.

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Notable accolades include first docking in Kerbin orbit.

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Now Valentina and Kimula de-orbit.

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Service module separation before re-entry.

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Re-entry and landing were once again successful.

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Accolades earned by Valentina and Kimula were rather minor.

 

The next mission was another launch of the modified Janus 1 CT-1B, this time for a Mun flyby. It was piloted by Kaline Kerman.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Booster separation.

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Circularization successful.

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Once in Kerbin orbit, the spacecraft executes a trans-Munar injection burn. The C3 stage begins this burn, and the C1 finishes it.

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Second stage cutoff and separation, third stage ignition.

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The spacecraft approaches the Mun.

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Kaline conducts an EVA and some science experiments in space high above the Mun.

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After a burn at periapsis to achieve a trajectory that re-enters Kerbin's atmosphere, another EVA was conducted. It was in the dark, but luckily kerbals' space suits have helmet lights.

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The spacecraft leaves the Mun.

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Service module separation before re-entry.

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Re-entry and landing were successful. I didn't get a screenshot of the Final Frontier summary, but notable accolades include being the first kerbal on EVA in space around the Mun.

 

The final mission of the day was for a satellite contract. It's actually the first uncrewed mission for this playthrough (not counting the science rover I had to drive round the KSC to unlock the required parts). The satellite is a very simple cubesat launched inside the cargo bay of a Janus 2 FT-1D, which itself is launched on a Cinnabar 245, with the C5 upper stage integrated into the uncrewed Janus 2 spacecraft.

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Spoiler

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This launch azimuth is used to place the satellite in a polar orbit to fulfill one of the two contracts it is designed for. Launching initially in a slightly retrograde direction kills off the initial speed of Kerbin's rotation.

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Booster separation.

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At this point the spacecraft begins to point directly north, as it has reduced prograde velocity effectively to zero.

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Ascent is nominal.

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The Cinnabar core begins the circularization burn.

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The C5 upper stage on the uncrewed Janus 2 spacecraft then completes the circularization burn, leaving the vehicle in a low polar orbit.

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A maneuver is executed to raise the apoapsis to the highest ascending node with the target orbit (which was a few degrees off due to a mistimed launch).

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The cubesat is removed from the cargo bay (or well, technically the cargo bay is removed from around the cubesat).

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The Janus 2 spacecraft then performs a maneuver to re-enter Kerbin's atmosphere with a 20km periapsis.

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The cubesat deploys its instruments and transmits some science data from low orbit above Kerbin.

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Once at apoapsis, the cubesat conducts a specially-tuned maneuver to simultaneously alter periapsis, apoapsis, and inclination relative to the target orbit. It also transmits some data from high above Kerbin.

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Meanwhile, the uncrewed Janus 2 freight transport falls back to Kerbin.

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Service module separation before re-entry.

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Unfortunately, the Janus 2 command module did not survive the re-entry. The cargo adapter (directly above the heat shield) exploded due to overheating, and the rest of the spacecraft followed suit. Luckily, this did not impact the primary mission, though it does highlight a need for redesign of the cargo variant of the Janus 2.

 

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Part 3: Space Boxes

I reached a point where it was important to start sending up numerous satellites to orbit, in order to fulfill contracts and also to begin to create a basic communications network around Kerbin.

The first launch is a magnetic survey satellite for Minmus. It is identical to the one previously launched into Kerbin orbit, but the launch vehicle this time is a Cinnabar 130, as the Janus 2 FT-1D is still undergoing analysis of the previous re-entry failure.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Mun and Minmus are both visible here, and it's almost time for a solar eclipse.

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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Fairing separation.

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Circularization is successful.

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The C3 upper stage executes the trans-Minmus injection burn. The burn takes place during the solar eclipse.

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A brief Mun flyby occurs on the way to Minmus, and a small correction burn is executed. This maneuver placed the spacecraft on a collision course with Minmus, which allows for disposal of the C3 upper stage whilst the cubesat performs another correction burn to achieve a safe periapsis.

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At Minmus periapsis, the cubesat executes the orbital insertion maneuver, placing it in a highly elliptical Minmus orbit. It can then complete its long-term mission to survey the magnetic field environment around Minmus.

 

The next launch is a relay satellite into an equatorial Kerbin orbit. It is launched on a Cinnabar 120.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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Fairing separation.

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Circularization is successful and the satellite is placed into a circular parking orbit.

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The C2 upper stage executes a maneuver that raises the apoapsis to intersect with the target orbit.

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The cubesat separates from the C2 upper stage at this point. At apoapsis, it executed a maneuver to reach the target orbit (there are no images because this occurred in darkness).

 

The final launch of today was another cubesat destined for an equatorial orbit. The target orbit was higher than before, so it is launched on a Cinnabar 130.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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Fairing separation.

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Circularization is successful.

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The C3 upper stage executes a maneuver that raises the apoapsis to intersect the target orbit. The cubesat then separates.

rTKWR89.jpg

At apoapsis, the cubesat executes a maneuver to match the target orbit.

 

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Part 4: Janus 3, First Space Station, and a Mun Orbiter

With the success of the crewed Janus 2 program, the spacecraft design underwent some command module modifications to become the Janus 3 CT-1D. The Janus 3 lacks the configurability that the Janus 2 has and thus cannot be used to transport cargo, but the command module is vastly improved.

The first Janus 3 launch is crewed by Katina Kerman and Irnica Kerman.

KPMTbft.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Booster cutoff and separation.

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It is worth pointing out that the Janus 3 uses a slightly shallower ascent trajectory, which is more efficient for this rocket design.

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First stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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First stage separation.

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The spacecraft successfully circularized in an 80km orbit.

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Irnica conducted a brief EVA. The Janus 3 command module has the disadvantage that the entire capsule must be depressurized for the crew to conduct an EVA.

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All tests complete, the vehicle de-orbited and re-entered the atmosphere.

