NotAgain

Screaming through the Cosmos - Goodbye for now

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5 hours ago, NotAgain said:

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

as far as I can tell Kodiak launches to the south rather than the north, sending its boosters into the pacific

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2 hours ago, insert_name said:

Kodiak launches to the south rather than the north, sending its boosters into the pacific

In the real world, sure. In my save, where Soviet-engined rockets fly from Cape Canaveral, no.

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13 hours ago, NotAgain said:

anotyher

Ruh Roh

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9 hours ago, DatBoi said:
23 hours ago, NotAgain said:

anotyher

Ruh Roh

Consider it corrected.

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Genesis - 6

Mission: Impact the Moon, for fun and profit.

Launch Vehicle: Domain 2A

Launch Site: LC - 3, Cape Canaveral

Date: 3/6/1955

Spoiler

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Another Lunar impactor mission, not because we want to, but because we're being paid. We're being paid quite a lot actually. Like four times the cost of the mission. I'm exhausted, so I shan't say much today.

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Earthset.

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Nearly there...

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And impact. :funds:78,125, 16 Science and 94 Reputation from that contract.

 

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Genesis - 7

Mission: Orbit the Moon.

Launch Vehicle: Tash-Murkon 1

Launch Site: LC - 3, Cape Cavaveral

Date: 13/7/1955

Spoiler

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So, a summary of our Lunar program so far: one LEO test mission, one failed fly-by, two successful fly-bys and two successful impactor missions. What's missing from that (not including a landing)? That's right, an orbiter! That's what we're launching today: a small orbiter, based very closely on the Genesis Type B impactor. The probe is also packing a small SRM to brake it into Low Lunar Orbit, as we're not confident that it has sufficient fuel.

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All this adds up to the heaviest payload ever sent to the Moon, weighing over 1.5 tons, which the Domain 2A, our usual Lunar booster, simply can't handle. This calls for a new lifter, so we've come up with this 400+ ton monstrosity: the Tash-Murkon 1. Designed for a different program (which you'll learn about soon enough), it has exactly the capabilities that we're looking for, and serves to break the record for largest Launch Vehicle in history.

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In order to keep development costs low, we started off with a standard Domain 2A and proceeded to, uhh, modify it. Those modifications take the form of a 50% increase in fuel capacity in the third stage, and the addition of a third AJ-10 to it, forming the Block F1 stage, and entirely new boosters, powered by RD-107 engines, a close relative of the RD-108, configured for use as a booster engine. This does pretty much double the cost of the boosters over the Domain 2 family, but needs must.

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I can't say I expected the mission to survive until booster separation. That lifter has frankly awful contol authority.

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Well, core stage cut-off and separation, and we move on to the reliable Block H second stage, which you're all used to from the previous four Genesis launches.

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I can't say that doesn't look a bit odd with that extended third stage tank.

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As per usual, the second stage burns flawlessly, and the new Block F1 ignites for the first time, now using dedicated RCS quads, not Cubic Octagonal Struts with single-port thrusters stuck all over them.

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And the Trans-Lunar Injection burn is made...

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...and it turns out that the Block F1 didn't have enough fuel left. That's an unforeseen problem. To try and deal with it, mission control decided to burn the braking SRM and then try to ditch it while it was still firing to correct the probe's trajectory.

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By some miracle, our hare-brained plan actually worked, and didn't even result in the loss of random bits of the spacecraft.

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About four days after launch, the probe reached its Perilune and, while out of radio contact with Earth, it made a successful entry into Low Lunar Orbit, despite not having its braking SRM. Seeing a sthis is actually possible, we've already decided to lreave out the SRM from Genesis - 8, our next Lunar orbiter, which will probably result in the Block F1 actually having enough delta V to complete the TLI.

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And we get to see our first Earthrise from Lunar orbit. Sure, we've seen this scene before, but the fact that this probe will see it again and again just makes it that bit more special. That, plus the :funds:100,000+ we got for completing this mission from the FAI.

