Ultimate Steve

Space Race Season 2 - RP-1 (1959)

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5 minutes ago, KerbalKore said:

It seems like things ramp up quickly after you get a satellite.

First satellite pays pretty good, but it's the first science satellite and that 400K advance that really shifts things into high gear.  Plus if you pack science gear and batteries on your orbital flights, you can collect a lot, both in terms of science and KCT upgrade points.

Edited by Norcalplanner
added a bit

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22 hours ago, Norcalplanner said:

First satellite pays pretty good, but it's the first science satellite and that 400K advance that really shifts things into high gear.  Plus if you pack science gear and batteries on your orbital flights, you can collect a lot, both in terms of science and KCT upgrade points.

The post-first orbit leap ahead didn't really come quickly for me, unfortunately. I think it was a combination of poor upgrade planning (balancing build rate with research) and a lot of launch failures. And avionics sizes (I'm trying to go with mostly procedural avionics and the minimum size is pretty constraining).

Speaking of launch failures...

(Disclaimer, I forgot which launches were for which contracts, it's been a while)

Notebook Space Program - 1958

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Y'all like explosions?

Spoiler

The first launch of the year was on March 15... We just narrowly missed Pi day. It was Opus 7, which had the goal of trying to complete the polar orbit contract before the deadline.

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Unfortunately, the first stage engine shut down with ~750m/s remaining, but the engineers thought that it might have enough margin to continue to orbit.

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Then, the second stage engine also shut down early with 500m/s left in the tank. The apogee wasn't even in space yet. The mission was aborted and declared a failure.

(noooo, the blue nose cone has failed us!)

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A few months later, on June 22, Opus 8 was launched, which if I remember correctly might be the first science satellite attempt? I don't remember, but it had a battery and probably an experiment or two.

Unfortunately, just after this picture was taken, the first stage engine shut down and the whole thing fell back onto the launch pad.

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Surprisingly, only the engine broke. The rest of the rocket leaned precariously against the launch clamps. The vehicle was carefully recovered, and a new engine is currently being installed.

Obviously a failure, but one with a surprising outcome.

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On September 23, Opus 9 was launched, a very stripped down Opus with no experiments. Its purpose was to complete the first polar orbit contract, because the deadline was fast approaching. If this mission failed, the space program would experience a lot of financial stress. The budget is usually stretched very tight, so a single contract failure could spell doom.aecdrQP.png

Thankfully, everything decided to work correctly this time!

By now, Opus 8 had been repaired and was launched as Opus 8a on November 25.

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It was launched from the runway for some reason, probably because of how vessel recovery works.

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The new engine worked perfectly, catapulting Opus 8a into an elliptical, slightly inclined Earth orbit, and if I remember correctly, completing the first science satellite contract! The sat returned plenty of biome science, which will allow us to do more spacey stuff.

I don't know if I had planned this far ahead right now, but the plan was to use the science from Earth orbit to develop a larger, potentially modular launch vehicle that could launch both lunar probes and crew, and potentially interplanetary missions. No timeline was available at this point for these new programs, which should say something about how our program is going... Definitely early 60's at the earliest. :p

But now... Megend 91.

"Steve, sir, I think I should be the first of our astronauts to go to space," said Grigory Statnik.

"No, it should be me! On his only Legend mission, he destroyed his craft! I went faster than him and executed the mission perfectly!" replied Alisa Yolkina.

"But I've flown more planes!"

"And I've flown them better."

"Silence!" said Steve. "Our first astronaut will be neither of you!"

"What? No fair! Did we hire a new pilot?"

"No. Legend 9 will be piloted by scientist Eugene Ruiz."

"A scientist?"

"Yup."

"Why?"

"Truthfully, we need to spread the missions out so we might be able to retain you all until we can put you in orbit. But we would prefer our first astronaut to not be a bickerer."

I don't remember what happened, but I have legend 9 marked as Legend 9a, so maybe the engine failed to ignite on the pad the first time around. It launched, with Eugene Ruiz inside on December 20, just barely before the end of the year.

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"And ze liftoff of ze Roketplan lejend!"

"Uh, yes."

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"I zee ze kerv of ze erth!"

The fuel in Legend 9a was burned to empty, and the maximum speed was around 2 kilometers per second if the screenshot is anything to go by.