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Re-entry and landing were successful, though I was aiming for a landing site closer to the KSC. I will have to keep in mind the fact that the Janus 3 spacecraft experiences significantly more drag on re-entry than anticipated.

Uszzb9b.jpg

Katina earned no new accolades. Irnica's accolades include orbiting Kerbin and conducting an EVA in Kerbin orbit.

 

Now that the Janus 3 capsule has conducted all necessary tests, it can be put to use. The KSC needs a space station, for conducting orbital science experiments, as well as for testing the effects of long-term habitation in space.

The core of the Medusa Orbital Laboratory is launched with a connected Janus 3 spacecraft on the new Cinnabar-series rocket, the Cinnabar 304. Valentina and Isathy are the crew of this launch.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful. The Cinnabar type 3 core uses two Fulcrum engines, which have not previously been used in flight.

545UhG6.jpg

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Ip0iOp1.jpg

qgcrom6.jpg

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Ascent is nominal. The new launch vehicle performs as anticipated.

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First stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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First stage separation.

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The spacecraft circularizes in an 80km parking orbit.

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A couple of maneuvers are executed to place the station in a 200km orbit.

 

Meanwhile, another magnetic survey satellite is launched, this time to the Mun. It will be the first spacecraft to orbit the Mun.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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I quite like this image.

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l3hjfKg.jpg

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation, second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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Fairing separation.

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The spacecraft circularizes in an 80km parking orbit.

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Like on the Minmus mission, the C3 upper stage executes the trans-Munar injection burn.

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Payload separation.

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The cubesat approaches the Mun, and performs a small correction burn to achieve a polar flyby.

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At Munar periapsis above the Mun's north pole, the cubesat performs the orbital insertion burn, placing it into a highly elliptical Mun orbit.

 

The Medusa Orbital Laboratory still has several modules to add, but for that the KSC need to ensure that it can successfully dock. For this purpose, Katina and Kaline Kerman launch in a Janus 3 CT-1D spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with the station.

FsC6F17.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Booster cutoff and separation.

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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The first stage begins the circularization burn, and the C4 service module completes it.

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Once in orbit, the Janus 3 spacecraft performs several maneuvers to rendezvous with the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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OhXaSN5.jpg

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rPURJUY.jpg

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Rendezvous and docking were successful.

 

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Part 5: Technical Difficulties

The Medusa Orbital Laboratory needs a better way to generate power than the fuel cells in the Janus 3 command pods. It also needs a telescope. It was decided that both of these payloads would be combined into a single module in order to reduce launch costs.

WAjVEAH.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Booster cutoff and separation.

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The rocket is experiencing too much drag for this stage of flight.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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The payload does not have enough delta-v to reach orbit. The abort sequence is initiated.

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Engine cutoff.

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The vehicle executes a turn in order to achieve the correct re-entry profile.

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Heating experienced is significantly less than a re-entry from orbit, and so it is not too damaging for the payload.

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Re-entry successful.

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Landing is successful. The engine was destroyed on touchdown, but the station module survived.

 

After that failed launch, there was not enough time to prepare the module for a second launch before the Medusa Orbital Laboratory runs out of monopropellant for its generators. An uncrewed Janus 1 FT-1B is retrofitted with basic solar panels, and prepared for launch. It will be a temporary measure until the main solar arrays can be sent to the station.

Wuxwxec.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

ZF8UtZ3.jpg

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Booster cutoff and separation.

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Circularization is successful, placing the spacecraft in an 80km parking orbit. It will now execute several maneuvers to rendezvous with the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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The spacecraft approaches the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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The solar array has to be attached to the front docking port. The Janus 3 crew transport must move to one of the radial ports.

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Docking successful.

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Now the temporary solar array can approach.

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Docking successful.

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The station is re-oriented to achieve maximum sunlight exposure on the temporary solar array.

 

Plans for a crewed Minmus orbiter mission are due to be executed in parallel to the construction of the Medusa Orbital Laboratory. The mission has two components - a small payload of science equipment and extra life support, and the crewed vehicle which will dock with the uncrewed payload in Kerbin orbit and transport both to Minmus. The uncrewed payload is launched first, on a slightly modified Janus 1 FT-1A.

a3LosMT.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Ascent begins nominally.

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First stage cutoff and separation. This occurs far too early for this launch vehicle.

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Second engine ignition.

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The upper stage did not have enough fuel to reach orbit, due to the additional payload mass. Abort sequence initiates to recover the uncrewed Janus 1 capsule.

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Service module separation.

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Power is lost, and the pod begins to spin out of control.

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Re-entry not looking promising at this point.

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Luckily the pod righted itself before the worst of the heating. It was also not as dangerous as re-entry from orbital velocity, so loss of the pod was less likely.

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4CK5RjZ.jpg

Parachute deployment is fully automatic and does not require the main command systems to be functional.

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Re-entry and landing are successful.

 

Edited by eloquentJane

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Parts 1-5 Summary

This is the first summary. There will be one every 5 parts, to recap what has gone on.

 

Missions

Successful Missions

  • Crewed orbit of Kerbin
  • Crewed sub-orbital flight at Kerbin (to gather science data)
  • Crewed flyby of Minmus
  • Test of Janus 2 spacecraft
  • Rendezvous and docking test
  • Crewed Mun flyby
  • Magsat deployment in Minmus orbit
  • Commsat deployment in Kerbin orbit (x2)
  • Test of Janus 3 spacecraft
  • Launch first module of Medusa Orbital Laboratory to 200km Kerbin orbit
  • Transport 2 kerbals to Medusa Orbital Laboratory
  • Add temporary solar module to Medusa Orbital Laboratory

Partially Successful Missions

  • Magsat deployment in Kerbin orbit (satellite deployment successful, freight transport re-entry failed)

Failed Missions

  • Add telescope/solar module to Medusa Orbital Laboratory (abort and payload recovery successful)
  • Launch science payload for crewed Minmus orbit (abort and partial payload recovery successful)

