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"Kerbol is so ...Bright!  - and in the beginning there was light, infinite light!  And in that infinity how could there not be divinity?  And if that divinity was at the beginning of everything, how could there not be divinity *in* everything?!?"

So Valentina had answered the reporter's question, and now the press was eating it up.  Her cheerful seemingly naive voice giving breath to the channeled hopes of a whole world desperate to explore and learn, and echoing the deepest beliefs of Kerbal kind.  Jebediah the veteran test pilot was consciously keeping to the background, allowing the brilliant Academy graduate her chance in the sun.  He had not been that way at the start though.

In the blockhouse he had walked up to Gene's side as the early count-down checks were made and whispered, "what the hell Gene??"   Gene had only spat out "not my call."  Jeb was stunned, and ticked- but not for the fact that someone else was going to be the first Kerbal in space.  Gene was beyond ticked, gone somewhere into that broad plain beyond it where you have to go to to get your job done.

The huge stack- far taller than any other rocket they'd yet constructed- had been halfway to the pad when they'd discovered the problem.  The probe core wasn't responding.  In fact, no-one could find the certification documents from its installation- and the implications of that were just mind numbing.  The contract would be in jeopardy, and things were still at the desperate edge in year 3 of the Program.  Calls were made to the capital, and discreetly - though loudly - word was passed down that this launch would go forward.  So, instead of helping to take notes to write the flight manual, Valentina had climbed into the cockpit with 30 days of hastily assembled supplies taking the place of the loaded dead-weight.

Gene now rolled into Mort's office the day after Valentina's recovery- he knew he was coming, so he didn't bother to knock.  Not that he would have today anyway.  He tossed a handful of papers on Mort's desk as he hung up his phone.

"If this happens again I'm quitting Mort.  No, I'm not quitting, I care too damn much.  But I'll sure has heck not stand for this again!  In what was supposed to be our first unmanned test of our orbital capsule, SOMEONE forgot to install the probe core.  With 2 hours to go and the rocket rolled to the pad, someone in Civil Authority orders that the launch proceed- which bless her soul Valentina cheerful jumps at!  So instead of observing and "shadow piloting" the mission in safety, she flies the mission.  She had to manually fly the pod down, because son-of-a-gun it wasn't neutrally Stable!  And thank Jool the parachutes were calibrated adequately!"

"Mort, we can't let anyone outside this campus run our program!!  They give us funds, then shut up and let us work.  That's it!  That's their deal, and they have to Get that!"

Mort looked again at the bristling kerbal standing in front of him. Did Gene have no understanding of how real world functioned? Those with funds were far and few in between. And those with funds to spare were even rarer!

"Gene, lets assume you repeat what you said right now, albeit in a slightly civilised manner to the Civil Authority committee meeting tomorrow. Lets assume they are genuinely concerned about the safety of their beloved Kerbonauts and vow to take action. Are you with me till now?"

"Yes, I am! But thats not the point! Someone has -"

"And lets assume they launch an enquiry!" Mort raised his voice."Do you know what they wil find? They will find negligence by the VAB workers, who answer to Werhner! He will be implicated, no doubt. Don't forget, a brilliant rocket scientist he may be, but Werhner still has lots of enemies. Then the fingers will point towards you, dear friend. For you are the de facto leader at KSC. With you and Werhner gone, KSC will detoriate, further giving excuses to the Civil Authority members to cut funding."

"Do you think you have a lot of ground to stand on? The KSC is your responsibility! And so are the constituent facilities. Best case, they will ask for your resignation for your incompetency. And worst case, you will be tried in a criminal court for negligence of kerbal life."

Gene stood perplexed- "Mort, this can't go on!  We can't risk our people like this!"

"Of course not Gene. This will not happen again. You will have some words with the VAB workers and Werhner, while I will catch a flight to the capitol and sooth ruffled feathers. Quite a lot of people are upset that we are 'ignoring' safety of our crew. And then, we will forget all about this exchange"

His wrath somewhat doused after having been correctly re-directed back at his own house, Gene returned to his own office where he soon after received word of changes to Program procedures.  No longer would the engineers and flight directors simply be choosing whatever project or contract they wished over coffee and donuts.  Every 6 months there would be a Corporate Ratification And Proposals meeting, at which the Program would lobby for their desired choice of direction, but the final call would come down to what the people would be willing to pay for- civilian oversight, from the finance wing.

While swallowing this bitter pill, Gene started collecting the documents he needed to have at hand for his other set of new instructions- to deliver a summary and survey of Program equipment and progress at that first ...C.R.A.P. meeting.

...It was going to be a long night...

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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Chapter 1.  Year 4, Prime Day.

Gene cleared his throat awkwardly.  "Good morning.  It is with great, er, pleasure that I open this first ...C-  ...meeting.  As directed by our Program Civil Authority, I will now present a summary of Program activities through its first 3 years, our equipment and capabilities."

"Three years ago our first craft to return scientific data from space was Explorer."

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"Explorer 1 was steered by fully deflectable fins, however the craft pictured here is a Bloc 3 design where-in our prototype gimballing engine was mounted centered in the engine hex-cluster.  Those first engines were LV-T3 Reliants, and when the first LV-T4.5 was added then the fins were eliminated.  This craft has not flown recently, though if new instrumentation were substituted it could again sample near space."

"The original Bloc 1 hex-cluster was used as a laterally mounted booster in our next and current lifter design."

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"Whether it flies as Local Body Relay or Local Body Probe, the LB format rocket has flown repeatedly and reliably."

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"6 Local Body Relay missions have been flown, inserting communication relays into orbit around Minmus, Mun, & Kerbin, preparing the way to support future missions."

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"Mounting 4 LV-T4.5's in its core stage, the 2 hex-cluster boosters are fully recoverable.  The core stage is not recovered, yet its value is only 2300 $F."

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"The relay satellites we have been orbiting are, for reasons of economy, also suitable for magnetic field surveys.  2 'LBR+' rockets are now in fact in storage, intended for use at the next Duna transfer window, where we have 2 magnetic field contracts to attempt to satisfy."

"Now, ... the Local Body Transport system which recently successfully took Valentina to orbit, requires some explanation.  Lacking timely capsule development, as the orbital contract approached we found ourselves in need of a command cockpit.  The... unorthodox solution, as you will see, was provided by the aeronautics industry."

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Clearing his throat, Gene rolled on with the end in sight. "While lacking a certain ... refinement, the solution was eminently logical.  The 'Stratocruiser' transport cockpit has the most robust heat resistance of any available, and it was easily adaptable to carry suitable resources for the proposed 30-day mission.  It is also powered by our most powerful engine to date, a 3rd generation development of the LV-T4.5, the '450."

