Ultimate Steve

Space Race - RO/RSS/RP-0 (Q1 1956)

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Ultimate Steve - October-December 1954 (Cycle 16)

 

 

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Spoiler

Absolutely nothing happened in October. But, on November 13, the Dream 2 mission was launched, the inflight abort test.

We are totally not naming our abort tests like actual missions to make it seem like we're doing more missions than we actually are.

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Results were... subpar to say the least. It seems that the drag from the LES tower brings the whole thing around, causing a RUD. Also, the new fancy docking port that allows crew transfers brings the mass too far forward and the capsule is aerodynamically stable... in the wrong direction.

And now for a huge achievement - the first ever planetary flyby! Reacher 3 is nearing Venus, let's check on it!

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Correction, Reacher 3 is now the first faster-than-light vehicle! It even features the ability to spontaneously split into several dozen pieces!

I blame NSEP.

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This was Dream 3, another abort test. It worked way better than Dream 2. Unfortunately the fins ripped off of the protective cover and things exploded after cover jettison. Even with struts. More planning is necessary.

So that was that for a while, we took a break from LES testing and proceeded to build StarRender Block II, which was man rated.

Except we didn't.

Hey, Carol Lawson! Want to ride a non man-rated rocket?

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We're close-ish to broke and need to upgrade the launch pad for our next major rocket, so we sent one astronaut into space for 90 days to earn some cash!

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The only problem is that an astronaut doesn't usually like being stuck, alone, in something smaller than a 2x2x2 cube... So, on December 11, Euphoria 8, a weird one off mission, was launched on a StarRender Block I vehicle carrying a special payload.

Also we really need the man rated version, the second stage pushes 7-8g on burnout.

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*that totally fits*

Euphoria 8 and the extended operations module were pushed into a very elliptical orbit, and then a turnaround and docking was established. Carol now has at least a bit of space to move around during her record breaking 3 month stay in space.

And the fourth launch of the quarter was Dream 4, yet another pad abort test.

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In the early morning of December 22, 1954, Dream 4 was launched, the third inflight abort test. It actually managed to work almost perfectly, the only issues were:

1. Fins ripping off the fairings causing a flip around.

2. The test rocket gains TWR after abort is triggered. This means that the LES doesn't actually work with the test rocket.

 

Issue 1 isn't super critical, but the fins were strengthened. Issue 2 is not critical as StarRender will not gain much TWR if the capsule is jettisoned. So, the Dream capsule was cleared for flight shortly before Christmas.

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Only one actual launch into space this quarter. I haven't touched build rate upgrades since 1953, I might have to pour some funding into that.

 

Launches: 4/1/3/0.

ADDITIONAL LAUNCHES: remove 1 success and add 1 partial because the Venus probe got krakened.

No milestones.

 

 

@qzgy You are up!

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3 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I guess that would be alright, although the next thing is a Q4 so we should probably finish the year off with 3 months so we can do H1 and H2 instead of two quarters of different years. The next 3 months for me is coming later tonight if all goes well.

Also we should consider keeping it at 3 because of the time it takes to load the page with so many images... If we started putting twice as much content per post then the pages would require more time to load.

I will update the stats before I post my next update. I'll have the time, I'm staying up for the PSP launch. Congrats on the landing!

Yeah that would make sense and I'm ok with that. I don't think keeping it at 3 would make the pages load any faster. You're still putting the same amount of images except that they're split between the two different posts.

Also thanks! Took me long enough. (note, was called the Darn it. the thing that landed.)

 

And for the next report

qzgy - October - December 1954 (Cycle 16)

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Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Man rated? HA. HAHAHAHAHHA. We think they're basically disposable!The words "Abort system" aren't even in the handbook!

Spoiler

As with the NSP, literally nothing happened in October. However, November 5th saw the launch of a Cosmos-Ikameshi Heavy with Crew! Some shmucks were crammed in the cans (cause we didn't actually bother researching more capsules.... might wanna think about that maybe.....) and sent up. (We did make sure it like..... didn't blow up) High confidence though in piloting and rocket reliability meant though that abort systems were disposed with.

5 engines make light work of the gravity thing.

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An EVA was also done for a contract.

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Reentry was normal. Still using that Huygens heatshield.... It remains to be tested to see if it can survive a Lunar reentry. Cause It kinda needs to do that maybe eventually.

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Sometime in November 15th (or so), another Darn it carrying more payload was launched. However, because of a PEBKAC, it blew up in the atmosphere. Mostly because it started turning too much. Luckily, it was only a probe We still dont believe in "abort systems" and "Safety First". Astronauts hate us.

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December 6th saw the launch of the Bobtail-Midget (Bobtail is the launcher. We needed a tiny cheap launcher. Why not use the old Kalamari? We needed it built quicker) The fun thing about this (probe and launcher) is that its built in the short short time of 12 days!

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This was supposed to be a test of rendezvous and docking. HOWEVER. We need two for that.

Which is why another one was launched 2 days later.

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Now, due to some oversight in tank pressurization and solar panel size, neither really quite worked or did their job. They both got into orbit, and did whizz by each other but really didn't work. Like at all. But hey, the concept worked so..... partial failure? I guess?

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A new Barnacle Probe was launched on the 18th using an Ikameshi launcher, with the ambitious goal of doing a lunar science return. You know, a picture or a hundred. Didn't quite work out that way. This was a nice disaster of sorta mistakes. Well, after launch.

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That went smoothly. The issue was in comms I think. It just didn't like to communicate. Oh, and it ran out of EC. Funnily enough though, engines were still controllable so I could get into a nice lunar orbit. But nothing was usable. So.... thats a failure.

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In other news, R&D also gave us this quarter I think a nice big shiny launchpad and giant engines. Now what to do with them....

 

Launches/Successes/Partial Failures/Failures - 5/1/2/2

@Ultimate Steve Curious what BP you have your stuff at if you say you haven't upgraded since 1953. I'm at 6.25 or something like that.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, qzgy said:

@Ultimate Steve Curious what BP you have your stuff at if you say you haven't upgraded since 1953. I'm at 6.25 or something like that.

I'd need to load the game to check, but IIRC I have it at 5 and 4.

*considers removing LES for more payload capacity*

EDIT: @qzgy The image loading thing would help with doing shorter quarters because we would get to the next page quicker, and I think the current page is the only one loaded.

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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1 minute ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I'd need to load the game to check, but IIRC I have it at 5 and 4.

*considers removing LES for more payload capacity*

Ok (in fairness I was at something like that for a while too)

*highly recommend removing LES. Probably not gonna need it anyways right? Its not that useful....*

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On 8/12/2018 at 1:45 AM, qzgy said:

*highly recommend removing LES. Probably not gonna need it anyways right? Its not that useful....*

Well technically we did remove the engine failure mod... The reason was, when I first started RO it was on a laptop. I didn't want to have to spend 5 flights failing to get to orbit when I already failed enough... And the game took 45 minutes to load... and crashed every hour.

But if we had the failure mod, LES would be beneficial. And as it is, I may find a use for it yet! I hope I don't, though!