 

Current Contracts and Mission Plans

Plans

  • Complete assembly of Medusa Orbital Laboratory
  • Crewed Minmus orbit
  • Crewed Mun orbit
  • Commnet for Kerbin system
  • Autonomous Minmus landings
  • Autonomous Mun landings
  • Station in Minmus orbit
  • Crewed Minmus landing
  • Station in Mun orbit
  • Crewed Mun landing

Contracts without current plans for completion

  • Magnetic survey of Tylo
  • Crewed Eve orbit

 

Crew

Status

  • Valentina: mission commander on Medusa Orbital Laboratory
  • Katine: crew transport pilot on Medusa Orbital Laboratory
  • Kaline: science officer on Medusa Orbital Laboratory
  • Isathy: station engineer on Medusa Orbital Laboratory
  • Kimula: available for missions (science)
  • Irnica: available for missions (engineering)

Accolades

uEZX678.jpg

 

Admin

General

  • 1291898 funds
  • Good reputation
  • No active strategies

Technology

129.7 available research points.

Tech tree:

UNPQBcQ.jpg

Research priorities:

  • Improve solar power
  • Acquire science equipment with transmittable data
Edited by eloquentJane

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Part 6: Medusa Modules

The telescope module for the Medusa Orbital Laboratory is refurbished and once again prepared for launch. This time, the plan is to launch the telescope and the power module separately.

4r7x0Zv.jpg

Spoiler

 

 

Liftoff is successful.

7Er8mDR.jpg

SHF8fhf.jpg

qp14KI3.jpg

Booster cutoff and separation.

WGQmyHM.jpg

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Ascent is nominal.

x1DwVLO.jpg

JMjLBVe.jpg

First stage cutoff and separation.

2jAtVQU.jpg

iFLyxWK.jpg

KXpsXJ6.jpg

The spacecraft circularizes in an 80km parking orbit.

qDw7OFi.jpg

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The telescope module executes maneuvers to rendezvous with the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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The telescope module temporarily docks to one of the radial docking ports.

 

Now the new power module can be launched. It is a complete rework of the original plan for the power module, and uses new sun-tracking panels.

QB1Cqym.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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PfSKMAD.jpg

VXoMg0D.jpg

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Booster cutoff and separation.

Kxkih6g.jpg

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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The first stage circularizes the payload in an 80km parking orbit.

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Fairing separation and stage separation.

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The power module approaches the station.

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The temporary power module is undocked and de-orbited.

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The new power module docks with the station. The solar panels can not yet be deployed though; they require EVA action on a future mission to the station.

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The telescope module moves to its final position at the top of the station.

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The Janus 3 transport undocks and de-orbits, to take Katina and Kaline back to the surface.

Meanwhile, the uncrewed Janus 1 pod re-enters.

SJobpOG.jpg

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Service module separation.

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Re-entry and landing are a success.

Now the crewed Janus 3 transport prepares for re-entry.

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Re-entry and landing are successful.

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No significant accolades earned.

 

Next, Kimula and Irnica launch to the Medusa Orbital Laboratory, in a Janus 5 CT-1H-H (launched on a Cinnabar 300). This specialized transport uses a Janus 3 command pod, but the usual service module is replaced by a wet workshop that can be configured in orbit as either a botany lab, science lab, or habitat. This launch carries a habitat. Also on board are the tools needed for EVA servicing of the station, including deployment of the solar arrays.

JTONIZ8.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

PhN2Wok.jpg

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition. The fuel tank for this stage is also the habitat module, and will be reconfigured once the vehicle is docked to the station.

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Engine cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached. This vehicle has a long ascent duration because of the low thrust-to-weight ratio of the upper stage.

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The spacecraft circularizes in an 80km parking orbit, and then executes several maneuvers to rendezvous with the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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Docking is successful.

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The habitat module is reconfigured, and then Irnica conducts an EVA to configure and deploy the main solar arrays.

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Solar array deployment successful. The station now only needs one more permanent module before completion.

 

The Medusa Orbital Laboratory needs crew rotation of several kerbals at a time to save costs. For this, the Janus 4 was developed. It can transport up to 6 kerbals to/from Kerbin orbit with relatively low cost. Kimula Kerman commands this mission with Paphia as flight engineer. The new station crew consists of Kaline, who is an experienced scientist, and Rodia and Doden, who will stay on the station for several months to train in microgravity. The station's current crew will return to Kerbin. The Janus 4 CT-1G is launched on a Cinnabar 4A.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Ascent is nominal.

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The vehicle loses control.

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Abort sequence is initiated, shutting down all engines.

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Capsule separation.

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The abort sequence is successful and the crew are recovered safely.

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No major accolades were earned.

There will be no further launches of Janus 4 transports, or of any vehicles launched using the Cinnabar type 4 core, until the problems with this launch can be analysed properly and be avoided in future.

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56 minutes ago, OrbitalBuzzsaw said:

Why not add the Arkas system into the mix @eloquentJane?

I hadn't considered Arkas because, last time I checked, the development version was subject to many changes - including one update which suggested that vehicles on the surface of the moons would be at risk of destruction. I expect it's more stable now though, but I'd still like to await an official 1.2.x release. I do like the look of Arkas though, and I think it would fit quite well with this series, assuming that my computer can run this many mods. The dev thread implies that there would've been a 1.2.x release some time last week, though I can only assume that that's been postponed.

Another planet pack that I would like is Asclepius, as that was the first planet I successfully conducted an interplanetary return mission for, but that hasn't had an update in a long time and I expect it's probably been abandoned by now.

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2 hours ago, eloquentJane said:

I hadn't considered Arkas because, last time I checked, the development version was subject to many changes - including one update which suggested that vehicles on the surface of the moons would be at risk of destruction. I expect it's more stable now though, but I'd still like to await an official 1.2.x release. I do like the look of Arkas though, and I think it would fit quite well with this series, assuming that my computer can run this many mods. The dev thread implies that there would've been a 1.2.x release some time last week, though I can only assume that that's been postponed.