 

Edited by NotAgain

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Lonetrek Abort Testing

Spoiler

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14/8/1955

After something like a year of umming and ahhing, the Kerbal Space Agency's administrative team have come up with a name for our crewed spacecraft: Lonetrek. Testing will continue under the Kador program for a little while longer, primarily to test the Launch Escape System, which requires an exact, live version of the Lonetrek capsule to ensure that the aerodynamics and weight distribution are properly modelled. For this purpose, the KSA has constructed Lonetrek Command Module serial number #CM001 for the Kador - 5 pad abort test.

For this flight, the launch will go from the little used Launch Complex - 2, and will be a simple up and down test to ensure the LES generates the promised levels of accelleration.

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The high-thrust SRMs of the Launch Escape System ignite, immedeately pulling 4.0G with a full load of RCS propellant, life support supplies and a crew simulation mass aboard, plenty enough to escape an exploding Domain L at pretty much any part of the ascent.

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The LES is then separated, and the capsule continues its arc to an apogee of 2,243m above the KSC.

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It then deploys its parachutes and lands safely right beside LC - 2.

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1/9/1955

There's one final abort test to make befor we start all-up test flights, and that is one where an abort is made at more than the maximum dynamic pressure the spacecraft will experience in flight, to make sure thet the LES functions properly under those circumstances, too.

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For this task we've buit this: Kador - 6. Basically, it's just #CM002 strapped to five Castor SRBs in order to create massive dynamic pressure. The plan is to abort at approximately 10km altitude, and land by parachute.

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Well, that plan went to hell in a handcart. At T+22s, the hurridly put together booster suffered a catastrophic structural failure, resulting in free-flying SRBs everywhere, and the emergency abort mechanism being triggered.

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The LES performed exactly as we'd hoped, pulling the capsule clear. This test has actually given us much better results than we anticipated, as a true abort would be under similarly unpredictable and uncontrolled conditions, not triggered as we had origninally planned.

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The capsule's parachutes deployed successfully, and the Kador - 6 capsule safely splashed down.

OOC: Yes, I am aware that something very similar happened during one of the Apollo abort tests.

 

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Kor-Azor - 3

Mission: Prove that it is possible for a satellite to provide all its own power needs using a ridiculous area of solar panels.

Launch Vehicle: Domain 2A (w/o 3rd Stage)

Launch Site: LC - 3, Cape Canaveral

Date: 24/9/1955

Spoiler

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Since we flew our first solar-powered satellite a few months back, we've been looking into constructing a spacecraft that can fully provide its own power needs using solar arrays. To that end, our engineers created two new projects, which ended up in a competition for funding: Kor-Azor - 2 and 3.

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Kor-Azor - 2 was the more technologically complex of the two, and encompassed a reasonably small satellite with motorised arms which carried the solar panels, which would fold out after launch. Kor-Azor - 3 was a far simpler approach: build a big-ass fuel tank, give it a probe core and cover it in solar panels. That is the cheaper approach, and the one we're trying first.

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In order to heft such a large satellite, we need to employ one of our largest lifters: the familiar Domain 2A, which you'll remember from our Genesis 3 to 6 missions. For this purpose, the lifter is missing its third stage, the one used for the Trans-Lunar Injection burn, in order to free up payload capacity.

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The second stage burned absolutely flawlessly, as we've come to expect from the Block H.

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And the huge satellite was placed in a VLEO, or Very Low Earth Orbit.

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From that low altitude, it used its onboard Hydrazine-fuelled engines to boost into a higher orbit, and deployed its various systems, including the most powerful antenna we've ever sent to space.

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After that bit of orbital shenaniganry, we maneouvered the spacecraft into its operational attitude, and stared at the numbers coming in...

...and rejoiced. The satellite was covering all its own power needs, plus about 40 watts extra.

 

Edited by NotAgain

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Every time I read your mission mission reports, I get tempted to try RSS.  My computer would probably melt if I did, but still, very tempting.  A lot of frustration but the successes are that much sweeter.

