50th Year Special - My ultimate Apollo Reenactment

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The following is adapted from a series of blog posts, most of which were timed roughly to coincide with the dates of the real life events 50 years ago.
I'm adding it here to show you guys, and so I can add high res photos.

Hopefully you're not already burned out about the 50th, as I've put a lot into this.  I thought, if I was to one ultimate Apollo, to the best of my skill, what would I include?
And then did it. 

It's going to be basically a J mission, with as many interesting things from the Apollo missions thrown in as I could.
We've got launches, landings, EVAs, an elaborate recovery effort, you know, the works. It's not everything, but hey, there's never enough time to do everything. 

You often hear that an average modern computer has many times the power of the ones used to put a man on the moon.
This suggests it should be possible to use an average computer to put someone on the moon.

That is what I’m going to do. Sorta.


To mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I’m going to attempt an authentic™ recreation of an Apollo mission in Kerbal Space Program.

Right now, we’ve got our brave crew, ready to board the Saturn V imitation rocket:




An almost as brave group of scientists, getting into position to watch the launch:



Just a little longer, as we wait for everything to be ready.

Engines are warming up. Countdown begins, here we go…






The first stage carries us high above the clouds


When out of fuel, it is shed to make way for the second stage:


AoDvumY.pngyou may notice some irregularities. That's because I part clipped lots of engines together to make it look like 5, and some of them broke off along the way

The second stage takes us to the edge of the atmosphere, and much of the way to orbital speed


Then it too is shed


 the 3rd stage 


Puts us in a low, but stable orbit around Kerbin.


The planet below looks amazing, and our astronauts have some time to watch it, and check over the spacecraft,




Before it is time to depart for the mun


The translunar injection burn accelerates the spacecraft a further 850m/s, using up most of the remaining fuel in the 3rd stage.

This is our trajectory post burn. It is a free return trajectory - should anything happen, the slingshot effect will cause us to fall back to Kerbin without needing additional power.


But hopefully this mission does not end  like Apollo 13.


Next, the Transposition and Docking Maneuver. This puts the spaceship in the proper configuration for the munward bound leg of the trip.


The Command and Service Module (CSM)  separates from the 3rd stage and rotates around, ready to extract the lander:


The munar lander has been in its protective shroud on top of the 3rd stage, but that shroud is about to come off


With the lander exposed, the CSM moves in for the dock




We have connection, now to separate,


Success! The 3rd stage will slowly drift away.


We’re all set. Our three Astronauts, Bill, Bob, and Jebediah, (the closest thing kerbal has to main characters) just have to sit tight until they reach the mun.



Hang on, what’s this? 


Bill said he was hearing strange noises from the service module. I sent Jeb out on EVA to check it out, and look:


A Stowaway! 


It’s Valentina, the single named female character they added years after the rest. 
She must have snuck on board before the others.


Yep, she's been there the whole time.


Damn it Val, you’re ruining my authentic™ Apollo mission recreation. I’m not supposed to have 4 astronauts. 

Oh well. 
The lander still can only fit two. 
I’ll still have to decide which Kerbals get actually  walk on the Mun.


Mission control was only slightly annoyed when they found out what Valenina had done. Kerbalnauts have done worse. But the rest of the crew were very happy to have her on board. The mission continues.


To keep  an even temperature, the spacecraft has been slowly rotating. Much slower than the gif makes it seem. 

 We are almost at the mun. The crew has made a small correction burn, and briefly climbed into the lander to inspect it.


The Munar Orbit insertion burn must happen on the far side of the Mun, out of radio contact with the Kerbin Space Center


In we go:


Sure enough:



Commence the burn.

4qNJrTJ.png And done!


We’ve been captured into a low, retrograde munar orbit.


K-Apollo is orbiting at a scale height of 15km. 
Inside, the Kerbals have decided among themselves who will go down to the Mun.  Jebediah and Bob will man the CSM,  Bill and Valentina have climbed through the tunnel to the LM.


On approach, CSM “Cucumber” separates from Landing Module “Seagull”, 


Bob watches, as the LM moves away, getting ready to begin descent and landing.



Our trajectory, as plotted by the guidance computer


A shallow landing trajectory uses minimal fuel fighting gravity. Down we go:


Out the window, the surface gets closer and closer


As speed drops, the spaceship rotates, putting more thrust downward to limit the rate of descent,


Coming down vertical now, we hover a bit too check it’s a good spot, before guiding the lander downwards.