Another planet pack that I would like is Asclepius, as that was the first planet I successfully conducted an interplanetary return mission for, but that hasn't had an update in a long time and I expect it's probably been abandoned by now.

Arkas dev version is stable for me, and there's no release version to be found, so I can only assume that the Spacedock dev mirror is the official version.

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29 minutes ago, OrbitalBuzzsaw said:

Arkas dev version is stable for me, and there's no release version to be found, so I can only assume that the Spacedock dev mirror is the official version.

The dev thread I mentioned is the one linked to by that Spacedock page. The last page of the thread contains a post saying that the 1.2.x version is coming soon. And I do want to wait for that, because it will apparently include Final Frontier banners.

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Part 7: Mun Landings and Crewed Minmus Orbit

The next step for the exploration of Kerbin's moons is to land some probes on them. Minmus was chosen to start with.

Three landers were assembled, and prepared for launch on a Cinnabar 102.

mrBUetm.jpg

Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

VrIMCpv.jpg

VrIMCpv.jpg

VrIMCpv.jpg

VrIMCpv.jpg

15HpD0R.jpg

NANcKAI.jpg

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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Fairing separation.

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After fairing separation, the spacecraft lost control.

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The spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere and was destroyed.

 

A similar mission was planned to land 3 probes on the Mun. After checking the launch vehicle to ensure that the previous failure with the Minmus landing mission would not occur again, the Mun landing mission was cleared for launch on a Cinnabar 122.

gayipWt.jpg

Spoiler

JI5ayvw.jpg

Liftoff is successful.

PShCkej.jpg

1xPd5ZE.jpg

Booster cutoff.

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Booster separation.

ABVxkCg.jpg

MfgoaD7.jpg

OgB8YLs.jpg

a6Z3stI.jpg

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First stage cutoff.

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First stage separation, followed by fairing separation.

PqriNsK.jpg

The spacecraft maintained control and circularized successfully.

bqJlnF9.jpg

Payload separation. The separation was less successful than planned, and resulted in the destruction of solar panels on two of the probes.

JNCTpRv.jpg

De-orbiting the C2 upper stage.

P0NHlXw.jpg

sQZb97R.jpg

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Three trans-Munar injection burns take place successfully. Unfortunately they occurred on the dark side of Kerbin.

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The orbital situation as the three Mun landers approach the Mun.

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VK4Veot.jpg

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All three orbital insertion burns were successful, although again took place in the darkness.

v1eKZnC.jpg

The first probe plans a landing in the highlands near one of the Mun's major craters. The other two probes will land nearby. The location was chosen because there are several biomes close by, and it is on the Kerbin-facing side of the Mun, meaning no relay satellites are required yet.

GDQKiNn.jpg

rQ9qKOF.jpg

ASQIHSB.jpg

KmjCf45.jpg

5TD2mz4.jpg

SH8VG3t.jpg

The first landing is successful, and the probe begins to transmit data gathered from its surroundings.

2eKgY0o.jpg

fVoKoMk.jpg

The second probe executes a de-orbit burn. It will land in the midlands to the north of the first landing site.

2gSGJIn.jpg

cmdvoCR.jpg

Landing successful.

V7aqlW3.jpg

The final probe will land in the crater itself, to the south of the crater rim.

qfbDRq0.jpg

93WFDXG.jpg

The third landing is also a success.

 

After a long time spent analysing the failure with the first launch of a Cinnabar Type 4 core, the issue was found. The problem was that the engines have high gimbal range and were overcompensating for small attitude changes when the stage became low on fuel. After taking measures to correct this, the crewed Minmus orbiting mission was cleared for launch.

Katina and Kaline Kerman prepare for launch on a Janus 3 CT-1F. The spacecraft is launched on a Cinnabar 4B, which has a specialized upper stage designed specifically for Mun or Minmus insertion burns.

IdXeQrk.jpg

Spoiler

YyrcRcW.jpg

Liftoff is successful.

DXCO3xy.jpg

tkf72J2.jpg

iS8CJw1.jpg

IrMbQ4n.jpg

Ascent continues nominally.

zO1rgyD.jpg

First stage cutoff. It appears that the issue with the Cinnabar Type 4 core has been corrected successfully, as the stage performed as intended.

bKQFeKf.jpg

First stage separation.

gHHNet5.jpg

The spacecraft circularizes in a 100km parking orbit, and awaits the science equipment package.

Now the science equipment is launched, on a modified Janus 1 FT-1A.

DpTA6q9.jpg

fl7DGHI.jpg

Liftoff is successful.

kBzl7QR.jpg

tuy88RO.jpg

Ascent is nominal.

IiHxLGS.jpg

First stage cutoff and separation.

ZatGch5.jpg

Second stage ignition.

f5TbwDH.jpg

Second stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

gk8aCe2.jpg

The science package circularizes in a 75km parking orbit. It does not have fuel left to rendezvous with the Janus 3 transport, so it will stay in its parking orbit and await rendezvous.

WoCZBnB.jpg

ZwfK44X.jpg

4ICTmZd.jpg

The crewed Janus 3 transport executes several maneuvers to rendezvous with the science package.

CW8sVou.jpg

GVv1Cek.jpg

Docking is successful.

LEj7IS1.jpg

UMWYwoL.jpg

The Cinnabar 4B upper stage executes the trans-Minmus injection burn.

3Nl9AcD.jpg

vzhHCct.jpg

There is a brief flyby of the Mun on the way to Minmus.

Ca4GmbA.jpg

As the spacecraft approaches Minmus, a small correction burn is made.

EetBIK7.jpg

Ksst9pP.jpg

eI8bILC.jpg

The Cinnabar 4B upper stage is jettisoned on a collision course with Minmus, and the Janus 3 transport then executes a maneuver to set a safe periapsis.