Actually, it's somewhat practical. Astronauts cost 10k to hire, the LES doesn't cost that much. 30k worth of people in a cabin, 5k LES. If the rocket explodes 1 in 6 times I break even!

 

Also, did that cosmos 3 flight have 3 onboard? In that case, you have reached a milestone!

And one more thing, I tried using the forums on mobile the other day. The images (only mine) were weird and compressed, some of them... Anyone know what caused this or anything else about this phenomenon?

 

Anyway...

Ultimate Steve - January-March 1955 (Cycle 17)

 

 

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Spoiler

First thing's first, we did a big round of mission planning. A very flexible (pretty much as flexible as a rubber band at this point) schedule has been established which we're not following at all. We also designed several craft this quarter which I can't show you yet. But even at the end of this quarter, we still had six craft in the build list. Only 3 will fly in Q2 though, it's looking like.

Early in the quarter I upgraded the launch pad but it glitched and went back to a L2 instead of a L3 so I had to mess around a bit to fix it, in the process accidentally circumventing the upgrade time. I will not launch anything that actually needs a L3 pad for several months.

And I also started the L3 VAB upgrade in March with the money I got from contracts.

Behind the scenes stuff out of the way...

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February 10, 1955. Reacher 2 is at its closest approach with Planet Mars, making it the first probe to fly by another planet, and also the first interplanetary probe to not reach the speed of light just before reaching a planet. It returned a decent amount of science (not as much as I wanted but still fine, ~200 is a good bonus for such a cheap probe) and tried to go into orbit, but was ~800m/s short. The lower stage also crashed into Mars, but we were unable to view the impact because we can only focus on one thing at once. Periapsis science is more important than a scienceless impactor.

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Next, on the very same day (2/10/55) Sparrow 15 was launched.

Apparently I accidentally made 2 Sparrow 12's. And skipped 14. But who cares. At least the NSP numbers their missions! And uses LES's!

The vehicle that launched Sparrow 15 was a copy of the one that launched Sparrow 12 (the second one) and was also known as High Altitude Re-Entry 2 (HARE 2) because it was a test of an improved sample return capsule.

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To show off a bit, it also was the world's first SSTO, although it reduced its periapsis into the atmosphere before the end of the burn as those 5 main engines were the only propulsion. The PE got above 140km I think but in this picture it is only 107.

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This time, the capsule reentered successfully, the only things to explode were the fairing shells.

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Next, the next day on February 11, Euphoria 9 was launched with Anatoly Alenin onboard. We swear, this is (probably) the last Euphoria mission. Dream will take over soon. Its goal was to complete a one man orbit contract that should have been completed with Euphoria 8, but we were in the wrong orbit for that. And we're already losing money from the failed Venus contract, best to not lose it from this contract as well. It also carried a RADAR scanner, but we forgot to go into a polar orbit so it was only able to map 29% of Earth. Reentry was after just a few days, so soon no solar panels were needed. The reentry was also very gentle, peaking at 3.6g.

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And the main attraction of this quarter is the launch of Dream 5, the unmanned orbital test flight, on March 12. Uhh... the man-rated version of StarRender has been cancelled due to laziness. Hopefully the astronauts won't mind the 7g ascents. They were trained for that.

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Flight progressed nominally, the LES was jettisoned well, as were both stages of StarRender...

 

Note. Originally, StarRender was going to be two different rockets, Triton (10t to LEO, to be used for the dream capsule) and StarRender (30-35t to LEO, for station modules and probes). However, they merged into the current StarRender (theoretical capacity 27t to LEO) and as such we had extra capacity on this launch, which we filled with the Hope Station Propulsion Module, the first module of Hope Station.

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The module was left in an approximately 300x300km orbit with the same inclination as the Moon, and then Dream 5 undocked to use its service module to near depletion to achieve an apogee of 5,000km. Then, after several days in orbit checking various systems, it successfully reentered and splashed down, ready for examination. The only issue was that one of the two parachutes was ripped off and the capsule came down a bit hard, but that's why we have 2 parachutes!

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At this point, Carol Lawson on Euphoria 8 was brought back home after 90 days in space, bringing in >1 million funds from the 30 day and 60 day records... She didn't get the 90 day one, though, despite spending over 90 days in space. And thus hopefully concludes the highly successful Euphoria program!

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The last launch of the quarter happened on March 24 - the elusive Object I "Eye" satellite. Publicly it was announced as a earth mapping satellite, but the truth was it had 3 instruments on board - 2 for mapping, and 1 for spying. Launch was into a polar orbit on a Super Monkey 1.1 launch vehicle.

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And the second stage engines were accidentally not fired until after the apoapsis, leading to the satellite reentering the atmosphere and disintegrating.

And on that note, that's the end of the quarter. The next quarter has at least 3 launches planned. Again, 6 are being built right now, but one of them (looks accusingly) will take longer than 90 days to build, so really we only have 1 bay of capability for this coming quarter.

 

 

Launches - 4 (3/0/1).

People in space +1

Milestone - Interplanetary Flight (2/10/55).

 

 

@qzgy You're up!

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/13/2018 at 6:09 PM, Ultimate Steve said:

Also, did that cosmos 3 flight have 3 onboard? In that case, you have reached a milestone!

And one more thing, I tried using the forums on mobile the other day. The images (only mine) were weird and compressed, some of them... Anyone know what caused this or anything else about this phenomenon?

Yes it did! Didn't remember to mention that in the report.

Yeah I noticed that too. No idea why... Maybe its because how you're embedding things?

Anyways....

qzgy - January - March 1955 (Cycle 17)

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Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Faster and Faster we go. Blowing up more and more.

Spoiler

Since @Ultimate Steve graciously did a behind the scenes bit why not do something similar.

Shiny new crafts were built. Mostly to put men around the moon. However, its really more of a stopgap measure, although it might be used for other kind of very heavy stuff (hoping maaaybe for a launch mass record in Q2?). Its gonna occupy a precious build slot though so like the NSP, VAB upgrades have been started.

Also mission planning? Ha. Its made up as we go along.

Anyways the first launch of the (so far very busy) year occurred on January 4th. It was a Bobtail - Midget II (model name, not mission number) designed to be stuck up into a Tundra orbit for a contract. It did so without any fireworks. Or particularly interesting stuff.

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January 20th saw the launch of a Bobtail-Midget IIS, a sciencey variant of the Midget II. Although its not quite sure where it ended up, its been suspected it went dead after some idiot undeployed the antennae and lost connection to it.

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Oh apprently it went to the Moon. I guess.... it somehow got connection again? Anyways thats nice.

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Oh it crashed. Think It was meant to do that.

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February 11th saw the launch of another Darn it to replace the other lost probe. It made it to the moon succesfully! And was placed in a polar orbit for a juicy juicy science return ( of about 250 science transmitted back)

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HOWEVER.

Landing went less than ideally. It turned more into an impactor than a soft lander. Hey we needed that for a contract so its ok.

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February 21st or so saw the launch of another Ikameshi-Barnacle with an upgraded reentry unit which was designed to work and stuff. It worked..... decently ok. As in it got there and didn't explode or anything.

