The Space Program With No Name (updated Jan 12, 2019)

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Venture T-8 orbiting Kerbin.


Nomad 1, roving around on Minmus


Turning its attention back to Minmus, the space program reactivated Nomad 1. A team of scientist at the KSC had identified a number of interesting locations that they wanted to explore. The little rover, which had been dormant for two years, thus set out on a new trek across the mint surface.

Kerbin and the Mun as seen from Minmus.

Nomad 1 struggles in the hilly terrain.

The journey proved taxing for the old rover. Steep hills dominated the area, putting the design through maximum stress. With three damaged wheels and a battery that kept draining, progress was slow. Still, Nomad 1 persevered. It visisted each location in turn, transmitting data back to the space center. To reach the final place of interest, it used the few remaining drops of fuel to fire its rocket engine and make a hop across the terrain. After the last bits of data had been transmitted, Nomad 1 was powered down permanently.


SET-31 and 32, testing a simplified lander


The road back to the Mun continued with tests of a simplified version of the MLV. Although suffering from the same drawbacks as the original design, the use of proven parts meant it could be put into service quickly. Because of this, management considered using it as a temporary solution until more advanced landers were ready.

Testing the engines.

Buzz inspects the lander.


Relayer Mu-A, Mu-B and Mu-C, new relay network


Another step towards returning kerbals to the Mun was to replace the aging Relayer 1A and 2A. Launched on day 136, the new constellation consisted of three satellites. They were brought to munar orbit by a modified Benchmark upper stage.

Launching on a Benchmark IA.

Trans-munar injection burn.

Relayer Mu-A was placed in equatorial orbit. The transfer stage then moved into polar orbit and released Mu-B and Mu-C. From there, they would place themselves in opposite and highly elliptical orbits, similar to how the old relay satellites were positioned.

First satellite deployed.

The second and third one goes into polar orbit.

After being released, the satellites adjust their orbits.

With everything in place, the retired Relayer 1A and 2A were deorbited. The space program now had a modernized communication network with good coverage.


Venture T-7, tests and training


On day 144, Thompdous and Gratop launched aboard Venture T-7, heading for Experimental Station 1. Their mission was twofold. First, they would test the docking port that had been attached to the station by the Venture T-5 crew. If successful, they would then stay at XS1 for 15 days as part of their training for an upcoming mission.


Approaching the station.

As Venture T-7 arrived at XS1, Thompdous took manual control of the spacecraft. He guided it carefully towards the waiting docking port and got a good connection on the first attempt. After making sure it was safe to proceed, the crew opened the hatch. The first objective had been completed.

The crew returns after 15 days.

They splash down safely.

After having completed the full duration, Thompdous and Gratop returned to Kerbin. Although this particular mission was over, the two would soon be back in space again. As the primary crew for Venture TM-2, they were going to spend 15 days in munar orbit.


Mapper 9, Minmus scanner


Mapper 9 was launched on day 162. It entered polar orbit around Minmus where it performed a resource scan followed by a high resolution scan. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken so all we have to look at is the launch.

And that's it.


Emprise II, space station operations


Stary and Lembas, the second visiting crew to Emprise II, launched aboard Venture T-8 on day 200. This was the last Venture T to fly and it rode atop the last Benchmark I rocket. Both were being replaced with newer models for subsequent missions.

Venture T-8 on the launchpad.

The last Benchmark I launches the last Venture T.

Second stage separates.

Performing the rendezvous burn.


The following day saw the launch of the first of two habitation modules. These were the last additions planned for Emprise II. Once delivered, the station would be considered complete.

Launching the first habitation module.

Fairing separation.

The module is in orbit.

Arrived at the station.

The module is docked to Node 2.

An updated version of the Shepherd space tug was used to get the new module to the station. Docking turned out to be a tricky operation, requiring multiple attempts before a proper capture was achieved. Luckily, the new Shepherd carried more fuel than before. Once all checks had been made, the operation could continue. A day later, the second hab was launched. It went through the same troubled docking, but eventually made a successful connection.

Launch of the second hab module.

The station is now completed.

The two Shepherd tugs are deorbited.

In addition to increasing the living area, the new modules also carried large batteries. It had been discovered that the systems aboard the station required more electricity than expected while on the dark side of Kerbin. The extra batteries would hopefully alleviate this problem. Testing would take place some time following the departure of the visiting crew.

Venture T-8 returns home.

Quest 14 is launched.

It uses the new service module introduced with the latest Shepherd.

Venture T-8 left the station after ten days, returning Stary and Lembas to Kerbin. Shortly thereafter, Quest 14 was launched. It brought fresh supplies to restock Emprise II.


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Kerbonaut Seepond hard at work.


