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Out of the Sands


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Update 01:374        Can you take me Higher?

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Ongoing Missions:

MOLE Station - Mothballed

Duna Sojourner - Course correction performed on 01:336, Duna's SoI should be encountered on 02:062 and will include a fly-by of Ike as well.

Mun Outpost A - Barnie & Kathberry finished their month on Mun on 01:353 and returned home safely, leaving the surface experiments running to gather further data on the Mun.

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MiL2-1 - Landed on Minmus' Greater Flats, performed a flag planting, gathered science then headed for home.  Reentered & recovered on 01:341

Spoiler

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Manned Launches:

KSC - DG KRV-2 - 01:341 - Kelrik was launched on another orbital rescue, to retrieve Phoebe Kerman (Pilot).  The KRV was ready to launch less than two hours before MiL2-1's reentry and it was decided to wait for them to land before launching the rescue mission.  Launch, rendezvous & reentry went normally.

Spoiler

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DSC - DG MiL3-1 - 01:355 - New 3-seat Minmus lander.  Launched with Kelrik, Lodzon & Kathberry to Minmus to investigate an anomaly & try to gather a rock sample to bring home.  There were no small rock samples to collect near the anomaly - another strange monolith - so they performed a short hop to the lesser flats, gathered more scientific data & Kathberry finally found a rock sample to bring home.  Safely returned to Kerbin

Spoiler

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Kelrik investigates the monolith while the other crew members wait from the safety of the lander:

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Kathberry gathering a rock sample on the second landing

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KSC - DG - ML3-1 - 01:369  - 3-seat Mun lander based on the MiL-3.  Phoebe, Adburry & Samdas were launched to investigate another suspected rock arch on the far side of Mun.  They were able to find the arch, landed to investigate & returned home safely.

Spoiler

Phoebe overshot the arch on approach & had to expend extra fuel to get back to it

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This should be close enough

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Almost home

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Unmanned Launches: None - we were slacking this month apparently.

Aircraft:

CX-03 Arrow - 01:345 - New experimental aircraft, testing the afterburning Panther engine.  First flight - by Jeb - was an attempt to break the 20km altitude mark. Not only did he pass 20km, he broke 30km and felt he might have even hit 40km but he cut the throttle before flameout which limited his Ap to "just" 33km.  Coming back to KSC, he was able to get it almost to mach 3 at 5500-6000m.  Specifically, mach 2.93.   A second test flight was conducted on 01:358 with a contract to break 35km.  Val was given this flight, and managed an Ap of 42km, exceeding the contract requirement and confirming Jeb's belief that the Arrow could break 40km.

Spoiler

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Breaking 30km on a jet engine

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High speed run on the flight home

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Second attempt

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Breaking 40km

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Other: R&D upgrade completed on 01:334.     SPH upgrade ongoing

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Update 02:001        I get by with a little help from my friends

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Ongoing Missions:

MOLE Station - Mothballed

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Duna Sojourner - Course correction performed on 01:336, Duna's SoI should be encountered on 02:062 and will include a fly-by of Ike as well.

Manned Launches:

KSC Dawngrazer MPV2-ER-1 - 01:390 - A new contract was picked up for the longest range rescue to date - Minmus orbit.  Kelrik was again tasked with this mission, but due to the range of the rescue, the KRV wasn't an option.  The regular MPV wasn't either since it required a pilot, so the solution was to combine the best of both craft - attaching the guidance core from the KRV to the bottom of the MPV pod before attaching the service bay.  The result was the MPV2.  Also changed were the replacement of the engine plate-mounted antenna with a new DTS-M1 antenna and the three fixed solar panels were replaced by a pair of larger folding panels.  The basic -ER launch configuration remained unchanged.  Upon arrival around Minmus, Kelrik took up a 50km orbit, then with assistance from the Titan Instrument Unit, plotted the rendezvous.  The rescue was textbook except for the extremely low altitude - at one point, the radar altimeter was indicating less the 1000m to the surface and some of the hills north of the orbital path looked even higher.  Regardless, the rescue was completed and they headed for home.  Johnny Kerman, engineer, was immediately brought into the space program as part of the 2nd kerbonaut class.  In addition to the rescue, the MPV2 was carrying a new Multi-Spectral Imager, which gathered loads of science around low & high kerbin orbit, low & high Minmus orbit & high Mun orbit, allowing scientists in the R&D center to unlock improved 2.5m engines, including the 1000kN Boar & 1500kN Mainsail.

Spoiler

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Rendezvous in dangerously low Minmus orbit

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DSC Dawngrazer MPV2-ER-2 - 01:416 - A second rescue contract, for the highest Kerbin orbit rescue to date - 3417 x 5527 km with an 18.6 degree inclination - was received to recover Sivan Kerman, another scientist.  When it was discovered what the orbit was, the decision was made to wait for Kelrik's return from Minmus & send him up on another MPV2 for this rescue rather than using one of the less experienced engineers.  The launch from DSC was timed to allow the target orbit to be easily matched.  Unfortunately, one of the second pair of SRB's slammed into the first stage during decoupling, destroying the lower fuel tank & requiring Kelrik to fire the LES.  The escape sequence went smoothly & the capsule landed in the desert 41km downrange from the pad.  To prevent this in the future, sepratrons have been added to ensure clean decoupling of the SRB's.

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DSC Dawngrazer MPV2-ER-2b - 01:424 - Second attempt to rescue Sivan Kerman.  Kelrik launched again from DSC, entered an 18 degree inclined orbit then maneuvered to rendezvous.  The actual rescue was completed smoothly - much easier than the low altitude rescue over Minmus.  Reentry was broken into two steps, the first aerobraking pass dropped Ap down to 500 km, then the second pass was made for reentry.  

Spoiler

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Rendezvous at 5 million meters

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Unmanned Launches:

DSC Girrok Dres Sojourner - 01:389 - With a Dres transfer window approaching, it was decided to launch an improved version of the Duna Sojourner to Dres.  The increased dV requirements were met by stretching the transfer stage fuel tanks and replacing the Dawngrazer launch vehicle with an experimental 2.5m Girrok launcher. Powered by a single 650kN "Skipper" engine and course control aided by a pair of 24-77 "Twitch" engines, a quartet of Thumper SRB's are required to help the first stage off the pad. Once the Skipper runs out of fuel, the second stage kicks in with a 250kN "Poodle" and a pair of Flingatron SRB's for ullage & to boost acceleration for the first few seconds.  The night launch went perfectly & once in a stable parking orbit, the transfer was plotted but won't occur for just over a month - Dres Sojourner was launched early in case of problems with the launch. Total dV for the transfer, course correction & capture should be around 4300 m/s.  Between the remainder of the 2nd stage & the transfer stage, Sojourner has just under 5000 m/s available, plus a small amount of dV in the actual Sojourner craft for RCS & orbit corrections.  On 01:424, the Dres transfer was completed without issue, and the Dres Sojourner is now on its way out of Kerbin's SoI.  There are some concerns regarding power production at Dres' distance from Kerbol, but the four folding solar panels should be sufficient and as a precaution, the probe will be put into hibernation once the course correction maneuver is performed in about 3 months (02:124)

Spoiler

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Over a month later, it was time for the Dres transfer:

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WSC Steamglider PolarComm 2A - 01:414 - The new Steamglider two stage light satellite launcher was tested from Woomerang, and placed PolarComm 2A into polar orbit to replace the older POLO satellite, which was deorbited once PolarComm 2A was up & operational.

Spoiler

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Aircraft:

CF-03A Viper - Although still on punishment, Jeb is keeping busy.  A new jet design was due for some testing & Jeb took it up for a night flight out of the Desert Space Center.  Fast and powerful, it needs some tweaks - especially in pitch authority but overall performed well.  It hit mach 2.85 at 10km and flamed out passing 20km.  Controls are very sluggish at altitudes above 15km.  The second flight saw the aft fuel tank replaced by a structural fuselage to reduce overall mass and as well as adjustments to the elevator position.  Handling was slightly better but top speed was unchanged.

Spoiler

 


Other: SPH upgrade completed on 01:379.

On 01:373, Kelrik & Ambera took a UR-2 rover to test the new scanning arm being developed.  Just over 2km from Woomerang, they spotted a strange looking tree, which seemed just the thing to test the scanner on.  Once that was complete, they headed back to the launch pad for recovery.

Spoiler

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Just before the end of the year, we were offered a contract to test an LV-N NERV engine in orbit of Mun.  We can use the test contract to get a probe to Moho much easier, then worry about the contract later.  There are also plans for a Panther/NERV spaceplane that may be worth testing before completing the contract as well.

 

This rounds out the first year. Everything but the administration building has been upgraded to level 2.  We've had 45 manned launches with 2 failures and 34 unmanned launches with a single failure, plus numerous sounding rockets.  There is a small space station in LKO and an outpost on Mun, both currently unmanned.  Probes are headed for Duna & Dres to begin gathering science from worlds beyond Kerbin.

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Update 02:070        Here we go, marching to Mars

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Ongoing Missions:

MOLE Station - Mothballed

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Duna Sojourner - Entered Duna's SoI on 02:062 and started transmitting science back to Kerbin. Performed a high altitude fly-by of Ike, completing a secon contract, then entered a 50 degree inclined orbit 85x2500km on 02:065, completing a third contract and sending a load of science back to Kerbin.  It remains in Duna orbit to act as a relay for future missions, but the primary mission is complete.

Spoiler

I didn't actually grab any screenshots of the Ike flyby, but here is the Duna Sojourner approaching Pe over Duna

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Finishing up orbital entry

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Transfer stage jettisoned & Sojourner free to run all of its experiments (the gamma ray spectrometer & magnetometer were covered by the transfer stage)

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Dres Sojourner - Course correction planned for 02:124.

Manned Launches:

KSC Dawngrazer ML3-2 - 02:014 - Last of the 2nd class of Kerbonauts launched to the Mun, landing at the last rock arch to gather more science & perform a flag planting.  Feeling the need to show off a bit, they flew through the arch as they departed.  The dV budget was barely sufficient - there were only 28 m/s remaining as they started reentry.  Regardless, the reentry & landing went smoothly.

Spoiler

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DSC Dawngrazer MiL3-2 - 02:022 - Phoebe, Barnie & Sivan launched to Minmus to gather more science & another flag planting.  They safely landed in the Minmus Lowlands, then returned to Kerbin without incident.