Also for whatever reasons, the rockets have been coming out tilted. I blame the launch towers.

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It was then discovered also that film couldn't be loaded into the reentry capsule........... *sigh* OH WELL WE STILL HAVE THE BIO SAMPLE RIGHT? WE CAN GET THAT BACK RIGHT?

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Oh.NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WHY CRUEL WORLD WHY. sniffle.

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Apparently, there weren't any comms to actually deploy the parachute. So it just ended up crashing into to ocean at high speed.

March 7th saw the launch of another Bobtail-Midget. It was very brief as a repeat of an earlier launch happened, as the entire thing flipped and RUD in flight. This was an obvious failure. (Pictures were not taken [probably]. It just exploded. Why bother?)

March 20th saw the launch of another Bobtail-Midget to do two things. One is to fulfill a cheap weather sat contract. Which went really well.

Look at that Eccentricity! Its almost a perfect circle!

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The other was to provide a docking target for the other Bobtail midget, launched on March 29th. Which also happened to fulfill another weather sat contract. Which was nice.

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After about a day of orbital shenanigans trying to line stuff up, the two finally met up in orbit.

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(The above is an earlier attempt to get closer. It was whittled down eventually to like 0.3 km)

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Which also made this the first successful rendezvous.

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And docked!

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The two, now called...... Midget II Janus apparently, are now just sitting in orbit happily. Its unlikely they'll ever separate. Too lazy to do so and no point in doing so.

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Although this was a very busy quarter, I doubt the next one is going to be as active. There's something sitting in the open slot for a good month or so. So.... yeah. VAB upgrade come quicker.

 

Launches/Successes/Partial Failures/Failures - 7/4/1/2

Milestone - Docking (March 30th, Midget II/Midget II)

@Ultimate SteveHey its your turn again!

 

Edit - I realize now also that the Forums is censoring the original lunar landing probe name. Huh. Didn't realize that.

Edited by qzgy
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Posted (edited)

Ultimate Steve - April-June 1955 (Cycle 18)

 

 

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Notebook Space Program - Now Stealing QZGY's preview line! Now with more explosions!

 

Spoiler

Unfortunately, Q2 was rather disappointing. We had many cool missions in the works that all got pushed back to Q3. 3 missions were launched, with the two important ones failing. Still, 3 missions isn't bad considering we only had 1 VAB slot open for most of the quarter.

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Nothing happened in April. That's the third quarter in a row where we didn't do anything in the first month. On May 3, we launched the Artemis 10 LUSAR (LUnar SAmple Return) on a standard StarRender 1.1 launch vehicle.

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And IIRC that's the first failure that can be fully attributed to the vehicle/piloting of StarRender. *sigh*

Let's see, 2 launch failures, 2 test missions, and 1 reentry failure so far in an attempt to bring a sample back from the moon... 5 launches. :P

Against the mission schedule, we began building a nearly identical copy and sent it to the top of the build order. Sorry, crewed missions.

The next launch, however was Artemis 11, an advanced lunar orbiter and mapper. It was also called Object J, and it was basically an Object I for the moon with 2/3 experiments. But object I failed, so we're doing lunar mapping before Earth mapping. It launched on May 22.

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The experiments were light enough that a Super Monkey v1.1 could be used for the mission. The probe bus was based off of Object C/D, which were the probes that performed the first docking, with updated systems. The only new propulsion element was a solid fueled kick stage used mostly because Super Monkey's second stage was not restartable.

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A few days later, the probe arrived at the moon and began mapping it using a slightly-cheaty non-RP-0 part. Although I couldn't use the cheaty futuristic scanning modes because I was in the wrong orbit and ran out of fuel, so karma... Although qzgy used the same part (LRO scanner) so I don't have to feel bad about it.

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And lastly, on June 29, Artemis 12 was launched, attempting to finally bring back a sample of the lunar regolith. This time, the launch vehicle did not explode.

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A new version of the RUSH stage (RUSH-C) featured radiators to attempt to slow the boiloff of liquid oxygen. It didn't work and the last 500-1000m/s of delta-v boiled off on the way to the moon. The lander, however, had been used before and had been shown to have a lot of margin, so it completed the insertion burn with ease. And proceeded to land on the Lunar surface.

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And then samples were collected, and the lander hopped over to the next biome with some of its remaining margin before realizing that we had already gotten science from there.

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After that, the probe, with the new fancy reentry module, lifted off and returned to Earth.

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DESPITE TESTING THE REENTY MODULE, despite coming in with a PE of 95km, despite spending a day aerobraking at PE for a gentler entry, despite the redesign, the probe exploded and the heat shield crashed into the surface of Earth somewhere very far from base. The NSP is proud to introduce its new rent-a-shooting-star business. It's kind of expensive though.

6 missions supporting sample return attempts, 4 attempts, 2 of which made it to the reentry phase, and no cigar. Which is bad because we accepted a contract this time and it comes with a significant financial penalty.

So here's for quarter 3, where things will hopefully get better! We've got a shiny new VAB too...

 

Launches - 3 (1/0/2). Artemis 12 counts as a failure rather than partial because its primary goal was to return, not just land, unlike Artemis 9, where returning was only the secondary goal.

 

 

@qzgy appears to be accelerating in his efforts. Going at me for saying "Only" 5 launches and then launching 7 in one quarter... And flying 3 crew before us. Mad props to him.

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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qzgy - April - June 1955 (Cycle 18)

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Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Nope Slowing now. Also HEYYYYYY can I copyright that now? Yes? Oh.

Spoiler

This quarter was also slower for CARD.

April saw the launch of.... nothing.

May 5th saw the launch of the Blue Ring on an ikameshi Heavy. (Have you figured out the name scheme? It's been thrown out the window). This was a lunar sample return attempt.

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It also used a new shiny Hydrolox engine since Cryotanks were recently unlocked!

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It got to the moon fine. That isnt the hard part now but.... anyways.

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Oh. c'mon again?

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WELLL apparently it ran out of fuel. Oops. It would have failed later anyways since I forgot to pressurize the actual ascent stage. So thats a fail.

May 18th saw the launch of another Bobtail-Midget II for a Weather Sat contract. No real point in showing pictures, its basically the same launch posted 10 times by now. (I could show pictures but...... eh)

May 29th saw the launch of the Bobtail-Midget III Scan. This one was fitted with a scan sat radar and launched into a polar orbit.

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Where it promptly mapped EVERYTHING at a low resolution. It was also discovered at this point that a super early probe had already mapped quite a bit of the earth in some form. It was porbably that non-RP-0 LRO thing on that early probe..........

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June 26th saw the launch of another Blue Ring on a Ikameshi Heavy variant (Payload capacity increased. I should really standardize the thing.....) While it didn't really complete its mission till early Q3, no point in not reporting it until then as all the LH2 and LOX boiled off. It was still able to do a fly by, but that was useless as all the science experiments had been ditched.

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ANYWAYS, the top part still flew by the Moon on a free return trajectory and went back to earth.

