Ultimate Steve

Space Race - RO/RSS/RP-0 (April 1956)

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The year is 1951, the planet is Earth. Three organizations look towards the moon...


Welcome to our RO/RSS/RP-0 space race! In this report, @Ultimate Steve @qzgyand @NSEP will be racing to the moon. Here is how it will work - we each have the same (more or less) mods installed and will be playing through in separate saves. Every three ingame months we will each make a post summarizing our achievements. We will post these in order and nobody should play more than six months ahead.

UPDATE: Due to IRL stuff and general loss of interest (it happens to all of us from time to time) NSEP has dropped out right before Q4 1953.

Milestone list:



Launch something suborbital.

Launch something to orbit (unmanned).

Send a human to space on a suborbital trajectory.

Launch a human into orbit (can’t be the same flight as the suborbital).

Send a moon impactor.

Send a probe to lunar orbit.

Land a probe on the moon.

Send human(s) into lunar orbit.

Land humans on the moon and return them safely to Earth.


Send any spacecraft into a polar orbit of Earth

Fly three humans to space at once

Dock two spacecraft in orbit of Earth

Build a space station with at least three separately launched modules and send at least one crew to it consisting of at least three crewmembers

Launch at least one probe on an interplanetary trajectory

New! EVA while in Earth Orbit

Mod list:


Required mods:

Realism Overhaul and all of its dependencies (as found on CKAN).

All of Realism Overhaul’s recommendations (as found on CKAN).

DMagic Orbital Science (RO suggestion)

Taerobee (RO suggestion)

Real Solar System as on CKAN (and therefore textures, Kopernicus, and the date formatter)

THE DATE FORMATTER IS IMPORTANT. It is necessary to tell time so we can sync the timelines.

Realistic Progression Zero and all of its dependencies (As on CKAN)

All of RP-0’s recommendations EXCEPT TESTFLIGHT. IMO it is pretty annoying to deal with.

Suggested mods:

All of Realism Overhaul’s suggestions (some of them are required).

STRONGLY recommend to select most of the selections. These are part packs to build stuff out of, at least get the engines and a few RaiderNick mods.

Kerbal Engineer

Kerbal Alarm Clock

Tweakscale (not to be abused, I use it mostly for structural parts and stuff).


Allowed mods:

Any informational mods

Any visual mods (texture packs, etc.)

FMRS (as requested by qzgy)

Anything supported by both RO and RP-0 (but check with everyone first).


Prohibited mods:


HyperEdit and similar cheaty mods

Anything deemed to be overpowered

Use of the debug menu for anything other than debugging


Additional rules:


Don't play too far ahead (>6 months).

Don't revert or quickload unless there was a game glitch, you weren't looking at the screen, it was an incredibly stupid mistake (forgetting to deploy antenna, parachute in stage 1, etc) or you are taking off or landing in a plane (because of terrain glitches).

Keep roleplay off the forums.

Game is played in KSP 1.2.2 because that's the latest version RO/RSS/RP-0 supports.

Player 1 is @Ultimate Steve, who has chosen to launch from French Guiana.


Player 2 is @qzgy, who is launching from Wallops.


Player 3 was @NSEP, who has opted for Baikonur. Unfortunately, his launch facilities were destroyed when he tested an Orion engine and all funding for his space program has been cut as of Q4 1953.


Statistics (updated after every quarter):


Altitude Records (suborbital spaceflight, unmanned):

128km, 1/10/51. NSEP. Suborbital Science Platform Flight 1 (SSP)
>190km, 2/8/51. NSEP. Max altitude unknown, was an A-4 at 153km travelling 900m/s straight up. A-4.
222km, 3/9/51. Ultimate Steve. Sparrow 4.
752km, 4/11/51. Ultimate Steve. Sparrow 6.
1200km, 5/3/51. Ultimate Steve. Sparrow 7.
2262km, 6/19/51. Ultimate Steve. Sparrow 10.
2660km, 4/28/52. Ultimate Steve. Sparrow 11.
5787km, 5/8/52. Ultimate Steve. Sparrow 12.

Altitude Records (atmo and suborbital spaceflight, manned):

>5km, Fem/March 1951. qzgy. Max altitude unknown, was travelling upwards at 450m/s with 25% fuel remaining at 800 meters. Craponite.
>5km, 3/26/51. NSEP. Max altitude unknown, was travelling mostly downwards at 4km with parachutes deployed. Modified A-4.
>10km, 4/14/1. NSEP. Modified A4.
110km, 5/31/51. qzgy. Belemnoid 2. First person above Karman line.
262km, 9/24/51. Ultimate Steve. Diagon M-2.
457km, 1/31/52. Ultimate Steve. Diagon M-3.

Total flights (success/partial/failure):

Ultimate Steve - 89 (53/20/16)
qzgy - 77 (50/11/16)
NSEP - 21 (13/4/4)
NOTE: At some point I might have lost count, so these numbers are accurate to within 1 currently.