WSC MMV-AT1 - 02:023 - Pad abort test of the new Girrok MMV (Multi-Mission Vehicle).  The MMV promises to replace the MPV as the new standard in orbital craft, but it needs some testing first.  The pad abort test went off smoothly, lifting the capsule & 3 crew up to a max altitude of 1050m and 1.6 km downrange from the pad where they were recovered safely.

Spoiler

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WSC MMV-AT2 - 02:029 - After the pad abort test was successful, then it was time for an in-flight abort test.  Rather than a full Girrok launcher, a quartet of Hammer SRB's was used to boost the capsule up to 5 km before triggering the LES.  All systems worked normally, and the crew landed safely on the edge of the mountains.

Spoiler

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DSC Dawngrazer MPV2-ER-3 - 02:040 - Another Minmus rescue, this time Kelrik was launched to retrieve pilot Magas Kerman from a high retrograde Minmus orbit.  Kelrik was annoyed by the whole mess, since this caused him to miss the test launch of the Girrok MMV, which launched just over a day after his rescue mission.  Upon entering Minmus' SoI, Kelrik realized that Magas' orbit was almost perfectly aligned with his flight path & he would pass Magas' wreck reasonably close to an intercept.  Just a quick 17 m/s course correction brought him to a closest approach of <300m to Magas.  Closure rate was over 200 m/s for the direct intercept, but everything went well & Kelrik brought them within 30m with RCS before performing an EVA to set the destruct charge on the wrecked cockpit.  Magas EVA'd over & they headed for home.  They splashed down west of KSC  on 02:59

Spoiler

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To speed up their return transfer, Kelrik dropped the MPV into a low Minmus orbit - otherwise, they would have been waiting for around 2 days for the Kerbin return maneuver

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DSC Dawngrazer MPV2-ER-4 - 02:067 - Another high orbit rescue, Kelrik launched from DSC.  Rendezvoused with and rescued engineer Catdon Kerman & brought her back safely, landing in desert 145km west of KSC.

Spoiler

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Unmanned Launches:

KSC Girrok MMV-FT-1 - 02:041 - After the successful abort tests, it was time to launch an unmanned MMV to ensure it performs as designed.  The launch went well, and the MMV-FT-1 entered a 127km circular orbit with 1083m/s dV remaining, then performed its deorbit burn passing the DSC and splashed down 168km east of KSC.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok MMV-ER-FT-1 - 02:056 - Once the "normal" Girrok MMV passed its flight test, it was time to test an extended range version for Mun/Minmus missions.  It replaced the Boar first stage engine with a Mainsail, stretched the fuel tanks for both the Girrok launcher and the MMV, then added a pair of 1.25m Reliant-powered radial boosters that also fed the main engine.  Launch went smoothly, and the MMV enetered a 133x127km orbit with 2520 m/s dV remaining.  Once again, it deorbited after a single orbit & splashed down just 18.6 km east of KSC.

Spoiler

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Aircraft:  None

Other: Launch pad upgrade started on 02:059 - we have a contract to place a surface outpost on Minmus with room for 5 crew & at least 2000 units of Liquid Fuel.  The base & transfer stage alone mass over 100 tons, so another pad upgrade is  mandatory if we expect to complete this contract.

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Update 02:135   Are you ready for that great atomic power?  

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Ongoing Missions:

MOLE Station - Mothballed

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Dres Sojourner - Course correction completed successfully.  Should arrive at Dres' SoI on 03:025

Manned Launches:

DSC Girrok MiL-4 - 02:116 - Adburry & 3 tourists were launched to Minmus in a new 4-seat pilot-less lander.  All systems operated normally, and they landed on Minmus without problems.  There was a loss of signal while transmitting the back side of Minmus, but signal was reestablished before their return to Kerbin maneuver.  Splashed down safely.

Spoiler

Launch of the MiL-4

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Approach to Minmus landing

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Adburry planting a flag as a photo-op for the tourists

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MiL-4 reentry - either a landing leg or Cub engine are exploding on the jettisoned lower stage.

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Unmanned Launches:

WSC A5A EP-T1 - 02:071 - Test of an Eve Entry Probe, launched on an old A5A launcher.  The entire assembly was transported to Woomerang inside a closed cannister, which is simply set up on the pad, electrical connections attached and the A5A launches from the canister.  Total dV was too low to test an orbital reentry - let alone trying to gather data for an Eve entry - but the probe remained stable during reentry even after loss of battery power, indicating the proper mass distribution in the design.  Carrying 2 experiments - a barometer & thermometer - was too much for the small battery carried, and power was exhausted trying to transmit the barometric data.  The probe was tracked until it impacted in the grasslands southeast of WSC.  Due to the limited nature of the experiments that can be carried and the limitations to KSP biomes, the proposed Eve Multi-Probe design is cancelled at this time.  (Note:  It was going to be based on the NASA Venus Multiprobe/Pioneer-Venus 2/Pioneer 13)

Spoiler

Opening the canister.  While not especially useful for civil launches, several governments have expressed interest in this design for military uses.

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Liftoff

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Coasting after braking SRB separation - although in this case, the "braking SRB" was actually used to increase orbital velocity since it was already on a suborbital trajectory.

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DSC Dawngrazer Vorona-Eve - 02:077 - Launch of the first probe destined for Eve.  Vorona-Eve is a combined orbital science probe and relay with an attached lander  It is early - 3 months till the transfer window - but with the KSC pad closed for upgrades, it was decided to start launching Eve probes well in advance.  In addition, by plotting the transfer in orbit, it provides validation of the exact transfer window - or in this case, showed that our scientists had it wrong by nearly a month. Launch went smoothly and Vorona-Eve was inserted into a 130km, 7 degree orbit while waiting for its transfer, scheduled for 02:166.

Spoiler

Six Shrimp SRB"s help the Dawngrazer off the pad, then two more fire as the first set burn out

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Entering orbit with the transfer stage as the first stage & fairings fall away

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In orbit, all systems operational, waiting for the transfer

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DSC Girrok Pioneer-Moho - 02:094 - Launched from DSC, using an experimental nuclear engine for the Moho transfer.  Despite estimates putting the transfer several weeks out, a viable transfer was available immediately upon attaining orbit.  Transfer performed successfully, and departed Kerbin's SoI on 02:095. Course correction planned for 02:227

Spoiler

Liftoff of the Girrok launch vehicle.  Note the 1.875m transfer stage for the LV-N, similar to the Dres Sojourner design

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Second stage - just the adapter tank & a Poodle engine

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First firing of the experimental LV-N nuclear drive in orbit, performing the transfer to Moho after expending the last few dV from the 2nd stage.

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Borrowing an idea from jet aircraft, a pair of drop tanks were fitted to increase total dV while being able to stage the empty tanks to reduce dry mass

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After completion of the transfer, the thermal control system is left on for several minutes to dissipate waste heat from the engine

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WSC Girrok PL-EDL-T1 - 02:096  - Test launch of the Eve Pancake Lander design.  Once again, Kerbin's atmosphere is nowhere close to what is estimated to be found at Eve, but we can at least test basic flight & entry characteristics of the lander design.  The mission will push the Ap out near the edge of Kerbin's SoI, then lower Pe into the atmosphere to test a high velocity entry. Launch from Woomerang went smoothly and after attaining orbit, Ap was raised to 65000km. Two weeks later, it arrived at Ap, performed an inclination change to establish an equatorial orbit then lowered Pe to 25km.  Reentry went perfectly, and the lander splashed down in the ocean between DSC & KSC.  The floats deployed & it gathered a a little science while waiting for recovery.

Spoiler

Launch of PL-EDL-T1 (Pancake Lander-Entry/Descent/Landing-Test 1) from Woomerang.  I really need to pay more attention to day/night cycles - I swear well over half my launches are at night

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Preparing for inclination change.  Clearly visible is the double heatshield for Eve entry.   While not needed for this test, it was kept to evaluate the performance of the craft.

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Kerbin reentry

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Post-reentry, with drogue chute fully deployed

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Floating in the ocean while awaiting pickup

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DSC Dawngrazer Minmus Triple Comm - 02:123 - Now that the Duna & Dres Sojourner craft are far beyond Kerbin, it was decided to launch a 3-satellite comm net to Minmus to ensure communications integrity for future orbital & surface operations.  Carried to orbit on a Dawngrazer, the each of the 3 relay satellites mounts a small monoprop thruster, RA-2 antenna & solar panels and will be deployed in equatorial orbits 120 degress apart.  Upon arrival in Minmus, the three relays were deployed in 200km orbits before setting the carrier to crash into Minmus.  MIROR-1 relay was also deorbited as its relay abilities were no longer required.

Spoiler

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Preparing to drop Pe to 76km after deploying relay A

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Deploying relay B

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Deploying relay C

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Aircraft: None

Other: Launch pad level 3 upgrade completed on 02:125.

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Update 02:215     I've Got to Break Free

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Ongoing Missions:

MOLE Station - Mothballed

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Dres Sojourner - Should arrive at Dres' SoI on 03:025

Vorona-Eve - Transfer on 02:166 completed and departed Kerbin's SoI, followed by a course correction a few days later.  Will arrive in Eve's SoI on 02:280

Pioneer-Moho - Course corretion scheduled on 02:227

Manned Launches:

DSC Dawngrazer MTV-4-1 - 02:184 - New Mun Tourist Vehicle launched with one of the new kerbonauts (Magas Kerman) and 3 tourists to Mun orbit & back.  Mission was successful, but some adjustments are needed on the MTV-4 design.  In particular, dV is somewhat tight and TWR lower than desirable after radial booster separation and after first stage separation.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok MMV-LT-1 - 02:201 - To satisfy a wealthy tourist - and gain some extra experience for other crew members - the MMV-LD (Multi-Mission Vehicle-Long Duration) was built and launched to push past Kerbin's SoI & return.  On purpose this time.  Basically an MMV-ER that's been stretched to accomodate a Hitchhiker module and re-engined with a Poodle in the orbital stage for extra thrust.  They escaped Kerbin's SoI on 02:208, performed a brief EVA and ran several experiments, including a new GORESat Irradiance scan, then fired then Poodle a second time to return home.  Splashed down just west of Crater Rim.

Spoiler

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Ambera collecting some science from high orbit

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Again, in a hurry, didn't grab any shots outside Kerbin's SoI, not that there's much to see besides the sun

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KSC Dawngrazer MiL3-3 - 02:204 - Launch of the first crew to the Minmus Outpost, consisting of Lodron, Barnie & Kathberry, for a planned 30-day stay on Minmus as well as setting up surface experiments.  Landed at the outpost on 02:212, planted a flag, setup the surface experiments then stretched out in the spacious new outpost to enjoy some well deserved snacks.