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Where the heatshield promptly exploded on the way way too steep reentry path.

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*sigh im going back to using that sweet sweet huygens heatshield....... probably maybe.....*

Oh and CARD also got that shiny new VAB sometime after the quarter ended but before Blue Ring Exploded.

Launches/Successes/Partial Failures/Failures - 4/2/0/2

@Ultimate Steve The next quarter should be fun yeah?

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Posted (edited)

Ultimate Steve - July-September 1955 (Cycle 19)

 

 

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Notebook Space Program - Spying, Flying, and Bombing!

 

 

Spoiler

Finally we got around to launching a replacement for Object I which failed in Q1. It was called Object K/Eye 3 and launched on a Super Monkey v1.1 into a medium polar orbit which was "sun synchronous" (you can't without complex simulations, but the initial orbit was roughly along the day/night terminator). The launch was on July 26.

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QZGY

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SHOW ME YOUR SECRETS

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(That's Wallops)

Next up we launched Artemis 13/LUSAR 3 in our next attempt to return a sample from the moon. And we all know what's supposed to happen to spacecraft going to the moon numbered "13"... The launch was on August 11 on a standard StarRender 1.1 launch vehicle.

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The RUSH-C stage fired up pushing it onto a lunar trajectory. Oddly, it did not seem to have a return capsule on top. Also oddly, it did not immediately land on the lunar surface, instead waiting in low lunar orbit...

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Four days later, on August 15 (hey, that's today IRL!) the Dream 6 mission was launched (Originally dream 7 but Dream 6 was delayed so I swapped the names). And this mission is special for several reasons. One of them - 

 

Q U A S A R

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That's right, the NSP's newest launch vehicle, QUASAR, was finally ready for its first test flight. It carried an unmanned Dream capsule. The first stage was powered by IIRC 13 RD-253's with 2 boosters with 3 RD-253's each to help with liftoff TWR. The second stage was a fancy new hydrolox stage powered by LR-87's modified to run hydrolox. These two stages plus boosters were enough to get about 99.2 tons into LEO with some margin, leading to a new record.

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The third stage was also hydrolox, also LR-87's, although single nozzle ones from a different mod. There are three of them in case I need to restart the stage. Two engines do one burn, and the center one does the second one. A second burn was not needed on this mission. Again, this stage had a surprising amount of margin. So I de-orbited it even after the transfer burn (it's not pushing a heavy spacecraft anymore).

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The Dream 6 spacecraft uses its new fancy extended service module powered by 5 Astris engines to enter Low lunar orbit.

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And then, Artemis 13 landed... And took back off again to rendezvous with Dream 6. A docking was accomplished.

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However you can't transfer experiments unmanned, so the back up plan was initiated - decouple the back half of the ascent vehicle leaving just the docking ports and experiments. However, due to the extra margin present for this mission (not needing to escape the Moon) Artemis 13 carried 2 more experiments, including a biological sample capsule. This was the most valuable part, and due to the mission being unmanned, the return was executed with the entire ascent vehicle still attached.

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This mission was originally going to test reentry going significantly fast, but due to extra margin on the service module (!), the oddness of the reentry module, and the value of the cargo, it was decided to brake as much as possible before reentry. And this paid off.

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Somewhere between August 20 and 28, I'd say, the samples were returned to Earth safe and sound... in Mexico. Dangerously close to the US border. Can't let the CARD get their hands on those samples, or worse, our fancy high-tech spacecraft!

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8 missions later, we finally have our lunar samples!

And on the last day of the quarter, September 30, we launched the second module of Hope Station, again on StarRender.

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After undocking the rendezvous stage, however, a weird issue was noticed with the station - it has 100 tons worth of avionics onboard but says it doesn't support any control... Odd. We de-orbited the stage over Cuba, where the engine, which survived, hit a beach somewhere. Maybe not the wisest thing to do to Cuba given the current political situation.

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Launches - 4 (4/0/0).

New record - 99.2 tons to Low Earth Orbit

Also did a sample return but that's not on the list.

 

And at the very end of Q3 our first 3 person mission is rolling out to the launch pad, so close yet so far...

 

@qzgy Yup, an interesting Q3! Not as interesting as I had hoped (if the month was one day longer then yay!). Hopefully yours isn't too interesting...

 

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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Posted (edited)

qzgy - July - September 1955 (Cycle 19)

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Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Wait no they can see my nukes totally not aimed at french Guiana.

Spoiler

WE WILL NOT SHOW YOU SECRETS.wait we dont have a choice do we. quick hide the missiles

ANYWAYS. Ignoring any missile related development July 28th saw the launch of a Cosmos-Nova-µ, named because we needed this thing quick and building something bigger would have taken longer, but its still the biggest thing launched to date by CARD.

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It launched a Cosmos II capsule (upgraded with moar heatshields so uhhhhh no test needed. I think.) and crew members Natalya Permankova, Eduard Fanin, and Konstantin Vasilyevykh. Yes, apparently our US program is drafting soviet astronauts. Apparently. Dunno why but hey doesn't matter.

The Nova-µ, powered by 4 RD-270Ms using fancy pentaborane zip fuels, each producing more than 7 MN of thrust lifts all 3 of them partially to space.

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Where the second stage RD-270 is then used to push them even faster.

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Before the NK-15V finally places them in orbit, all 65 tons of it. Which..... I think makes it a new (if only short lived) record.

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Now, the idea was that the same engine should like you know, restart to boost them to the moon. HOWEVER, apparently due to a lying tooltip, it only had 1 ignition. So the service module Agena engine boosted the three to the moon to a mostly free return trajectory.

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Where they looked out the windows in their quantum physics defying capsule.

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And then they came back to the earth!

Good bye service module.

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And landed apparently, in Australia! G'day mates. take us to you leade

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Are the parachutes overkill? I don't think so.

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July 31st and August 17th saw the launch of more Bobtail-Midgets. Nothing too special or really even worth showing.

August 18th saw the launch of Blue Ring II for the lunar sample return mission. Which is becoming very very annoying. Also so is that funky launch tower.

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It got to the Moon fine. Nothing so different from the last Blue Ring. Then again, that isn't the hard part is it.....

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Blue Ring II was special since it also carried a Scanner module. So it spent a couple days or weeks sitting in its polar orbit to scan more of the moon. It was also discovered that the LRO scanner had also been active. Apparently.

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beedo beedo does NSP have any Moon bases? No......

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Then landing happened. Landing was aimed for the south pole mainly cause its neat.

Surprisingly, It mostly worked!

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Well. Yeah, mostly.

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Any landing you can walk away from is a good one. It lost the engine and the landing legs but the rest of it survived. The important bits I mean, like the science stuff and the ascent stage.

Science was done.

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and then the ascent stage containing the heat shield, science box (where yes @Ultimate Steve, I could transfer stuff into. Not sure why you couldn't.) batteries and solar panels took off very very slowly. Mainly since the TWR was a dismal 1.15 or so. Barely enough to get off  the ground and into orbit. But enough.

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 It also had enough dV to get into a lunar escape trajectory.