MdPDWuJ.jpg

QIhSdig.jpg

iCUkstO.jpg

The spacecraft circularizes in a 10km orbit.

bLXMK7O.jpg

Both Katina and Kaline conduct EVAs during the course of the mission, which lasts for several orbits as the maximum amount of science data is accumulated.

sN7YD7J.jpg

After the mission in Minmus orbit is complete, the spacecraft executes a maneuver to return to Kerbin.

ji9XTso.jpg

uGDe8a6.jpg

The science package is jettisoned on a collision course with Kerbin, and the Janus 3 transport then corrects the Kerbin periapsis to a 20km re-entry trajectory.

J1ECLER.jpg

jlc3LE3.jpg

MN8UTLw.jpg

yIhKfES.jpg

The spacecraft approaches Kerbin.

zbS8qbs.jpg

Service module separation before re-entry.

VlbvJdV.jpg

8RPJwJF.jpg

PUeASf7.jpg

q1HT7Gn.jpg

lMk1CFx.jpg

Re-entry and landing are successful.

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Notable accolades earned: first Kerbal orbiting Minmus (both crew members), first EVA in Minmus orbit (Kaline).

 

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17 minutes ago, OrbitalBuzzsaw said:

We dead @eloquentJane?

 

No, I've just been rather busy with some real life things lately. Posts like the ones in this thread take a lot longer to make than the other things I've been posting in the forums lately (just quick updates about a few things I've been experimenting with, like the N1 to Arkas). The summary posts are quicker but they don't exactly add much content.

Speaking of the summary posts, I've decided that because of the amount of time that it takes to create posts in this thread and the fact that I of course have to prioritize college work - and also because I'm going to be doing a second mission report series once New Horizons is released for 1.2.x - I'll be changing the summary post conditions. I will henceforth create a summary post after every five regular updates. This way there will always be a reasonable amount to update on, and I will not feel like I'm pressuring myself to get something done every week.

The next week should contain several updates if all goes well, and college ends on the 17th for a two-week break so I will hopefully be able to produce a good amount of content then too.
Current plans involve a crewed Mun orbiting mission, landing some probes on Minmus, and setting up communication cubesats for the Kerbin system. Other plans are the completion of the Medusa Orbital Laboratory and the construction of similar stations in orbit around the Mun and Minmus. I also plan to bring back the Janus 4 crew transport (now that the Cinnabar Type 4 core is working) as well as a new crew transport that is not part of the Janus series, and to use the Mun and Minmus stations to facilitate crewed landings on Kerbin's natural satellites.

Edited by eloquentJane

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Part 8: Resupply, Crew Transfers, and a new Mun rocket

It has become necessary to resupply the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

A Janus FT-1B is launched on a Cinnabar 242.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Booster cutoff and separation.

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Main engine cutoff as 125km apoapsis is reached.

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Circularizing.

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Circularization complete.

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Stage separation.

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The spacecraft will now execute a series of maneuvers to approach the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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Approaching the station.

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Docking successful.

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After the station is fully resupplied, the uncrewed Janus 1 transport undocks.

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De-orbiting.

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Service module jettison before atmospheric entry.

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Re-entry and landing were successful.

 

The station also needs a crew rotation. Luckily this can be done with a single launch, as the problems with the Janus 4 transport have been solved.

Katina Kerman pilots this Janus 4 CT-1G. Paphia, Rodia, and Doden will be the new long-term crew of the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Ascent is nominal.

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Main engine cutoff as 100km apoapsis is reached.

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Stage separation.

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Circularizing.

Once in orbit, the spacecraft makes several maneuvers to rendezvous with the Medusa Orbital Laboratory.

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Approaching the station.

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Docking is successful. The new station crew are transferred to the station, whilst Kimula, Irnica, Valentina, and Isathy move to the Janus 4 transport.

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The Janus 4 transport undocks from the station.

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De-orbiting, after about 2/3 of an orbit to allow for re-entry in the light.

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Service module separation.

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Re-entry and landing are successful.

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The KSC still needs to conduct a crewed mission to Mun orbit and back. There is a new spacecraft designed for this purpose: the Janus 6 CT-1I. This is a Janus 3 command module with an advanced service module that includes a cargo bay. The design became necessary because it is significantly cheaper to use a single launch for Mun missions than it is to send the science module or cargo separately. This mission is crewed by Valentina and Kimula. The Janus 6 transport is launched on a Cinnabar 4A with C7 upper stage.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff is successful.

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Ascent is nominal. The Cinnabar Type 4 core gradually throttles down during the ascent to limit acceleration.

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First stage cutoff as 80km apoapsis is reached.

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Stage separation.

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Circularizing.

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Circularization is complete.

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At the next transfer window to the Mun, the spacecraft prepares for the trans-Munar injection burn.

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Trans-Munar injection successful.

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The C7 stage is jettisoned on a collision course with the Mun.

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Approaching the Mun.

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This mission has a cargo of science equipment for basic studies in low Mun orbit.

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Circularizing in a 10km Munar orbit.

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Circularization complete.

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Valentina conducts a brief EVA, becoming the first kerbal on EVA in Mun orbit. Several more EVAs are conducted throughout the mission.

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The spacecraft orbits the Mun several times, collecting a good amount of science data.

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Mission complete in Munar orbit, the spacecraft executes a burn to return to Kerbin.

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Leaving the Mun.

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Service module jettison is slightly late, but is still successful.

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Re-entry and landing are successful.

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Notable accolades include First Kerbal In Orbit Around The Mun (both), First Kerbal on EVA in Mun Orbit (Valentina).

 

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Update: Series Reboot

I'm coming back from a bit of a hiatus with this series and I am going to restart it entirely. The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly and primarily, the save file has become corrupted somehow. I don't quite know what happened or how to fix it, and my last backup was so long ago that I don't really have the patience to exactly recreate what was lost. Secondly, I've gotten into the habit of using a scaled-up version of the Kerbol system, which I find to be both more fun and more realistic. So from now the series will occur in 4x scale. The end goal of the series will remain the same, but the approach will be different. I will end up making use of KRnD to achieve the total Kerbol system exploration. Thirdly, I've rethought the mod list. The most significant change will be the different planet mods that I will be using.