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"Our R&D branch has made the following progress, the greater portion of our scientific advancement coming from construction build growth.  We have plans for the future path of research, as the next most desired developments by our engineering staff are Avionic Steering Hubs and RTG power cells."

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"The Space Center itself has been improved significantly, and more than likely the R&D Department is the only branch requiring needed investment.  A heavy investment in the Administration Offices has absorbed most of our quite healthy balance of funds, yet sitting at 190,000 $F with builds already in process we should be in good shape for some time to come."

Gene sighed, glad the uncomfortable presentation was over, and left the lectern while Wernher stepped up to discuss manufacturing improvements and quality control.  After lunch they would all be stepping right into the meeting with Mort, which could very well determine the near direction of the Program.

Thinking about this, he was surprised to discover he'd just broken his subconsciously abused pen.

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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On 12/18/2017 at 10:43 PM, GarrisonChisholm said:

Corporate Ratification And Proposals

(snicker)

Good story so far.  I see you've put a lot of thought into how your Kerbal society is organized and I look forward to learning more about it.

I'm not familiar with a lot of the mods you're using here.  What has the small-size T30s and T45s?  Where'd the checkerboard things on the bottom of the LBT, and where'd it's cockpit come from?  And is the passage of time and all due to KCT?

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3 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

(snicker)

Good story so far.  I see you've put a lot of thought into how your Kerbal society is organized and I look forward to learning more about it.

I'm not familiar with a lot of the mods you're using here.  What has the small-size T30s and T45s?  Where'd the checkerboard things on the bottom of the LBT, and where'd it's cockpit come from?  And is the passage of time and all due to KCT?

Thank you!  I hope so.  I actually have a very...mm, "Tolkienish" amount of Kerbal backstory, simply so as I know the foundation upon which I am writing.  As I see opportunities I will drop bits in here and there, but a "modern day" tale of engineering and discovery won't readily lend itself to Gene kicking back and ruminating on all of recorded history.  :)

Yes, there has been no passage of time except for waiting for builds.  I generally don't mind builds taking 60-100 days (its more realistic at least), and with KCT allowing builds to give you Science! I generally invest a lot of my KCT upgrades in that direction.  For instance, I think building an LBR is worth about 70 science- maybe more, I'll see.

I will post a mod list shortly, and identify where parts come from.  However, the scaled down versions of engines is simply a "house rule" using Tweak-scale.  When I first "unlock" an engine, only a scaled down version is available.  When go 1 node further the "normal" version is available, and 2 nodes farther on Tweak-scaling becomes unlimited.  I wanted to have a rationale to build engine clusters, because in past games it was too easy just to say "Well, what scale LV-T45 do I need for THIS job?...", which though effective was also dull.  -  & I insist on using Tweak-scale because I just can't abide that it is impossible to go to the manufacturer and say, "So, ...there's *no* chance you could just make this 5% more powerful?  At all?  ...given we're you're only customer?... No?  Gosh, thanks."

 

5 hours ago, Pretorian28715 said:

Awaiting Moar.....

And MOAR will be provided!  :D

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Gene sat down at the conference table, not very comfortable with not knowing how exactly this was going to proceed.  He couldn't read Mort at all, and had no idea if he was simply carrying instructions or if he had ground rules from which he would be making his own decisions.  Gene passed out folders with glossy graphs to the baker's dozen of folks around the table.

"Well.  This is a representation of our current active projects."

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"It is very apparent that none of these current projects are especially difficult.  We have the orbital mission for 3 university scientists, which will require the flight of another LBT which is presently in assembly, but otherwise the 2 Duna missions coming up in just over a year are the most challenging though - we believe - within our capabilities."

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"Now, as we can all see by the alignment of the outer planets, we have likely missed an opportunity to perform a multiple fly-by tour had we had the infrastructure 2 years ago, though we don't presently have the math to allow for such a complex mission.  Indeed reaching even to Duna will be a gamble next year."

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"So to get down to business, these are the current contracts that have passed CA scrutiny.  4 of the 6 are not difficult at all; the magnetic field studies can be initiated immediately, and the part tests will require minimal prep.  The additional TOURIST work would require two additional flights of the LBT, which is acceptable though we would like a more mature craft before sending crew beyond LKO."

"The agricultural project we find we are not terribly enthusiastic on.  While growing food in space may eventually be necessary for long duration voyages, in actuality stored provisions are far more reliable.  The engineers and I agree that this is an unnecessary diversion of resources until mission parameters demand it."

"Thanks to our recent Administration expansion, we could accept all 6 of these contracts, though we would prefer only 5.  We could afford all 6, and if it is desired we could go into the exact funds demanded and awarded, though being at a non-critical stage this may be unnecessary at the moment."

"Well?  What are we doing here."

Gene looked across the table at Mort and his bean counters, and waited for his reply.

Mort sighed a little as Gene's presentation ended. This was not good, somehow the boffins had managed to develop financial sense! He figured he would be called upon soon and put his notepad away. It was time to mess with Gene a bit.

“Thank you for the presentation, Gene. At the moment, we are in a very comfortable position. Specifically our finances are comfortable, and we are somewhat of a household name. At this point, it would be easier to take risks. Even if its something superfluous like Space Farm.. I am surprised you would willingly miss a chance like this!"

Gene ground his teeth.

Mort continued, "But the shortsightedness of the Civil Authority is no news. I doubt I could justify a mission like this.”

“The other contracts look easy enough except the tourist contract. However, we have four years till the deadline. I am pretty sure your team can gather enough science for the 3 man command module? While two separate launches for this mission are feasible, I believe this would be an excellent opportunity to work on the concerned tech node.”

Gene walked out of the meeting last.  He had learned some important things in this first CRAP meeting, and they held him long in thought.  First, Mort wasn't worried about suggesting that the government supporting the Program was out of touch with what was actively happening on the campus.  Second, that Mort had said I.  This was a critical discovery.

"Knowing what side of the bread needs buttering is always important", he said to a quizzical Gus who had waited by the door for him to get up.

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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23 hours ago, GarrisonChisholm said:

Mort sighed a little as Gene's presentation ended. This was not good, somehow the boffins had managed to develop financial sense! He figured he would be called upon soon and put his notepad away. It was time to mess with Gene a bit.

Hehehe.  Yeah, if the Boffins learn how to count, Mort's position could become redundant and he'd have to recommend firing himself :wink: 

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Gene returned to his office and wrote up an inter-departmental summary of the short-term plans for the Program and sent it out.  He used lots of big words like the scientists liked, and was quite proud of it.  It wasn't 15 minutes before his door was thrown open by a livid chair of the science wing, one Linus Kerman.

"You 'demurred' on the Orbital Farming project???!!  -  'DEMURRED' ???"