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However, there wasn't enough dV to get back home. So it burned back into a parking orbit where maybe some crew in the distant future will pick it up.

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A note was left on the name to make sure someone would get it. Not some one from NSP though that would be.... not ideal. Though IDK why you'd want it.

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For a contract and also for laughs, a Bobtail Midget II Swarmer was launched on August 26th. The Bobtail carried a mostly standard Midget IIS probe, but it had about 30 more early Micropearl Sattelites (which really are just renamed Vanguard Satellites). Which cut the FPS in about half.

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All 30 Micropearls were then released. Kessler Syndrome FTW! This made a record 31 sattelites released on the one mission.

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2 more Bobtail-Midgets were launched for more 2nd gen weather sat missions on August 26th and September 15th. I dont think any one misses these or needs pictures, do they?  Nah......

September 22nd saw the launch of Blue Ring III, with a heavily modified Ikameshi, so heavily modified might as well call it a new launcher, the Ikameshi Super Heavy.

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Oh.

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Well then. Try again next quarter......

 

Records - Heaviest launch ~65 tons (Broken about 2 or 3 weeks later by the NSP), 31 Satellite single launch deployment.

Launches/Successes/Partial Failures/Failures - 7/5/1/1

Milestone - Manned Lunar Flyby (sometime in early august. Maybe August 1st ish?), Cosmos II

@Ultimate SteveIs your Q4 gonna be fun too? Seems so judging by that rolling out stuff

Edited by qzgy
I CAN TIME
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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, qzgy said:
Spoiler

 

 @Ultimate SteveIs your Q4 gonna be fun too? Seems so judging by that rolling out stuff

Almost certainly. I have done four launches in October alone and depending on how things go I might have up to 8 more. Lots of small stuff, though, so far sprinkled with exploding big stuff...

Now, to steal that probe... Wait, did I say that out loud?

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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10 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Almost certainly. I have done four launches in October alone and depending on how things go I might have up to 8 more. Lots of small stuff, though, so far sprinkled with exploding big stuff...

Now, to steal that probe... Wait, did I say that out loud?

Sounds interesting. And busy.

Yes, yes you did.

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Ultimate Steve - October-December 1955 (Cycle 20)

 

 

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Notebook Space Program: Twelve Launches

Spoiler

As you just read, this quarter was EXTREMELY busy. First and foremost, one of the most important missions the NSP has undertaken yet, we are slightly salty that the CARD beat us to the punch: Flying 3 people into orbit at once!

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October 2. The launch of the Dream 7 mission carrying Eddie Sutton, Carol Lawson, and Phyllis Allen into Low Earth Orbit. The mission was to do a quick stay at Hope Station, dropping off the third module, an observation module using those two man bubble cockpits. The module was stowed in the interstage between the Dream spacecraft and the StarRender booster.

And then all of the engines cut out several dozen seconds into the flight.

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As the engines were not restartable, the launch escape system was activated in seconds, saving the crew. However, the boost protective cover was accidentally jettisoned before the abort took place, leading to a wild ride (the fairing had the fins on it). The StarRender booster disintegrated a few seconds later.

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The actual tower did its job perfectly, including separation, which used two small separation motors. The capsule's parachutes deployed and Dream 7 landed safely (on land unfortunately) mere kilometers from the launch pad.

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Good news, nobody died, the escape system worked perfectly (See, CARD? They do come in handy!), and we have done a parachute test. Bad news, our schedules have been pushed back causing delays to the lunar landing which is now *vaguely* on the calendar. I'm still not sure when, but we've got a ballpark window 2 years wide. We've also discovered a fault in the StarRender vehicle which appears to be becoming less reliable over time. And we just lost LITERALLY THE COOLEST MODULE OF THE STATION.

AKA I wasn't looking at my keyboard and I pressed X.

 

So that's not good. The plan at that point was to shift the crew of this mission to Dream 8, which was carrying a different module, and perform a 3 month mission (what Dream 8 was already supposed to do) in an attempt to rectify the schedule. Dream 8 had been under construction for some time at a low priority but it was quickly raised to the top of the build list.

 

Next up, another flight of StarRender, a very important test flight. It was Artemis 14, which launched on October 12. And the payload... Let's talk about the payload later.

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Some engineer messed up the wiring and when it came time to decouple the first stage, the second was decoupled as well, leaving Artemis 14 without a way to reach orbit. It was attempted, though, to use the new RUSH-D (shorter than RUSH-C) and LOSER (Lunar Orbit Service and Entry Rocket) stages to reach Earth Orbit. They failed due to low TWR. At this point, it was decided to test the payload while on a suborbital trajectory.

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Now, you'll notice, the body of the lander looks familiar, that's because it is! The entire propulsion section is the same as on the large Artemis lander missions, the ones designed for sample return. In fact, this propulsion section had been originally designed (years ago now!) for a lunar landing and was tested in STEALTH MODE as lunar sample return landers. We've launched it now, so there's no stealth any more. And it failed, so that's a bit embarassing.

The entire top section was new. Tests were done with the solar panels, ladders, antennas, and the propulsion system.

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Unfortunately there were only a few minutes before Artemis 14 was destroyed during re-entry, the only survivor being the Astris engine, a recurring theme. I wonder where it will hit this time!

The intended mission profile was to be an unmanned lunar orbit test possibly including a landing. In real manned missions, the crew would launch on a QUASAR and rendezvous with one of these landers in Lunar Orbit. However, this architecture has actually been abandoned because (CLASSIFIED). I've talked too much about my plans... The cat is partially out of the bag now.

So, let's do something simple and monotonous to relieve our stress from the TWO consecutive failures of StarRender!

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This is the Mega Midget. Which is actually legit not a spinoff of the CARD's Midget rocket. Mega Midgets was an old YouTube channel of my friends and I named it after that. So why do we need Mega Midget?

For the Aether Beam Constellation (ABC). The ABC was to be a network of Aether Beam satellites, small communications satellites using omnidirectional antennas. They were originally going to fly several at a time on a SkyRender Block 1C, but we haven't developed a new launch vehicle in forever so we thought we'd do it with the Mega Midget.

Each satellite masses approximately 250 kilograms fully fueled and has 1.8km/s which includes circularization. They were designed to be as small as possible, as they just needed omnis, although they carried a small directional dish for lunar communications if necessary.

The purpose of the constellation was to FINALLY FILL THAT ANNOYING COMMUNICATIONS GAP OVER THE ATLANTIC OCEAN THAT HAS CLAIMED SO MANY MISSIONS! Although it would also provide comms anywhere in a Lunar-inclination Low Earth Orbit.

So, the Mega Midget was ready to go, but when we unlocked a tech node, Mature Solids, a day after the design was finalized. It turned out, we could build a cheaper and more effective lower stage with the new technology, so we did that. Shown above is the first design compared with Super Monkey S (1 ton to LEO ish) and SkyRender Block 0 (<100kg to LEO). This ~500kg to LEO lifter fills a nice niche at a very competitive price.