Manned Supersonic Flight - qzgy, Feb-March 1951. Craponite. NSEP, 4/14/51. Modified A-4. Ultimate Steve, 9/4/51. Diagon M-1.
Unmanned Suborbital Spaceflight - NSEP, SSP Flight 1, 1/10/51. qzgy, Super Ammonite, Feb-March 1951. Ultimate Steve, Sparrow 4, 3/9/51.
Unmanned Orbital Spaceflight - Ultimate Steve, Diagon 2, 8/19/51. qzgy, Amaltheus, 11/23/51. NSEP, Orbital Science Platform 1, 12/15/51.
Manned Suborbital Spaceflight (100km) - qzgy, 5/31/51. Belemnoid 2 Ultimate Steve, 9/24/51. Diagon M-2. NSEP, 9/28/51, Modified A-4.
Manned Suborbital Spaceflight (140km) - Ultimate Steve, 9/24/51. Diagon M-2. NSEP, 9/28/51, Modified A-4. qzgy, 12/30/51, Belemnoid+ 1U.
Manned Orbital Spaceflight - qzgy, 4/2/52. Eospteryx 1. Ultimate Steve, 12/7/52. Euphoria 3. NSEP, 4/12/53. Game Changer X.
Unmanned Lunar Impactor - NSEP, 12/15/52. LSP 2. Ultimate Steve, 2/20/53. Artemis 4. qzgy, 7/24/53. Seashell 2.5.
Unmanned Lunar Orbiter - Ultimate Steve, 3/22/53. Artemis 2. qzgy, 7/24/53. Seashell 2.5.
Unmanned Lunar Lander - Ultimate Steve, 12/20/53. Artemis 7. qzgy, 9/6/54. Darn it.
Manned Lunar Orbit - Ultimate Steve, 2/21/54. Euphoria 6/Object E. qzgy, 1/28/56. Cosmos II.
Manned Moon Landing and Return
Polar Orbiting Spacecraft
Ultimate Steve, 12/23/51. SkyRender 2. NSEP, 3/27/52. OSP-3. qzgy, 8/22/52. Pearl, Micropearl 1 and 2.
Three People into Orbit in one Flight - qzgy, 11/5/54. Cosmos-Ikameshi Heavy. Ultimate Steve, 10/29/54. StarRender 1.1/Dream 8. Eddie Sutton, Carol Lawson, Phyllis Allen.
Docking - Ultimate Steve, 9/30/53. Object C/Object D. qzgy, 3/30/55. Midget II/Midget II.
3 Module space station with one crewed mission - qzgy, 12/26/55. Jank Station (Crew of Solace 1).
Interplanetary flight - Ultimate Steve, 2/10/55. Reacher 2, Mars.
EVA in orbit - Ultimate Steve, 5/22/53. Euphoria 4. qzgy, 12/19/53. Atlantica/Dyopteryx. 
Lunar Flyby - NSEP, 6/20/52. DSTP 1 (ran out of power, though). Ultimate Steve, 1/5/53. Artemis 1. qzgy, 7/24/53. Seashell 2.5.

Heaviest mass to orbit (does not include upper stage unless it is non-detachable):

60kg, Ultimate Steve, Diagon 2, 8/19/51.
150kg, Ultimate Steve, SkyRender 1, 11/22/51
Honorable mention - 115kg, qzgy, Amaltheus 2, 11/23/51 (missed record by one day)
160kg, Ultimate Steve, SkyRender 2, 12/23/51
~1.5T, qzgy, Cuttlefish 1, 2/?/52 (Cuttlefish's 2 and 3 tied this)
~1.7t, qzgy, Cuttlefish 1.3U3, 5/21/52 (Unmanned variant, probably heavier)
3t, Ultimate Steve, SkyRender Block 1A, 5/22/53. Estimated mass.
5.5t, qzgy, Humboldt, 6/1/53.
~22t, Ultimate Steve, StarRender Mission 1/Artemis 5, 9/2/53.
65t, qzgy, Cosmos-Nova-µ mission 1, 7/28/55.
99.2t, Ultimate Steve, Dream 6/QUASAR. 8/15/55.

Most satellites deployed in a single mission:

1, Ultimate Steve, 8/18/51, Diagon - Diagon 2 satellite.
3, qzgy, 8/22/52, Cuttlefish - Pearl, Micropearl 1, Mircopearl 2.
31, qzgy, 8/26/55, Bobtail  - Midget II Core and Micropearl 3-32.



People launched into space (100km, man-flights and not number of people, ex. If Jeb goes into space twice it counts as 2):

Ultimate Steve - 21
qzgy - 20 (maybe 1 more if the 3/25/53 launch of Cuttlefish was manned, unknown)
NSEP - 4


Ultimate Steve - 0
qzgy - 1 (parachute failure)
NSEP - 0






Updates on progress will be posted below. Enjoy!


Ultimate Steve - January-March 1951 (Cycle 1)



On January 17, 1951, the Sparrow 1 rocket was launched from Kourou, French Guiana. This was my first attempt at a rocket in this save, starting simple.


The goal of the mission was to complete the "first flight" contract as well as earn some science points.


The crowd of spectators gathered inside the buildings watched as the Sparrow 1 successfully launched into the sky, reaching an altitude of a few kilometers.


However, some engineer misread the label on the parachute module, which apparently contained a decoupler. The science module fell to Earth and exploded due to improper placement, and someone forgot to analyze the telemetry... As a result of this, no experiments were run on the mission and it was declared a partial success.


A few weeks later, on February 8, Sparrow 2 was launched.


Its mission was to collect lower atmosphere science from four total experiments onboard, and to return safely back to Earth.

However, shortly after liftoff it entered a spin.