Venture TM-2, return to the Mun


The launch of Venture TM-2 marked the return of kermanned Mun flights for the space program. The main goal of this particular mission was to test the Venture TM/Benchmark IA combination in the transportation role between Kerbin and its moon. Aboard the spacecraft were Thompdous and Gratop, who had trained together on the previous Venture T-7 mission. Lift-off occurred on day 231. After reaching low Kerbin orbit, the crew got clearance for TMI. Thanks to the reduced weight of the new Venture design, the upper stage of the launch vehicle was able to bring the spacecraft all the way to munar orbit.

Ready to go.

The upper stage sends the spacecraft towards the Mun.

It also performs the capture burn.

The crew prepares for an extended stay.

Thompdous and Gratop remained in orbit for fifteen days. During this time, they performed a number of EVAs to collect data from space near the Mun. When the time came to return home, a burn of the main engine put the spacecraft on a trajectory back to Kerbin. After leaving the Mun's sphere of influence, Gratop made history with the first ever deep space EVA.

Returning to Kerbin.

Gratop on EVA.

The modules separate.

Slamming into the atmosphere.

The mission ends successfully.

The next crew to go to the Mun would attempt a landing, the third in the history of the space program. That mission would also see the first use of the new Velocity E1 launch vehicle, which was being prepared at the KSC.


Emprise II, space station operations


On day 300, Venture TM-3 brought Seepond and Jopont to the space station for a ten day visit. During their stay there, Seepond joined expedition 8 commander Bob on an EVA to install additional batteries. These batteries originated from the damaged storage module that had been docked to the station two years prior.

Riding on a pillar of flame.

Docked to the station.

Jopont, Seepond and Bob discuss the upcoming EVA.

Seepond and Bob begin their work outside the station.

The batteries have been installed.

Venture TM-3 undocks.

After lowering its orbit, the spacecraft reenters and lands.

The crew has returned safely.

Shortly after the departure of the visiting crew, Quest 15 was launched. In addition to supplies, it also carried two experiments. Data collected from these was brought to the station's lab to be processed.

Launching into the night sky.

Bob operates the experiments.

Quest 15 leaves the station.

About a hundred days remained of expedition 8. During this time, Bob and Gersen would host one more visiting crew, as the Peabody shuttle was being prepared for its fourth flight.


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Landing on another world can be dangerous.


Venture TM-4/MLV-5, trouble on the Mun


Two years had past since Bob became the second kerbal to walk on the surface of the Mun. It was high time to go back. The kerbonauts selected for the mission were Jebediah and Lisa who both had plenty of training behind them. They had been the primary crew for the second landing before a rescue mission diverted them. Now, they were ready to try again. Lift-off took place on day 336. This was very much an experimental flight, launching on the new and unproven Velocity E1 booster. It did successfully place the combined spacecraft and lander in Kerbin orbit before performing the TMI burn. The spacecraft was a standard Venture TM, while the lander was of the recent simplified MLV design, not yet tested in space.

Launching on the first Velocity E1.

The first stage separates.

Spacecraft and lander in orbit.

A transposition and docking maneuver is done during the outbound voyage.

Arriving at the Mun, the Velocity upper stage fired its engine again. However, it turned out the stage didn't have enough fuel to complete the orbital capture. Acting quickly, the crew used the lander's small descent stage to compensate. It worked, but they now faced another problem. With less fuel available for the actual descent, the landing might have to be called off. After much discussion, it was decided to continue as planned, despite the propellant shortage. In hindsight, this was a decision born largely out of "go fever".

Burning retorgrade at the Mun.

Jebediah boards the MLV and prepares to undock from Venture TM-4.

Firing the engines of the descent stage.

Jeb is forced to switch to the main engine much earlier than intended.

Using up precious fuel during the latter part of the landing.

MLV-5 touched down in the lowlands only 5 km from the crater where Valentina had made the first ever kermanned landing on the Mun. Jeb left the vehicle, planted a flag, and collected the usual samples. He then asked mission control for permission to visit Val's crater. The request was approved. Using his jetpack, Jeb made his way to the crater rim.

Climbing down the ladder.

Obligatory flag planting.

Jeb looks out over the gray surface.

Travelling by jetpack.

Somewhere, down there, is the old MLV-2 descent stage.

Having jetpacked back to his own lander, Jeb climbed back aboard and prepared for takeoff. This was when reality set in. After doing the calculations, it became painfully obvious that there was not enough fuel to return to orbit. Although facing the grim fate of being stranded on the Mun with limited supplies, Jeb remained focused. Together with mission control, he went over every possible solution, no matter how ridiculous it might seem. Several hours of brainstorming later, they had settled on a course of action. Jeb would fly the MLV until its tanks ran dry. He would then exit the vehicle and use his jetpack to gain additional altitude. After that, it was up to Lisa in Venture TM-4 to intercept the falling kerbonaut. If the timing was off, Jeb would smash into the surface of the Mun and be killed.

Launching suborbital.

Jeb leaves the lander.

"If this doesn't work, I want the crater my body'll make to be named after me!"

The most important rendezvous burn in the history of the space program.