The new mod list will be added to the original post later once it is fully decided.

The restart of the series will hopefully begin soon. There may be some issues because Imgur has been extremely buggy lately. As soon as it is working, or I have found an alternative, I will be able to begin.

 

Edited by eloquentJane

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Part 1: A New Beginning

We start out with a sounding rocket program. The goal: study the atmosphere of Kerbin, and ultimately leave it. Kerbin's atmosphere ends at 98km above the surface. It will take several steps to reach.

SR1: A test of solid rocket technology, and of landing a capsule safely back on Kerbin.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff. The solid rocket motor performs as expected.

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Spin stabilization allows the vehicle to stay stable.

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Capsule separation and parachute deployment. No images were collected of landing, but the capsule was recovered successfully. Data was also collected from Kerbin's lower atmosphere.

 

SR2: an attempt at reaching Kerbin's upper atmosphere.

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Spoiler

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The rocket reached a high apoapsis, but not high enough to collect data that differs significantly from the results of SR1.

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Capsule separation occurs at this altitude without issue.

 

SR3: Another attempt at reaching Kerbin's upper atmosphere. This is also a test of multi-stage rockets.

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Spoiler

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After liftoff, the thrust was not high enough for the spin stabilization to be effective. The rocket banked to the side.

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Mission result: system failure. Reason: low first-stage thrust.

 

SR4: mimic of SR3 with higher thrust in the first stage. Same mission goals.

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Spoiler

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The higher thrust allowed spin stabilization to take effect, and the rocket's course was not severely effected.

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First stage cutoff.

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First stage separation, second stage ignition.

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The upper stage appears to have control issues.

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This is definitely not nominal.

The capsule was recovered, but the mission did not achieve its primary goal of collecting data from Kerbin's upper atmosphere.

 

SR5: attempt to reach Kerbin's upper atmosphere; first flight test of liquid fueled rocket engine.

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Spoiler

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Ascent is nominal.

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First stage cutoff and separation, second stage ignition. The liquid fueled engine performs as expected. It is used because liquid thrusters are easier to mount on gimbals, and doing so provides a means to control the rocket without using fins.

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The liquid fueled engine doesn't provide enough control authority to keep the rocket on course, but the science equipment does manage to gather temperature and pressure data from Kerbin's upper atmosphere.

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Upper stage cutoff.

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Capsule separation.

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The SR5 capsule reached the edge of space. The next mission will be an attempt to break that barrier.

 

SR6: an attempt to reach space, and a test of propellant-based attitude control.

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Spoiler

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First stage cutoff. The propellant-based attitude control system uses thrusters fueled by a fluid monopropellant in order to maintain the correct attitude of the spacecraft. The monopropellant is stored in the grey tank beneath the capsule.

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First stage separation, second stage ignition.

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Demonstration of the attitude control system.

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Second stage cutoff, capsule separation.

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The capsule reaches space, and then descends back to Kerbin. The science data gathered on this mission confirms the theory that there is no air beyond the atmosphere, and also suggests the fact that temperature is very difficult to measure when there is no air around. Interesting...

With a successful sounding rocket program, the KSC can move on to its next goal: sending a satellite to orbit Kerbin.

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Part 2: To Orbit

It's time to attempt to orbit Kerbin. Pioneer 1 is a five-stage rocket, consisting of two solid stages and three liquid stages (including propulsion systems on the orbiter).

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Spoiler

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Liftoff.

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Beginning gravity turn.

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First stage cutoff.

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First stage separation, second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff.

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Second stage separation, third stage ignition.

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Reaching the edge of space.

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Third stage cutoff.

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Fairing separation, third stage separation.

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Fourth stage ignition. The fourth stage uses a mid-range engine to achieve high thrust with reasonably good Isp.

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Fourth stage cutoff.

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Payload deployment.

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Payload engine ignition.

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Launch successful. The first artificial satellite has been placed in orbit of Kerbin.

With launch mechanics now figured out, the KSC can move on to the goal of getting a kerbal into orbit, and returning them to the surface.

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Part 3: Crewed Spacecraft Testing

It's time to put a kerbal in Kerbin orbit. The Megido 1 spacecraft is designed, along with the Bishop 1 launch vehicle. The Aries program will be a series of uncrewed launches to test the capabilities of the Megido 1 command module.

Aries 1: test of guidance and landing systems. The Megido 1 command module is launched on a basic SRB in order to ensure that it can operate autonomously and land safely. The command module has space for one kerbal, an ACS consisting of monopropellant thrusters and reaction wheels, a service bay for storing science equipment, and experimental docking equipment.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff of Aries 1.

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The guidance and attitude control systems are performing as anticipated.

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Engine cutoff.

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Capsule separation.

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Parachute deployment. The parachutes will probably see a different arrangement in future.

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Landing successful.

 

Following the success of Aries 1, another launch was planned. Aries 2 would test out the Bishop 1 launch vehicle, placing the Megido 1 command module into a sub-orbital trajectory with a 270km apoapsis and 20km periapsis. The Aries 2 mission will also test how the Megido 1 capsule performs under standard re-entry conditions.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff of Aries 2.

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The Bishop 1 launch vehicle uses 3 liquid fueled stages. The B1 first stage uses a high-thrust engine that is optimized for atmospheric use.

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First stage cutoff.

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First stage separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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The B2 second stage engine is quite powerful for its mass, and is likely to see future use as a lander engine.

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Second stage cutoff.

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Second stage separation, nose cone separation.

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Third stage ignition.

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The B3 third stage uses a vacuum-optimized engine.