Spoiler

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Unmanned Launches:

KSC Girrok EPL-1 02:144 - Full version of the Eve Pancake Lander was launched from KSC into a 135km orbit to wait for the Eve transfer on 02:174, which was was performed safely.  Several days after leaving Kerbin's SoI, a course correction was performed, and it will encounter Eve on 02:279.

Spoiler

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KSC Dawngrazer Pioneer-Eve 02:154 - Another Pioneer probe was launched from KSC, this one bound for Eve  It's primary mission is to provide comm relay functions as well as gathering additional science from low & high orbit.  Unfortunately, a radial decoupler failure shortly after launch allowed the left radial booster to separate while still running.  Although the booster missed inflicting damage on the launch vehicle, the thrust imbalance with the still-operating right booster caused it to veer out of control.  The RSO triggered the shut down & self-destruct commands, terminating the launch

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DSC Girrok Minmus Outpost 02:162 - After over a month of construction, the Minmus Outpost A was rolled out & launched from DSC.  It is the largest launch to date, just under 279 tons on the pad.  Arrived at Minmus without incident & landed in the Lesser Flats on 02:171.  Next step will be to launch the first crew to live on Minmus - and also bring some fuel, as the base construction contract stipulated 2000 units of fuel, and despite landing too fast & breaking two of the four landing legs, only 1998 units of fuel remain on the outpost.

Spoiler

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"What do you mean the contract isn't complete?" ...... "WHAT!?!?!" ....  "For two..  TWO units of fuel???  Are you [REDACTED]

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KSC Dawngrazer Pioneer-Eve 2 02:165 - Replacement for Pioneer-Eve, hurredly assembled & launched a few days before the Eve transfer window.  The second launch went smoothly & parked in a 130km orbit waiting for its transfer. The transfer was performed flawlessly, and the course correction only a week after leaving Kerbin.  It should encounter Eve on 02:280.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok Eve Dust Return 02:178 - After realized - barely in time - that the Eve exploration contract stipulated a return to kerbin after Eve fly-by, a return craft was hastily assembled, using another "misappropriated" LV-N nuclear engine to ensure sufficient dV for the round trip.  After launch, it immediately performed its Eve transfer, then a course correction a few days later.  Eve encounter will be on 02:279

Spoiler

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I didn't actually get a shot of the EDSR-1 after staging the Girrok launcher - but its basically a NERV, 1.875m LF tanks, decoupler, heatshield & probe core with some solar panels, antennas & chutes attached.  Oh, yeah, and a dust sample experiment.

Aircraft:  Some work was performed on a larger airliner to replace the Jetlanders currently in use, but work stalled due to the needs of the space program.

Other: Launch pad level 3 upgrade completed on 02:125.

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Update 02:266     The Heat is On

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Ongoing Missions:

MOLE Station - Mothballed

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Minmus Outpast A - First crew completed 30 days on 02:243 & returned home, leaving the surface experiments running.  Current plans call for a second crew to be sent later this year, while a rover is currently en route.

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Dres Sojourner - Should arrive at Dres' SoI on 03:025

Vorona-Eve - Will arrive in Eve's SoI on 02:280

Pioneer-Eve - Will arrive in Eve's SoI on 02:280

EDSR-1 - Will arrive in Eve's SoI on 02:279

EPL-1 - Will arrive in Eve's SoI on 02:279

Pioneer-Moho - Arrived around Moho and entered orbit on 02:256, establishing a highly inclined 45x5000km orbit and sending back loads of data.  Mission was a complete success and Pioneer-Moho remains in orbit as a comm relay for future missions.

Spoiler

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Jettisoning the NERV after expending the last of its fuel. 

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First sunrise in Moho orbit

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Manned Launches:

KSC Dawngrazer MPV-5 02:227 - The decision has been made to finally deorbit MOLE Station.  Prior to that, Kelrik & Val are being sent up to strip off any valuable equipment they can rather than allowing everything to burn up.  At least that was the intent.  In the most ironic accident ever to befall a space program, seconds after LES jettison, the expended LES tower crashed back into the Dawngrazer & struck somewhere around the upper fuel tank/decoupler/orbital engine area, breaking up the entire launch vehicle.  Despite the lack of a LES, the abort sequence still separated the capsule from what remained of the lower stages and the crew splashed down safely 279km downrange.  After this incident, the salvage plan was cancelled due to cost - each Dawngrazer MPV costs nearly 22000 funds with only (at most) 9300 being recoverable, and launching a second MPV just could not be justified with the equipment known to be on the station.

Spoiler

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After LES impact & capsule separation

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Unmanned Launches:

WSC Girrok KSM-1 02:229  - The Kerbol Stellar Monitor launched into a polar orbit from Woomerang.  After attaining orbit, the Ap was boosted to 60000 km over the south pole to provide a clear view of the sun for long periods of time and also to provide improved comm relay functions to the southern hemisphere.  The automated solar monitoring experiment was completed on 02:246 and transferred to the reentry probe, which decoupled & fired its retro rocket to drop Pe into the atmosphere.  Reentry occured 10 days later, on 02:257, landing just over 200km from DSC.

Spoiler

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To ensure maximum science gains, there is a small experiment return probe attached to the larger KSM-1

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Staging away the transfer stage after the orbit was set

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Decoupling experiment return probe once the Solar Activity Monitoring Experiment was complete

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No images of it firing the braking SRB, but here it is reentering the atmosphere

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And safely descending under its parachute

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DSC Dawngrazer Pioneer-Jool 02:234  - With the development of RTG's, the decision was made to modify the existing Pioneer science probe by replacing the twin solar panels with a pair of RTG's on extendable booms for use in outer system areas where solar is less viable.  Since the dV requirements are quite a bit less than Moho, the NERV engine was kept, but the drop tanks that were fitted to the Mk1S-ER were dropped.  Due to the tight schedule, Pioneer-Jool spent just a single orbit around Kerbin before performing its transfer, leaving Kerbin's SoI on 02:235.  Course correction plotted for 03:018.  Too late to correct, it was discovered that the Girrok second stage was not equipped with self-destruct charges, leaving a large piece of space debris in a 142x392km 6.5 degree orbit, which will need to be dealt with at some point.

Spoiler

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DSC Girrok MiUR2-1 02:265 - Launched a Minmus Utility Rover to Minmus, currently enroute to Minmus.

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Aircraft:

DSC - CSX-01A Falcon 02:264 - After borrowing some more experimental NERV engines, Jeb has come up with a way to break his punishment of only testing aircraft:  build an aircraft that can fly to space!  The first test was only a high speed test, taking off from DSC & cruising to KSC, breaking mach 3 along the way.  Frustratingly, it nearly ran out of fuel just barely breaking mach 3 & 30km flying from DSC to KSC.  I landed with about 7 units of LF remaining.  This is a design that goes back multiple KSP versions, and I never had a problem reaching orbit before but now it barely breaks 30km & mach 3.   EDIT: I figured out the issue - I added the short structural fuselage & aerodynamic nose cones to the back of the NERV's for drag reduction & looks, and added a short LF tank to the nose behind the NCS adapter.  Both of which are fine with the Whiplash version, but I never tested the Panther version after those changes.  Stay tuned to see Jeb jump for joy next episode.

Spoiler

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Debris:

Pioneer-Jool 2nd Stage - 02:234 - 142x392km, 6.5* inclination

Other:

On 02:251, Kelrik & Ambera took out an experimental MiUR-2 (Minmus Utility Rover-2 seat) to test at DSC.  Fitted with the best technology currently available, a mix of Monoprop fuel cell & solar power and emergency RCS braking & downforce thrusters, it promises to be a great addition to the Minmus Outpost.

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Edited by Cavscout74
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3 hours ago, Saturn5tony said:

Theres a beauty in this I just cant explain.

All in all tho, love your entire "out of sands' series. Reminds me of the things they did back at White Sands in 1946 after we got von braun on board. Cool stuff!

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Glad you are enjoying it, that was exactly where my head was when I started it

And it is definitely more beautiful when it works like its supposed to instead of smashing into your own LES tower :o

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Update 02:285 A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater

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Ongoing Missions:

MOLE Station - Deorbited on 02:275, slammed into the desert just north of DSC.

Spoiler

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NCS adapter & Clamp-o-tron Jr exploding due to overheating

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Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Minmus Outpast A - Rover arrived on 02:275 , second crew arrived on 02:278 and commenced searching for an Olivine formation to scan with the new rover arm.  It turned out to be pretty easy, as a formation was found just 1800m from the outpost.

Spoiler

Stupidly, I forgot to add the seismic experiment, surface antenna or extra solar panel to the rover's storage box, so no new experiments for this trip

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Dres Sojourner - Should arrive at Dres' SoI on 03:025

Vorona-Eve - Arrived in Eve's SoI on 02:280, entered orbit on 02:283.  Decoupled the Formalhaut-Eve lander on 02:284, which made 3 aerobraking passes before finally landing on 02:285 in the highlands.

Spoiler

At Ap, just after decoupling the lander & raising Pe again

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Once through the worst of the reentry, part of the shell is jettisoned when the parachute is armed. The lower shell will remain attached until chute deployment

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Pioneer-Eve - Arrived in Eve's SoI on 02:280 and entered a highly inclined polar orbit to provide comm relay functions on 02:283.

Spoiler

To place the Ap nearly straight above the north pole, the orbital insertion burn required a large radial component - quite apparent here as it approaches the Eve south pole

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EDSR-1 - Arrived in Eve's SoI on 02:279, entered orbit on 02:282 and collected a dust sample in low Eve orbit.  The actual capture was tricky as signal was lost before the orbital insertion maneuver, and the probe was well past Pe when it reacquired signal.  Return flight not yet plotted.   No images taken

EPL-1 - Arrived in Eve's SoI on 02:279, entered orbit on 02:282 and landed on 02:283, splashing down in the explodium sea

Spoiler

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It started to pitch the bottom up, but stabilized in this position & finished reentry safely - some of the exterior components on top got hot but nothing exploded.

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Pioneer-Jool - Course correction planned for 03:018.