More numbers! The constellation would orbit at an inclination the same as the Moon because that's where we're putting everything, at an altitude of 2000km-ish with an orbital period of two hours and seven minutes. Four properly spaced satellites would get full coverage but more were planned due to orbital drift. Due to low cost, the entire launch vehicle and satellite could be built in just over seven days, and cost less than 5000 funds, most of that being the satellite.

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The first launch happened on October 28, Aether Beam I or ABC-1. These satellites were not given an "Object" designation as they were part of a constellation and not classified in the slightest. The first stage was powered by a Minuteman solid rocket booster and proved difficult to control, a steep trajectory necessary to avoid flipping over. SAS also liked to go into a feedback loop.

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The second stage was powered by an Astris engine, which is a really good engine IMO (infinitely restartable, storable propellant, decent ISP) as it was the only engine that fit the needed TWR for the stage. After the burnout of stage two the assembly waited until apogee to spin up and fire the third stage, a solid rocket motor stolen from American designs (the Scout rocket IIRC). This stage pushed the whole thing into an orbit with a perigee of wherever the burn was started and an apogee somewhere around the required 2000 kilometers (it varies a lot). Corrections are done with the round cone shaped satellite.

As these missions are repetitive I took a few pictures, the one above might actually be Aether Beam 3 because of the larger solar panels.

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This is the best picture I could find of the satellite, still connected to the third stage. It reached its orbit successfully, although the solar panels were not large enough to power its directional antenna. This was fixed on Aether Beam 2.

Because we liked the idea, we ordered 9 more Mega Midgets and Aether Beams into production. RIP Build list.

 

Next up, on October 29, the Dream 8 spacecraft was launched, again carrying Eddie, Carol, and Phyllis. This time it carried a new observation module, but the cupola had been unlocked so it was a worse view but looked (and fit) nicer.

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The flip around and docking was accomplished with ease, and the Dream 8 spacecraft brought its payload over to Hope Station. It also brought a fuel to Apollo docking adapter as the station used the Apollo ports but the Dream spacecraft used fuel only ports.

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It added a lot more habitable volume than anticipated, much to the joy of the crew. However it took up a lot of space, and it was realized that they may not be able to dock full sized modules to the docking node. Whatever. They were thrilled to finally be in space. They would remain for 90 days, twiddling their thumbs and setting up equipment. There were a few more modules planned for the station, and the first science module was not due to arrive for about 6 more months. The second science module might be cancelled.

I'm not counting this as 3 modules then crew because I sent the crew up at the same time as the 3rd module.

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On November 8, Aether Beam II was launched. The Mega Midget rocket tipped over in the lower atmosphere and exploded. The mission was, obviously, a failure. We're at 40% success rate for the quarter assuming the rest of Dream 8 is successful. Not good.

6 days later, on November 14, Aether Beam III was launched. This one was successful (no pictures as it's just a repeat).

On November 21, the fourth module of Hope Station was launched on a StarRender launch vehicle.

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This was the habitation module, which *barely* made it to orbit due to being so heavy, and made it to the station on nothing more than fumes.

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And for some reason I have no picture of it connected. It was attached to a different port than planned because of the space problem. The station would now look sort of asymmetrical when it was complete unless the designs changed.

The last five missions of the year were all Aether Beam missions. I won't spam pictures, so here's a list:

Aether Beam IV - Success. 11/22.

Aether Beam V - Success. 12/4.

Aether Beam VI - 95% success (counts as success). Flipped over on ascent but survived, had the fuel to correct but doesn't have enough fuel to de-orbit when the time comes. 12/12.

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Aether Beam VII - Failure.  Tipped over and exploded. 12/19.

Aether Beam VIII - Success. 12/26 I think, records on this one are poor.

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This is the current Aether Beam Constellation. It currently has full coverage with six satellites, and even had full coverage with five. The two final satellites will go on the top and bottom in this picture, provided they are both successful. If not we might order another one. The satellites are all (I think) within 0.1 seconds of each other so it will take a while for them to fall out of sync, and even then we'll have three redundant satellites to fill the gaps. Plus ground stations. It should work unless we need to use it for more than a few years, and then it will work 80% of the time.

It is also noted that the Aether Beam satellites, with no modifications, can reach higher orbits, much higher orbits. On an optimal ascent profile, they can almost get a Moon encounter using their full fuel load. A higher orbit ring is being studied, but that may never happen.

Lastly, the last month was nothing but Aether Beam because the other two slots in the VAB were perpetually occupied. I sort of feel bad for the Hope Science Module, I designed it early on and its build slot got stolen by the Aether Beams. It will take 3 months to build, ish, so it's currently scheduled for late Q1 or early Q2.

 

Launches: 12 (8/0/4).

People in space +3.

Milestone - 3 people into space at once. 10/29/55. StarRender 1.1/Dream 8. Eddie Sutton, Carol Lawson, Phyllis Allen.

I'm not going to count the station just yet as I'm technically supposed to send a crew *after* I launch 3 modules.

 

 

@qzgy You are up!

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

This is the current Aether Beam Constellation.

Damn I was never that neat with my comm sats. I always just stuck them in "any old orbit that was a contract"

Its pretty though.

Also - hmmm should think about that whole landing thing. No lunar design yet.......

Report coming..... in the next week maybe.

13 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

(See, CARD? They do come in handy!)

pfft it ain't exploration without some sacrifices in the name of science.

Edited by qzgy
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Posted (edited)

Aaaand its in.

qzgy - October-December 1955 (Cycle 20)

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Cephalopod Advanced Research Division - Not quite as busy as NSP. I think though we got a station up.

Spoiler

Exciting times for the end of the year! Many big missions!

October was a fairly quiet month, with only one launch at the end of the month, the Blue Ring III. Which had a quite major redesign compared to Blue Ring II and Blue Ring I. However, like those, it did successfully make it to the moon after a launch on a modified Ikameshi Super Heavy.

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And got into an unremarkable orbit.

And unremarkably decelerated to impact the surface.

Like all the other times, but without pictures this time. I think.

Landing was hairy though cause I started a bit early which meant that I had to severely restrict the engine. I'm surprised I was even able to do that. It was ok though for now.

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And then it went a little wrong very close to the ground as it tumbled around a bit and broke some stuff.

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All was ok though! There still was a solar panel and it was mostly upright. So its ok! No panic attacks or fainted engineers too, which is a plus.

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Science was done (which was quick) and then transferred to the little science box.

Which then proceeded to take off back into orbit on a much much more powerful engine than before. And that went quite ok.

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And then as normal went into a earth return trajectory. A minor orbital adjustment was also made to make sure that i didn't fly by the earth, but actually entered the atmosphere to be recovered.

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While Blue Ring III was traveling back home, the optimistically names Jupiter Research Orbiter (JURO for short) was launched on a standard Ikameshi to take advantage of the open Jovian transfer window. It was a fairly simple design, using a hydrolox boost stage before using the probe fuel to complete the transfer burn.

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However, it turned out that there really wasn't enough dV left after the flyby maneuver to get into orbit. However, it was enough for a close Jupiter flyby. So that was done.