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7 hours ago, Cavscout74 said:

Every time I read your mission mission reports, I get tempted to try RSS.  My computer would probably melt if I did, but still, very tempting.  A lot of frustration but the successes are that much sweeter.

I'd thoroughly reccomend it. It's a very steep learning curve, and stupid mistakes like failing to pressurise a fuel tank are the bane of my existence, but it's great fun.

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Lonetrek - 1

Mission: Run an all-up test flight of the Lonetrek spacecraft.

Launch Vehicle: Domain L

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Date: 28/10/1955

Spoiler

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Well, Kador testing of the Lonetrek spacecraft is complete, and we're confidant about the safety of the LES, so we're beginning a series of all-up test missions.

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We've got #CM006 strapped to the top of this Domain L. 003, 004 and 005 are, respectively, the crew training article, the ground handling article and the full vehicle used for public demonstations and things.

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The objective of the mission is an all-up test flight, including atmospheric re-entry and recovery.

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The Lonetrek CPM (Command and Propulsion Module) was successfully placed into orbit by the Domain L, despite being over 100kg heavier than the Kador boilerplate spacecraft, but if it gets any heavier, we're going to have a problem that can only be solved with a different booster.

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Oooh, pretty.

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Right. Two orbits completed, and now we make our de-orbit burn over Asia for a landing in the Pacific Ocean.

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Propulsion Module jettisioned, and we're on our way in.

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Getting rather hot now, and that heat shield is burning remarkably fast.

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You want to know what happens when your heat shield burns through at 6.8km/s?

This. This happens.

Aargh.

 

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Genesis - 8

Mission: Launch a second lunar orbiter to continue the photographic mapping process.

Launch Vehicle: Tash-Murkon 1

Launch Site: LC - 4, Cape Canaveral

Date: 2/12/1955

Spoiler

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Considering that our plan for Genesis - 9 is to attempt a lunar landing, we know shockingly little about the surface of the Moon. We have detailed maps of very little. The equatorial region is our best-known area, as Genesis - 7 imaged that fairly extensively before it ran out of battery, but we have no detailed imagery of the higher latitudes, or several areas of the surface that were in shadow while Genesis - 7 was active. To at least partially correct that, we're flying another, identical orbiter mission, which will end up at a higher inclination.

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Despite the fact that we've ditched the braking SRM that we used last time, we've decided to keep the Tash-Murkon 1 as the LV due to the margins it gives us.

Also of note today is the new Launch Complex - 4 being used for the first time, the first one properly built for boosters of 400+ tons.

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The core stage burn went nominally, as we hoped. I must say how impressed I am by the RD - 108, it's a fantastic engine. Seriously, it's actually 1962 in my save (lots of catching up to do, I know), but I'm still using that engine. A little anemic, but nothing we can't handle.

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Honestly, the same can be said for the LR-105 on the second stage, although it could do with some roll authority. I can't believe that I originally intended this as a stop-gap stage for one or two flights.

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And on to the Block F1, pushing the Type C Genesis probe into Low Earth Orbit on three AJ-10s.

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Man, that's a pretty view. Also, one thing I forgot to mention, we've added two new cameras to the probe for this flight, a full-colour camera and a night vision camera, designed to try and get at least some usable images of the dark side of the Moon.

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But all those hopes are dashed during the Trans-Lunar Injection, as an AJ-10 fails. There's no way for the gimbals to compensate properly, and the mission is lost.
 
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We did, though, decide to use the copious quantities of fuel aboard to move into a high, reasonably circular orbit of Earth, and spend our week or so's battery imaging our wonderful, fragile rock.

 

Reaction Systems - 1

Mission: Launch a small commercial satellite and use up the last Devoid 1A.

Launch Vehicle: Devoid 1A

Launch Site: LC - 1, Cape Canaveral

Date: 4/12/1955

Spoiler

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Killing two birds with one stone today, clearing a small commercial launch contract and finally flying the last Devoid 1A Launch Vehicle before the retirement of the type.