It was a one in a million shot and it worked. Lisa caught up with her colleague in time, and the two reunited aboard the spacecraft. They were not out of danger yet though. The maneuver had placed Venture TM-4 on a collision course with the Mun. As soon as Jeb was back in his seat, Lisa punched the throttle and returned them to orbit. A few hours later, another burn of the engine brought the crew back to Kerbin.

Returning home.

The thick atmosphere greets the travellers with fire.

Celebrating a safe landing.

While the return of the crew was hailed as a great success, the space program also garnered criticism for its apparent lack of planning and safety precautions. It would take some effort to regain the trust lost after this debacle.


Peabody Flight 4, final test flight


The fourth Peabody flight began on day 386. If successful, the vehicle would be brought up to operational status. As on all previous flights, the shuttlepod was piloted by Sonny. This time, however, he was joined by a second crew member; veteran kerbonaut Buzz Kerman. In his role as flight engineer, Buzz would assist in evaluating the performance of the spacecraft.

The shuttlepod lifts off for the fourth time.

It is brought all the way to orbit by the PBLV.

The launch turned out to be the best one so far, with the Peabody Launch Vehicle successfully placing its payload in an 80 x 81 km orbit. On past flights, the PBLV had been unable to fully reach orbit, forcing the Peabody to finish the insertion itself and wasting fuel in the process. The success was somewhat tainted though. A malfunction in the electrical system caused the batteries in the core booster to drain, leading to a rough landing.

The booster runs out of electricity during reentry.

Unable to extend the legs, it lands hard and sustains some damage.

Having arrived in space, the crew set course for Emprise II. They docked with the station and remained there for five days. This was the second time Sonny performed a docking in the Peabody.

Sonny and Buzz prepare for rendezvous with the station.

The view from the cockpit during docking.

The crew spends five days at Emprise II.

After leaving the station, Sonny brought the Peabody down to a 100 km orbit before performing the final reentry burn. Descent through the atmosphere was as smooth as it could be. They came down right at the space center and made a perfect runway landing.

The reentry is nominal.

Lining up with the runway.

Back at the hangar, ready for refurbishment.

The flight had been a complete success, clearing the Peabody for operational use. It was scheduled to fly a group of tourists early the following year.


Venture TM-5, second crew rotation


Venture TM-5 launched expedition 9, veteran Albart and rookie Sivin, to the space station on day 420. Upon their arrival, the previous crew boarded Venture T-6 and returned to Kerbin after having spent a full year in space. They splashed down safely a few hours later.

Expedition 9 is launched at night.

Bob and Gersen leave the station that has been their home for a year.

Venture T-6 brings the crew back to Kerbin.

Albart and Sivin undock Venture TM-5 from the forward facing port.

They bring the spacecraft around the station and dock it to the aft port.

Space station operations were to continue as before, with the new crew also staying for a year. During this time they would work on experiments, do maintenance, and host visitors.


End of Year Report (Y9)


Funds: 2,261,700
Science: 41.4

Vehicle Assembly Building at level 2
Launchpad at level 2
Spaceplane Hangar at level 2
Runway at level 2
Research and Development at level 3
Mission Control at level 3
Tracking Station at level 2
Administration Building at level 3
Kerbonaut Complex at level 3

Construction Time
VAB Rate 1 at 1.3 BP/s
VAB Rate 2 at 1.3 BP/s
SPH Rate 1 at 1.3 BP/s
SPH Rate 2 at 1.3 BP/s
R&D Devel. at 64 sci/day

P1 Jebediah (7)
P1 Valentina (7)
P1 Phoebe (6)
P1 Wehrsted (3)
P1 Thompdous (4)
P1 Verfal (3)
P1 Albart (3)
P1 Stary (2)
P4 Sonny (6)
P1 Jopont (1)
P0 Luwell (0)
P0 Lomal (0)
E1 Bill (4)
E1 Buzz (4)
E1 Ferny (3)
E1 Desster (2)
E1 Seepond (2)
E1 Katbus (3)
E1 Tatiana (1)
E0 Catbur (0)
S1 Bob (5)
S1 Gersen (3)
S1 Janson (2)
S0 Tandin (0) *KIA*
S1 Lisa (2)
S1 Gratop (3)
S1 Lembas (1)
S0 Verger (0)
S0 Sivin (1)

( ) shows number of space flights


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Unfortunately, this mission report has come to an abrupt end after the hard drive in my computer decided to light itself on fire the other day. Not much I can do about it I'm afraid. The drive is completely fried (it took two days to get the smell of charred plastic out of the room) and I don't have a recent backup of the save file.

R.I.P. hard drive 2008 - 2019 ;.;

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1 hour ago, SBKerman said:

light itself on fire

That's scary! Were you OK? 

1 hour ago, SBKerman said:

I don't have a recent backup of the save file.

It's OK, you can look at the old images from the mission report and try to replicate them in a new thread if you have a new computer. Otherwise.... this thread had a long run, and it was nice to be able to follow these missions along with you.

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oh well, it was fun while it lasted

really was a great mission report, you should try another one (with a safer hard drive of course)

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