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First stage cutoff. The spacecraft is placed in a 60km by 270km orbit that re-enters the atmosphere at periapsis. At apoapsis, the periapsis will be lowered to 20km to simulate common re-entry conditions for the capsule.

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Approaching apoapsis. Guidance and ACS functioning as expected. Power systems nominal.

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B3 engine re-ignition successful. Lowering periapsis to 20km.

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Approaching the atmosphere.

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Stage separation before atmospheric entry.

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Few images were collected of re-entry and landing because of the darkness, but both were successful.

 

With the necessary tests conducted on the Megido 1 capsule, a crewed mission can be prepared.

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Part 4: A Kerbal In Orbit

M1 KO1: first launch of the complete Megido 1 spacecraft. The service module is new, and the launch vehicle itself is modified slightly. The launch vehicle is now a Bishop 1B, with a B1-B first stage. This new stage has a slightly extended fuel tank to allow for a longer burn time. It is estimated that this is enough to allow the spacecraft to approach orbit, and then circularize using the service module propellant. Valentina Kerman is the pilot of this launch.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff of M1 KO1.

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The first stage is performing nominally.

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Passing Mach 1.

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First stage cutoff.

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First stage separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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The second stage is an identical B2 stage to the one used on the Bishop 1 launch vehicle.

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Ascent is nominal.

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Second stage cutoff.

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Second stage separation.

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Nosecone separation. It appears a staging error caused the nosecone to separate late.

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Third stage separation. Another staging error meant that the third stage was jettisoned instead of ignited.

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The service module cannot even leave the atmosphere without the boost from the third stage of the launch vehicle. Engaging high-altitude abort sequence.

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Service module separation.

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The command module rotates in preparation for re-entry.

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Minor re-entry heating is experienced.

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Parachute deployment.

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Abort successful. Capsule recovery can commence.

 

After the failure of M1 KO1, an investigation solved the staging errors that led to the need for a launch abort. It was also found that the Bishop 1B was unlikely to fulfill the delta-v requirements for orbit, as it is technically designed for less massive payloads and was not initially intended to be crew-rated, so its thrust is lower than needed. The low thrust is difficult to combat immediately, but additional delta-v can be provided by upgrading the B2 stage to a B2-B stage, with 150% of the original fuel capacity. The resulting launch vehicle is designated a Bishop 1BB. With Valentina still being debriefed, Natacella Kerman will fly M1 KO2 to Kerbin orbit and back.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff of M1 KO2.

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The gravity turn begins early to minimize gravity losses.

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First stage cutoff. Pitch is lower than ideal at this point.

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First stage separation, second stage ignition. The high gimbal range of the second stage engine is important here for maintaining pitch.

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Apoapsis is lower than ideal. The mission will not be able to reach a high orbit as was intended.

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Second stage cutoff.

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Second stage separation, nosecone separation.

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Third stage ignition.

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The vehicle has to maintain a high pitch in order to raise the apoapsis high enough.

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Third stage cutoff.

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Third stage separation.

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SME ignition. The SME (Service Module Engine) has very low thrust, so a high pitch must still be maintained.

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It becomes evident that the vehicle will only just have enough delta-v to reach orbit.

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The RCS provides the spacecraft with a boost as it approaches apoapsis.

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Circularizing in a 102km orbit.

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Natacella is now the first kerbal to orbit Kerbin.

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Once in orbit, several pieces of science equipment can conduct surveys.

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De-orbiting. There is not enough fuel for the SME to reach the intended periapsis, so the RCS is used as well.

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De-orbit burn complete.

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Service module jettison before atmospheric entry.

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Experiencing re-entry heating as expected.

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Re-entry successful. Drogue chute deployed.

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Main chute deployed.

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Splashdown is successful. Capsule recovery can commence.

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Accolades earned by Natacella Kerman. Notable accolades include being the first kerbal in Kerbin orbit, and in fact the first kerbal in space.

 

Whilst the launch configuration of M1 KO2 was successful in placing the Megido 1 spacecraft into Kerbin orbit, the low orbit achieved will not be suitable for most missions in future. As such, a new launch vehicle is designed. The Bishop 4 has the same second and third stages as the Bishop 1BB, but its first stage is replaced by the wider B4 stage. This stage has two Hornet engines instead of one, and also contains more fuel. Moreover, it is designed to be able to have either a 1.25m upper adapter, or to continue on to the same 1.875m diameter. Overall it is a very versatile upgrade.

Because of the untested technology, the next launch will be the third launch of the uncrewed Aries program. The Bishop 4 launch vehicle should be able to place the entire Megido 1 spacecraft in a 105km parking orbit without use of the SME.

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Spoiler

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Ignition.

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Liftoff of Aries 3.

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Commencing gravity turn. With this payload, the B4 first stage achieves very high acceleration.

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Reaching maximum dynamic pressure.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition. The B2-B second stage has low thrust compared to this payload, but boost given to the vehicle by the B4 first stage means that this is not an issue.

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Ascent is nominal.

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Second stage cutoff.

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Second stage separation.

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Third stage ignition.

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Third stage cutoff as 105km apoapsis is reached.

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Circularizing.

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Circularization complete. Peak acceleration was 3.4g, immediately before first stage cutoff.

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Third stage separation. The B3 stage is now equipped with retrorockets to avoid leaving debris in orbit.

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With the spacecraft now in orbit, it has about 1200m/s of delta-v with the SME. A secondary objective of this mission is changing the spacecraft's apoapsis to 6000km (approximately the highest orbit achievable with the fuel in the service module), and de-orbiting from there to test how the vehicle performs under harsher re-entry conditions.

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Raising apoapsis.

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Burn complete.

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Space high over Kerbin.

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At apoapsis, periapsis was lowered to 20km.

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Service module jettison.

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G forces during re-entry exceed 7g. For re-entry from higher orbits, a higher periapsis will have to be used.

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Parachute deployment. Despite high acceleration, the spacecraft sustained no damage.