"Linus, yes, now-"

"DEMURRED ????!!!!"

Gene sighed.  Ok, note to self, avoid excessive thesaurus use.

"Yes Linus, now take a breath before you turn blue."

"YOU WOULDN'T NOTICE!  GREEN AND BLUE ARE MONOLEXEMIC CHROMATIC AND DICHROISTIC!" Linus roared furiously.

...Gene was pretty sure Linus was just playing with him now, but he couldn't call his bluff and they both knew it.

"Ok.  Linus, there is no feasible need for growing food in space on the meaningful horizon.  Simple stored supplies are suff-"

"Gene are you That dim?!?  ...It is not about supplying a mission!  This is science!  Elemental foundational science!"  Throwing his arms in the air in needless emphasis Linus planted the book he had probably been holding when he had gotten the memo onto Gene's desk and yanked a chair over to fall into.

Gene was just about ready to break another pen and grind the pieces into his palm as he glanced at the book's title, Kerbal Morphology; Kerbals as an R-Selected, Semelparous, Belemnoid Cephalopod.  ...Fun.

"Linus, -"

"Gene."   Fury.

"...look.  There is no need to do that project right now!  We don' need it!"

"Gene, why do we have a space program?"

Gene blinked and his counter offensive sputtered to a halt before he could get it going.

"Gene, I can tell you why, *and* I can tell you that the reason You believe we have a space program is Crap!"

"...C.R.A.P.?"

"No Gene, crap!  Gene!  20,000 years ago Kerbal kind was cast back into the sea by a cataclysmic event and it took us probably 12,000 years longer to escape the neolithic than it should have!  We nearly died because we didn't understand and couldn't act on Space!  We survived because we are an Absurd species!  These two facts inform each other, and that is why our government invested *anything* in your precious program!  We need to understand what is out there!  And if *we* are so absurdly vigorous, how marvelously tenacious is life Elsewhere??  These are the questions that drive us and inspire the people!  Gene, it is about Knowledge!  Not replacing supplies on missions."

"Duna has polar caps, a moon of Jool has an atmosphere thick enough to support some kind of liquid, and Eve is a bath-house!"

Linus pointed to two framed photographs on his wall.

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"Those two photos represent most of what we know!  Gene, we have to know more.  Science."

Gene clicked his pen a few times, completely lost on how to regain the initiative.

"...so tell me why I believe in the Program," he asked dangerously.

"Gene, you want to put a Kerb on our Mun simply because someone told you you Can't."

Now Gene smiled, an icy, gin-rummy, 'I've got you now' smile.

"No.  You're wrong."  He leaned forward.

"I believe in this program because I believe we are capable of amazing things.  We didn't just crawl out of the mud, we crawled out dug our burrows and remade society into something that would survive and damnit we did!  We are capable of great things, Mighty things, and they won't happen if we sit here in the cradle Linus.  The Jool-damned cradle!  We belong out there."

He leaned back.  "Am I happy that a vocal minority think the Mun is impossible and wasteful?  No.  But I'll be damned if I let someone else construct my motivations Linus.  The program is worth more, much more than that to me.  That is the task I am going to see through."

Linus paused, then collected his book and headed to the door.

"- I'll get your agricultural project in eventually Linus, ...I promise."

Linus paused and glanced back at the door, nodded once, and then stepped out much more quietly than he had entered.

 

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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Ah, now the reason for the question about the age of the crater becomes clear.

Huzzah for absurdity :) 

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"Good afternoon.  At this second full CRAP meeting I will provide a survey of the previous 6 months of activity and then discuss plans for current projects and extant proposals under consideration."

Linus grimmaced sourly at "extant" and grumbled.

"Available funds have increased nearly 400%."

"To begin with, we rolled the wheel unit and sepratron to the pad for a very unexciting test, though we did have a brief discussion about why on earth a hexagonal strut wasn't considered to be in touch with the pad..."

"...because its not grounded Gene!" was shouted from the back.

"Yes I KNOW that's what you said, and its still hooey!" Gene spat to the back of the room, before returning to his audience before him.

"Regardless, the data was eventually obtained.  Both Mun and Minmus survey contracts completed successfully as well, actually 3 in total."

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"As this series of stills show, the 2nd crewed flight of the LBT went well, saving for an early launch glitch which occurred when unmanned servo commands were sent to the vehicle on ascent which did not take into account that the vehicle was crewed.  The slight initial roll to the south was easily corrected, and a quite nominal orbit achieved with no dangers.  Re-entry was also nominal, and we had zero part losses from re-entry or recovery.

Following this, we had a low-cost flight to carry a new meteorology sensor into the upper atmosphere."

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"The vehicle departed stable flight once the first stage burned out, but it had sufficient momentum to tumble into space anyhow, and with a safe recovery of all 3 science pods the mission was a success."

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"However, using low-cost sounding rockets on upper stages in the future is here-after resoundingly discouraged without appropriate attention to stability mechanisms.

Lastly, here we see in development our soon-to-be standard crew vehicle, as yet un-named.  Rather than build a vehicle from the 3-person capsule which we have developed and yet which would in time become clearly insufficient, we are constructing a 6 person pod with integrated thrusters for use in extremis."

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"This craft in assembly is a stability test, which will be launched uncrewed to about 30,000 meters and its recovery characteristics mapped and the thruster plumbing tested.

Now.  Here we see our current contracts."

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"We have plenty of time for all as we have discussed, and we are currently waiting just another week or two for access to new science instrumentation before starting on the solar probe that we will place within the aeroshell which needs testing.

Here we see the contracts which have passed CA review."

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After staring at the D-Magic proposal glassy-eyed for 5 or 10 seconds, he proceeded.

"The most interesting contract here is to obtain data from the surface of Minmus, which would be our first landing on another body.  We see plenty of opportunity for innovation here, but with the VAB crew fully invested in the 6-crewCap, this may be a good window to open this to private industry for submissions."

For a few minutes, there was silence in the meeting room. Mort could not take his eyes away from the Valentine mission details. “Hmm.. congratulations on the good work, Gene. Although I have to ask a few questions. How in the bloody Mun did the Valentine mission pass the CA review? Don’t they have basic astronomy knowledge? Do I need to fire someone, Gene?

“And you seem to have taken my advice in the last meeting. A probe along with the aeroshell. Clever, very clever..”

“I don’t think that it would be smart or cheap to make a trip to the poles just to take a temperature reading. We are not that desperate.”

“While its good to see kerbals at KSC innovating, could you please make your next crew capsule a bit more visually attractive? Look at poor Gus, he’s hyperventilating! It doesn’t matter much to me, though. As long as it can get its job done.”