MiUR2-1 - Arrived at Minmus & landed at the outpost on 02:275

Spoiler

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Manned Launches:

KSC Dawngrazer MiL3-4 02:269 - Second crew for the Minmus outpost.  First test of the automated ascent control system recently developed by our scientists.  Arrived at Minmus & landed at the outpost on 02:278

Spoiler

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Arriving at Minmus outpost

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Unmanned Launches: None

Aircraft:

KSC - CS-01A-02264 Falcon 02:266 - Due to disappointing performance on the original flight, some changes were made to the basic Falcon design, as well as removing a nose fuel tank.  After the mods were done, a second flight resulted both in completion of the contract to fly an aircraft above 60km and in Jeb finally getting back to orbit - about 75km with just over 1000 m/s remaining.  Even banning Jeb from flying rockets apparently can't keep him out of space.  Once landed, Jeb parked by the spaceplane hangar at KSC so that we will have a working spaceplane available even if we complete the NERV test contract and can't build more.

Spoiler

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I wasn't watching my airspeed close enough and - thinking I was still over 500 m/s - I popped the airbrakes to slow down for landing.  Unfortunately, I wasn't anywhere close to 500 m/s, and when I snapped into a stall & started to spin just before this, I realized I kinda messed up.  Luckily, I did still have a fair amount of altitude & was able to close the brakes and go full throttle with afterburner & recover quickly.  Still, of all the places to stall - over the mountains?!?!?  This is the post-recovery shot

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Leave it to Jeb to find a way to break the rules without breaking the rules

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Debris:

Pioneer-Jool 2nd Stage - 02:234 - 142x392km, 6.5* inclination

Other: Our reputation has advanced to the point that we get another build time reduction as more governments & corporations recognize the important work we are doing & chip in assistance.

Edited by Cavscout74
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Update 02:354  And I think it's gonna be a long long time Till touch down brings me round again

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This turned into a very long update since I kept having little things that I wanted to finish before I posted an update.   After having that happen five or six times, it's a pretty big collection of missions bringing me close to the end of year two.  I almost stretched it out, but decided to get this update done & a separate one for the end of the year, with maybe a few weeks into the next year.

Ongoing Missions:

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Minmus Outpast A - Second crew at the station, scheduled 60 day stat was completed on 02:338, at which time they boarded their lander & returned to Kerbin, arriving home a few hours before the replacement crew arrived at Minmus.

Spoiler

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The spent stage actually bounced off the pod, happily not fast enough to break anything

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Dres Sojourner - Should arrive at Dres' SoI on 03:025

Pioneer-Jool - Course correction planned for 03:018.

Manned Launches:

KSC Girrok MiL6-1 02:298 - Launch of a new 6-seat Minmus/Mun lander, carrying pilot Magas & engineer Catdon, with 4 tourists.  Launch went smoothly, as did the Minmus transfer.  The Poodle transfer stage engine is a little underpowered for the mass of the lander - there are hopes of building a more powerful & more efficient vacuum engine going forward - but for now it's is the best choice.  Landing on Minmus was perfect, and both Magas & Catdon EVA'd to plant a flag & gather some science before returning to the lander & planning the course for home with a slight detour to get an orbit around Mun.  To intercept Mun, they waited about 2 days in Minmus orbit before the transfer.  After entering Mun orbit, Magas performed another transfer just 2 minutes later to return to Kerbin, splashing down safely on 02:325

Spoiler

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Planting a flag as a photo-op for the tourists - since I already had a crew at Minmus Outpost, there were not "plant a flag" contracts to be had for Minmus

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DSC Dawngrazer Triple Core "Sunseeker" 02:332 - In order to wrap up 2 contracts (test NERV around Mun and fly two tourists into orbit of the Sun) I designed a special purpose craft to handle both.  Using a NERV as its primary in-orbit power plant, with a 2-seat passenger compartment and complete probe control.  The NERV stage also has gridfins & recovery chutes to (hopefully) recover the NERV rather than irradiate some unfortunate spot on Kerbin.  To get it into orbit, it used a Dawngrazer Triple Core launcher.  Mun orbit & engine test went well, then the Sunseeker departed Mun orbit for interplanetary space, which was reached on 02:339.  After a few minutes free of Kerbin, the probe core plotted the return maneuver & fired the NERV again.  Kerbin reentry & recovery was successful for both the crew compartment and the engine module, with them floating barely 2m apart after splashdown 115km from KSC on 02:353.

Spoiler

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After reentry, the drogue came out a little early but it stayed in one piece

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The crew pod is apparently either heavier or less draggy than the spent NERV stage

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They finally separated after the main's started opening

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KSC Girrok MMV-1 02:336 - Val, Kelrik & Ambera launched from KSC to begin operations at Kerbinport Station.  Rendezvous & docking went smoothly & the crew is currently onboard engaged in research, with plans for a 90-day stay.

Spoiler

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DSC Dawngrazer MiL3-5 02:339 - Third crew for the Minmus outpost.  The spent transfer stage was allowed to impact the surface near the outpost for the passive seismometer deployed by the last crew, yielding a double impact - the first worth ~1.7 science, then the main impact a few seconds later yielding just over 5 more.

Spoiler

You all have seen this before.  Multiple times, I'll try to keep it short

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The very shallow approach is probably what caused the double impact of the spent transfer stage, combined with the fact that it was still within physics range

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Unmanned Launches:

DSC Steamglider MiSP-1 02:287 - Minmus Supply Probe (MiSP) launched to our Minmus outpost, carrying missing surface experiments and some extra snacks & monoprop.  The design uses the old Surveyor lander bus as its core, moving the antenna/solar array on top of a double height 4-slot universal storage rack.  Arrived at the outpost on 02:296.  After topping off the monoprop & snacks at the outpost and getting the new surface experiments deployed, the MiSP-1 was used as the first test of the passive seismometer.

Spoiler

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WSC Steamglider KRS-1 02:291 - Kerbin Resource Surveyor-1 was launched into polar orbit with the new orbital survey scanner to advance our knowledge of our home planet and take our first steps to sustainable surface bases on the moons & possibly even other planets.

Spoiler

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KSC Dawngrazer KIRO-1 02:303  - Kerbin IR Observer probe, launched into Kerbol orbit to scan for life-threatening asteroids.  Apparently, several corporations on Kerbin are really concerned about asteroid impacts, because there is no shortage of lucrative contracts to scan for them.  Departed Kerbin's SoI on 02:317, should arrive at its Ap on 03:094 to establish the orbit specified by the contract.

KSC Dawngrazer KIRO-2 02:307  - Second IR observer, launched into a lower orbit around Kerbol to improve both asteroid scanning & provide another deep space comm relay. Departed Kerbin on 02:312, expected to arrive at its Pe on 03:033.

KSC Dawngrazer KIRO-3 02:312 - Third IR observer, launched into an even lower orbit.  Departed Kerbin on 02:317 and is expected to arrive at Pe on 03:040.

Spoiler

I'm grouping the 3 KIRO probe images together - the only difference on launch is KIRO-1 had 4 Shrimp SRB's, while -2 & -3 upped it to 6 with the thrust reduces slightly for a longer burn time.

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KSC Girrok Kerbinport Core 02:330 - A new, larger & more capable station launched into high orbit around Kerbin.  The core includes a viewing cupola, research lab & quarters for 4, with an ample supply of snacks.  In addition to a single standard docking port, it mounts 4 Hexport docking ports around the core Hex Truss to allow expandsions to the station.  To get this large of a station into orbit, a new engine was needed - the 2.5m Twin Boar.  The single-mount Boar has been a staple of our expanding space program, so integrating two of them into a single launcher wasn't too difficult and it performed well for the launch.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok Kerbinport Crew Expansion 02:344 - To fulfill a contract to expand Kerbinport Station to a minimum crew capacity of 15 kerbals, a crew module was launched.  Rendezvous & docking were flawless, and after transfering most of its fuel to the station, the upper stage deorbited safely.  Kelrik was able to weld the hexports, making the crew module a permanent addition to Kerbinport.  This gives living quarters for 12, plus workspace for 2 in the lab & another in the viewing cupola.

Spoiler

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Aircraft: None

Debris:

Pioneer-Jool 2nd Stage - 02:234 - 142x392km, 6.5* inclination

Other:  Mission control upgraded to level 3 on 02:341 & the Astronaut Complex is expected to upgrade on 02:374.

 

 

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Update 02:400     Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?

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Ongoing Missions:

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Minmus Outpast A - Third crew arrived & set up for a 90-day stay on the surface.

Dres Sojourner - Should arrive at Dres' SoI on 03:025

Pioneer-Jool - Course correction planned for 03:018.

Kerbinport Station - Val, Kelrik & Ambera remain aboard for a 90-day rotation. To improve power production, Kelrik performed an EVA to move the forward pair of solar panels out of line with the aft pair, allowing both to produce power even when the sun is forward or aft of the station.

KIRO-1 - Will arrive at Ap on 03:094

KIRO-2 - Will arrive at Pe on 03:033

KIRO-3 - Will arrive at Pe on 03:040

Manned Launches:

KSC Girrok MMV-2 02:358 - MMV-2 was a combined mission to take a VIP to orbit, deliver a second scientist to Kerbinport Station and rescue Chadney from LKO.  Kathberry was dropped off at Kerbinport first along with some snacks then Johnny (engineer) & Lisdo (VIP) undocked & maneuvered to rendezvous with Chadney's wreck.  The rescue went smoothly, then they deorbited after just over half an orbit, landing in the grasslands 6.9 km west of KSC.

Spoiler

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KSC Dawngrazer KRV-3 02:376 - Although not used in quite a while, the old KRV design remains the cheapest option for LKO rescues and once again another space agency has stranded someone in orbit - in this case, scientist Lodmon Kerman.  Johnny Kerman gets to try is hand at another rescue and is the first to try out the new EVA suits on an actual mission.  The launch was well timed, and all went smoothly.  The entire mission lasted only one hour and twenty one minutes, and splashed down just 8400m east of KSC.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok MMV-ER-1 02:384 - In order to minimize costs, another rescue mission - to recover 2 kerbals in Mun orbit and a third in Minmus orbit - is launched uncrewed, with the LES removed to reduce mass.  Engineer Sheremy Kerman was the first rescue around Mun and once recovered, he disposed of his own wrecked pod, then became the mission engineer for the remaining rescues.  The second Mun rescue went well, although it took 2 days of waiting to minimize dV costs.  Following the rescue of Danory, a course was plotted for Minmus & just over two hours later, they were on their way for a fifteen day trip.