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Splashdown successful. Capsule recovery can commence.

 

The KSC has received several contracts to return scientific data from higher orbits. Some of the next few missions should involve that. It is also important to test the technology required for a kerbal to leave their spacecraft whilst in space, and be able to return to it. This also should occur soon.

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Part 5: Spacewalk and Mun Orbiter

With the new Bishop 4 launch vehicle tested successfully, the KSC can send a kerbal to high Kerbin orbit and back, along with some science equipment of course.

Launch of M1 KO3. Mission objectives: first spacewalk; collect science data from high orbit. Valentina Kerman pilots this launch.

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Spoiler

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Liftoff of M1 KO3.

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Commencing gravity turn.

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Passing speed of sound.

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Reaching maximum dynamic pressure.

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First stage cutoff.

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First stage separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff.

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Second stage separation, fairing separation.

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Third stage ignition.

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Third stage cutoff as 105km apoapsis is reached.

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Circularizing.

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Circularization complete.

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Third stage separation.

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SME ignition. Executing maneuver to raise apoapsis above 1000km.

oL2XstP.jpg

5sYiXSI.jpg

Maneuver complete.

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Once in stable orbit, Valentina exits the spacecraft and performs the first EVA.

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High above Kerbin.

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Science equipment is deployed and another EVA is conducted in space high above Kerbin. Then a de-orbit maneuver is executed, setting periapsis to 45km.

IIJubRo.jpg

Approaching the atmosphere.

gIUjWIq.jpg

Service module separation.

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ylliV7u.jpg

lJJRvDr.jpg

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Re-entry is successful. Drogue parachute deployed.

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Main parachute deployment.

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Landing successful.

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Mission summary. Notable accolades earned include being the first Kerbal on EVA in Kerbin orbit, and the first on EVA overall.

 

With some advances in technology, it is time for the first mission to another celestial body. The Cassiterite 1 spacecraft is a tiny satellite designed to orbit the Mun. It is launched on a Bishop 1.

Launch of Cassiterite 1. Mission objectives: orbit the Mun; transmit magnetic field data from Munar orbit; conduct long-term surveys of magnetic field environment in space around the Mun.

j1QtZBj.jpg

Spoiler

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Ignition.

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Liftoff of Cassiterite 1.

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Commencing gravity turn.

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Breaking sound barrier.

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Reaching maximum dynamic pressure.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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0blLTA0.jpg

Second stage cutoff.

QHwdByv.jpg

Second stage separation.

U0W7yUe.jpg

Third stage ignition.

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Third stage cutoff as 105km apoapsis is reached.

NesIe4c.jpg

Fairing separation.

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Circularization complete.

8HQ5tRH.jpg

Executing Mun transfer burn after one orbit of Kerbin.

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Transfer burn complete.

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Payload deployment.

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Approaching the Mun.

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Commencing orbital injection burn.

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Cassiterite 1 is placed in an 8000km by 40km near-polar orbit of the Mun.

 

The funds accumulated from recent missions have allowed an upgrade to the R&D facilities at the KSC. This has allowed developments in improved autopilot software, as well as presenting a need to gather more data to fund research into technology upgrades. Future missions should involve gathering additional science data from Kerbin orbit. Other future plans involve testing of the docking capabilities of the Megido 1 spacecraft; docking equipment was included in the design phase but is thus far untested in space.

Edited by eloquentJane

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Part 6: Orbital Rendezvous

Launch of M1 KO4. Mission objectives: collect science data from space around Kerbin; remain in orbit and await rendezvous with M1 KO5. The Megido 1 spacecraft used on this launch has a specialized service module that is extended to accommodate one of the larger pieces of science equipment that the KSC has developed. This will allow materials studies to be conducted in space. The experiment requires supervision and manual resetting in order to gather all of the data, so the scientist Natacella Kerman will fly this mission.

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Spoiler

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Ignition.

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Liftoff of M1 KO4.

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Commencing gravity turn.

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Breaking sound barrier.

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Reaching maximum dynamic pressure.

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First stage cutoff and separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff and separation.

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Third stage ignition.

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Circularization complete.

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Third stage separation.

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SME ignition. Moving the spacecraft to a 1200km orbit.

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Natacella conducts an EVA to activate the science equipment.

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Circularizing at apoapsis.

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Once in the higher orbit, another EVA is conducted to collect data.

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The spacecraft will remain in orbit to await M1 KO5, which will attempt a rendezvous and docking maneuver with M1 KO4.

 

Launch of M1 KO5. Mission objective: rendezvous and dock with M1 KO4. Crew: Valentina Kerman.

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Spoiler

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Ignition.

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Liftoff of M1 KO5.

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Commencing gravity turn.

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Breaking sound barrier.

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Reaching maximum dynamic pressure.

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First stage cutoff.

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First stage separation.

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Second stage ignition.

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Second stage cutoff and separation, nosecone separation.

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Third stage ignition.

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Circularization complete.

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Third stage separation.

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Commencing rendezvous maneuvers.

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Approaching M1 KO4.

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Final approach to dock.

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Docking successful.

With the successful docking, and after Natacella went on EVA so that Valentina could test crew transfer capabilities (also a success) it is time to return them both home.

Continuation of M1 KO4 and M1 KO5.

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Spoiler

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The two vessels undock. Natacella will return first, and Valentina will orbit Kerbin once more before de-orbiting.

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De-orbiting.

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Approaching the atmosphere.

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Service module jettison.

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Re-entry complete.

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Parachute deployment.

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Landing successful. Recovery operations can commence.

Now back to M1 KO5 in orbit.

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De-orbiting.

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De-orbit maneuver complete.

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Service module jettison.

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Re-entry complete. Parachute deployment.

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Landing successful. Recovery operations can commence.

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Mission summary. Notable accolades earned by Valentina include being the first kerbal to dock with another spacecraft in Kerbin orbit. No notable accolades were earned by Natacella.

 

Edited by eloquentJane

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