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Eugene reached an altitude of 267 kilometers on this flight. The craft fell back to Earth.

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Re-entry was accomplished by quickly orienting the craft, applying pitch trim, and then sitting back and relaxing... and probably praying as well.

This was because flying the Legend that high, one would almost certainly black out, which Eugene did. Fortunately, the craft remained level throughout entry.

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The maximum Gee force was... Ouch. 24.9. Fortunately, due to great restraints, he survived.

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Eugener, probably with several broken ribs, lined up with the runway.

The plan was to use the abort system as a separation motor and land near, or even on, the runway.

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However, the abort system packed a far greater punch than expected.

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Who knew two Tiny Tims had that much power...

In the background you can see the lower stage.

Eugene splashed down successfully, having became the first NSP astronaut!

Tech tree at the end of '58:

aFU8vSF.png

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

And avionics sizes (I'm trying to go with mostly procedural avionics and the minimum size is pretty constraining).

I hear you on that one.

"Great news!  We were able to give the new upper stage better capability, while still keeping the mass at five tons!  What can we look forward to from the new avionics we just unlocked?"

"Nothing - the minimum controlled mass for an upper stage increased from five tons to seven tons, so the mass of the avionics is pretty much the same for a five-ton stage."

:/

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Kerbal Administration for Big Overpowered Orbital Machines - 1958

lOA9tLt.png

Some things that go up actually do come down...

Spoiler

Once again there were no manned missions this year, as we're still researching all the required nodes to allow our first crewed orbital flights.

January 28, 1958 - Another Satellite Mk 2 is launched to fulfill a Second Gen Nav Sat contract.  This was nearly identical to a previous mission, and went off without a hitch.

y0q5brK.png

Result - Success.

 

March 21, 1958 - In a leap forward for our program, the first orbital recovery craft is launched, dubbed Pathfinder 1.  Using a modified Courageous Komrade lifter (as nearly everything tends to be at the moment), it launched uneventfully.

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To take advantage of science opportunities, the second-tier camera was brought along.  The funny color is due to using Ship Manifest to transfer the experiment results to the recoverable probe core.

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After 13 hours in orbit, the probe core detached and successfully deorbited, coming down just south of Franz Josef Land.

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Result - Success.  The uncrewed orbital return mission is now complete, bringing us one step closer to crewed orbital missions.

 

April 20, 1958 - The unimaginatively named Satellite Mk 3 A - Molniya is launched to complete the first (you guessed it) Molniya orbit contract.  This variant of the lifter, the Courageous Komrade Plus, includes stretched tanks and four Castor 1 SRBs, providing an intermediate lift capability between the standard lifter and the triple-core heavy variant.

yjMTYTx.png

Molniyas are a bit tricky, since you have to keep Pe down near Antarctica, and achieve a fairly precise orbital period of just under 12 hours (half a sidereal day).  Here's the craft making the necessary burn to raise Ap.

PrQUqqm.png

Result - Success.  We're getting better at putting payloads into highly inclined precisely eccentric orbits.

 

August 13, 1958 - Another leap forward with the launch of the Mars Emissary 1 aboard a Courageous Komrade Heavy Plus lifter.  This launch is actually a bit before the ideal transfer window.

qJ6n9Nk.png

Crammed with as much science gear as our mass limits will allow, this first interplanetary probe was dependent on the unlock of the comm dish, which only occurred a few weeks before launch.  The transfer stage also features the newly unlocked AJ10-101 engine.

pOImvjR.png

Result - Good so far.  The probe was put into a transfer orbit which will enter Mars' SOI in January of 1959.

 

August 28, 1958 - The Mars Emissary 2 is launched as a backup, a little after the ideal transfer window.  It's identical to the first probe except for better solar panels, which were unlocked while the first rocket was rolling out to the launch pad.

WxIH3b2.png

Result - As above, good so far.  We'll know more early next year.  Power is the big concern, as both these probes will need to have the comms dish manually switched on and off to help keep the batteries topped off as much as possible.

 

September 9, 1958 - More unimaginative naming - the Satellite Mk 3 A is launched to complete another Second Gen Nav Sat contract.  Alas, the RD-0105 finally had a malfunction halfway through the burn, resulting in insufficient delta V to attain orbit.

Q82hkxX.png

Result - Failure.

