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Screaming through the Cosmos - Goodbye for now

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11 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

So landing failure, not a launch failure per se? :D

Considering the launcher put it on  too steep of a trajectory, it's debatable. Something similar happened to Ham the space chimp on his flight except he survived.

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20 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

So landing failure, not a launch failure per se? :D


7 minutes ago, insert_name said:

Considering the launcher put it on  too steep of a trajectory, it's debatable. Something similar happened to Ham the space chimp on his flight except he survived.

I'm with @insert_name on this. The X - 3B's boosters were too big, and sent it too high. I was aiming for a 160km, maybe 170km apogee, not 225km.

Or perhaps we should have ignited the A4 on the pad, thus reducing the delta V. But all this is hypothetical. The failure is attributed to poor launcher design.


Also, I've added crew and launch vehicle rosters to the first post.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kerbal Space Agency

Commission Investigating the loss of X - 3A Flight 8


After four months of careful investigation, the investigative board has reached a set of conclusions on the cause of the in-flight breakup of X - 3A Flight 8, crewed by S0 Katherine Biggs.

The accident occurred during the spaceplane's pull-up following re-entry at supersonic speeds, approximately mach 1.3. According to the flight data recorder recovered from the Atlantic Ocean, an unusually high lateral strain occurred a fraction of a second before the spaceplane disintegrated. The recorder was damaged during the high velocity break-up, as it was an off-the-shelf model designed for a small subsonic airliner, not purpose-built for the X - 3A in order to save money on the part of the Space Agency, but it indicates an unusual contol input just under a second before the break-up; a sharp rudder input to port.

Looking into this, it quickly became apparant that we would need a cockpit voice recording. While the X - 3A doesn't carry a Cockpit Voice Recorder in order to save mass, Mission Control at Cape Canaveral does record radio conversations between Capcom and the spacecraft. After three days of digging through Mission Control's comfortingly extensive bank of records, we finally located the recording of the flight in question. What follows is an extract from the transcript:

05:54 - Biggs: Pulling up cleanly now Control, I have the Space Center in sight.

05:56 - MC: RADAR shows you drifting west, you'll want to think about correcting that.

05:59 - Biggs: Roger, Control, deflecting east.

[At 06:01, we believe the unususal rudder input was made.]

[At 06:02, a faint metallic screech is heard, rapidly followed by a loud crunch-BANG noise.]

06:02 - Biggs: Holy [REDACTED FOR FORUM CIVILITY], what wa- [STATIC]

06:04 - MC: What was that?

06:07 - MC: X - 3A, please respond.

06:09 - MC: X - 3A, please respond.

06:13 - MC: Katherine, please respond.

06:14 - MC: Flight, GNC, RADAR shows multiple objects on the X - 3A's trajectory.

06:19 - MC: Flight Director to All Stations, can anyone tell me what's going on?

06:21 - MC: Flight, Booster, telemetry shows a catastrophic structural failure on the spacecraft at 06:02.

06:26 - MC: [Flight Director speaking] Mulch. What's Katherine's status?

06:31 - MC: Flight, TELMU, I haven't got anything. Looks alot like Loss Of Crew, Fli-

06:32 - MC: WAIT! Flight, Surgeon, I have bio-monitor telemetry! Pulse is raised, blood pressure stable, she isn't in any kind of shape, but she's alive. Suit telemetry shows personal parachute deployment!


From that data, we've come to the conclusion that S0 Biggs attempted to correct a trajectory error with her rudders while at supersonic speed (mach 1.3), seriously overstressing the airframe. Looking back at her training, Katherine did not undergo the full pilot's module for the X - 3A, which is reserved for Kerbonauts classified as Pilots. That module would have covered the limitations of the rudders, which seemed to already be evident to the designers, who added that specific module to the course. Katherine underwent the scientist's module, which largely concerned the in-flight experiments, and only included a rudimentary 'crash-course' on flying the spaceplane beyond corrections during re-entry and the landing procedures. Some blame must also be placed with the designers for leaving such a glaring issue with the design almost totally unflagged, but it must be considered that they are working within the limitations of current technology, and they did their best to reinforce the vertical stabilisers.

Conclusions about causes:

- Pilot error caused by insufficient training.

- Severe design flaw within the vertical stabiliser mountings.



- Put all crew through a comprehensive pilot's course.

- Install proper warnings signs about the use of the rudders in the cockpit of the surviving X - 3A airframe before resuming operational flights. Warn crews against using the rudders above Mach 0.7.