Spoiler

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Self-rescue of Sheremy

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Second rescue

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I really don't want to know what was in that pod to make that red cloud

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WSC Dawngrazer OTV-4-8 02:390 - Although not used for months, the OTV-4 is being rolled out again to hop a small group of tourists to orbit & back.  Advances in technology have allows some improvements to the basic design - purpose desgined grid fins have replaced re-purposed elevons & a large drogue chute has replaced the nose cone.  The redesigned OTV-4 flew perfectly & splashed 4 happy tourists down southeast of DSC.

Spoiler

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KSC Dawngrazer KRV-4 02:397 - While the long range rescue was in progress, another urgent rescue call came in for LKO.  Catdon was tapped to handle the rescue - her first since being rescued herself.  Launch and rendezvous went smoothly, and soon Catdon & scientist Tangor were safely splashed down on Kerbin an hour & fifteen minutes after launch.

Spoiler

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Unmanned Launches:

DSC Girrok Moho Surveyor 02:370 - Since we don't have access to another experimental NERV, a chemical rocket had to be developed with sufficient dV to get a small lander to Moho.  It quickly turned into the largest rocket launched to date, based on the Girrok Heavy core with a quartet of Dawngrazer boosters feeding the core asparagus-style, then a Poodle orbital stage to circularize orbit & begin the transfer, a Cheetah transfer/braking stage to finish the transfer, perform the course correction and hopefully begin the braking maneuver and finally a Terrier stage to finish Moho orbital insertion.  The probe - a venerable Surveyor lander - has sufficient dV to land entirely on its own from a reasonably low orbit of Moho.  Launch went remarkably smoothly and Moho-Surveyor was inserted into a 150x145km 6.5 degree orbit.  Once again, the transfer window calculated on the ground is nowhere close to what was calculated from orbit - we were expecting to depart around 22 days after the launch but it turns out the window isn't for 138 days.  Interestingly, I followed the Girrok Heavy on the way down since Pe was over 40km and the engine almost survived - it impacted decoupler first, exploded the decoupler & fuel tank & sent the Twin Boar bouncing across the landscape.  It survived the first 5 or 6 bounces before finally exploding, leaving a pile of fins to recover. It did indicate to the administration that it might be possible to recover boosters rather than just let them crash back into Kerbin.

Spoiler

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Booster reentry

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DSC Girrok Dres Surveyor 02:388 - Adapted from the Moho-Surveyor, the Dres Surveyor traded radiators for extra solar panels.   It also drained some fuel from one pair of radial boosters and replaced the Skipper engines with Kodiaks.  Launch went smoothly but yet again the planning for the launch window was flawed.  Even though we knew this launch was early for a Dres window (>90 days), it turned out to be even further out, just over 150 days.

Spoiler

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Since the dV requirements aren't as high for Dres, the booster was jettisoned as soon as it exited the atmosphere

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Aircraft:  With a gap in the launch schedule, several new and modified aircraft designs were tested:

02:382 - CD-01 Light science drone - based on cruise missile technology, the CD-01 was adapted to remote science gathering.  A canard-configuration airframe powered by a single Juno engine, it's max speed is around 316 m/s at 1500m.  In place of a warhead, a payload bay was fitted with a large battery bank, temp, pressure & seismic sensors as well as a surface survey unit.  Additionally, an atmospheric sampling unit is fitted at the base of the vertical stabilizer.  A retractable solar panel is also fitted in the payload bay to recharge the batteries without running the engine.  Communications are maintained by a pair of fixed conic antennas fitted to the veritcal stabilizer with an additional folding 2G antenna fitted to the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer but is only usable to send data when parked on the surface..  A short missions was flown from KSC to the deserts to the west, where it landed and gathered data then took back off & landed at KSC.  In addition for use on Kerbin, it is being considered for a mission to Laythe, as long range sensors seem to indicate an oxygen atmosphere on that moon.

Spoiler

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02:388 - CB-01 Redeye - Testing of the bomber variant of the CR-04 Redeye was conducted at DSC.  New pilot Chadney put the aircraft through a series of tests - high & low altitude speed tests, stall tests, practice bomb drop on some rocket debris just east of DSC.  All was going well until the right engine suffered an inadvertant thrust reverser deployment at full power.  The aircraft snapped into a flat spin until the cause was recognized and the right engine shut down.  Chadney recovered the spin & proceeded to land safely at DSC on the remaining engine.

Spoiler

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Taken during the flat spin, the aircraft is "flying" directly away from the camera, spinning clockwise

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Right engine secured, coming in to land on the good left engine

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02:389 - CF-05 Raptor - New design of forward-swept wing fighter.  Jeb got the honors of putting it through its paces.  Roll rate was a little low, but pitch & yaw control were excellent.  Top speed down low was around mach 1.08, and up at 10km it climbed to almost 2.8.  With the engine in dry mode, it could sustain just under mach 1 at altitude.  Handling was surprisingly tame.  After the test flight, Jeb's reaction was "Meh... It looks hotter than it really is"

Spoiler

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02:390 - CFP-01T Turbo-Bison - In an attempt to breathe new life into the old Bison design, it was retrofitted with a KT6A "Kitty" turboprop and Chadney again got the job of testing it.  Although long past its prime as a fighter, the Bison airframe was solid and could still be useful for surveillance and operations in low intensity enviorments.  First flight did not go as planned....

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02:392 - CFP-01T Turbo-Bison - After some changes - primarily adding ballast to the nose to better compensate for the lighter turboprop engine, Chadney Kerman took it up again.  Handling was much better - roughly the same as the original Bison's, as was performance.  Still, Chadney had entered the program long after the early days at DSC, so he was enjoying the Turbo-Bison after hearing stories from the senior pilots.  He made a few low passes over the base, then a trip to the hills.  Several of his maneuvers caused him to black out, although he always regained consciousness in time to recover the aircraft.  While returning to base, skimming a hill at minimal altitude, Chadney apparently misjudged the height of the hill and slammed into the crest at 157 m/s and was killed instantly.  This marks the first casualty of the space program, even though it occured during testing unrelated to space flight.  

Spoiler

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It is an odd looking plane with the little "Kitty" on the nose

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Moments after Chadney's fatal crash

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Debris:

Pioneer-Jool 2nd Stage - 02:234 - 142x392km, 6.5* inclination

Other:  The Astronaut Complex was upgraded on 02:374 and during the grand opening, a new space suit design was unveiled to replace the existing suits.

After the death of Chadney Kerman, a memorial was commissioned, to be placed in front of the astronaut complex flag pole.  Jeb was given the honor of driving the statue and placing it, with Johnny Kerman providing engineering assistance.

Spoiler

First attempt at placing the memorial, which ran afoul of KSP joints & auto-struts

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Second attempt that actually worked

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I took a ton of shots of taking the memorial to the astronaut complex, but this was the only one of dropping it off, and I have none of just the memorial

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Update 03:026   Right into the great unknown

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Ongoing Missions:

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Minmus Outpast A - Third crew finished their stint on the surface & returned home safely after a fly-by of Mun.  They were the last crew still using the old EVA suits.  A new crew arrived on 03:024

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Dres Sojourner - Arrived at Dres on 03:025 and entered orbit, transmitting substantial amounts of scientific data from both low & high orbit back to KSC.  With the mission effectively complete, it will remain in orbit to provide a comm relay back to Kerbin for future missions.

Spoiler

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Pioneer-Jool - Course correction completed on 03:018, ETA to Jool's SoI is 04:249

Kerbinport Station - Once STV4-2 docked, the old crew quickly boarded it for their return home while Pheobe, Johnny & Samdas got ready for their 6-month mission.  Also, in honor of Chadney Kerman, Kerbinport is officially renamed Chadney Kerman Memorial Station.

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Val & company on board & moving away from the station

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Safely splashed down - Kelrik was eager for some fresh sea air

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KIRO-1 - Will arrive at Ap on 03:094

KIRO-2 - Will arrive at Pe on 03:033

KIRO-3 - Will arrive at Pe on 03:040

MMV-ER-1 - Arrived at Minmus on 02:405 for the last rescue of this mission.  The timing of their entry into Minmus' SoI was excellent and they were able to achieve a direct rendezvous with just a 56 m/s course correction.  Pilot Mirwise was recovered and the entire crew returned safely to Kerbin on 02:412, 88km north of DSC.

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 Moho Surveyor - Will depart 03:083

Dres Surveyor - Will depart 03:122

Manned Launches:

DSC Girrok MiL6-2 02:407 - Launched with a load of 4 tourists and two new scientists.  The trip to Minmus was uneventful and they performed a landing in Minmus' Midlands before taking off & plotting a return to Kerbin with a stop at the Mun.  Coincidently, they were passing near another magnetic anomaly - TMA-5 - which we just happened to have a contract to investigate.  That accomplished another mission, then they were back to orbit and heading for home.  Splashed down safely on 02:426

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KSC Girrok ML4-1 02:409 - Launched with a pilot & 3 tourists for a Mun landing.  Fairing separation destroyed the decoupler between first & second stages and the LES was activated.  They were actually high enough that the LES put them into a suborbital trajectory.  Splashed down safely.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok ML4-2 02:419 - Second attempt to land 3 tourists on Mun plus a new pilot, Mirwise.  Launch went smoothly and they landed in the Farside crater, planted a flag, gathered scientific data & return safely to Kerbin.

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KSC Dawngrazer STV4-2 03:013 - Redesigned for Kerbinport & its higher orbit, STV4-2 carries the replacement crew of Phoebe, Samdas & Johnny plus a supply of fresh snacks.  This crew is slated to stay for a full 6 months before returning home.  Also, STV4-2 is used to bring back the existing crew while the MMV remains docked.

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Continued above (Kerbinport station)

DSC Dawngrazer MiL3-6 03:014 - Replacement crew for Minmus Outpost.  They are carrying a new experiment plus a surface resource scanner, arrived 03:02

Spoiler

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Transfer stage is being intentionally staged as close as possible to the base to provide a large signal for the seismic sensors

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Unmanned Launches:

KSC Girrok MultiComm 03:008 - To further improve communications around Kerbin & beyond, another set of three relays was launched to a Ap of 62500 km.  Each relay is based on the Voyager satellite bus and carries a 100G relay antenna.  Relay "A" was inserted into its orbit on 03:020 and the next insertion will be on 03:073

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After deploying Relay "A", the carrier drops its Pe to about 32608 km to set up a 120 degree spread for relay "B" and eventually "C"

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Aircraft: Following the death of Chadney, a thorough review of all aircraft testing programs was ordered.