Inside the contact light comes on, confirming we’re just above the surface.
The engine is shut off


 “Ksc, this is tranquility base.”
   “The Seagull has landed.”



It’s time. Bill stands on the top of the ladder.


Bill: “I’m climbing down the ladder now.”


Bill:  “The ground below me looks mottled, and the pattern repeats if you look far enough, like one repeated texture”

“I’m stepping off the ladder now”


“That’s one small step for (simulated) man, one giant leap  for  (simulated) mankind.”


The Eva continues. Bill is planting the flag. It’s an Aussie flag because that’s my country


Valentina, who has joined him at this point, adds a flag  also. This one carries the logo of  Australian Research & Space Exploration.  


 Together, they collect rock samples, deploy a variety of experiments,



And perform some experiments of their own



At the end of the EVA, they return to the LM for a rest period.  They will eat and sleep and get ready for tomorrow. 


This is where we diverge a little from the Apollo 11 schedule. From here on, this mission is “Apollo the remix”.  It’s time for our Second EVA.


We’re about to deploy the Munar Rover.


That’ll do.


Off we go!


Our target this trip is to the north. On the way, we pass many large craters. It takes care to avoid going of the edge.

We're visiting the Kerbal space program Neil Armstrong memorial.



On the way back, we stop to climb up the back of a cliff.


It’s quite a view.


Val: “everything the light touches is our kingdom”

Bill: “But what happens when it gets dark?”

Val: :huh:


And now, for something slightly different:
In orbit, in the CSM:


‘It’s fun doing space science, surveying from orbit and all, but I kinda wanna see it up close.”


Bob: “We see a lot more up here. Besides, orbiting closer would be dangerous”

Jeb: (grabbing helmet and jetpack, moving to the hatch controls) “Mind the command module for a moment,”


Jeb. What are you doing. There is no EVA scheduled at this point. 
Jeb. You’re ruining my reenactment. Come back.



Jeb: “Hey Lander crew! Look up!”


Val: “Jeb?”


Jeb: “Hey Bob, you know how the Suit’s maneuvering unit only has about 500m/s of Delta-V, and the CSM was built with 1K to spare?”
Bob: “Have you run out of fuel? :\”


Bob: “Do you need me to come get you?”
Jeb: “Yes please.”




Jeez Jeb. Don’t do that again. 
You’ll give the rest of mission control a heart attack.


Back to the mission. After a rest, Bill and Val are back out, preparing for the final EVA.  This trip takes us to a moderately sized crater to the south. A geologically interesting site, the rim is consists of lighter, older rock, but the middle is the younger, darker rock found on the maria.


The route is carefully plotted to avoid the steepest parts, cutting diagonally down the crater edge.


We come across a fresh mini-crater.
Examining the inside reveals a lack of dust, but some unevenness, causing geologists on the radio speculate the on angle of impact.


The crew wander about the crater, taking observations, core samples, and surface samples. 

Val: “I like this boulder. This is a nice boulder.”

Bill. “That’s not a boulder. It’s a rock!”


Bill:  “That’s a Boulder.” 


In the center of the crater, is the mysterious munolith


The kerbals cautiously try touching it, but nothing happens.
 Heading back now.  As we climb, we get a fantastic view back into the crater.


Arriving back at the landing site, Val and Bill drive the rover to the front of the LM. This trip across the Mun is over.


Before they seal the hatch for the last time,  a few last last tasks must done. 

All samples and data must be brought into the LM in preparation for launch. To save weight, anything not needed must be left on the Mun. 


Val places a plaque on the ground, in honour of those who lost their lives during space exploration. 

Tasks done, they take one last look around before climbing aboard.iv7UcRd.png


Time to head home.




We’re on our way!



Val: “Ascent is nominal. RCS is throwing us around a little, though.” 



Bill: “Cucumber, we’re on track for rendezvous. Computer predicts closest encounter in 12 minutes.”
Bob: “Confirmed. Our numbers match. See you soon Seagull.”


Jeb: “Just like we practiced, eh Bob.”
Bob:  :rolleyes:




Val and Bill climb through the tunnel into the CSM. It’s a little cramped with 4 of them.


Next, we must dispose of the lander.  We do this by slowing down, dropping it off, then accelerating back to orbital speed. 