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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - Can anyone tell me what's going on?
11 hours ago, NotAgain said:

Conclusions about causes:

- Pilot error caused bt insufficient training.

- Severe design flaw within the vertical stabiliser mountings.

...or maybe Katherine jammed her rudder pedal with her snack-box. Foreign objects in the cockpit are a common cause of loss of control. It happened to me just the other night...




Exhibit A.


It also happened on an A330 MRTT to this poor guy. 

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Kador - 2

Mission: Test out the RCS and service module of the proposed crewed orbital spacecraft.

Launch SIte: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Launch Vehicle: Domain L




After the failure of Kador - 1, we can't just give up. I'm confident that the launcher will work. Let's try it again. The only concession I've made to modifying the launch vehicle is to add four small bolt-on fins to the core stage, in order to try and keep the nose of the rocket pointed where I want it to go.


Well, it appears to be working. It hasn't broken up.


Booster separation, and now I realise the drawbacks of balloon tanks. The boosters disintegrated as soon as they rotated into the airstream.


Well, now that that little mis-hap is over and done with, we can get on with the core stage burn.


And we reach MECO uneventfully, and the RD-0105 ignites for the first time.


It's a remarkably small stage, this one, but the huge efficiency of the engine more than makes up for the lack of fuel.


And a Kador boilerplate spacecraft achieves orbit for the first time.


The RCS is tested, and we come up with a small list of improvements for Kador - 3.


EDIT - 500 +rep! Thanks, everyone!

Edited by NotAgain
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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - Kador - 2 launch [Insert witty remark here]
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again, everyone! Sorry I've been neglecting this (again), but I've been bounced around the NHS' mental health departments all week and haven't had much time to do anyhting about this. If my mental health continues to go down the toilet, then I may well have to back off from this, but, until that happens, if it happens, it should be business as usual.


X - 3A Flight 9

Mission: Fly our last unflown Kerbonaut.

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Crew: S0 Maya Stimson (Commander)

Date: 12/8/1954



Now that the investigation into the loss of X - 3A Flight 8 has come to the conclusion that a return to flight is a safe idea, we've packed S0 Maya Stimson into the cockpit and lit the EthaLox fuelled A4 engine.


Maya is under intructions not to use the rudders for any deflection except on landing approch, and to land off-target rather than risk a break-up. She reached an apogee of 124km, which, I think, is a new crewed record.


By this point, we know that she's going to land somewhere west of the KSC.


It would appear that our precautions have paid off. S0 Maya Stimson and her X - 3A land safely some 40km west of the KSC.


Genesis - 4

Mission: Make a second Lunar fly-by, hopefully gathering data from different biomes this time.

Launch Site: LC - 3, Cape Canaveral

Launch Vehicle: Domain 2A

Date: 8/10/1954



I think it's high time for another Moonshot.


As the mission profile on Genesis - 3 worked so very well, I don't intend to change it, and so there isn't that much to say.


The lifter is exactly the same as last time, except for some minor fuel re-balancing in the second stage to account for Liquid Oxygen boil-off.


Ooh, pretty sunrise.


And a good ignition on our rather cobbled-together, but nonetheless remarkably good second stage.


Closing on SECO now.


And orbit achieved on a brief third stage burn.


The twin AJ-10 third stage then re-ignites for the Trans-Lunar Injection burn.


And deposits Genesis - 4 on its lunar fly-by trajectory.


X - 6 Flight 1

Mission: Test out our new lifting re-entry prototype.

Launch Site: LC - 2, Cape Canaveral

Launch Vehicle: Aridia 2B

Date: 11/10/1954



Well, it's time to introduce you to a new X - plane design. I give you:


The HIVREV! That's HIgh Velocity Re-Entry Vehicle, or the X - 6, more commonly.


Launched on an A4 booster, the HIVREV is designed to test high velocity lifting re-entry techniques for a possible future orbital spaceplane.


Powered by an XLR - 81 hypergolic engine and equipped with that little RCS you see there, it flies on a long ballistic arc, making a parachute-landing near our tiny little Wallops Island facility.


Except when it doesn't.


Oh dear.


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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - A long overdue update

Genesis - 4 Lunar Fly-by

Date: 12/10/1954



Well, after four days of trans-lunar cruising, our intrepid probe has reached the Moon.


On approach to our Perilune, the little NavCam mounted on the Navigation and Control (NavCon) mast takes a series of images of the lunar surface, contributing to our Lunar mapping efforts, which we'll use to support future Lunar landings, both uncrewed and crewed.