“And to think that you, of all kerbals, would support private industries… Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, Gene? I don’t have any issue, just make sure you don’t do this more often. The Civil Authority may just decide to cut funding if the private companies produce probes at a cheaper cost.”

‘By all means, feel free to have private parties involved. But I will be the one to decide on the prices, and certainly not the CA reviewers’ Mort thought to himself."

Gene smirked and grunted, bearing Mort's whimsical mirth and the barbs buried within.

"In the future we may find a use for exoplanet observation projects, which I am sure is what the scientists were really interested in.  Big satellite telescopes aren't quite yet our forte' though.  I'll get to work on everything else, and we'll have a memorandum out to private industry by week's end."

Gene nodded and rose, knowing they were about to embark upon a new chapter in the Program.

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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Posted (edited)

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Y4d214, Kerbin Space Campus

Program Proposal Memorandum

Request for Type

Reference-

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The Scientific Committee on Advanced Navigation has submitted this Ratified and Accepted proposal for the Program to obtain and transmit or recover data from the surface of Minmus.  This probe though potentially designed by the Program and not of foreseen technical difficulty will none-the-less be presented for 3rd party design.  Submitted designs will be evaluated at the next CRAP meeting and the winning proposal chosen.  Amongst the factors which will be considered under evaluation are simplicity, cost, elegance, and maximized science return.  The winning proposal will either submit their designs for VAB assembly, or ship the probe whole to the Campus for vehicle integration.  Please note, any errors discovered during assembly would reflect negatively upon further work with that construction house.  If plans alone are provided, the Program will assume liability for any errors in planning as they should be found out during assembly.

The Probe in its entirety should ideally be able to utilize our current Local Body lifter system; gross mass should not exceed 2,000kg.  However, an especially enticing probe which massed more than this might still be considered.

The probe should have *ample* dV available for landing, to accommodate unforeseen errors and occurrences in our first attempt to land on an alien body.

A probe which came in under $F 31,625 would be preferred, the contract completion award.

Please Note, the following contract also exists-

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This opens the door to a sample-return mission which could conceivably be budgeted in excess of $F 100,000.  However, Finance will of course wish to maximize its return, given the funding apparatus by which the Program operates.

Interested parties shall submit proposals prior to the next CRAP meeting [estimated at 3-8 RL days].

Should no interested parties field proposals by this time, the Program will have the VAB put together their best attempt.

Successful partnerships born of this agreement would carry forth the good will of the Program when future Private Industry opportunities develop.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                 [Author's Note!]

[This is where the collaboration I first envisioned comes in.  Fellow writers, you are invited to participate in this narrative!  We ask that you present your proposal in character, assuming either a specific or corporate (or University in the case of a JPL-like relationship) voice to represent the entity you create.  KSP is a Fun/Cool/Cute game, so sticking to the classic Kerbal memes is fine, however we do ask that excessively silly names and nomenclature be perhaps thought about before being submitted.  The tone I have tried to set of one of intensity where humor comes from our poor protagonist butting his head against his reality. :)

Feel free to PM me if you would like further guidance, however if you simply give your best shot at matching the tone of the tale so far you cannot stray too far from the mark.  Any general questions may of course also be asked below, if it seems reasonable the answer would be useful to the readership as a whole.  Also, the authors of course reserve the right to remove any submissions which are deemed to detract from the enterprise.  Good luck!]

 

 

 

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The above tech-nodes are fully researched, and my operating Mod list is posted here; 

 

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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Posted (edited)

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Gene stood at the open door of the vehicle assembly building, regarding the craft which would for the first time send Kerbal instruments beyond Kerbin's realm.

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The 30 meter rocket massing nearly 90 tons was built to cast into Kerbol's orbit SOAR, the Solar Observatory And Relay satellite.  This mission would fulfill 2 valuable contracts and as well expand our knowledge of the solar system, with the added bonus of proving we could reach out successfully beyond Kerbin Orbit.

Making economy of the boosters recovered from our Local Body Relay satellites, the main stage was built of 5 hex-clusters of LV-T3's, each with a center mounted LV-T4.5.  35 engines to set the craft on its way.

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The lift capacity was known to be barely sufficient after assembly, so 4 powerful sounding rocket motors were added to provide extra thrust until the fuel load had lightened.  Unfortunately, shortly after booster burnout problems were immediately apparent.

"Flight, motors 1 through 4 have burned out but are not disengaging."

"What?  That's never happened before, in any situation!  Econ, do we have a short?"

"Negative Flight, booster sep triggered, they appear to be physically fouled with the engine assemblies."

"So that's extra mass and drag, with a booster that we knew needed help getting off the ground.  What's our status?"

"Craft had reached about 40 meters/sec and is now decelerating.  Engines gimballing to maintain azimuth.  So far trajectory is as programmed."

Gene chewed an unlit cigar to ribbons as over the next minute the ship slowed to a bare 15 m/s before finally accelerating again.  After nearly 2 minutes of flight the first stage finally burned out, managing a meager altitude of 3.8km and not even 100 m/sec.  The staged booster glowed white hot, aluminum rain being found across the launch site.

"Clear the viewing stands, that's not going to make the bay!!", as frenzied activity broke out in response to Gene's call, alarms blaring as the monitors showed the stage 2 motor igniting 4 km over their heads.

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Less than a minute later, the stage 3 motor fired with the altitude being only 17km high.

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"Jool-damnit we're not even at 20km and need to make orbit on a freaking Terrier!  Range Safety stand by."

"Gene we've got over 3000 dV available yet, we can at least make orbit so-long as we remain in controlled flight.  We can do it."

Gene chewed the remains of the cigar.  "Safety, abort on my command.  Navigation, its up to you.  We will fry that thing before it starts to break up."

Gene watched as over the next 2 1/2 minutes it was proven that the craft would be getting to space.  Accomplishing its mission seemed laughably out of touch. ...unless.

"We are coming up on orbital injection Flight."

"Copy.  Econ, take one of the main probe batteries offline- if we have a chance later on it won't do us any good if the probe is dead in the aero-shell."

"Shouldn't we just deploy the Shell sir and use the solar arrays?"

"Negative Econ.  Until someone proves to me we can't do this we're doing it.  ...it'll save me a long talk with Mort anyway..."

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And a few minutes later...

"Stable orbit Flight, we made it."  Relief and a few low-key cheers broke out around the room.

"Very good.  Navigation, check your plots with a Munar rendezvous, you have about 5 minutes to find something useful."

"Copy that, Flight..." followed by backward glances.  But is wasn't 2 minutes later that a young kerb popped up with a result.

"Flight, a 854.3 m/s burn will get us a Munar encounter that will cast us into solar space.  We can do it."

Gene chewed.  "What's our margin?"