Despite this, it was still able to complete its mission, although it did not reach its planned altitude.


It was also considered a partial success. Next up was trying to explore the upper atmosphere, which necessitated designing Sparrow 3 - the first liquid fueled rocket fired from Kourou, which launched on February 22.



However, it too entered a spin shortly after takeoff and only reached 45 kilometers, not reaching the upper atmosphere. The mission was classified as a failure.


A near exact copy was built with upgraded fin systems was built, Sparrow 4, which launched on March 9.


This time, the rocket flew almost as straight as an arrow, managing to exceed all altitude expectations by reaching 222km, making Sparrow 4 the first suborbital spaceflight to launch from French Guiana.


The science was collected and transmitted before Sparrow 4 fell back down, hitting the ground pretty fast, but not as fast as expected.



In the wake of success of the Sparrow 4, the Sparrow 5 was launched on March 29, a lightly modified A-4 rocket.


Its goal was to fly higher than Sparrow 4 and perform a biological capsule science experiment while in space (and transmit the results). The results were mixed.


Despite reaching space, the apogee was not as high as expected, only about 188km.


Sparrow 5 proceeded to impact the ground after having transmitted the data. The mission was considered a success.



Launches - 5.

Successes - 2.

Partial Successes - 2.

Failures - 1.

Milestone completed - reach space.

Altitude record - 222km.

@qzgy, your turn!

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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qzgy - January-March 1951



The early days are sort of lost to history. (read - I forgot what I did sortof and I have not very helpful screenies..... Will try to improve both for next time)

In early January Ammonite sounding rockets were built and launched. Maybe about two or so. They were the first steps of the fledgling program.


This was derived into the Super-Ammonite. Well not really. That was a completely new design of sounding rocket which broke the Karman line in February or Early March. Again records are unclear. In an ideal case the upper part would have been recovered. It wasn't.


In March or February the sound barrier was also broken by the enterprising Jebediah Kerman on a Craponite rocket, since its such a stupid stupid design. Like a bunch of SRB's with a capsule on top.


Launch pad upgrades were also started after finding out rockets are big and heavy as well as research into bigger and better parts. Not completed as of March.

Total accomplishments - Reaching space and a crewed breaking of the sound barrier. And loss of meaningful records....

@NSEP - Your turn!

Edited by qzgy
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NSEP - January-March 1951, Cycle 1



^The Suborbital Science Platform, as it flew above the Karman line on January 10th, 1951.


January 10th, 1951


The first succesfull flight of the SSP (Suborbital Science Platform), reached an altitude of 128.5km, well above the Karman Line


January 19th, 1951


The second succesfull flight of the Suborbital Science Platform, this time to finish the Karman Line contract

February 8th, 1951


The NSEP finally got acces to a German ''A-4'' rocket, we used this rocket to science experiments above 140km. On February 8th, we succesfully flown the rocket, to space.

March 26th, 1951


Using the technology the NSEP gathered from the German ''A-4'' rockets, and other supersonic plane technology, the NSEP created the first manned rocket, intended to break the sound barrier. The mission did not reach its goal of going beyond the sound barrier, but Jebediah landed safely back down to the Earth.

 Your move, @Ultimate Steve!

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Ultimate Steve - April-July 1951 (Cycle 2)

EDIT: Sorry, it's April-June, I messed up.



Despite being offered a contract for breaking the sound barrier, the NSP chose not to accept it just yet, because of sudden meter-high gaps in the runway. A lot of April-July was spent prototyping this, but unfortunately no actual attempt was made. The decision to switch to a vertical attempt was made, and the first test will be in the third quarter.

On April 11, Sparrow 6 launched. Its mission was to complete a "Sounding rockets - Medium" contract.




Its final apogee was 752km, which is most likely a new absolute altitude record. The only issue with the flight was a minor oscillation that developed after decoupling. However, as the flight completed the contract, it was declared a success.


Next up was Sparrow 7, which was basically Sparrow 6 but with a humongous lower stage. It was designed to go really high (above 2000km) but due to tipping over at some point in the flight, it only reached 1200km and was classified as a partial failure. This flight took place on May 3.




Then, a contract was found for "go into space and return to Earth" which sounded easy, but proved to be rather difficult. Sparrow 8 was built for the task, a small rocket with a parachute on top.


However, despite breaking the Karman line, the rocket did not surpass the 140km mark required by the contract.



Despite this, the recovery was successful, marking the first known vertical landing of a high altitude rocket.

Just eleven days later, on May 27, Sparrow 9 (Sparrow 8 with a smaller chute and reduced drag) completed this contract.




Finally, rounding out quarter two, Sparrow 10 was launched. It was basically a copy of Sparrow 7 with lengthened fuel tanks.


This time, the stages separated cleanly and the rocket went more or less straight up. Its final apogee was 2262km, completing a "sounding rocket high" contract.




The NSP then realized "Hey, there are other companies and they have already sent a guy supersonic! We have to do something about that!" They also realized that they should probably upgrade their launch pad.


Launches - 5.

Successes - 3.

Partial Successes - 1.

Failures - 1.

Altitude record - 2262km.


@qzgy, your turn!



Edited by Ultimate Steve
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This should be very interesting, I'll keep an eye on your progress!

Just curious though - are you playing no saving/no loading allowed? That could be quite brutal later on....

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2 minutes ago, michal.don said:

This should be very interesting, I'll keep an eye on your progress!