Getting close to Perilune now, the NavCam is taking better-resolution (i.e. closer in) pictures of the surface, and we're gathering some good data from the instruments you can see clustered around the base of the NavCon mast in this image.


And the fly-by is complete. Have a nice picture of a simultaneous Earthrise and Sunrise, made possible by the orbital dynamics of a high-speed fly-by.


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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - A simultaneous Earthrise and Sunrise

Kador - 3

Mission: Test out the orbital maneouvering engines of the Kador crewed spacecraft prototype.

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Launch Vehicle: Domain L

Date: 6/11/1954



Continuing now with our Kador program of preliminary boilerplate tests for our upcoming crewed spacecraft, we're launching another flight, this one including a whole host of minor improvements taken from the Kador - 2 mission, largely to do with RCS thruster placement.


The Domain L launch vehicle thunders away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the 1.5 ton boilerplate spacecraft.


The RD-103M powered boosters separate at about 40,000ft.


And the core stage pushes on, finishing up its supply of KeroLox about ten seconds after this image was taken.


The core stage then separates, and the RD-0105 upper stage ignites, burning for about seven minutes in order to place the payload in Low Earth Orbit.


One of the aims of this mission wsa to test out our prototype Orbital Maneouvering System engines, which consist of six XASR - 1 engines, arranged in pairs to give three ignitions, but for some reason, we had a pressurisation failure in the service module, and couldn't get the engines to light. So we conclude this mission with yet another little list of improvements for Kador - 4.


X - 6 Flight 2

Mission: Try testing that little spaceplane again.

Launch Vehicle: Aridia 2B

Launch Site: LC - 2, Cape Canaveral

Date: 6/11/1954



Another very busy day for us, with two launches from the Cape within a few hours of one another. After the miserable failure of the first X - 6 flight, we've built a second airframe with improved tail control surfaces that won't burn up during re-entry.


As per ususal, the Aridia 2B works perfectly, propelling the spaceplane into the upper atmosphere.


The fairing then separates, and the XLR - 81 ignites...


... and promptly explodes. Mulch.


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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - ... and it promptly explodes

@DatBoi, I also hope I don't end up in a looney house, but it's not particularly likely. My illnesses make me a danger to myself, not other people, so the NHS probably won't use up one of their precious beds in a secure mental health facility.

Yes, my mental health does affect my normal life, but not in a way that stops me from playing Kerbal, In fact, KSP is one of the things keeping me alive a lot of the time. But, as a reassurance, let me tell you that I'm actually in 1960 in my save, so, even if I had to stop playing for some reason, I've got six years of material to continue uploading.

Thanks for your concern, though. Have a sneak peek of things to come in this save.



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Genesis - 5

Mission: Photograph and impact the Moon.

Launch Vehicle: Domain 2A

Launch Site: LC - 3, Cape Canaveral

Date: 31/12/1954



Well, it's New Year's Eve, 1954, and what a year it's been. Lunar fly-bys, bats in space, and the X - 3A returning to flight after the ill-fated X - 3A Flight 8. We're going to cap it off with possibly our most ambitious mission yet, Genesis - 5, our first attempt at a Lunar impactor.


And almost straight away, something goes wrong. What you can see here is a performance loss - type failure on one of the Domain 2A's LR-89 booster engines pretty much right off the pad. That's going to make this launch interesting.



And by interesting, this is the definition I mean.


Well, despite Test Flight's best efforts, we made it to booster sep, and dodged the dying booster's attempts to crash into us. We are certainly living up to the proverb. Living in interesting times indeed.


Core stage cut-off and separation, viewed from the interstage camera, as usual.


And the universe just seems opposed to this mission, for some reason. Somehow, part of the interstage fairing has gotten hung up on a separation motor. This troubles me. It also offsets our center of mass, which is more worrying.


But, carried through by fate, destiny or, perhaps, my piloting skills, we reached second stage separtion, and the Block F ignited to burn for orbit.


It then re-ignited for the Trans-Lunar Injection.


Unlike the previous Genesis Type - A probes, the Type - B (impactor) carries no instruments, but a far more extensive complement of cameras, plus a revolutionary new RCS and propulsion system, fuelled totally by Hydrazine. The probe's engine is also Hydrazine-fuelled, and, for the first time ever on such a small engine, re-ignitable! We still haven't figured out a way to power these probes, but we'll figure something out in due course. Until then, massive batteries for the win!


Another X - 5A flight

Mission: Complete an 'X - Planes Supersonic' contract.