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And results will come in in about 2 years! Assuming contact is still made with the weakish antennas.

 

Coming back to Blue Ring III, it actually didn't spontaneously explode while drifting in space.  So before it hit the atmosphere, the propulsion unit moved away.

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Before the actual reentry module hit the atmosphere before slowing down without any drama.

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And then safely splashed down?

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All the waters gone...... I blame graphics mods. But that finally completed that contract.

November 9th saw the launch of yet another Bobtail-Midget IIS. Which is completely uninteresting and will be skipped over.

 

It was at this point management (me) was kinda bored. As in didn't really have much to do. So it decided to try and make a 3-module space station in the last couple months. This resulted in the wonderfully named Jank Station. This was in reference to the sketchiness of the main Hab module which was caused by a lack of actual habitation technology. This may or may not have also been prompted by seeing the NSP build one and not "finish" by the quarter......

So a couple airplane cockpits were duck taped together and sealed together to create a semi roomy place for the astronauts to live. That should be good enough right?

December 11th saw the launch of the main hab on a slightly modified Ikameshi. Fins were strapped on to make sure it wouldn't spontaneously flip. And it didn't!

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This was left in orbit. Or at least tried to, until spontaneous game breakage forced it out of orbit. (Where I then proceeded to put it back in roughly the same orbit)

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December 12th saw the launch of the main LS module.

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This tried to rendezvous with the the main Hab module. However, some idiot decided to empty the tanks in the module. And it also ran out of dV on the below hydrolox boost stage.

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So that was left stranded in orbit for later.

Later being around December 18th when the propulsion module was launched on a Bobtail with some extra SRBs attached. It first docked with the Hab module.

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Before running off to rendezvous the entire thing with the LS module.

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Which it did satisfactorily!

And finally, the full station. In all its glory. (adjusted slightly from earlier to have an open crew docking port)

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Except not quite. It first needed crew and also some extra solar panels because the engineers didn't actually put on enough in the first place and it was draining its batteries quite quickly......

These were launched on a Cosmos II using the Ikameshi heavy (actually slightly extended but eh). The brave mostly rookie and recently hired crew of Pavel Vasilyevykh, Tatyana Sangatalina, and Konstantin Vasilyevkyh (The only experienced astronaut on the crew) ( also huh seems like CARD employs nepotism....) rendezvoused swiftly with the unmanned station.

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Why a rookie crew? Because they were prisoners of the state  disposable. I mean, its a terrible station. Better not risk the well trained crew members.

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After carefully fighting with the  craft to actually get close to the craft, Tatyana moved to the Jank station (which really needs a new name......).

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Konstantin, the only engineer on the crew then proceeded to take off the spare hastily taped on extra solar panels from the Cosmos II and bolt it onto the station using the newfangled KIS/KAS system.

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Which went quite ok considering he had no training on orbital assembly prior to this. 4 or so Cygnus solar panels were attached which nicely upped the power generation. 2 small extra batteries were also attached.

At this point, all the touching up on the station was finished and the Cosmos II, carrying only Pavel, left the station to deorbit and land and do that other boring stuff.

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Ditching of the service module was done like this. Partially because it ran out of RCS fuel.

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This left Tatyana and Konstatin left on the station. They have enough supplies for at least a ear so they're gonna do a long excursion mission. Probably called something like Solace 1. Or maybe Expedition 1? Or maybe even Caravan 1?

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Yeah I think it will be called Solace 1. I also think its fair to say that this is a 3 module space station. As ugly as it is.

The last launch of the quarter was another Bobtail-Midget IIS which was completely uninteresting. Which is not at all how the next quarter should turn out given how 2 big thing have been occupying the VAB slots (until management jammed through the station)

 

Launches/Successes/Partial Failures/Failures - 8/8?/0/0 (1 tentative)

Milestone - 3 Module Space Station - Jank Station (Crew of Solace 1), December 26th 1955.

@Ultimate Steve

Your turn!

Edited by qzgy
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16 hours ago, Elon Kerman Jr said:

This seems good, Also I feel like I know your steve from a person named sparkys discord

You would be correct! SANCTUARY FOREVER!!!

@qzgy "Jank Station" aww yeah. I guess it would be quicker to launch as well.

Next part coming within a few days, potentially tonight, I have just March left to go, but it is a busy March. I sort of wish I had snagged the Jupiter opportunity, but I just now unlocked the proper antennas, and I think I'm too late for Saturn at this point as well.

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1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Also @qzgy what docking ports are you using for the station?

Uhhh some from the mildly cheat parts bin, the Cygnus docking port. 

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Ultimate Steve - January-March 1956 (Cycle 21)

 

 

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Notebook Space Program: Hopes and Dreams, and maybe Futbol

Spoiler

Well, then!

For the past quarter and a half, we have been building on and off two QUASAR launch vehicles in two of our three bays. This is why we only flew Aether Beams for a month or two, both of the other slots were taken up. But, except for a few missions, those two slots were QUASARS. One would be an unmanned lunar test mission, and one would be a manned test mission, akin to Apollo 10.

But first, Aether Beam 9, launched on January 4.

Also, happy 5th anniversary!

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Aether Beam 9 is the second to last mission planned for the Aether Beam Constellation, and the seventh to successfully reach orbit.

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Next up, not a launch, but on February 2, we received excellent news! We've got CASH TO BUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!! The rewards for spending time in space seem a bit OP but I'll roll with it. Anyway, that concluded the three month mission of Dream 8, which undocked from Hope Station.

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And then I realized that Dream 8 was completely out of life support because its tanks had been drained first. The crew had 3 minutes before they suffocated. Fortunately, the brave and heroic Eddie Sutton managed to redock the spacecraft in time, effectively "visiting" the now four module space station, of which 3 modules were launched on missions separately from the craft, so... I guess this might count as visiting the station?

Also I realized that the window on this capsule is tiny, I've never used the IVA before now. Poor crew.

The visit was brief, just long enough to transfer a few hours worth of life support over. The re-entry was uneventful, thankfully, splashing down very close to Brazil making recovery easy.

Also the crew decided, rather late, to name their capsule the Constellation.

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During their 90-ish days in space, Eddie Sutton, Carol Lawson, and Phyllis Allen were supposed to perform science experiments, BUT the science module has been delayed yet again, to the end of this quarter. So mostly they did acrobatics, made balloon animals, tested consumption of food, exercised, took pictures of Earth, played games in zero-gee, and made a giant reflector out of their aluminum foil food wrappers to try to signal the crew of Jank Station with the message in morse "HELLO WE ARE BORED WANT TO TALK"

They fashioned a similar reflector and several orbits later they flashed back "SURE"

We responded with "WE HAVE NO SCIENCE TO DO AND WE ARE HERE FOR ANOTHER MONTH"

They said "WE HAVE A YEAR"

"WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY AGAINST US IN THE FIRST GAME OF INTERNATIONAL SPACE FUTBOL"

"WE WOULD LOVE TO COME THIS THING IS TINY BUT OUR SPACECRAFT LEFT AND WE ARE IN A DIFFERENT ORBIT"

Our response was "OUR SPACECRAFT HAS ENOUGH FUEL AND WE CAN SEND IT TO YOU UNMANNED TO GET YOU AND REFUEL IT TO SEND YOU BACK"

They said "BUT THEN YOU WOULD BE OUT OF FUEL ON YOUR STATION AND OUR DOCKING PORTS ARE DIFFERENT"

And we said "RIGHT"

And they said "ENJOY YOUR SPACIOUS STATION"

And we said "ENJOY YOUR EPIC WINDOWS" and "OUR SUPERIORS ARE ASKING US TO INSULT YOU INSTEAD OF ASKING YOU TO PLAY FUTBOL"

"OURS TOO"

"BUT WE CAN MEET IN MEXICO AND PLAY FUTBOL SOMETIME RIGHT"

"ITS CALLED SOCCER IDIOTS"

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Four days later, Dream 9 was launched on the second ever QUASAR launch vehicle with nobody on board, designed to do a full rehearsal of a lunar landing without the people.