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Unusually for such a lifter, we've added cameras, capturing the booster separation in all its glory.

Originally, this booster was supposed to launch the cancelled Devoid - 9 mission, which was to be an attempt to send a small probe deep into the Van Allen belts to research them. Instead, those instruments ended up piggy-backing on the Genesis - 1 flight, and Devoid - 9 never flew, so neither did this booster.

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In order to place the satellite in its correct orbit, we have cannibalised a Lonetrek Propulsion Module to act as a final insertion stage. The rest of the Launch Vehicle is unchanged.

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Just the trusty Star-37 Solid Rocket Motor to burn now, and the payload will be in orbit. Unususally, Reaction Systems Ltd didn't request solar panels for their satellite, as those seem to be rather in vogue right now.

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Well, the little insertion stage does its job and flies the satellite up to approximately 4,000km up and releases it, and the contract is complete.

 

Edited by NotAgain

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Lonetrek - 2

Mission: Attempt another all-up test of the Lonetrek, with an improved heatshield, and a new LV.

Launch Vehicle: Domain 1A

Launch Site: LC - 3, Cape Canaveral

Date: 23/1/1956

Spoiler

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We are not going to be held back by the failure of Lonetrek - 1, and we've spent the last three months re-designing the heatshield for the Lonetrek Command Module, and we are at least hoping that it holds up better than the last time.

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The improvements do come at a cost though: the spacecraft is now too heavy for the Domain L.

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To solve that problem, we have thrown together a new launcher based on the now retired Domain 1. The only thing that's changed is the upper stage, which is now powered by a Soviet RD-0210 hypergolic engine.

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As the spaceraft is flying without a live or dummy LES, the end of the spacecraft is covered up with an aerodynamic nosecap, which is pictured here, being jettisoned.

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And that's the RD-0210 burning hard for Low Earth Orbit.

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And the mission makes orbit with a bit over a kilometer per second of delta V left over, which will be useful.

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I can't say that this new shield fills me with confidence, but the design is worth trying. I'm also beginning to think that this heat shield (or the whole heating system) is bugged, as the capsule's built-in heatshield is supposed to be fine for a LEO reentry, and I was taking it very gently on Lonetrek - 1.

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Well, I forgot to take a picture of the disintegration this time, but it happened. The capsule got about 5km lower than last time, but it sure as hell disintegrated. Well, I suppose we have to try again. We now have 23 months to the deadline for crewed spaceflight.

 

Bleak Lands - 1

Mission: Launch a new, solar-powered lunar orbiter to support our Moon landing program.

Launch Vehicle: Tash-Murkon 1A

Launch Site: LC - 4, Cape Canaveral

Date: 15/3/1956

Spoiler

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Considering our rapidly-approaching lunar landing attempt, investing in a lunar communications network would probably be a good idea. Communications isn't the only thing the Bleak Lands Type A satellite is good for, it's also a remarkably well-equipped scientific spacecraft, and has a new, highly advanced set of solar arrays to power it for several years until the radiation eventually kills them.

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This is also a new lifter, the Tash-Murkon 1A. Essentially, it's the same as the earlier Tash-Murkon 1 from the second stage down, but the third stage is equipped with a new kerolox engine, designed for higher efficency than the AJ-10s we were previously using, and dramatically upping the booster's capacity to a Trans-Lunar trajectory.

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But all that is a problem for another day, as we lost control of the booster during ascent and it broke up under the aerodynamic strain.

 

Edited by NotAgain

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Did you up the "Re-entry heating" option and forgot?

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45 minutes ago, DatBoi said:

Did you up the "Re-entry heating" option and forgot?

Nope. It was at 100%.

In the end I figured out that EVERY DAMN HEAT SHIELD WAS BUGGED (including the lunar-rated ones) and decided that I was justified in turning down atmospheric heating until they worked. I know it's cheaty, but I'm here to enjoy the game, not have a screaming match with my own computer. I realised this around the time I flew a lunar orbital return, in 1958, IIRC.