Just curious though - are you playing no saving/no loading allowed? That could be quite brutal later on....

We're generally trying to go against loading, but we're allowed to if:

  • The thing that prompted the reloading was a glitch (EG 1 meter gaps in the runway, kraken attack)
  • It was a tremendously stupid mistake that someone in real life would have noticed (parachutes in stage one, only attaching one booster).

We do have a simulation mod, though.

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qzgy - April - July 1951


Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Nothing is beyond reach.


Again several records have been lost of the Cephalopod Advanced Research Division (CARD, christened just about now). However, there was an upgrade in May to both the cameramen and historical records. So hopefully that solves some issues. (read - I'm now recording stuff in a notebook to not forget things.)

April saw the launch of more sounding rockets. Some form of Ammonite was launched for a medium sounding rocket contract. Another high-altitude sounding rocket had been planned, however, no engineer could come up with a way to actually get to the altitude required by the contract, in excess of 1700 km. Although, they have been taking notes from competing programs.....

The Super-Ammonite was also upgraded to a two stage system borrowing a second stage system from a rocket plane. Which worked quite well. No-one bothered to take pictures though.

May 31st was the launch of the Belemnoid 1, a crewed attempt at high altitude flight.


However, something didn't quite work right on that as the engine failed to ignite for whatever reason. The engineers who committed this atrocity have been executed. However, the decoupler jump did allow us to get some science from "flying". Which was nice.

Belemnoid 2 added a launch clamp. That helped for whatever reason, culminating in a successful 110 km or so flight.





So not quite suborbital. but decently high still.

At then end of July as well, more parts were acquired so an orbital launch could hopefully be done soon(tm)

Nothing else of real interest, if the records are correct.


@NSEP is go.

Edited by qzgy
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16 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

We're generally trying to go against loading, but we're allowed to if:

  • The thing that prompted the reloading was a glitch (EG 1 meter gaps in the runway, kraken attack)
  • It was a tremendously stupid mistake that someone in real life would have noticed (parachutes in stage one, only attaching one booster).

We do have a simulation mod, though.

That sounds reasonable. In my "overhauling" days, lack of pressurized tanks/insufficient avionics/far too quick HydroLox boiloff were the biggest mission killers :) I guess it should be considered as tremendously stupid mistakes, but I made more of those than I'm willing to admit :wink:

Good luck to all of you guys, I'll be watching!


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NSEP - April/June 1951, Cycle 2




April 14th, 1951. The only mission of the Second Cycle, was the second attempt of breaking the sound barrier crewed. This time, it was a big succes, Jeb returned safely back to the steppes of Baikunur, waving his hand, ready for the next mission.

Cycle 2 was a dissapointing cycle, but the NSEP says the upcoming cycles will be a great comeback.

@Ultimate Steve, its your turn again!

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Ultimate Steve - July-September 1951 (Cycle 3)



BREAKING NEWS - thanks to a sudden investment from a Nigerian Prince, the NSP was able to rapidly develop a new lifter called Gravity III, capable of lifting around 100 tons to Low Earth Orbit. Its maiden flight was secretly launched on April 1, 1951 while nobody was watching.



Just now declassified, the flight took Jebediah Kerman to the moon.




Upon landing, he planted the glorious flag of the Notebook Space Program, but it fell over into the boom mic in the studio, causing the lights to crash down from the ceiling and the cardboard lander to crumple in on itself. The backdrop fell away to reveal a small studio.

More details about this fakery can be found here.




April Fool's aside, real stuff got done in Q3 of 1951.


First up was the flight of the Flash 1, piloted by Eddie Sutton in an attempt to break the sound barrier. In order to circumvent the meter gaps in the runway (dubbed "terrain glitches" by a few of the space program staff), the plane employed a RATO system which worked rather successfully.


However, due to extreme yaw instability, the plane turned over at about 200-250m/s and disintegrated. Fortunately, Eddie survived due to a parachute that had been installed.


The very same day, July 23, the first attempt at an orbital rocket was launched - this was dubbed "Diagon 1."


It was a three stage rocket that wasn't really useful for much, but could theoretically put a few kilograms of payload in orbit. The first stage was powered by one RD-100 engine.


The second stage had four ullage motors, a basic Nitrogen RCS system, and four aerobees.


After the four aerobes ran out of fuel, the stage was jettisoned.


Stage 2 and a half was another nitrogen system. As the last stage was basically uncontrollable due to the lack of gimbal on the Aerobee, it was included to get it pointed in the right direction and spin it up.


However, due to the fact that one of the separation motors produced abnormally low thrust (I forgot to thrust limit all of them and symmetry didn't work for some reason) the stage spun out and failed to achieve orbit.


About a month later, on August 19, Diagon 2 was launched, almost an exact copy of Diagon 1, but with fixes to the thrust levels and staging.




This time, the system worked, placing the 60 kilogram Diagon 2 (mass includes engines and tanks) into a Low Earth Orbit.


Despite now possessing orbital capability, the NSP's engineers quickly concluded that this lifter was actually pretty useless due to its low payload and lack of precision.


That and the fact that it did not complete the "first artificial satellite" contract due to not having an antenna onboard.

(Note: The probe core I am using is a tad bit OP for this point in the game, I now realize... I will try not to overuse it in the future.)