The young fellow replied without hesitation "1.7 m/s."  Griff, the back-up Flight Director and next on duty scoffed. "You can't do that Gene!  A burn like that with no margin?  We don't have the tech to automate that, it'll have to be programmed manually!  The tiniest error and we don't raise our periapsis out of the Mun and we make a new crater!  We can't do that."

Gene glanced askance at Griffon than back at the young kerb who'd figured the trajectory.  "We can do it.  Aaron, plot your course and prepare for the burn.  Its all yours."

"Copy Flight."  Came his brisk reply.  Griffon leaned over Gene's shoulder; "I hope you realize you're hanging yourself if this fails Gene."  Gene didn't even blink.

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Well, the rest was history.  Aaron Kerman's course was steered to a whisker's margin, and with the last .1 m/s in the probe's tanks the PE broke out from the moon.  2 weeks later the craft was fulfilling 2 contracts earning nearly F$ 400,000 as it crossed into interplanetary space.

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Gene was quite pleased with how the mission had gone, all things considered, and was thrilled he wouldn't have to announce a $F 100,000 failure in CRAP.  He had ordered a round for everyone that night, and lifted a toast to Aaron Kerman, "Steely-eyed Missile Man."

 

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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Gene cleared his throat at the lectern and looked over the assembly.

"Good morning, today's presentation will cover our productivity since CRAP #2, and summarize our available options on the menu to give us a great 3rd CRAP."

Dead silence.  In back, Gus buried his face in his hands and mumbled.

"Available funds since our last CRAP meeting have doubled, now sitting at more than $F 800,000."

"For starters, we again had some elementary part tests- we see here a simple A-4 design which we assembled to carry a heat shield to the desired altitude."

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"A decoupler was also tested on launch.  The craft was not recovered and impacted the sea."

"Our first major step forward was in testing the 6crew capsule, which we see here leaving the pad on its first test."

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"Launched on a simple Sledge-hammer solid rocket booster, which as you know is a scaled up Hammer, it descended from 11km to recovery."

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"Now, with this close-up we see one of the virtues of the design.  The batteries are mounted between the heat-shield and the crew-pod, and though providing perhaps a level of "overkill" as regards available power, the vessel could survive a compete recharging failure on return from Munar orbit with as well the batteries acting as a crush-zone on landing."

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"Unfortunately, we found on this initial landing that the crush-zone needed to be demonstrated."

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"We see the parachutes were proven insufficient for a soft landing.  ..and, as well, on the second test.  Fortunately, the Program was very successful during this semi-annual, and we were able to absorb the cost of those batteries, ...valued at approximately $F 2000 each."

"Ultimately, the correct balance was found, and our 3rd test was managed without costly damage."

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"The first crew-rated vehicle is now in assembly, planning an LKO mission to satisfy our current TOURIST contracts."

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"The vessel has been designated the Local Body Conveyor, though crews will be allowed the latitude to choose a mission name for their craft."

"On LBC 1 the resource capacity will be tested, though we anticipate that we will find it is over 40 days for a crew of 6."

"And, of course, I would be remiss in not mentioning our successful SOAR mission, which popular press has covered extensively.  The probe continues to relay solar data, teaching us about our interplanetary environment."

"Here we see our active contracts.  None are fast approaching, and our launch window for Duna is coming up at year's end."

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"Our available contracts are somewhat more interesting."

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"We see here a paucity-"

Linus here knocked over his glass of water with a start-

"- ... of traditional contracts.  The eye grabber is provided by DMagic Orbital Sciences.  It seems they have developed something they are calling an 'electromagnetic telescope'..."

Here Linus had to bite back a laugh as he had told DMagic not to use the word 'radio' with Gene.

"...which has identified, so they say, that our binary companion Valentine has indeed its own planetary system."

A few intakes of breath from the press corps and a blizzard of photo-snaps followed.

"Not only do they feel Valentine has planets, but they are sure enough to have named one- Lomina, which is in an eccentric outer orbit.  Lomina, they were surprised to discover in their data, seems to have a moon, which they have named Deemo.  DMagic, or rather their science team, is now desperate to gather data on these bodies, as are of course all of Kerbal kind."

"Having hardly begun the exploration of our own solar system, never-the-less DMagic is lobbying hard for an orbital telescope to study Deemo and Valentine as well, and they are offering the sizable advance of 1.2 million $F."

Loud gasps spread throughout the room.

"Despite our inability to act immediately upon such a contract, the extraordinarily generous terms of the offer- over 50 years to completion- allow the extraordinary ability to develop technologies and capabilities which we cannot now envision."

"Given our investment in furthering the development of the LBC, we would like to submit that the Deemo proposal be accepted, and - for this, very busy year- no other contracts taken.  Should simple, in place magnetic field contracts be presented through the year, we will of course however pick them up."

"Lastly, the Program has identified a very promising engineering student, Peggy Kerman, with a very rare set of abilities and focus, and we would like permission to hire her into the program."

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"Oh-  the Minmus lander contract window we feel should be extended another year, as no private contractor has yet had a chance to submit a proposal and we do not wish to discourage enterprise from contributing."

'Hmm... the naive kerb is learning the ropes.' Mort thought to himself as Gene's presentation ended.'  I should add something to his diatribe. Best not to let him have a big head.'

"This is a momentous occasion, indeed. Establishment of this telescope in Low Kerbin Orbit may look like a small feat, but it will be the first of the many steps which will lead Kermanity to the stars. I support this endeavor wholeheartedly, and hope DMagic will provide us with extraordinary results in the near future."

Gene sat down while Linus stepped up to answer many clamoring questions about the Valentine discoveries.  Gene looked over at Mort and took a drink, nodding his thanks.  The finances meeting would follow after lunch, and he was now sure that they would have the huge influx of funds that would set-up the program for years.

 

 

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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Press Release.

The Kerbin Space Program Office here reports the successful launch and recovery of the first Local Body Conveyor, dubbed "Oxford" by its crew.

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The low-velocity boosters served their purpose well in assisting the stack off the pad.  At the moment of separation the craft actually decelerates for about 10 seconds before picking up again.

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The 7 main engines burn to the inter-stage separation, when the 2nd stage motor ignites.

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Orbit was achieved with 44 m/s to spare, which was of course ample for de-orbiting without requiring the capsule thrusters to be used.

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The interdisciplinary science crew remained in orbit for 18 days, which was found to be the limit of the capsule to support 6.  Recovery occurred without incident west of the Great Kulge Desert.

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We would like to thank the 6 crew for the hours of live reports they were able to share with Kermanity, and no doubt they will soon have ample opportunity to publish their experiences for academic review.

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We remain on track to conduct our first launches to another world in a few months, as our Duna launch window approaches.