 

October 4, 1958 - The naming is really messed up at this point.  The Satellite Mk 2 - First Molniya is launched to complete the satellite contract failed by the previous rocket.

 ipAoo0N.png

Thankfully, everything went well this time.

Result - Success.

 

November 11, 1958 - Another orbital return mission is accepted, and the Pathfinder 2 is launched.  The only change from Pathfinder 1 is in the payload, which features some newly unlocked science experiments, including the orbital perturbation experiment.

lpM1WvC.png

After spending 14 hours in a polar orbit collecting science, the science-filled probe is deorbited.

MA2cXqN.png

Result - Success.  We'll need to send some of these new science experiments to the Moon on a future launch.

 

December 10, 1958 - The Satellite Mk 3 - Comm Test Sat is launched to complete the Communications Test Satellite contract.  The lifter is a further upgraded Courageous Komrade Plus, this time with only 2 SRBs so it can use the 60 ton launch pad.

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The upper stages use only hydrazine, as engineers experiment with the pros and cons (including costs and rollout times) of different configurations.

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Result - Success.  

 

1958 Year in Review - There were nine missions launched this year, all unmanned.  One was a failure, and two won't reach their destination (Mars) until early next year.  We did choose to accept the first Crewed Orbital contract in the middle of the year, as it has a 3-year timeframe and a hefty 700K fund advance.  With our research rate continuing to increase, we should be able to unlock all the needed techs well before the deadline.  Images of the program's progress are below.

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Edited by Norcalplanner
typos

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I can quantify how far ahead of me you are and it's about a decade. :sticktongue:

 

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Just now, Norcalplanner said:

How far ahead have you played?!? :)

 

Pretty far into the 60's.

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Notebook Space Program - 1959

sLRIRri.png

People in space and slightly bigger rockets! But mostly failure.

Spoiler

XwBeU0Y.png

On May 8 (wow we're a third of the way through the year with no launches already), Grigory Statnik took to the skies in the I-2 Glory, an experimental aircraft which could fly above mach 2 for prolonged periods of time thanks to its four jet engines and single rocket engine.

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Eddie flew it around the island for a while before attempting some moderately intense maneuvers.

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As it turns out, the Glory completely sucks at maneuvering. Grigory survived, though.

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On July 21, Legend 10 was launched with Alisa Yolkina as the pilot. We're doing one legend launch per astronaut to try and keep them around long enough for orbital missions, and because we're waiting on research to do anything more impressive.

Its mission was to fly into space but downrange in an attempt to re-enter without passing out.

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Legend 10 reached an altitude of above 200km (exact altitude was not recorded) and while the entry was way gentler than Eugene's entry, I'm fairly sure that Egg still passed out.

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This time, separation was done without firing the abort motors and the two pieces stayed far closer. Landing was safe, with both pieces intact.

"Hey you, engineer guy!"

"Yes, Grigory?"

"Can we take those two pieces and reconnect them and launch it again? I kinda want to go to space right now."

"WAIT WHAT? NO! HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST THAT!"

"Whoa, geez, I was just asking."

"We could add a new capsule to the booster and try to launch it again, but reliability would be terrible."

"You can add a new capsule? Why not use the old capsule?"

"That's crazy talk!"

"So let me get this straight. We can add a new capsule to the booster and a new booster to the capsule, but we can't put the two pieces back together."

"Correct."

"That's stupid!"

E3ujHjH.png

Only 11 days later, on August 1, Iosif Polushin (hahahahahahahaha polution) took to the skies on board Legend 11. His goal was the same as Egg's flight - re-enter without passing out.

KIuaO8S.png

(This view isn't from this flight but from a different reverted attempt but it's a really cool view so I thought I'd share it)

Unfortunately, during the initiation of the pull-up maneuver, the spacecraft alarmingly swung sideways and disintegrated.

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Iosif, along with the forward section of the rocket, plunged downwards alarmingly fast. He was also unconscious, but through a great stroke of luck he regained consciousness at the last second and managed to deploy his parachutes.

DoIP7uc.png

I'm very surprised we didn't have our first astronaut fatality here. The mission was classified as a partial success, seeing as the ship disintegrated and the occupant almost died. If this was a straight up and down mission rather than a downrange one, he probably would have died!