On September 9, a spare Diagon first stage was repurposed into a lifter for a rudimentary capsule derived from an airplane cockpit in an attempt to break the sound barrier.


Riding this rocket, known as Diagon M-1 (M for Manned) were Eddie Sutton and Carol Lawson. Unlike Flash 1, this flight was successful. 


The rocket successfully broke the sound barrier and ended up reaching an altitude of 45km. The pilots had shut off the engines early as to not accidentally go into space, the stage actually had plenty of fuel left.



The first stage narrowly missed the mission control building on the way down, however, causing quite a scare among the crowds watching.

20 days later, on September 24, Diagon M-2 was launched, carrying Evgeniya Khvostovskaya and Jean George on a short suborbital spaceflight.




There were major concerns as to how well the makeshift "heat shield" would hold up (it was a decoupler).

Due to the relatively low apogee of the flight (262km, even then shutting off the engine a little early) the reentry was successful.



The crew experienced 14.3g on the way down, survivable but not ideal. The two girls are happy to have seen the Earth from that high (and with those great windows as well).

The NSP began planning for a manned orbital fight before realizing that it will not happen for a long time - mostly due to research requirements. A new rocket was going to be designed, SkyRender, but they realized that the technology to build it simply did not exist yet. They are debating on waiting (a year-ish) until the technology for manned orbital flight is developed, or downsizing the proposal.


Launches - 5.

Successes - 2.

Partial successes - 1.

Failures - 2.

Milestone - Unmanned Orbital Flight

Milestone - Manned Suborbital Flight


Rules updates:

We're considering a new rule where you have to an unmanned test of every rocket planned to be manned.


Statistics spoiler added to the OP, to be updated after each cycle. Includes various records, and when each player accomplished each milestone.

@qzgy, your turn!

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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qzgy - July - September 1951


Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Something about the slow grind.

  Hide contents

This was a quite dry spell for for the program. Only one launch of interest took place and that was Super-Ammonite 5. Designed to be a science return mission it failed spectacularly on reentry.


On the plus side though the space program got some new graphic designers and a bunch of new snazzy paint jobs for fuel tanks.

Also, engineers are now slightly annoyed as milestones are being accomplished only apparently a couple months before they themselves did. How we know this? Time travel or something.

@NSEP is go again. Rather quickly too....

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NSEP - July/September 1951 - Cycle 3




At the start of the new cycle, the NSEP launched yet another A4, this time to test new experiments. Here, seen above the dying Aral Sea.






We then launched our first return capsule into space, the flight was a big succes, and pathed the way for manned suborbital flight on the 4th of September, 1951





On September 28th, 1951, the NSEP finally, after hard work, launched the first man into suborbital space. Jebediah reached an altitude 161 kilometers, well above the Karman line. He then safely returned back on the ground. During launch, the rigid drogue parachute broke, the rocket spun a little bit out of control, but Jeb being Jeb, made the rocket got straight up again. Jeb landed back safely, although it was Soyuz 5 style. This is also the first and last manned spacecraft to fly without unmanned testing beforehand.

@Ultimate Steve, its your turn.

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Ultimate Steve - October-December 1951 (Cycle 4)



Manned orbital spaceflight has proven to be surprisingly hard. The necessary tech will not unlock for most likely at least another year (even then, we'll still be 8-9 years ahead of IRL). The rocket that was going to send people into orbit has been downsized, although it still bears the name "SkyRender."


On November 22, SkyRender 1 lifted off, mostly as a test flight to prove the booster concept. The first stage was not the final version of the first stage by any means, the final one will probably end up at 3m. The engines (currently Vanguards) will be replaced with a better engine when it is unlocked. The second stage uses an AJ-10 and is most likely not going to change. The third stage is eleven small solid rocket boosters. This stage will not be used on the final vehicle.


The Tsyklon fairing texture is glitching a bit here. It will be changed for SkyRender 2.



This stage also features a larger version of the Nitrogen RCS system found on Diagon.


Orbit was a achieved, a rather high one at that. Skyrender (Block 0, at least) is supposedly capable of up to 300kg to LEO, although Block I aims for significantly more than that.


Having proven the block 0 architecture, the mission was declared a success. 150kg including the final stage had been put into orbit. The battery lasted several hours before going dead.


SkyRender 2 launched on December 23, carrying a more practical payload, a scientific research sat with five science experiments on board. 


The satellite completed three orbits before running out of power, gathering science from everywhere except for the desert.




Total launches - 2.

Successes - 2.

Partial successes - 0.

Failures - 0.


Also, I tried adding visual mods!






@qzgy You're up!


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qzgy - October - December 1951


Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Hey look we sort of know what we're doing! Except when we don't...


  Hide contents

October 6 saw the launch of the Super-Ammonite 6. It work great right until it blew up...

It working great

it not working great....

Super-Ammonite 7 was launched on November 8th to actually finish what Super-Ammonite 6 failed to do which is go up and down again and recover something in the process. It was a resounding success with a bio-sample capsule being successfully returned.


At this point the whizz-kids in the engineering department did some minor espionage of other crafts that could get to orbit in RSS/RO (the main RO/RSS craft sharing thread) and said "Hey that looks pretty good! Let's try doing that!". So they did. Several revisions later and a lost version 1, the Amaltheus 2 was born and rushed quickly through money into existence in less than a month. Extensively tested and just about fitting on the launch pad, there are things probably that could be done better. But hey, sims showed it worked! The goal - Get into orbit. And not necessarily one-up Steve, but that would be nice too.