The ascent stage will be crashed into the Mun, generating shockwaves which can be used by the seismograph we deployed earlier. 


While still in munar orbit, we drop off a subsatellite:



The real life versions of these only lasted a few months, due to the Moon’s uneven gravity. Kerbal however, doesn’t model this.


Time to go!  To break free of the Mun and return to Kerbin, we need an injection burn of about 270 m/s. 


Leaving the Mun, now high over Kerbin, 
Bob goes on EVA to collect the film from the service module.



We’re all set for the journey home. 


Morning before splashdown

Operations Manager Jorford Kerman looks out over the deck of the spacecraft carrier K.S.S. Harvester,  mentally going over his checklist as they pull out from booster bay. NdnRcZc.png


On the deck, Quarantine Officer Meagen inspects the containment unit, adapted from an old trailer.
Hopefully, it will contain any strange mun disease they end up bringing back.


Onboard are media, scientists, and all sorts of top brass. All are hoping for a smooth recovery of the kApollo spacecraft.

Hours later, hundreds of KM above….

Jeb pulls the switch, and a guillotine mechanism severs the connection to the service module.  Its has provided electricity and life support for 12 days now, but must be dropped before reentry.


The Command pod, all that’s left of the spacecraft, plunges through the atmosphere, reaching temperatures exceeding 2760 C



After the flames die down, parachutes are deployed,


And the heat shield jettisoned.


The capsule drifts down, untill





Flotation devices hold the capsule upright, and the crew alight into a boat provided by the recovery team.RKielVn.png


The helicopter moves in,


Picks them up,


And takes them to the ship, where they are immediately placed in quarantine 



Some time after, the Capsule is also recovered. 




Everyone gathers around to hear from the returned astronauts. The first men on the Mun. 


 It will be another week before the crew is released from quarantine.  Ahead of them, is a lifetime of interviews and fame.

This concludes the Apollo Reenactment.


Thanks for reading!

Edited by Tw1

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Nice one. How did you manage to have four kerbals in the capsule after service module seperation? Is this capsule a 4seater from Making History?

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I actually part clipped an external seat inside. Here's what Valentina's place looks like:


I considered just editing the part file, (and TBH I had to do that a bit so those internal bits would survive splashdown,)  but this way felt more kerbal.

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LOL, I love the acronym of Australian Research & Space Exploration :)

Very nicely done tribute missions, especially the extra credit work on both ends of it with the launch tower and recovery operation.  And the slight deviations from the script in no way make it less authenticTM :cool: 

Edited by Geschosskopf

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It would be you who notices that bit :wink:, with all the names you've given to spacecraft. I made it subtle here, but this was a thing when the Australian government announced our new space agency a few years back

The recovery mission was one of my favourite parts, I'm very happy with that boat's aesthetic, and running kerbals around on top is great fun. 

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I'm linking the craft file here for future reference, and incase anyone wants to look at my work.
I've used breaking ground expansion parts, mods used are KAS, KIS, Kerbal Engineer Redux, mechjeb,  and kerbaltek's Graphotron. 

TW1's Ultimate Apollo Reenactment edition Apollo Spacecraft

I originally rushed the launch vehicle so I could get going. I've since gone and made  a few changes, and the rocket is better for it

Modifications include: 


  • Tower details 


  • Launch escape system


  • 99% less exploding engines
  • and less structural wobble


  • Gratuitous Ullage motors  
  • Fixed some issues with symmetry and fuel flow


  • Added the ability to shut down the central engine before the rest before staging. 
  • Adjusted the strength of faring and heatshield ejection.

If I want to fly it again in the future, it will be ready. 

KApollo 1.2  made some first steps on Minmus, kCoWZsY.png

at a spot I like to call Starfield Plateau,

And kApollo 1.3 is set to land near the Mun's prograde point.

The locations of my old M.I.S.S.S. and Prograde City respectively. 


I'll also throw in a link to my original Apollo, done years ago. This was the original disney animated to the one above's live action CGI

Now I've just perfected all this, my brain is saying, you know how you weren't perfectly happy with the silhouette of the rocket or lander, what if you redo the whole thing like this and this, and .... nope. time to do something else. 


Edited by Tw1

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48 minutes ago, Tw1 said:
  • 99% less exploding engines

Dammit, you ruint it :)  Seriously, great show and I still think cheeks should be a thing :)

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