Ten days later, on August 11 (attempting three spaceflights in under a month!) Legend 12 was rolled out to the launch pad, due to be piloted by Grigory Statnik.

"I'm finally going to space!"

"Yep, we know, you've said it, what, hundreds of times?"

"657."

"Okay. Are you go, Grigory?"

"You better believe it! Five! Four! Ignition!"

3CBmXgQ.png

"AWW COME ON! THE ONE TIME WE HAVE AN ENGINE EXPLODE, IT'S MY ENGINE!!!"

The main engine experienced an anomaly upon startup that resulted in an uncontained failure. Fortunately, the fuel tanks didn't go up. However, Grigory was very disappointed - he didn't get to go to space.

Even more unfortunately for Grigory (but fortunate for the program overall), a bunch of tech had been unlocked and the manifest was full again. It would be a while before a new engine could be built for Grigory's rocket.

Only one more launch happened that year, which was Opus 10. It launched on November 21.

wkljt0h.png

It was the first launch of the Block II Opus launch vehicle, featuring Tank III, I believe, maybe a few engine upgrades (I can't remember) and a few tank stretches. This increased its LEO capability from 10-20kg to well over 100kg. It's payload was a science satellite weighing 111kg IIRC. The vehicle didn't quite have the oomph to put it into a polar orbit, so a moderately inclined orbit (around 45 degrees I think) would be chosen.

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However, a few seconds into flight, the main engine shut down. Other engines were fired for the DU, but eventually everything crashed into the ocean.

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The Opus 10 satellite.

We're really going to have to look into who is doing the quality control on those RD-101s, they are obviously not doing their job well.

I don't think I remembered a screenshot of the tech tree, unfortunately.

 

To sum up the year:

Two people in space, with a failed third attempt. A near death situation. A slightly larger rocket, which failed. Also a plane.

Launches: 5. 1 success, 1 partial, 3 failure. OOOFFFF. That's bad.

Waiting on a few more nodes to properly do an actually decent launch vehicle.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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Those engine explosions are really rare. I'm glad all your astronauts made it through the year ok! :)

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2 minutes ago, Lo Var Lachland said:

Wait a second, doesn't this fall under the no-RP rule? I am very confused as to what this is

I will agree that it is getting borderline. At its core it's a bunch of paralell mission reports but then someone suggested agency bios and it went a bit further into RP than I would have liked. Season 1 was similar and we had no issues with it.

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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2 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I will agree that it is getting borderline. At its core it's a bunch of paralell mission reports but then someone suggested agency bios and it went a bit further into RP than I would have liked. Season 1 was similar and we had no issues with it.

Well I'm glad to hear it's going well. :P 

What exactly is it? 

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Just now, Lo Var Lachland said:

Well I'm glad to hear it's going well. :P 

What exactly is it? 

A bunch of people playing through the game with the same rules and mostly the same realism mods to see who can make it to the moon first. In this case it's really a race for second, though, judging by how some of our programs are going!

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Just now, Ultimate Steve said:

A bunch of people playing through the game with the same rules and mostly the same realism mods to see who can make it to the moon first. In this case it's really a race for second, though, judging by how some of our programs are going!

Sounds fun. 

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3 hours ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

Umm... dude, just read the page 1 intro :P C'mon, Var!

I'm lazy. And he answered.

Problem solved. 

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Probably going to be Sunday night before I post 1959 - work has been a bit nuts, and I'm going to be on the road and away from the computer for the next few days.  Hopefully it will be worth the wait. :wink:

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Kerbal Administration for Big Overpowered Orbital Machines - 1959

lOA9tLt.png

We're finally getting to know the neighbors!

Spoiler

We're entering what will hopefully be our last year without any manned missions.  Major strides are made this year with probes to both Mars and Venus.

January 5, 1959 - Mars Emissary 1, launched last year, is the first probe to enter another planet's SOI.  It doesn't enter orbit, but gathers some significant science.

YxHEobC.png

Result - Success.  The Mars flyby contract is completed.

 

January 10, 1959 - Mars Emissary 2 is the companion craft in case the first one failed.  Since the first one succeeded, this one has its trajectory modified to pass close by Phobos on the way in to its Mars encounter.  The Phobos flyby contract is accepted shortly before the probe enters Mars' SOI.

yCji6gv.png

Don't blink or you'll miss it - total time in Phobos' SOI was around 20 seconds.  The probe later dipped briefly into the Mars' atmosphere for additional science before being flung out into interplanetary space.