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While that thing was on its way to the moon, we had a problem of sorts.

The Venus window, for which we had a spacecraft, was due to launch at the optimal time in the window, the last week of March. The last week of March is also when 3 other spacecraft would finish production - Dream 10 (Lunar Crew) Dream 11 (LEO) and the science module for Hope Station. There was also Aether Beam 10, the last satellite in the constellation, but RATHER FOOLISHLY the NSP decided to prioritize the other missions over ABX. This would lead to a traffic jam at the launch pad at the end of March.

We decided to try and make the traffic jam work, and spread it out a bit by unevenly upgrading the production capacity very slightly.

Also we are fully confident in being able to land men/women on the moon within 2 years, the duration of the moon contract, so we accepted that and used the money to upgrade R&D to level 3, which we don't really need, but if we're looking forward to Mars, then maybe... That took up both the contract money and most of the 90 days money, and because we spent the rest on VAB points, we're medium broke now. We're keeping a buffer amount of money just in case, though.

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Dream 9 entered an equatorial lunar orbit.

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Then its lander, in its second ever flight to space (now with docking port) landed on the Moon safely and took off next orbit.

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A docking was completed, but the lander has EXTREMELY low margins. We had less than 100m/s left when we docked. And that's after we dumped excess life support (the lander can support its crew for 11 days).

One thing we can do to save weight is jettison the docking port, it's on a decoupler, because the astronauts can just EVA but we'd prefer to dock. We can also do the rendezvous with the service module.

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Upon re-entry we are connected to Aether Beam 1, which means we can deploy our parachutes manually instead of on a delay!

***JINX***

Aaaaand we've lost communications.

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And we're LITERALLY IN THE ONE SPOT WHERE THERE ISN'T A SATELLITE BECAUSE WE DELAYED AETHER BEAM 10.

*grumble*

SRSLY

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So we're now prioritizing Aether Beam 10, and delaying the science module to Q2... Sorry, science module. I think I built you at least two to three quarters ago now.

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February 25. Aether Beam 10. The last scheduled flight of the Mega Midget, possibly the last ever.

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And the constellation was completed. Not quite even, but close enough.

The second to last launch of the quarter was on March 23, Dream 10, the manned circumlunar test flight.

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On the third flight of QUASAR sat:

Pilot Anatoly Alenin, veteran of Diagon M-4 and Euphoria 9

Engineer Jean George, veteran of Diagon M-2 (the NSP's first manned space mission), making this her first orbital spaceflight

Scientist EK (abbreviation because her name is long and russian), veteran of Diagon M-2 and Euphoria 4

 

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Their mission was going well so far, the QUASAR booster performed nominally.

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Because the moon happened to line up right, we could use our remaining second stage fuel (800m/s) to aid in the TLI burn, and as a result the third stage had a boatload of fuel left over so it used it to return to Earth.

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Before they could get to the moon, however, one day after launch Reacher 4 was launched on a StarRender 1.1 launch vehicle.

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Reacher 4 was very light and the departure maneuver required two burns, orbital insertion and trans-Venus injection. An SRB kick stage was added because the second stage was not restartable. Unfortunately for some reason it can only gimbal in one axis and we lost control of it on departure, wasting about 500-1000m/s of Delta-V. However, as the probe was supposed to be an orbiter, it completed the burn on its own. It can still orbit, but it will be elliptical instead of low.

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The space probe was christened the "Scott Manley." In addition to performing science experiments, it will provide relay capacity for three additional probes (but no big antenna so it might be out of range for part of the year) and if the aerobraking works, it will do a low resolution scan of Venus.

A few days later, Dream 10 had reached the Moon. By this point, its crew had finalized the naming of their spacecraft, the Command Module would be called Tom and the lunar module the Jerry.

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Shown here is Anatoly Alenin testing the ladders, which he found are weirdly off center from the hatch, but they will still work.

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At this point, Anatoly and EK undocked in the Jerry to test flying it by itself. They completed two orbits of the moon before redocking, taking the lunar module within 2 kilometers of the Lunar surface. They then redocked with the Tom and transferred back over. The Jerry was refueled from the Tom's ample fuel supply and proceeded to try to land on the moon with nobody on it, controlled by Anatoly from the Tom.

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However he lost track of velocity and because SAS can be stupid, the lander tipped over and hit the surface at about 14 meters per second.

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This meant that the Jerry was now on its side. Not good. One of the fuel tanks was jettisoned so that the engine would be down instead of up (and have fuel flow) and an attempt was made to bring the Jerry back to orbit.

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The attempt was successful, but due to the jettisoned tank the docking port had to be jettisoned as well as most of the life support to have the fuel to reach orbit. It rendezvoused with the Tom but did not dock (obviously) and the crew collected the telemetry analysis, the only experiment on board. They then returned home.

 

 

The Tom was released from its service module, testing a gentler re-entry, but it was too gentle, the capsule skipped right off of the atmosphere and back into space.

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Which was alright because it was going to hit Wallops otherwise. The orbital pass took another few hours and the crew of Dream 10 splashed down a bit off the coast of California greeted by French-Brazillian ships totally not intruding on the US's territorial waters.

And for the past week Dream 11 (mission to Hope Station) has been sitting on the launch pad, and the next module is almost done. But I was too focused on Dream 10 to do anything about that. And it's April 1 now. So I guess this continues the trend of LEO Dream missions being delayed to the beginning of the next quarter... Expect a launch April 2 followed shortly by the science module. We also have two Mars spacecraft we are sending.

In addition we have decided to stretch the tanks slightly on the Lunar Module to add a bit of margin, both to have a safety net and to carry experiments.

It's also the point in time when I should start looking for landing sites, but I don't know if they will be in the right spot, days on the Moon are 30 days long and that's pretty much the life support limit for the Dream spacecraft, so I should probably pick out 3-4 spots. I'd like to go to Tycho crater, maybe we'll find something there...

 

Launches: 5 (4/1/0)

Milestones: Maybe the station? 3/23/56 but I'm doing it April 2 so...

People in space +3

 

@qzgy Futbol in Mexico sometime?

 

 

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