Launch happened on November 23 of 1951. With only 1 minor explosion the little (.11 t) satellite made a stable 801km X 152 km orbit before orbiting the planet and collecting a whopping 30 or more science points (the actual number doesn't matter much).





Full flight - https://imgur.com/a/qMOKo

This resounding success was offset but a month later by the Belmnoid 3. During a fairly standard almost suborbital hop, the parachutes failed to deploy properly and were destroyed. Debra Riley and her capsule smashed into the ground very quickly, marking the first sacrifice to the krakens that be.



After no investigation, the Belemnoid+ was created.


Belemnoid+ 1U was designed to basically go into a suborbital flight with a person onboard. Which it did, after quickly beng rushed out to launch on December 30th! Well, reentry was mildly explosive but it worked well enough.

The capsule in flight. Note the apoapsis readout (245 km).



And safely returned.

In other news, R&D gave some brand spankin' new bits for the engineers to play with and HR hired another female kerbal to cover the loss. Also, upgrades to both the tracking station and mission control were started.

Launches - 4

Successes - 2

Failures - 2


Achieved milestones - Manned suborbital flight, Unmanned orbit.

@NSEP - we are awaiting news.

Edited by qzgy
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NSEP - October/December 1951 (Cycle 4)



^^ The Orbital Science Platform 1, takes flight.



December 15th, 1951, the final, yet probably most important launch of the entire year. The OSP 1 (Orbital Science Platform) was ready to take flight. The OSP 1 was the first orbital launch of the NSEP. The OSP launcher is not very capable and couldn't send a high payload to LEO, but with boosters it might be capable of reaching the Moon!




The last few stages are solid, small and rather inefficient for sending high mass payloads to LEO, but hey, it works!



The OSP 1 succesfully reached a stable orbit, and provided the NSEP with alot of funds and scientific data to work with.

I wonder what @Ultimate Steve has done in the next cycle.

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My my, what an eventful 1951 it's been! All three of us have sent something into orbit, making all of us at least six years ahead of real life... This is way more intense than I thought it would be, everyone is so close together!

Ultimate Steve - January-March 1952 (Cycle 5)




The first launch of 1952 was SkyRender 3, a mission designed to send something up to 6.5km/s and return it safely to Earth. It launched on January 23.



Unfortunately, the fairing got stuck on the second stage. It fell away eventually, fortunately. The second stage burned to completion, pushing the upper stage and reentry craft up to around 6.7km/s before detaching. The third stage ignited after a turnaround to decrease the velocity to one acceptable for entry.


However, the drag shield did not work as anticipated, the makeshift capsule entered upside-down, parachute first. However, nothing exploded and the landing was successful, completing the contract.


Next up, three suborbital manned flights were launched: Diagon M-3 with Eddie Sutton and Jean George, Diagon M-4 with Anatoly Alenin and Rostislav Grekov, and Diagon M-5 with George Cunningham and Phyllis Allen. The astronaut complex is now full (8 people) and they have all visited space.

M-3 - Jan 31.

M-4 - Feb 9.

M-5 - Feb 18.


Diagon M-3 reached 457km, a new record, but withstood insanely high G-forces on reentry, a flight of this altitude will not be repeated (and those two astronauts will probably be in the hospital for quite some time). 24G is a lot, but if John Stapp can do it at 40+G (well, that wasn't until 1954) then a few seconds at 24 should be *possible* (Although as mentioned beforehand, the NSP will go to great lengths to ensure that this will never happen again.


Diagon M-4 reached an altitude of 241km and sustained a maximum of 13g on reentry.


Diagon M-5 attempted two new things - a horizontal component to the flight to reduce G-force, and an attempted booster recovery using parachutes. The former was successful, the latter was not, due to the chutes being torn off (they were set to armed because the stage had no probe control). Further experiments are not planned as the Diagon series will probably be retired at this point.


SkyRender 4 was launched in an attempt to complete an additional contract for returning to Earth from 6.5km/s on March 19. However, the second stage did not get the probe to the required velocity, so the third stage was used in an attempt to boost the speed high enough and spin around retrograde - it didn't work. The contract was failed, and due to the increase in velocity the probe burned up on reentry.


And on that note, the quarter ends!


Launches - 5

Success - 4

Partial Success - 0

Failure - 1


@qzgy, you're up!

Also, I'm updating the OP statistics for Q4.






Edited by Ultimate Steve
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qzgy - January - April 2nd 1952


Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - On an emotional rollercoaster.



The engineers were quite annoyed when @Ultimate Steve sent something into orbit before they had. So they crashed development of Manned spaceflight. Sinking a crapton of money into development they came up with the Cuttlefish launcher. Before that though another Belemnoid+ was sent up with Diana Lyadova on January 24th, successfully.



A shiny new launchpad came into existence on the 17th of February, even though the construction company had to be fired for not actually appearing to build the thing. This was rectified. It came just in time for launching the new Cuttlefish launchers, the first reliably orbital capable lifters from CARD. (800 tons! I could do so much with that!)

2 test Cuttlefish rockets were sent up. Nothing much interesting happened except they both failed. One was lost after signal was lost and the parachutes couldn't deploy, and the other after the batteries ran out.