Launch Site: Runway 09, Cape Canaveral

Crew: P0 Valentina Kerman

Date: 2/1/1955



Finally (largely) over the hangovers from the New Years party that went on in the administration building, P0 Valentina Kerman has dragged together enough sense and sobriety (or at least half a bottle of Aspirin) to take one of our X - 5As up (now being built by De Havilland as the DH.161, beyond any doubt the best fighter available right now) to clear a minor contact for a supersonic flight.


Climbing hard into the dawn, the twin Rolls-Royce Avons propell Val up to mission altitude.


After sustaining mach 1.5 for three minutes, she makes her way back towards the Cape, admiring the sunrise on the way.


And she lands our precious Mach 2.97 jet off the runway for some reason, and taxis up to this... uhh... thing. Whatever it is. Frankly, we're all so hungover that it may not even exist. For now, we'll get the aircraft back to the hangar and ignore the ominous, low-pitched orchestral humming that everyone seems to be able to hear.


Edited by NotAgain
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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - Living in interesting times
On 3/17/2018 at 7:40 AM, NotAgain said:

the ominous, low-pitched orchestral humming that everyone seems to be able to hear.

So that's what that noise at the SC is? I always thought is was just Mortimer screwing around.

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Genesis - 5 impact

Date: 4/1/1955



After a gentle Trans-Lunar Cruise, Genesis - 5 has entered the Lunar sphere of influence, and has adjusted its perilune to just below the surface (-10km, if I recall correctly). Now, all we have to do is wait out the nineteen hour fall to the surface.


As we get closer, our investment in the Type B probe's array of eight cameras begins to pay off, and we get some of the best images of the Moon that we've ever recieved. The array will continue to take photographs at ten second intervals until its components are pulverised against the Lunar regolith.


Getting close to impact now, and camera no. 7 captures the probe making a course correction less than a minute from impact, showing the new 'quad' type RCS clusters firing.


And we have impact. More than :funds:100,000? Check. A largely visible and spectacular explosion? Not quite.

Kador - 4

Mission: Test out the reconfigured service/propulsion module.

Launch Vehicle: Domain L

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Date: 14/1/1955



I know that these Kador missions are getting repetitive, so I'll keep this one short, sweet and largely free of commentary.




There we go. An uneventful ascent, and we successfully test the re-configured service module, now running on Hydrazine and four re-ignitable 1kN thrusters.


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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - Yet another Kador launch

FLOOYD Dynamics - 1

Mission: Earn some money and test some tech.

Launch Vehicle: Devoid 3

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Date: 9/2/1955



Well, it's high time for another commercial launch, and a new Low Earth Orbit launch vehicle, so, I present to you FLOOYD Dynamics - 1 and the first ever Devoid 3 lifter.


The payload is a relatively simple job, just fly a small satellite into a near-polar orbit, so we're taking the opportunity to test out something new: solar panels. This, if successful, will revolutionise satellite technology as we know it.


The launch vehicle is built of a core of five XLR-50 engines, boosted by two Castor SRBs, with a single XLR-81 for the upper stage. Not particularly inventive, but it should certainly suffice for small launches like these.


Now in orbit, and angled into the sun, our anemic little prototype solar panels start to produce power. Not enough to fully offset the satellite's power draw, but certainly a good start. Instead of perhaps three days, this thing's batteries might last three and a half!


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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - Earn some money and test some tech

X - 6 Flight 3

Mission: One last try at making the HIVREV work.

Launch Vehicle: Aridia 2B

Launch Site: LC - 2, Cape Canaveral

Date: 2/3/1955



While the administration are getting sick of pouring money into a spaceplane that keeps burning up and exploding, we've managed to wrangle the necessary funding for a third flight, but if this doesn't work, then we might as well consider the program shelved.


The launch was entirely nominal, with a minor change: we jettisoned the fairing at a lower altitude, figuring that the aerodynamic shape of the HIVREV was enough top cut through the air at this height.


Unlike last time, the XLR-81 doesn't explode, and the spaceplane completes its burn successfully. The major change since the last flight is the structure of the tailplane, which is now significantly more heat resistant.


But the nosecone isn't, and it burns up, taking the Hydrazine fuel tank for the Reaction Control System with it.


But, looking on the bright side, more of the spaceplane survived than last time, and the parachute remained funtional. Look, even one of the elevators survived!

We ended up getting this lump of wreckage back, thanks to the parachute, but it still pretty much classifies as a mission failure.


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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - One last try at making the HIVREV work
1 minute ago, Alpha 360 said:

Too bad the HIVREV didn't work this time. :( Its always a pain when that happens. 