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Maybe something to do with a conflict between mods? Did you add anything new to your mod list?

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Just now, DatBoi said:

Maybe something to do with a conflict between mods? Did you add anything new to your mod list?

Only Hullcams, I think.

Oh, and KER. And a little docking alignment tool that I can't live without.

But I'm okay with the fix I have. It seems to work, and stuff still burns up properly, like a prototype hypersonic aircraft in a simulated test last week, so I think it was basically the heating turning itself up about 250% to 300%.

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Kor-Azor - 1A

Mission: Once again, we are trying to take a series of pictures from orbit, hopefully putting together a photographic map of Earth.

Launch Vehicle: Domain L

Launch Site: SLC - 1, Kodiak

Date: 16/3/1956

Spoiler

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Seeing as there is still huge demand for a detailed photographic map of Earth, made in orbit, we're going to try the Kor-Azor - 1 mapping mission again. So here we are, back at Kodiak again, with a Domain L for the Launch Vehicle this time, and another camera satellite.

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You're all probably familiar with the way the Domain L works by now, so I shan't bother explaining it again. If you're new to the thread, check the Kador - 2 report for a reasonably detailed run-down of the rocket.

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The launch went exactly to plan, carrying our precious, gigantic film camera up to a Low Polar Earth Orbit.

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And we managed to capture stage separation and ignition of the RD-0105 upper stage engine on the interstage camera.

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The spacecraft entered orbit safely, and began its multi-week mapping mission. As Iforgot to take screenshots, I'll just tell you now. The return capsule safely re-entered and landed by parachute on 29/3/1956 with a mass of useful data.

 

Tash-Murkon - 1

Mission: Perform a flyby of Venus.

Launch Vehicle: Tash-Murkon 1

Launch Site: LC - 4, Cape Canaveral

Date: 8/4/1956

Spoiler

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Well, there's a Hohmann Transfer Window to Venus today, and for the firsst time in the KSA's history, we've got a booster powerful enough to exploit it in the Tash-Murkon 1 (not the 1A, we decided not to use that today). So, we've built a one ton, solar-powered Venus flyby probe, which will spend several months cruising to Venus, and then send back data beyond our wildest dreams. Plus, it'll fulfill a very significant contract. But enough of this. ONWARDS TO VENUS!

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Wait, what's that rocket doing?

An engine failure?

Really?

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Like we didn't have enough money troubles already, now our most expensive and most ambitious mission ever doesn't even get 200m from the Launch Pad.

ZgLuREe.png

"I want to die." - Mortimer Kerman, 8/4/1956.

 

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1 hour ago, DatBoi said:

Didn't the AF offer Mort that option?

Ask him yourself, if you're brave enough. The last time we checked on him, he lunged at the boss holding an office chair and screaming about tax breaks.

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Maybe we should put him on the first crewed launch...

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Just now, DatBoi said:

Maybe we should put him on the first crewed launch...

Nah, we got some of our more burley engineers to pin him, wrap him in duct tape and manhandle him into car to be taken for therapy. 

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Genesis - 9

Mission: Land on the Moon.

Launch Vehicle: Tash-Murkon 1A

Launch Site: LC - 4

Date: 22/5/1956

Spoiler

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Despite the failure of the Bleak Lands - 1 lunar orbiter mission, we are pushing ahead with our first Moon landing attempt.

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Once again, we're using the Tash-Murkon 1A lifter, as we need the extra delta V afforded by the KeroLox-fuelled, RD-58 powered upper stage. We're also trialling a new camera mounted in the Launch Support Structure to capture cool images like these.

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And since I can't find a name for a booster formation like this, I'm going to call it the 'NotAgain Star'. If Korolev gets a booster formation named after him, so do I.

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I suppose that I should tell you something about the lander. Well, the design was heavily limited by the capacity of the T-M 1A to fire stuff at the Moon, as most of the mass had to go into the capture, de-orbit and decelleration stage. In the end, the lander ended up weighing about 180kg fully fuelled.