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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Gene walked down the hall of the Administration building towards the Finance wing.  The main difference between this and other sections of the building is the staffers tended to leave their jackets on, which also tended to be more expensive.  There would be no second CRAP assembly this year, the decision had been made to limit contract acceptance due to the upcoming launch schedule, though if something really juicy had come along he was sure they would have considered signing it.  It was about something juicy that Gene needed to talk to Mort today.

Gene knocked on Mort's three-quarters open door.

"Mortimer, do you have a moment?"

Mort looked up from his computer, a bit irritated at the sudden intrusion. But he relaxed a little whe he saw it was Gene at the door.

"Come in, please."

Mort then called his assistant and told her to serve the two of them tea in those Bone Kina cups. Now normally those cups were meant to be brought out only in the presence of a higher up or a dignitary, and Gene was neither. But Mort was feeling a bit cruel that morning and wanted to rub it in Gene's face that the offices at the Mission control did not have Bone Kina cups.

Gene looked wistfully at the Bone Kina cups.  His grandmother had passed on a set of Bone Kina to his mother when she died.  Gene had used the set as ramp to jump his bike off of.  ...sigh.

"Thank you,"  he said simply as he was served.

"Well.  As you know, despite the C.R.A.P. agreement there exist discretionary powers within the Flight Control Office to deal with contract proposals that are presented between bi-annual meetings which require short term response.  We had such a proposal 2 weeks ago."

"D-Magic again was asking to begin a study for an eventual survey of a new perceived target orbiting Valentine.  They were offering a 47 year term and almost another $f1 million advance."

"I turned it down."

Gene watched Mort, expecting a mild fuel-ox burn-off.

Mort visibly twitched and he could feel the vein under his left eye popping. Did Gene just take a financial decision of such a colossal measure without consulting him? However he took a few deep breaths, calming himself down. Gene would not bait him in this manner if he did not have a plan.

'Let's hear his reasons. Then I will rip him into shreds, if I am not satisfied.' Mort thought to himself.

"Hmm, that's odd, Gene." Mort folded his arms." Those discretionary powers are meant to deal with the more mundane, low paying jobs. You could have consulted me with this. But we are way past that stage now. So tell me, what possessed you to make such a decision." No matter how much he tried, some frustration slipped into his voice.

"It is a very pragmatic reason.  Visibility."

"If we accept a single large influx of funding from D-Magic we can say it is in escrow, funding research, even granting scholarships or something.  We can still continue on as we are."

"However, if we accept a second large advance, suddenly D-Magic has given us far more than half of all the funding we've ever received.  They would, likely rightly, want to have a voice in the direction of the Program.  They would also have a right to complain, if say in 20 years their telescope were no where near close to being orbited.  I felt it would set a bad precedent."

"I want the Program to be steered in a useful direction, not a fanciful one."

Gene slid onto the desk a picture of the mock-up of the next rocket under construction.

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Mort looked at Gene for a few moments. And then pretended to check something on the computer. He was a little impressed, maybe a bit intimidated by Gene's spirited answer. The next few moments were spent in silence, with just the slurps of tea interrupting the stillness.

"Hmm, satisfactory reasons, I suppose I can let you off the hook this time. But I am curious about the rocket you are proposing. Tell me more." Mort pointed at Gene's picture of the rocket.

"This rocket carries the most Dv we've yet taken to space.  Taking advantage of testing a prototype nuclear Engine in solar orbit, we will attempt to sample the near-Kerbol environment for the first time.  If the lifter proves serviceable, I could see further use.  But *this* is the kind of science I feel we should be doing."

For a few moments, Mort was silent. He looked at Gene, who was exuding confidence and an aura of, well, something. Mort could not put his finger onto it, but he had surely felt like this before in someone else's presence.

"You are right, Gene. This is the kind of science we should do. But I must insist, at the end of your project, if it is successful, please design an interplanetary tug with those nuclear engines.. We might be able to use this for sending probes to Duna or eve, at the least." Mort put the empty cup to the side. 

"Now, is there something else that needs my attention?"

Gene winced a bit inwardly, but shook his head.  "No, nothing immediate.  I'm glad we see eye-to-eye on this Mort," and he shook his had firmly as he left the desk.

Leaving the office and walking down the hall Gene smiled.

"Nuclear tugs my ass."

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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-10 Prime, Program Year 6

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Gene stepped up to the podium and addressed the room with an attitude of defiance.  The nervous whispers died on every lip as his burning glare blazed across the room.

"Welcome to the new DMagic Science Hall on the grounds of our brand new research park, as we gather to review a very successful year of launches for the Program!  Pat, Brutus, pass out the sandwiches; you're all going to be here for a while!"

"First, we see here a static firing of the SOLAR mission stack before its noteworthy- but SUCCESSFUL- ...launch."

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"This follow-on to the SOAR mission would ultimately fulfill 2 valuable contracts, exposing the circuitry components of a Ruggedized Vehicular Wheel to direct cosmic rays and the very exciting prototype test of a new propulsion technology, the Nuclear Plasma Engine, and as well for the first time conduct experiments in near solar space."

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"Now in response to every Kerbal's concerns over the risk of sending radioactive elements into space, the mission has been very carefully designed.  After the Periapsis burn to bring its orbit to within 1 million meters, the engine will fire again at periapsis to bring the Apoapsis down from the orbit of Kerbin.  Then, upon reaching apoapsis again the NERV Engine will decouple, and unlock its remaining fuel to drop its periapsis into the sun, thus eliminating the threat of contaminating any world."

"The resulting orbit of the SOLAR probe may eventually encounter Eve's sizable gravity well, but we project this will be well beyond the service life of the probe's components."

"Now it is worth noting, this test firing did reveal the under-performance of the vessels LT-V300 engines, which lead to the addition of a pair of Thumper boosters which proved critical in the successful launch of the craft.  Accolades are duly extended for the diligent conduct of the test."

"Next, we have the successful 2nd flight of the Local Body Conveyor, for the first time sending all 5 of our astronauts into space.  Dubbed "Yale" by its crew, the goals of the flight were to allow our astronauts to work together in space, and also to conduct the first near and high space EVAs."

Spoiler

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"This photo will no doubt be the most fondly remembered of the flight, as the capsule fires its de-orbit thrusters to return to Kerbin."

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Gene sighed slightly here, wishing the following slides could be avoided, ...but eventually took a drink of water and nodded to the technician running the projector.

Spoiler

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"It will be noted that Yale's much covered landing, while frightening to the whole world watching live, was successful. ...the anomaly in landing occurred due to the slight slope encountered, and as we can see Bill was able to exit safely to plant the flag as ordered despite the presence of toxic and corrosive battery chemicals infusing the very ground he stepped upon."