Debris:

Pioneer-Jool 2nd Stage - 02:234 - 142x392km, 6.5* inclination

Other:  

For the second year, we had 22 manned and 24 unmanned rocket launches plus a single spaceplane to orbit and two manned pad abort tests.  Eight of those launches were interplanetary probes and three more were launched into solar orbits.  A single unmanned launch and two manned launches failed, with both crews safely recovered.   There was one casualty for the year.

 

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Update 03:082 Yeah, we got a little convoy, Ain't she a beautiful sight?

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Ongoing Missions:

Mun Outpost A - Mothballed

Minmus Outpast A - The fourth & final crew is at the outpost for a 90 day stay.  

Pioneer-Jool - Expected to arrive in Jool's SoI on 04:249

Kerbinport Station - Pheobe, Johnny & Samdas have 112 days remaining on their 6 month stay.

KIRO-1 - Will arrive at Ap on 03:094

KIRO-2 - Arrived at Pe & established a 10.5 Gm by 11 Gm orbit around Kerbol to begin tracking asteroids.

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KIRO-3 - Arrived at Pe & established a 10 Gm by 10.5 Gm orbit around Kerbol and began asteroid tracking duties.

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Moho Surveyor - Will depart 03:083

Dres Surveyor - Will depart 03:122

Girrok MultiComm - Inserted relay "B" into its 62500km orbit on 03:073, and relay "C" will be inserted on 03:126

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Manned Launches:

KSC Gi MMV-XR-1 03:034 - In a repeat of the last multi-rescue, another is planned.  The first will be in LKO, then a Minmus orbit and finally a Mun orbit rescue.  To ensure sufficient dV, a stretched version of the MMV is being built - the XR (eXtreme Range) with an up-sized launch vehicle to get it into orbit.  Since it will launch unmanned, the LES is again replaced by a simple aerodynamic nosecone.  The first rescue, of engineer Arbin, went smoothly.  The transfer to Minmus occurred just a few minutes after the her rescue.  The second rescue of Nicole - another engineer - in very low Minmus orbit went quickly & the boosted up to a safer orbit to plot the trip to Mun. It worked out they were able to depart Minmus almost immediately straight to a Mun intercept on the return to Kerbin.  In fact, it put them passing just 208km from the final rescuee.  No course corrections were performed until entering Mun's SoI, when a 56 m/s course correction put them on a direct intercept.  Velocity difference was substantial - 480 m/s - but there was plenty of fuel left in the MMV and they ended up just 268m apart on the initial velocity matching maneuver.  Two quick burns later, they were sitting just 20m apart & Nellan was rescued.  The return to Kerbin was smooth & they splashed down just 25km from KSC.

Spoiler

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DSC DG MPV-2ER-5 03:068 - An attempt at catching & deorbiting a spent rocket stage.  Kelrik is assigned the mission with Val as pilot.  Equipment for several different recovery plans was loaded on board - from cables & winches to a docking port to a probe core & set of several sepratrons.  Launched into a matching inclination, Val was able to set up an intercept for about 2 hours after reaching orbit.  After rendezvous, Kelrik performed an EVA to attach a cable to the debris stage to allow Val to use RCS to lower the Pe.  While that system worked, it was extremely slow so they made an attempt to fire the main engine on low power but that caused the cable to snap & the debris to fly off spinning after slamming into the MPV - somehow missing both solar panels & the antenna.  After closing back with the debris, Kelrik performed another EVA to attach a small docking port to the side, which Val promptly docked with.  The solid connection allowed a full-power burn to drop Pe, then they undocked and performed a small RCS maneuver to provide separation from the debris and raise their own Pe slightly for a safer reentry.  Landed safely just over 100km from DSC and the debris burned up in the atmosphere.  During the post-mission debriefing, Kelrik commented "What we really need is just a big claw on the front the ship so we can grab the debris & haul it back to Kerbin"

Spoiler

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Cable attached, ready to try deorbiting

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After that failure, time to try docking

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DSC DG MRL2-1 03:078 - In order to handle a surface rescue well south of the Munar equator, the old ML2 lander was modified with extra fuel tanks.  Kelrik was assigned the mission to recover pilot Haigan Kerman & demolish her wrecked pod.  On entering Mun's SoI, it was decided to go straight to a landing rather than enter orbit first.  Landing was just over 200m from the wrecked pod which Kelrik destroyed with a self-destruct charge while Haigan hopped to the rescue lander.  Once Kelrik was back on board, they launched into Mun orbit then back to Kerbin and a nice afternoon splashdown

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Unmanned Launches:

DSC SG RSS-Minmus 03:031 - A resource survey satellite launched to Minmus to begin searching for valuable resource deposits for future ISRU operations.  It entered a polar Minmus orbit on 03:039 and sent the first resource data back to KSC.

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DSC Gi LRR-M-1 03:044 - Large Remote Rover-Mun was launched both to satisfy a contract and further our exploration of our closest neighbor with a new scanning arm & other experiments.  All systems worked as intended and LRR-M-1 touched down safely in the Twin Craters where it gathered data on the new biome before going into standby mode.

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KSC Gi Simpactor-1-Min 03:045 - Seismic Impactor-1 launched to Minmus.  Carries 4 Mite SRB impactors plus the transfer stage as a finalle.  Upon reaching Minmus, it established a flight path that would take it over the outpost at just 2km and commenced firing the 4 impactors - none of which were enough to get a seismic reading on, but at least the transfer stage - which fired its engine to slam into the surface near the base - was big enough for a seismic reading, so the plan wasn't a total loss.  Overall though, this plan was a failure.

Spoiler

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The small rockets proved too small to get any seismic reading, only crashing the carrier was enough energy for a significant reading.

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DSC DG Skydiver-Min-1 03:060  - Since the Simpactor design didn't work as hoped, R&D switched to a smaller core while making entire craft a dedicated impactor - starting with lead ballast in the nose to increase mass (total wet mass of impactor is nearly 18t).  Launch & Minmus transfer went smoothly except the second stage had no self-destruct charges, creating another piece of large debris in orbit.  Upon arrival at Minmus, it plotted a maneuver to directly impact just a few hundred meters from the outpost without entering orbit first.  A few seconds before impact, the engines were switched on for the final time, increasing impact velocity to nearly 600 m/s - which (coupled with the nearly 14.7t mass at impact) provided plenty of energy for seismic readings.

Spoiler

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Impact will be in the flats just past the tip of the nose

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KSC DG Skydiver-Min-2 03:061 - Second Skydiver, launched from KSC to impact Minmus for additional seismic readings.  The forgotten self-destruct issue was corrected, and one more pair of Shrimp SRB's was added.  About a day after Skydiver 1 impacted, Skydiver 2 arrived and plotted a similar impact, but it ended up coming in retrograde and impacted the reverse slope of the ridge east of the outpost - at well over 600 m/s.  Unfortunately, Skydiver 1 had already provided enough energy to gather all necessary seismic readings, so Skydiver 2 was just wasted.

Spoiler

Launch took place during an eclipse

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Impact will be the hill just above the tip of the nose

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Aircraft:

DSC 03:054 - Jeb took up a redesigned CP-04 Voyager jetliner for testing at DSC.  The handling is much better than before, but something is off with the drag - max speed was only about 240 m/s at 7700m.  Turning on aero data showed the cockpit, passenger cabins and tail connector (all Airplane Plus 1.875m parts) having drag values of >9 while the wings components and nose cone (all stock) were much less (~0.23).  

Spoiler

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KSC 03:058 - It was recently realized that no one has built an aircraft capable of landing on water, so a design was commissioned to study this concept.  Jeb eagerly awaited the completion of the first CSP-02 Mallard - his eagerness was probably related to the afterburning Panther engine on the back of it.  Takeoff, water landing, water takeoff & runway landing all went well, completing the contract.

Spoiler

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Debris:

Pioneer-Jool 2nd Stage - 02:234 - 142x392km, 6.5* inclination  MPV2-ER-5 mission lowered debris into a reentering trajectory, allowing it to burn up in atmosphere.

Skydiver-Min-01 2nd Stage - 03:060 - 124x4331km, 6.5* inclination

Other:  Tested an unguided rocket for potential as a seismic impactor on Mun or Minmus.  Using a Mite SRB with spin-stabilization provided by 4 Sepratrons.  It flew remarkably straight up to nearly 17km and impacted between the tracking center & VAB.  Interestingly - but totally unrelated to its intended use - the spent Sepratrons acted as fins and started spinning the rocket the opposite direction on the way down, reducing velocity to around 75 m/s at impact.

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Update 03:143 One foot on the brake and one on the gas, hey!

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Ongoing Missions:

Mun Outpost A - Demolished on 03:133

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Minmus Outpast A - Since the surface scanner showed the ore concentration was only about 2%, and having gone over 100 days on the surface, the fourth crew demolished the base & returned to Kerbin on 03:143

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Pioneer-Jool - Expected to arrive in Jool's SoI on 04:249

Kerbinport Station - Pheobe, Johnny & Samdas have 50 days remaining on their 6 month stay.

KIRO-1 - Arrived at Ap on 03:094 & established a 14.1 Gm by 13.9 Gm orbit as required by contract and began scanning for Kerbin-threatening asteroids.  It is planned once the contract is complete to move it to a lower orbit closer to the other two KIRO craft.

Moho Surveyor - Departed Kerbin on 03:083, course correction planned for 03:191

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Dres Surveyor - Finally departed on 03:122, course correction planned for 03:314

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Girrok MultiComm - Inserted relay "C" on 03:126, completing the outer Kerbin equatorial comm network.

Manned Launches:

DSC Dawngrazer MRL2-2 03:090 - Val & Ambera launched on another MRL2 to investigate reports of an unusual object on the Mun - possibly related to the object found by Jeb in Kerbin's arctic ice caps.  Once again, a direct landing without entering orbit first was the simplest and they set down a few hundred meters from the objective.  Ambera jetted over to investigate, then returned & they departed after just a few minutes on the surface.