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It's equipped with a reasonably basic complement of scientific instruments in order to keep mass down, and also three of our new, improved solar panels, which put out approximately 30 Watts in Low Earth Orbit, instead of the previous model's 16 Watts.

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The invention of a re-ignitable KeroLox engine was an absolute windfall for us, as it allowed us to dramatically up the efficency of our upper stages and, by extension our payload to the Moon, or further.

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Well, this is the first time we've ever actually ignited an RD-58. Last time we tried to fly one was Bleak Lands - 1, and y'all know how well that went.

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But, inevitably, my stupidity catches up to me. I forgot to check the runtime limitations on our fantastic new engine, and there are plenty of varients that could fulfill this role, but the only one we have available has next to no runtime. And so we now have to abort the landing attempt, as we used a significant quantity of the braking stage's propellant finishing up the Trans-Lunar Injection burn.

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Well, we can at least try to enter lunar orbit, right?

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Oh.

 

Edited by NotAgain

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Kor-Azor - 5

Mission: Test-fly our new smallsat lifter.

Launch Vehicle: GK - 1

Launch Site: LC - 2, Cape Canaveral

Date: 4/6/1956

Spoiler

coYdAvM.png

One minor project that's been going on for a little while here at the Cape, is the Smallsat Launch Vehicle project. That comprises the design of a whole new family of launchers, starting with one designed to fly a 250kg payload for minimal cost, from Launch Complex - 2, our lightweight pad.

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After about two years of development, the team involved have come up with this: the GK - 1. Powered by a single Viking 2B engine for its first stage, and an AJ-10 on the second, it's entirely hypergolic-fuelled, which is a little unusual.

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Kor-Azor - 5 doesn't serve much of a purpose itself, except as a test payload for the GK - 1.

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The first stage burn went flawlessly, which is somewhat unusual, considering that this is the first time we've used a Viking engine.

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But the little satellite was successfully delivered to Low Earth Orbit, and it has batteries for several weeks.

 

X - 3A Flight 10

Mission: Test the viability of continuing X - 3A flights.

Crew: P0 Jebediah Kerman (Commander)

Launch Site: LC - 2, Cape Canaveral

Date: 7/6/1956

Spoiler

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Seeing as we intend to start flying crewed orbital missions reasonably soon, it's been decided that we should investigate re-activating the X - 3A program to get our Kerbonauts a bit more microgravity experience and real-world training.

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The idea of this flight is that Jebediah would test out Airframe No. 2 and see whether it would be worth re-activating the spaceplane.

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Our inital conclusion that it wouldn't be worth it was confirmed by an early engine cut-off, seemingly caused by a fuel feed pump failure, and the propellant tanks in the wings failing to drain.

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And, somehow, Jebediah managed this.

 

Kor-Azor - 4

Mission: Attempt to fly a Geostationary satellite.

Launch Vehicle: Domain 1A

Launch Site: LC - 1, Kourou

Date: 29/6/1956

Spoiler

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There is increasing demand foran improved communications network, and, as far as we can see, going for a Geostationary network is the best approach.

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In order to achieve the necessary orbit, we've taken one of our snazzy new Domain 1As and attached an RD-58 upper stage to it, which will fire the roughly 800kg satellite into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit.

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In order to achieve a zero degree inclination, necessary for a Geostationary orbit, we've had to construct a new launch facility in Kourou, French Guiana, near the Equator.

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But our dreams of a Geostationary satellite are dashed as the thrust output of the RD-108 started to rapidly fall off, and we had to stage in the RD-0210 in order to try and achieve orbit.

3iR5F7X.png

Kourou's first launch isn't going as well as we'd have hoped.

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The upper stage doesn't have quite enough delta V to achieve orbit, so we'll have to break open the third stage.

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So that's just what we do.

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We certainly didn't achieve Geostationary orbit, but we at least got this pretty picture.

 

Edited by NotAgain

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