The Cuttlefish Launch vehicle.


One of the two failures of the year so far....

Launches/Successes/Failures - 3/1/2

So summary - we're broke as hell and its been a string of failures. sigh





Oh, one last thing!

Squeezing this in a couple days late to the end of the quarter (although technically illegal/slightly cheaty), Eospteryx 1 became the first manned orbital flight around the earth on April 2nd of 1952.





Full album.

Diana Lyadova succesfully got into a 880x164 orbit around the Earth before returning back home to applause and a slightly less broke space program. Turns out its a pretty lucrative thing to send a person into space, garnering almost 50k funds in achievements. It also funnily enough didn't set off any contracts but it was done for posterity. And mild revenge.

Launches/Successes/Failures - 4/2/2

Milestone - First Manned Orbital Flight.

@NSEP is called forth to present his offerings. Also am curious what engine you've got sitting on your upper stage of OSP-1.

Edited by qzgy
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NSEP - January/March 1951 - Cycle 5




January 9th 1952, the OSP-2 takes flight. The OSP-2 spacecraft and rocket itself weren't that different from the OSP-1, but the OSP-2 was intended to go into a Polar Orbit. Unfortunatly, OSP-2 didn't reach its intended Polar Orbit and instead was stuck in a unstable orbit. The OSP-2 disintergrated back into the atmosphere, the NSEP deemed this a failure. This was the final flight of the OSP launch vehicle, the NSEP has designed a much more universal launch vehicle, capable of sending alot more payload to LEO




January 19th, 1952. Valentina Kerman flew for the first time, on the second flight of the Suborbital Manned Capsule. She succesfully landed back on the surface, safely. Valentina reached the height of 172km



Februari 6th, 1952. The first flight of the Alpha rocket series. The Alpha 110 rocket could send around 300kg to LEO, way better than the 14kg payload of the OSP launch vehicle. The mission was carrying a classified payload from the military to polar orbit, but didn't reach its intended orbit and had a simulair fate of the OSP-2.





March 27th, 1952. After the failure of the classified payload, launched a month earlier, the military decided that if the NSEP would have to prove they could send a probe to polar orbit in order to get more funding. The NSEP launched OSP-3 on an Alpha 120 rocket, a slightly taller version of the Alpha 110, wich could send 750KG to LEO, instead of the 110's 300. The mission was a succes, and the military approved the Alpha 120 launch vehicle for future reconnaissance missions.

Its your turn @Ultimate Steve! Oh, by the way, the seconds stage of the OSP launch vehicle uses an AJ10 engine, so that is your answer @qzgy!

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Ultimate Steve - April-June 1952 (Cycle 6)


(Because I can't be bothered to make a new upload each time, so I'll stop now)


The first launch of Q2 1952 was SkyRender 5, which attempted to complete another return from orbital velocity contract. Unlike SkyRender 4, this one was successful. It launched on April 18.






Two more sounding rockets were launched, Sparrow 11 and Sparrow 12, on 4/28 and 5/8 with the mission of going above 5600km. Sparrow 11 was a failure as it did not achieve the required altitude, only managing 2660km.


However, Sparrow 12 was successful, reaching 5787km.



At this point, the NSP received news of the CARD's successful man-in-space project, which completely caught them off guard. The NSP had not expected to fly crew until 1953. Lifter development was going slowly, and the first flight of the Block 1 SkyRender would not take place until much later (without rushing the build, but the NSP wouldn't discover that for a while). However, capsule research was finally complete, which allowed the NSP to launch Euphoria 1, the first flight of the Euphoria program, the pad abort test.



The mission was successful and paved the way for future missions.

Launches: 4.

Success: 3.

Partial: 0.

Failure: 1.




@qzgy you are next!

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qzgy - April-June 1952


Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Uninterestingly Boring.


After the crashing of a Man-in-Space program, as so nicely put by the NSP, it became quite uninteresting. Only one launch occurred and that was a simple orbital return contract on an unmanned and revamped version of the Cuttlefish, which is now the go-to orbital launcher for the program.
Cuttlefish 1.3U3 launched on May 21st finally completing that contract to go at orbital velocity and come back down again. Even though we already did it, they weren't happy as it was crewed. But that was finished fine.




Also during this period several facilities got an upgrade. So thats nice. Perhaps though in hindsight more money should have been spent on not upgrading facilities and upgrading the VAB. Oh well we'll see.

@NSEP is up next.

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NSEP - April/June 1952 - Cycle 6



The NSEP was completely baffled, yet at the same time way behind CARD and NSP, so they decided to go into a different direction.


The NSEP succesfully tested the first rocket of the ''Beta'' rocket series. Beta is going to be the new workhorse of the ongoing program. The first launch of the Beta 110 variant launched on June 20th, 1952, along with a special payload.



The spacecraft its carrying is accurately named the DSTP (Deep Space Testing Platform) The DSTP weighs around 2/3 tons full. DSTP was sent into a polar orbit, where it would do its TLI burn, to the Moon!




The batteries unfortunately died, and the DSTP didn't have much science onboard, but it did reach its goal of testing the NSEP's capability of reaching the Moon. The Launch Vehicle crew deemed it a great succes, while the crew of the DSTP are arguing if its a succes or not. Beta 110 - DTSP was deemed a partial succes.

The NSEP is pushing its efforts towards more lunar flyby's to gather money and technology for future manned mission to LEO.