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"Contrary to news reports, there is no evidence he looks worried at all.  ...none."

"All 5 astronauts were deigned fit for duty mere hours after returning to campus, and an immediate redesign increased the size of the main chutes by 2% to allow for increased recovery reliability."

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"Following swiftly upon the recovery of LBC-2, our long awaited Duna launch windows finally arrived."

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"LBR-Plus 1 & 2 were staged to orbit sequentially, and then put onto successful encounter burns directly from orbit."

Spoiler

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LBR+1 in orbit with a panoply of planets.

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"LBR+2 was launched at dusk, providing some excellent visuals."

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"We extend our highest commendations to Aaron Kerman's Nav team, as it was entirely unexpected that mid-course correction burns would not be needed in the flight plan, especially without automated navigation."

Gene straightened his papers, and after a pause nodded for the next slide reluctantly restarted, having gotten to the most infamous part of the presentation.

"Lastly, we have the much discussed successful SOLAR launch."

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"We do not need to go into the minutia of the regrettable performance of the first stage..."

Spoiler

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"...which as everyone knows took more than a minute to climb past 40 meters, even at one point alarmingly beginning to drop back towards the pad.  All emergency procedures were in place however, and despite being ready to ditch the stage and abort the mission to only LKO with the 2nd stage, thanks to the cool heads of the entire team we were able to get the lift we need out of the first stage with an ample dose of patience."

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"I would at this juncture like to point out two triumphs of this design which warrant note.  Despite the LT-V300s providing less thrust than expected, the LT-V450 in the center stack performed a near miracle.  During that first minute of agonizing burning it went to gimble-max over 6000 times striving to maintain its orientation, 100x times its expected service need, and it ultimately only drifted 30 or 40 meters to the north-east before finally beginning its climb."

"Additionally, when the interstage faring was deployed in anticipation of aborting to the 2nd stage, the longitudinal bracing was also lost, with the result that the entire torque being applied by the first stage was supported by a single strut facing less than a meter square.  Though this part remained with the 2nd stage, the explosive bolt holes in the top of the recovered 1st stage showed evidence of the tremendous strains endured.  Wernher's team is to be lauded, as the entire mission unexpectedly rested upon the endurance of this part."

"The remainder of the probe deployment was thankfully far less dramatic."

Spoiler

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"The NERV engine fired exactly as intended, and the probe is now on its long descent to Kerbol periapsis.  We would like to thank everyone for the support and work which enabled us to overcome this mission's unexpected challenge.  Wernher will now discuss the quality control changes the assembly team has undertaken to prevent these issues from arising again."

Gene swiftly went to sit down and take a long drink of water as Wernher stepped to the podium.  Gene was not looking forward to the CRAP meeting that would follow his CRAP presentation after lunch.

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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7 hours ago, GarrisonChisholm said:

"Contrary to news reports, there is no evidence he looks worried at all.  ...none."

I'm more worried about Jeb apparently being trapped in the wreckage :wink:

 

7 hours ago, GarrisonChisholm said:

Gene was not looking forward to the CRAP meeting that would follow his CRAP presentation after lunch.

Serving as I do in a fire department, I know there's no limit to how stupid people can be (which is good because otherwise I'd be out of a job).  And because fire departments are usually run by boards of commissioners, that goes double for such political hacks.  But even so, the only instinct political hacks have that's stronger than their double dose of stupidity is their overriding need for CYA.  So I figure if they paid even the slightest attention to this presentation, they'll realize that any attempt by them at this moment to crucify Gene would be charging into uncut barbed wire at a convenient distance in front of entrenched machineguns.  

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20 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

I'm more worried about Jeb apparently being trapped in the wreckage :wink:

 

Serving as I do in a fire department, I know there's no limit to how stupid people can be (which is good because otherwise I'd be out of a job).  And because fire departments are usually run by boards of commissioners, that goes double for such political hacks.  But even so, the only instinct political hacks have that's stronger than their double dose of stupidity is their overriding need for CYA.  So I figure if they paid even the slightest attention to this presentation, they'll realize that any attempt by them at this moment to crucify Gene would be charging into uncut barbed wire at a convenient distance in front of entrenched machineguns.  

Yes, no doubt and "wrist slapping" behind closed doors will be the order of the day.  Truthfully it was my stupid fault (misreading KER), but Gene will have to pay the price in some fashion.  The Mort/Gene relationship is very important here; the CRAP meeting (after the CRAP press conference) will probably not be filled with hi-jinks and chicanery!

And that wreckage, yeah.  I'm not sure why the graphics work like that.  If the neighboring capsule is occupied, those water-bottles appear in the cabin.  If it is empty though, they do not.  If I flew only 3 crew in non-adjacent capsules then we'd see all their faces.

I do think its funny though, Bill looks fairly concerned, but Jeb looks like he's about to start laughing :P

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3 hours ago, GarrisonChisholm said:

the CRAP meeting (after the CRAP press conference) will probably not be filled with hi-jinks and chicanery!

Oh.... This might be the understatement of the week! :D

 

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Later, after lunch...

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"Good afternoon everyone, Mortimer.  The press conference took quite a bit of time so I will be brief with this presentation.  These are our current active contracts;"

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"And the following is our current flight schedule, with the SOLAR orbit adjustments and the two Duna encounters our only current traffic."

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"Lastly, these are our current offered contracts."

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"None of these contracts are especially difficult, though we feel it is time to begin to address the need for a sample-return lander for Minmas, given private industry has not seen fit to offer a design as of yet.  As we now have a similar contract for Mun, the lander should perhaps be designed to accomplish both tasks."

Gene looked at Mort, a short uncomfortable silence building in as he realized Mort did not seem at all like he would be responding to the contracts in question.

"There were some wonderful launches in the last six months and I am proud of every one involved in making these successful." Mort was smiling by the time he was finished. But suddenly his smile warped, from gentle to vicious. "But tell me Gene, if the SOLAR was undergoing a static test, why were the launch clamps released?"

"Its odd, this doesnt look like a static test at all. More like a failed launch. Now, I want you to think about this, and I mean all of you! If the rocket had tumbled over, and hit the launch pad, what do you think would have happened?"

There was deathly silence in the room. Mort was angry, and they could feel it.

"Oh, what's with the grim faces? Let's make this an interactive session!" Mort was smiling normally again, but that was not going to fool anyone.  "You are the smartest guy here, Werhner. Let's start with you! What do you think would have happened?"

"Err.. there would have been an explosion, I think."

"You think, huh? Very well then, what about you, Gus? Got something to share?"

"The launchpad would have been damaged badly? But we had a mission abort scenario planned in such cases."