Yeah. I don't have shielded fuel tanks available yet, and probably won't until 1962. That's when it might fly again.

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Just now, Alpha 360 said:

I know that your X series of space-planes is a historical reference to the X-1 through X-15 rocket planes made by the US Air force. 

Yes, but I was more going for the spacecraft names.

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Which names? Rocket names, the payload names? Both? 

For rocket names - I notice that all your orbital rockets start with a D. (Domain, Devoid). Your sub-orbital rocket is named Aridia.

Payload names...........I don't want to look through this entire thread looking for them, but I notice that your Genesis series of probes is used a lot. I believe they are used for Mun missions.......

 All that is the result of straining the jolly old bean. 

Happy Explosions!

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6 minutes ago, Alpha 360 said:

For rocket names - I notice that all your orbital rockets start with a D. (Domain, Devoid)

That's coincidence.

But all those names are related.

You're correct on pretty much all counts - the Genesis series is my Lunar exploration series, Kador is early testing of crewed spacecraft, Domain is re-entry testing and Devoid is other satellites (largely scientific).

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Dinklestein - 1

Mission: Place the Dinklestein - 1 commercial satellite in orbit.

Launch Vehicle: Devoid 2A

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Date: 29/3/1955



We've got another satellite contract. This one is for Dinklestein, so here we go, firing another of those little solar-powered satellites into orbit.


We're using another new lifter for this, a booster-augmented version of the Devoid 2, known as the Devoid 2A. That's pretty much the only change to the lifter, which we made to increase the delta-V budget for the mission.


The ascent goes just as planned, running on the LR-79 core stage (with four LR-101 verniers) and four custom SRBs, and the Devoid 2 family of Launch Vehicles demonstrates its reliability again.


The core burns to depletion and separates, along with the boosters and fairing, and five XLR-81s take over for the second stage.

The third stage is a now familiar Block E1, comprising of a sing AJ-10 Mid (I'm not sure of the exact series).
In orbit safely, the stage makes a series of maneouvers, and makes us damned happy to have a proper, re-ignitable upper stage.
And the satellite then inserts itself into its proper orbit. Like FLOOYD Dynamics - 1, the panels don't entirely offset the power consumption, but they will extend the probe's life by a few hours, maybe a day.


FLOOYD Dynamics - 2

Mission: Fly another Type A SCB for FLOOYD Dynamics.

Launch Vehicle: Devoid 3A

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Date: 23/4/1955



Well, it would appear that FLOOYD Dynamics were impressed by our performance last time, and they're back for more. They've contracted our first ever high-inclination commercial launch, and we've had to magic up another type of lifter. The new one is a close relation of the Devoid 3, but with improved boosters and an RD-0105 upper stage.


The lifter climbs away from the Cape without problems, completes its roll program and pitches off North-Northwest.


As we've come to expect from the XLR-50 now, the first stage peforms flawlessly.


The second stage then begins its long, gentle burn for orbit.


Almost there now, and we can see that its yet another one of these satellites, which I've taken to calling the Type A Small Commercial Bus.


The Type A SCB then maneouvers into its target orbit, and we get paid.

Kor-Azor - 1

Mission: Take high-definition pictures of Earth, and return the film.

Launch Vehicle: Devoid 2A

Launch Site: SLC - 1, Kodiak

Date: 2/5/1955



While most of the KSC has been focusing on our string of high-budget Moon missions, a smaller team has been coming up with something completely different, and easily just as important: a high-definition orbital camera. That's what we're sending up today, to kick off a new Earth Science and Observation program, the Kor-Azor program.


In order to get coverage of the whole planet, the satellite needs to be inserted into a polar orbit, and we don't really have the capability to do that from Cape Canaveral, so we've purchased an area of scrap land in Kodiak, Alaska, and built a Space Launch Site there. This Devoid 2A is to be the first launch from Space Launch Complex - 1 at Kodiak.


The main issue with the new camera is that, to get the fantastic detail it does, it has to use film, which has to be returned to Earth for processing, so it has a tiny re-entry capsule.


The launch went pretty much nominally, dumping spent stages on the nothern Ice Cap, which probably isn't very good for the environment.


The third stage ignites and heads for orbit.


And it promptly fails, for no apparant reason. Initially we tried to place te satellite in orbit under its own power, but it didn't have enough propellant.


So we tried to at least get the re-entry capsule back.


See how well that went.


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  • NotAgain changed the title to Screaming through the Cosmos - Goodbye for now
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