Result - Success. Phobos Flyby contract is complete.

 

January 16, 1959 - The functionally named Satellite Mk 3A - Tundra is launched to complete the first Tundra Orbit contract.

XsAdEUO.png

Taking advantage of the new restartable AJ10-Mid engine, the craft successfully delivers its payload to a 1,015 x 70,500 km orbit at 62.4 degrees inclination.

Result - Success.  The First Tundra orbit contract is complete.

 

February 17, 1959 - To help with interplanetary transfer windows, the Lunar Plane craft is launched.  I didn't install Transfer Window Planner in this save (I've heard about it creating problems in some installs) so we're going old school with a small craft in orbit for the purpose of determining departure windows and delta V requirements.

47CVJZg.png

Result - Success(?) - no real mission, but the craft got into a 400 km orbit coplanar with the moon, which is a "close enough" proxy for the ecliptic.

 

May 30, 1959 - This day sees our first dual launch, with the Venus Emissary 1 and 2 craft queued up on the 350 and 150 ton launch pads, respectively.  (The 350 ton pad only finished construction earlier in the year.) It was decided that since they're going somewhere other than the moon, a snazzier paint job is needed.  Photos of the launch:

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And one of the second craft, showing off Planetshine:

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Both launches went off without a hitch.  Hopefully their arrivals at Venus won't be too close in time to cause problems.

[Side note - It was at this point that Mission Control fat-fingered the time warp, and ended up zooming two months ahead with not much being done.  Oops.]

 

August 17, 1959 - Featuring the newly-unlocked low res altimetry radar scanner, the Sauron 1 is launched to complete the Low Res Earth Scan contract.  A few newer science experiments hitch a ride for good measure.

29OIxhr.png

Everything went smoothly.  With a dawn launch, the solar panels had plenty of power to keep the scan going while in polar orbit.

Result - Success.

 

August 28, 1959 - The Lunar Discovery Lander 5A is launched to complete another lunar landing contract.  This one will also have some new science experiments on it.

yUZ1Fhf.png

Everything went smoothly, resulting in another probe landing in a new biome on the moon.  Non-throttleable engines are starting to get a bit old for these landers - hopefully we'll unlock something better soon.

SlAwkaf.png

Result - Success.  A fair haul of science and funds is collected.

 

October 2, 1959 - The Sauron 2A1 craft is launched to complete the first Low Res Lunar Scan mission.  Sadly, this is the only photograph we have of that launch:

mFfVHk7.png

Result - Failure.  One of the side boosters lost thrust, inducing an unrecoverable yaw which broke the craft apart just shy of Mach 2.  We were getting close to the deadline for this contract - hopefully we'll still be able to complete it in time.  

 

October 30, 1959 - The Venus Emissary 1 craft enters Venus' SOI.  Much science is had, and the Venus flyby contract is completed.

QcIHac7.png

Result - Success.  The craft was also able to enter an elliptic orbit, still having more than 1 km/s of delta V on board.

 

October 31, 1959 - Less than a day later, the Venus Emissary 2 craft also enters Venus' SOI.  With a quick trip to mission control, the first Venus Orbit contract is accepted and completed.

a4Ssxhq.png

Result - Success.  Both craft performed well, and both were able to capture into orbit.  Well done, Emissary engineering team!

 

November 4, 1959 - Another Sauron 2A1 is launched after being rushed to completion.

ijTO8oU.png

While the launch goes well and the craft enters a good polar scanning orbit around the moon, it's too late - the craft arrives on station with only 4 days left to complete the contract, which isn't nearly enough time for a lunar polar orbital scan.

Result - Partial Failure(?) The craft had no malfunctions and completed its assigned task, but failed the contract due to it taking too long after the first iteration decided to RUD during launch.

 

1959 Year in Review - There were 8 launches this year, all unmanned.  There was one malfunction during launch, and one contract which wasn't completed in time.  The highlight was the two interplanetary flybys, with the brief swing by Phobos being a big thrill.  Lots of advancements in science, including new science gear and restartable engines.  Photos with the state of the program are below.

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51 minutes ago, KerbalKore said:

I would give you a like, but they disabled it. :)

Hopefully they get that sorted out soon... :/

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