"Oh, of course. Abort mission to LKO and lose funds AND reputation. Anyone else got anything else to share? And Aaron, stop playing with the pen or else I will give you a Kolonoskopy with it." Mort glared at Aaron, who suddenly realized he was not off the hook either.

No one moved, not even an inch. 

"Now listen, and listen close, ...you imbeciles! If the rocket had tumbled over, it would have damaged the pad of course. But you know what's funny? The payload, the nuclear engine would have been badly damaged." Mort was looking at Gene, unblinking, and straight in the eye. "And you know what that means? The explosion would have scattered the blutonium all over the place, irradiating the launchpad, and PROBABLY THE ENTIRE KSC! And you did that, almost twice!."

"You CAN NOT fool nature! If your equations say that the rocket won't lift off, then it won't! There's no 'maybe!"

"So congratulations, fools. You almost managed to shut down the entire KSC, twice. Do you know, how many voices I had to silence these past few months? I will not let this go unpunished. All personnel involved with the SOLAR launches will get no promotions, no increments in their salary for the next five years."

"But Mort, the workers won't accept this!" Werhner interrupted.

"Oh, really? Then I think you would have to do a lot of work, convincing them. And believe me, I am being gentle. If the Civil Authority learns of this, you would all be in jail!"

Gene was uncharacteristically blank, but then he really had nothing he could say.  Mort was right on all counts.  But, the wage freezes...

"Mort, I will accept full responsibility for the SOLAR errors, and you can *dock* my salary, but don't freeze the workers'.  We will lose qualified technicians, and it comes off as simply a petty penalty."

"So, please, let us reconsider the penalties, and focus on the upcoming year.  Besides, do you think there has not already been a bloodletting in middle management and beating about the ears?..."

Mort looked at Gene and his expression softened a bit. "Gene, Do you think I am doing this for my own pleasure? No! I am freezing my own pay too. I had to bribe and coax officials from all over the Civil Authority. And I had to use KSC's emergency funds for this. The money saved from the pay freezes will be utilized to refill the emergency coffers. Just docking your pay won't solve anything!"

"And please don't worry about the workers. I have already silenced potential troublemakers. As for losing their services, I doubt there is any other organisation with more prestige and recognition as the KSC. The workers will be fools to resign, and they know it."

"So, the pay freezes will remain in action. But I think we could reduce the penalty time to 3.5 years. An official notice will be up by tomorrow."

Gene neither sighed nor nodded.  His normal reaction would be to spit pencil bits or raise a most calamitous rage, but he knew they had screwed up this time.

"Alright Mort."

"And then what is your decision about which contracts to select for coming year?  We can't do the satellite movement, SOAR has no available fuel, and the Munar seismic surveys would be a pretty far stretch when we haven't even landed a probe yet, but the rest- even the food harvesting - I think we could manage."

Mort took a deep breath. He did not enjoy tormenting people, despite popular opinion. "Linus had been demanding a space farm for quite some time. Lets give him what he wants. And the tourist contract as well. A successful tourist mission would raise the morale of everyone at KSC, along with the reputation."

"As for the remaining missions within our capabilities, accept them too. We need to show results, and we need to show them fast if we want the upper echelons of the Civil Authority to forget the SOLAR launches."

There was a general nodding of consent and then the meeting broke up.  Gene knew he had to take it, he had endorsed the idea to "spin" the first SOLAR launch as a static test, so he had no right to be mad at anyone but himself.  That afternoon he saw paperwork that had transferred a couple VAB workers to off-campus positions, which explained the 'silencing' Mort had referred to.  And he had no doubt that the Program Civil Authority would have been screaming blue in the face for a complete management change, especially given they were in on the 'spin' and would have known that the second near-failed launch should have been entirely preventable.  He was betting some undesirable pet projects would be showing up somewhere down the line, and that the CA offices at the capital probably had some nice new kerhogany furniture.

However, there was one thing Gene knew as a manager.  If you find yourself standing in crap, the only next thing to do is step out of it.

Gene set the next meeting schedule for the Flight Office.  The next objective was landing a probe on Minmas, and to prepare for greater things to come.

 

Edited by GarrisonChisholm
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10 hours ago, kerbalstar said:

@GarrisonChisholm, if you're still open I'll try to get a Minmus\Mun probe to you by tomorrow. 

Your timing is just fine!  I actually just flew a very budget lander to settle onto Minmus (which will be documented shortly), but as I was using an off-the-shelf probe for a task for which it wasn't intended the sample return portion of the mission would have failed and so was not attempted.  So, if you would be interested in offering a sample-return Minmus mission - the less expensive the better - we'd be very interested!  Just make sure a materials bay is included in the design.

I have a Mun mission in mind already, so I think we can limit it to Minmus.

If you'd like to PM me the design we could make sure the write-up fits with the general tone of the story, and then you can post it yourself.  :)

Thanks for showing an interest!

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1 minute ago, GarrisonChisholm said:

Your timing is just fine!  I actually just flew a very budget lander to settle onto Minmus (which will be documented shortly), but as I was using an off-the-shelf probe for a task for which it wasn't intended the sample return portion of the mission would have failed and so was not attempted.  So, if you would be interested in offering a sample-return Minmus mission - the less expensive the better - we'd be very interested!  Just make sure a materials bay is included in the design.

I have a Mun mission in mind already, so I think we can limit it to Minmus.

If you'd like to PM me the design we could make sure the write-up fits with the general tone of the story, and then you can post it yourself.  :)

Thanks for showing an interest!

Sounds good! I'll work on it tomorrow. Real life and other KSP stuff interfered today, but tomorrow I'll whip up something. Also, just a lander and return or the launcher to? If the former than I'd like to know the tonnage capabilities and excepted range of the launcher(LKO, LMO, etc.). I think that the launcher is the hardest part so either way is fine with me.

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4 hours ago, kerbalstar said:

Sounds good! I'll work on it tomorrow. Real life and other KSP stuff interfered today, but tomorrow I'll whip up something. Also, just a lander and return or the launcher to? If the former than I'd like to know the tonnage capabilities and excepted range of the launcher(LKO, LMO, etc.). I think that the launcher is the hardest part so either way is fine with me.

Just lander and return.  If it is small enough I'll use the LB series lifter, but if it is larger then I will just use the LBC's booster as the lifter.

The LBR could handle up to 2.5 tons, and if I use the LBC lifter it would be up to 15 tons.  Or, if neither of those are ideal, I will just build a custom lifter that could put your sample return lander into LMO, so you would only be looking at a DV requirement of 500 or so (with ample margin).

However, bear in mind how cost conscious Mort is, so to take advantage of the return contract aspect the cost of the probe would ideally be <$F50,000.  I am sure it could be done for far less than that, but that would be the ceiling I would wager.

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