Its your turn @Ultimate Steve, i am taking a break for a little bit, but ill be back.

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Ultimate Steve - July-September 1952 (Cycle 7)




Nothing much of interest happened in Q3, only one launch, hopefully the last launch of SkyRender Block 0.


SkyRender 6 was launched on July 19, carrying its payload, a duplicate of SkyRender 2, into a mostly equatorial orbit. Its mission was to do science over the deserts, the only (known) biome that SkyRender 2 missed in its orbital polar survey. It is possible that I'm missing another one, though (Water, grasslands, tropics, poles, highlands, mountains, deserts, I think that's it?). Its mission was successful.




Trust me, though, Q4 and Q1 are going to be really interesting...

Launches - 1

Successes - 1



@qzgy, around the cycle we go!


Also, note to readers, NSEP is going to be unavailable for a while, so we are going to be skipping him until he gets back, and he'll post his progress for the missed months all at once.

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qzgy - July-September 1952


Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Nervously Worried. And scheming.


2 launches this quarter. Now that things are getting quite big, things are slowing down....

The first was on August 22nd, with a Cuttlefish launch of the Pearl probes into a 836x813 km polar orbit (I'm late to the party here aren't i....)





It also carried 2 piggyback sattelites, MicroPearl-1 and MicroPearl 2jWczuKg.png

The second was a sounding rocket launch for a contract. While working perfectly, it didn't quite actually do what it was supposed to, not going high enough to complete the contract.


Launches/Successes/Partial Successes/Failures -- 2/1/1/0


Milestone - Polar orbit


also technically a record for most satellites released in one mission :P but thats not counted but I'm okay with that.

Since NSEP is on break, the wheel turns for @Ultimate Steve to post.

Edited by qzgy
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Ultimate Steve - October-December 1952 (Cycle 8)





"And, we have liftoff of the unmanned Euphoria 2 mission, launching on the very first SkyRender Block I!"

*evil laugh*

On November 3, 1952, a new rocket (SR Block I) launched from South America, carrying an unmanned space capsule as a test flight.


The four boosters, powered by Kerosene and Liquid Oxygen, burnt out first and separated cleanly.


Next went the LES.


Stage two burned for several minutes before shutting down and decoupling, placing Euphoria 2 into a Low Earth Orbit. With the mass of stage 2, the orbital mass was 5.2 tons, although the capsule itself was only 1.39t. A lot of fuel was left over, so the potential for higher orbit missions is certainly there.


However, it was found that the Nitrous Oxide powered service module was not really up to the task of providing enough Delta-V to slow down. However, the perigee was lowered far enough to slow the ship down enough. As a result, the landing was very far off target.


And, sadly, the impact location was nowhere near a tracking station, so Euphoria 2 was destroyed upon splashdown.


However, a very short list of things was given to the engineers to fix, mostly related to the service module. The parachute issue would simply be fixed by having a pilot on board to deploy it. Life support systems were added, and the rush build feature was used moderately to build Euphoria 3 in a little over a month.


This time, Eddie Sutton, the NSP's most experienced pilot, sat at the controls. The launch occurred on December 7.



Orbit was successfully achieved. As you can see here, the service module had been lengthened, and a rather large retrorocket had been added to aid with demanding de-orbit burns. Originally, the spaceflight was supposed to last two orbits, but the decision was made to lengthen the mission to one day in order to complete a contract. Life support lasted long enough, but after one day in space the batteries were running low.


The retrorocket was fired (mostly northward because it had too much delta-V) and the service module was jettisoned a few minutes later, after the capsule had entered the atmosphere.



Eddie Sutton returned home to a massive parade with lots of cake and a big brass band. The NSP did not immediately comment on what or when their next crew mission would be.

About three weeks later, on December 29, the Artemis 1 probe was launched on a SkyRender Block IB. Block IA featured an upgraded restartable second stage engine, but had not flown just yet due to scheduling issues. Block IB was a block IA but with only two boosters and two small solid rockets to boost TWR in the first phase of the flight. Due to the fact that this was a night launch, the launch photo has been artificially brightened for clarity.


The mission? Fly by the moon.


The second stage AJ-10 fired twice, once to enter orbit, and a second time to push the probe onto a trans-lunar trajectory. The stage also featured two sets of two ullage motors to accommodate the restart necessary.


One course correction later, Artemis 1 was on a trajectory that would fly by the moon. Also, we've unlocked hydrazine and the appropriate thruster/RCS tech for that now.

The Artemis 1 did not fly by the moon until January, but because it's close enough (we had a behind the scenes agreement) I'll show it:


The probe was being flung onto a solar orbiting trajectory and was given an extended mission of gathering solar science. However, the comms stopped working before this was achieved.

Missions: 3.

Successes: 3.


Ping isn't working, but qzgy is next. I think we shouldn't go too far ahead so that NSEP can catch up fairly easily, though.

EDIT: @qzgy



Edited by Ultimate Steve
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qzgy - July-September 1952


Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - LATE. REGRETFULLY LATE.


Only one launch this cycle, and that was of the Belemnoid 3. It was another contractual suborbital hop and nothing to actually report about.


As I said. Uninteresting. Especially with all of these moon missions going on while I'm just playing with some commsats....

@Ultimate Steve Yeah thats probably a good idea.

Edited by qzgy
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