Spoiler

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DSC Dawngrazer MPV-2ER-6 03:114 - Rescue contract for Jim Kermin around Minmus.  Engineer Barnie Kerman was assigned the rescue to give Kelrik a break.  Upon arriving around Minmus, Barnie set up a maneuver that put her less than 1 km from the derelict after swinging around Minmus.  A small course correction brought that down to just 18.5m.  Rescue went off without a hitch and they returned to Kerbin safely, landing in the desert between DSC & KSC

Spoiler

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KSC Dawngrazer ML3-3 03:132 - Lodzon, Johnny & Kathberry launched to the Mun to test out the new Buffalo-Mun rover and decommission the old Mun outpost.  Landing & base decommissioning went well but they decided to wait for dawn to explore further with the Buffalo-Mun rover.  Once dawn arrived, the refueled ML3 was launched north to land next to the old Mun Remote Rover, roughly 100km away.  Once it was safely down, the crew headed out in the Buffalo to explore the terrain & see how a large rover handled in low g.  Getting out of the east crater - the first few km of the journey - was the hardest.  Despite not seeing a single crater to date, both a small & large mun crater were found & scanned with the scanning arm on the trip out of the east crater.  Once at the crater rim, they stopped for a few hours to rest & recharge batteries.  Upon continuing, it took less than two hours to make the trip, but it felt like much longer.  Due to a series of impact craters, the course was a zig-zag that was substantially longer than the 95km the map showed.  A few areas got a little dicey, but the initial climb out of the east crater remained the most difficult part.  Upon arriving at the Mun Remote Rover, they took some pics, grabbed the science from the trip and headed for home, landing safely in the desert east of DSC.

Spoiler

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Some consideration was given to hauling the ML3 from the old outpost site to the MRR, but this was abandoned as too risky.

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The first few kilometers west through several biomes, allowing a substantial amount of science to be gathered

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Almost the entire trip involved detouring around impact craters.  Zoomed out to scan terrain ahead, the rover headlights are barely visible in the center of the image.

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WSC SOTV-4-1 03:140 - First flight of tourists on the (redesigned) SOTV-4.  All went well and the cost-cutting changes didn't adversely affect the flight characteristics.

Spoiler

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Unmanned Launches:

DSC Steamglider RSS-Mun 03:097 - Since Mun was the last "local" body that hadn't been scanned for resources, a new Resource Survey Scanner was built & launched. It will also supplement the aging MRCO-2 relay for far-side & polar communications.  Everything went well, and we got our first resource scans of Mun.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok Buffalo-Mun Rover 03:111 - Advances in technology have unlocked the means to create a self-contained surface exploration rover.  The initial version was launched to Mun and landed safely near the old Mun Outpost A. The one slight drawback is the TWR is fairly low and I misjudged the how long the suicide burn would take with the skycrane.  Only by quickly repurposing the Sepratrons (intended to pull the skycrane up & away from the rover after landing) was I able to shed enough velocity to land safely.  Happily, there was plenty of fuel remaining in the skycrane, so its engines were able to perform the eject & self-destruct sequence without the sepratrons.  I think I'm going to upgrade the design to use Cub engines in place of the two Twitch engines.

Spoiler

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WSC SOTV-4-T 03:131 - Flight test of a new low-cost LKO tourist vehicle SRB Orbital Tourist Vehicle (SOTV)-4.  Primarily SRB powered - 4 Thumpers to launch, a fifth Thumper as second stage, then a Hammer third stage and finally a Pug engine to circularize & deorbit.  Flight test went well - the second stage thrust is a little low and the third stage Hammer overshot the target Ap (105km vs 85km), but the cost is actually higher than the Dawngrazer OTV-4 by 1000 funds.  Going over the design item by item was able to reduce cost, down to 18,799 funds which is about 900 less than the current OTV-4.  This does result in a craft without a proper LES, relying instead on the third stage Hammer to ignite & hopefully push the crew cabin to safety, which isn't viable though the entire flight.  

Spoiler

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Aircraft: None

Debris:

Skydiver-Min-01 2nd Stage - 03:060 - 124x4331km, 6.5* inclination

Other:  Admin upgrade started on 03:094, and completed on 03:111. 

The prototype Buffalo-Mun rover was built & tested near KSC by Kelrik & Ambera for several days.

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Also tested was an autonomous underwater drone - based off a torpedo design - for exploration on planets with liquid bodies like Eve & possibly Laythe. 

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Finally, MRCO-2 was deorbited as it was no longer needed with the completion of the comm network.

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Update 03:208

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I'm going ahead with an update simply because  of the high volume of launches.  No fancy title, just a LOT of probe launches for three different transfer windows - Eeloo, Jool & Duna.  

Ongoing Missions:

Pioneer-Jool - Expected to arrive in Jool's SoI on 04:249

Chadney Kermin Memorial Station - Pheobe, Johnny & Samdas completed their 6 month tour on the station and returned home, splashing down in the ocean west of KSC on 03:193.

Spoiler

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Moho Surveyor - Course correction performed on 03:191, Moho encountered expected on 03:232

Dres Surveyor - Course correction planned for 03:314

Manned Launches:  None

Unmanned Launches:

KSC Dawngrazer-Heavy Eeloo Voyager 03:153 - Launch of the Eeloo Voyager into LKO pending transfer to Eeloo.  Combining a 100G relay antenna and a suite of orbital science experiments, it promises to start unlocking the secrets of Kerbin's farthest companion.  Transfer maneuver is scheduled for 03:270

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DSC Girrok-Heavy Minmus Station Core 03:155 - Core section of the modular Minmus Station launched from DSC.  However, due to a serious miscalculation, it lacked the dV to make orbit and the remains splashed down east of DSC.  Apparently, the engineer responsible for the design took a snack break after finishing the core launch vehicle and his assistant - thinking the design was finished - rushed it down to the VAB to begin construction, leaving the design woefully short of dV.  Only a 100000 funds mistake.  The design has been corrected, but due to a bottleneck of 3 rapidly approaching transfer windows, a second attempt is being postponed for now.

Spoiler

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KSC Dawngrazer-Heavy Jool Voyager 03:163 - Another Voyager launch, this one destined for Jool.  Transfer planned for 03:274

DSC Girrok Ike Sojourner-Surveyor 03:165 - Combining two older designs - the Sojourner orbital science probe with the small Surveyor vacuum lander - provides a proven design capable of placing both an orbital relay and a small lander on Ike for a relatively low cost in a single launch.  It uses the same launch vehicle as the Dres Surveyor - despite the larger payload mass, the low dV cost to reach Duna makes it possible without a complete launch vehicle redesign - just an additional pair of Thumper SRB's.  Transfer maneuver will be on 03:292

WSC Glide Lander Test 03:174 - Suborbital test launch of the CD-03 Glide lander.  Also the first launch of anything in the 3.75m diameter in this career - primarily so the entire glide lander could fit inside a fairing.  The new skid landing gear produced entirely too much drag but otherwise the test was successful, with a fairly rough touchdown in the desert hills east of DSC that yielded no damage due to the rugged skids.  A second test is planned with more aerodynamic skids

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok LRR-Duna 03:174 - Taking the existing Large Remote Rover design and adding several parachutes is expected to be sufficient to land it on Duna safely.  Transfer planned for 03:312

DSC Girrok Duna Pancake Lander 03:175 - By modifying the Eve Pancake lander - dropping the second heatshield, replacing the inflatable floats with landing airbags and adjusting the nose cone to fit multiple parachutes - the Duna Pancake lander was born.  Transfer scheduled for 03:301

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WSC Glide Lander Test 2 03:182 - Second test of the CD-03 Glide lander.  Everything went well until touchdown - on the desert runway no less.  For reasons unknown, the skid gear exploded on touchdown (at <30 m/s forward speed, and just a few m/s vertical speed) followed by every other part of the glider.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok Jooldiver 03:187 - Launch of a probe to gather science from inside Jool's atmosphere.  Launch went smoothly & the transfer is planned for 03:275

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DSC Girrok Eeloo Lander Can Mk1V 03:188 - Inspired by the Eve & Duna pancake landers, the Lander Can uses a 2.5m service but has 4 monoprop thrusters to perform a soft landing on a vacuum moon or planet.  The lander itself only has about 700 m/s dV.  Launch went smoothly & transfer to Eeloo is scheduled on 03:267

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DSC Girrok Jool Large Relay 03:205 - A dedicated relay, mounting a pair of 100G Voyager long range relay antennas to further improve communications around Jool and hopefully prevent a disastrous loss of communications with the array of probes launched for this transfer window.  Transfer planned for 03:272

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KSC Girrok-Heavy Laythe Pancake Lander 03:208 - A cross between the Eve & Duna pancake landers, it goes back to inflatable floats in case some of our astronomers prove correct in their theory that Laythe is mostly liquid oceans.  Additional antennas and a small RTG are also installed to improve operations so far from Kerbin.  Planned to depart LKO on 03:272

Aircraft:

CD-03 Glide lander - Tested a new design for a probe to land on planets with an atmosphere. Initial test with a launch via Mite SRB's went ok but some potential improvements were highlighted.  The second test flight went better, clearing the way for reentry testing.  Once basic flight tested was completed, suborbital tests were launched from WSC to test reentry & rough field landing capabilities - including replacing the normal aircraft landing gear with simple skids.

Spoiler

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Debris:

Skydiver-Min-01 2nd Stage - 03:060 - 124x4331km, 6.5* inclination

Other:  Started the final upgrade on the tracking station, expected completion is 03:281.

After the launch of the Eeloo Lander Can, a one week stand down was ordered to allow for in-depth safety checks on the building & launch facilities to help ensure there will be no surprises in the near future after the rapid pace of launches.  Inspections were completed on 03:195

 

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Update 03:316

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This is another update just getting all the Eeloo/Jool/Duna probes & landers sent on their way.  The most noteworthy items are the Moho Surveyor landing (first LFO-only Moho landing for me) and the Laythe Glide-Rover.  I'm hoping it survives entry & landing - there wasn't even time for a suborbital test at Kerbin

Ongoing Missions:

Pioneer-Jool - Expected to arrive in Jool's SoI on 04:249

Chadney Kermin Memorial Station - Mothballed in HKO

Moho Surveyor - Entered Moho SoI on 03:232, followed by orbital insertion and landing after half an orbit later.  Touchdown was at  54*N,  42*W and somehow in the North Pole biome.  This marks the very first time I have sent a lander to Moho with purely chemical rockets.  After touchdown, images, soil samples & temp readings were sent back to KSC.

Spoiler

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Eeloo Landercan - Transfer performed on 03:267, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:269.  Course correction planned for 04:250.

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Eeloo Voyager - Transfer performed on 03:270, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:271. Course correction planned for 04:246

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Jool Large Relay 1 - Transfer completed on 03:272, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:273.  Course correction planned for 04:115

Laythe Pancake Lander - Transfer performed on 03:272, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:274. Course correction planned for 04:120

Jool Voyager - Transfer completed on 03:274, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:275. Course correction planned for 04:123

Jooldiver - Transfer performed on 03:275, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:276. Course correction planned for 04:124

Ike Sojourner-Surveyor - Transfer completed on 03:292, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:296.  Course correction planned for 03:405

Duna Pancake Lander - Transfer performed on 03:301, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:304. Course correction planned for 03:411

LRR-Duna - Transfer completed on 03:312, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:316.  Course correction planned for 03:401.

Dres Surveyor - Course correction performed on 03:314, Dres intercept expected on 04:281


Manned Launches:

KSC DG MRL2-3 03:242 - Now that the launches for the interplanetary transfers are done, we can catch up on some backlogged contracts - like rescuing Danger Kerman from the surface of Mun.  As the acknowledged expert in rescues, Kelrik was tapped to go as the mission engineer.  I thought Danger was a pilot, but upon recovery it turned out she is a scientist.  It wasn't a significant problem - the lower stage probe core was able to handle stability control until reentry, and the Onion pod made SAS unnecessary for reentry.

Spoiler

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DSC Gi MiL6-3 03:247 -  And we can finally send a load of tourists to Minmus and Mun with one of our new pilots (Haigan).  First stop was Mun for a quick landing & flag planting followed by a transfer to Minmus just twenty minutes after returning to Mun orbit.  Arrived in Minmus orbit on 03:255, landed in the Greater Flats, planted another flag then returned to orbit & headed for home.  Reentry and and landing went smoothly.

Spoiler

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KSC Gi MiL4-2 03:252 - Another load of tourists for Minmus in the automated MiL4 lander.  Launch & Minmus transfer were routine.  None of the tourists actually required a Minmus landing, so after reaching orbit, they immediately plotted the trip home.  It was rather wasteful, but I already had the lander built when I realized only an orbit was needed.  Returned to Kerbin and landed safely.

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KSC Gi MiL4-3 03:305 - Third load of tourists, this one only headed for a Mun landing.  Since there are only 3 tourists, pilot Kersey Kerman took the final seat for experience and to plant a flag for the tourists.  The flight went smoothly and splashed down safely on 03:306, completing two more tourist contracts.

Spoiler

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The lander stage stuck to the crew capsule during reentry, only falling away after the drogues deployed.

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Unmanned Launches:

DSC DG AKRV-ER-1 03:209 - First launch of the Automated Kerbal Recovery Vehicle-Extended Range.  Recent advances have resulted in a claw-like device to grapple other spacecraft, allowing rescue missions that recover the entire craft with the crew on board.  The first planned recovery is from Minmus.  This is also the 20th unmanned launch this year.  Arrived at its Minmus Pe on 03:218 and burned directly into an intercept at Ap.  There was a slight mishap when the ARKV got a little too close to the stranded capsule & glanced off as it was matching velocities, but the ARKV was able to re-rendezvous & grab Kersey's pod & plot a return course to Kerbin.  Reentered and splashed down safely on 03:227.  

KSC Gi Jool Large Relay 2 03:217 - Launch of a second Large Relay Mk1 for Jool.  It is hoped the two relays combined with several other craft with relay antennas will at least allow everything heading for Jool to maintain signal well enough to perform any requireed maneuvers.  Unfortunately, the first stage Twin-Boar exploded with over 400 m/s remaining.  Staging was immediately performed and the second stage carried the relay out of the atmosphere but had insufficient dV to complete the orbital insertion.  The transfer stage was able to finish insertion and should have enough dV to complete the mission but nearly all reserves are gone.  Transfer performed on 03:274, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:275, course correvtion planned for 04:126.

DSC DG Pioneer-Duna 03:218 - Pioneer probe launched, bound for Duna to gather additional orbital science around our red neighbor.  Transfer completed on 03:291, departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:295. Course correction planned for 03:423.

KSC DG RSS-Duna 03:221 - Resource Survey Satellite for Duna, to begin looking for resource-rich locations for potential manned landings and bases.  Transfer performed on 03:310 and departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:313.  Course correction planned for 03:400

DSC DG RSS-Ike 03:223 - Ditto for Ike.  Transfer completed on 03:311 and departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:314.  Course correction planned for 03:400

This wraps up the probes for the Eeloo, Jool & Duna transfer windows.  After a short break for everyone to catch their breath, recover Kersey and watch the outcome of the Surveyor-Moho mission, missions will return to objectives within the Kerbin system - tourists, rescues & perhaps finally recovering the Skydiver debris. Except:

KSC Gi Laythe Glide-Rover 03:287 - Last-minute addition to the Jool line-up, the Glide-Rover is hoped to be able to handle Laythe entry followed by a controlled flight to find a suitable landing site for a remote rover.  Launch went smoothly (after some sandbox testing that didn't), and a transfer maneuver was performed less than one orbit later.  Departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:288 and course correction is planned for 04:150

Spoiler

Some of the launches were in sandbox to see if I could pull this off before the career launch, so if you spot differences between launch vehicles, the pics are of a few variants

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KSC Gi Eve Large Remote Rover 03:296 - First launch for an upcoming Eve window.  If all goes well, this should place a remote rover on Eve's surface.  Launch from DSC went smoothly and the transfer to Eve is scheduled for 03:391

Spoiler

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Aircraft:

This barely falls under the category of aircraft, but a rover-delivery glider was tested - successfully on the first try at KSC - with the intent of sending a rover to Laythe or Eve.  Considering how it looks, handling was remarkably tame for the SRB-assisted takeoff and landing.  It carries a small 0.625m Torch LFO engine inside the structural tube for a small amount of thrust to lengthen the glide - although it is planned to swap it with an aerospike for Eve if they ever become available.  Next step would normally be a suborbital test to see how it handles reentry, but there isn't time to do that and build a full blown craft to get to Laythe.

Spoiler

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Debris:  

Skydiver-Min-01 2nd Stage - 03:060 - 124x4331km, 6.5* inclination

Jool Large Relay 1 2nd Stage - 03:272 - 141x1039km, 6.5* inclination

Other:  Final tracking station upgrade completed on 03:281.

I also tested a new Buffalo Heavy Science Rover at DSC.  With an extra-wide wheelbase to reduce the chances of rollovers - particularly in low-g.  Across the desert flats, they were able to reach just over 43 m/s before getting into low hills & slowing to a safer speed.  After running around the desert & highlands near DSC for a while, they headed back.  There were a few high-speed turns that pushed the limits of rover's stability, but nothing it couldn't handle.  On the return leg, they managed to just barely reach 44 m/s.

Spoiler

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2 hours ago, Pretorian28715 said:

@Cavscout74 Liking your designs and the story line.

Awaiting MOAR!!!

Glad you're enjoying it.  I've been kinda busy with real world stuff, but still plugging away at this too.  The triple transfer window made for some slow progress - and there's an Eve window coming up fast too.

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Still no update, but I have gotten a few things done, like finding another Munolith:

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And building a station around Minmus:

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Also getting a few craft ready for Eve & setting up to attempt to capture a class E asteroid.

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Update 04:001 "The Waiting is the hardest part"

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And after a lot of waiting, I present the end of the third year of my Out of the Sands career.

Manned Launches:

WSC Dawngrazer OTV4-9 03:328 - Load of 4 tourists to LKO & back.  All went well except just before first stage separation, the Bobcat engine began overheating.  Suspecting a ruptured fuel line, the lower stage was jettisoned and the flight continued using the OMS engine.  Due to the loss of nearly 100m/s, some of the reserve OMS fuel was needed but otherwise the mission went well.  Safely recovered after a splashdown southeast of DSC.

WSC SOTV4-2 03:336 - Another load of 4 tourists to LKO & back with the SRB-powered SOTV4.  All went well and the tourists were recovered safely.

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DSC MRL2-4 03:348 - In order to satisfy multiple contracts, pilot Nellan & tourist Lenely launch on a MRL2 to Mun for a flag planting, landing the tourist & investigating another anomaly on Mun (TMA-7).  After a hair-raising but successful landing in the bottom of a canyon, Nellan investigated the anomaly & planted a flag, then returned to orbit and headed for home with his pale green-knuckled tourist.  Splashdowned down safely, leaving one more mission for the last anomaly & another tourist.

Spoiler

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WSC SOTV-7-T 03:355 - Test launch of a new 7-seat LKO tourist vehicle.  Primarily SRB powered, with a Terrier-powered orbital stage.  Jeb snuck on board to get a chance of reaching orbit for the first time in a while.  The test flight went well, reaching a 91x71km orbit with over 300 m/s remaining in the orbital stage.  Splashdown occured southeast of DSC like the typical Woomerang tourist flight.

Spoiler

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WSC SOTV-7-1 03:360 - First operational flight of the SOTV-7 design, with a full load of 7 tourists to LKO.  All went well and they splashed down SE of DSC as planned.  Total profit for the trip was nearly 28000 funds - not great but passable for the short duration of the flight.

Spoiler

The actual flight with passengers was of course at night:

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Not quite apparent in this image, but the spent orbital stage came with maybe 2 meters of smashing one or two gridfins

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Safely splashed down

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KSC Girrok MMV-ER-2 03:368 - First crew to visit Minmus Station.  Rather than bring a pilot, Kelrik & Ambera are sent with a VIP tourist, trusting to the flight computers for piloting tasks.  This will be a short term mission, just bringing the station online, testing out the facilities and welding the docking ports for the science & fuel module.  Docking went smoothly and while Ambera brought the lab online, Kelrik performed an EVA to weld the docking ports for the lab & fuel modules.  For reasons unknown, the weld function failed on the lab module, but the fuel module welded in place successfully.  They remained on the station for a few days, then headed for home, landing safely on 03:390.

Spoiler

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Returning home

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Unmanned Launches:

DSC Girrok Minmus Station Core 03:331 - Second attempt to get the core for a Minmus station launched, after correcting the severe design flaws of the first attempt.  Launch was smooth, and the new station core transferred to Minmus successfully.  Low orbit around Minmus was attained on 03:340 and it is now waiting for additional modules.

Spoiler

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KSC Granok-X Buffalo Heavy Rover 03:339 - First launch of an early Granok 3.75m launch vehicle to bring a Buffalo Heavy Rover to Minmus.  Launch was uneventful and it transferred to Minmus safely, landing on a plateau that showed promise for ore concentration.  It turned out to be only 7.7% and there were no olivine formations in sight to scan with the improved medium scanning arm.  An extended drive will be required, but time was short after landing. Update:  After completing the MRL2-4 mission, mission control refocused on the Buffalo-Minmus Heavy Rover, and after a fairly short drive, were able to locate an Olivine formation in the lowlands east of the landing site.  The ore concentration was also higher - over 11% - but the hilly terrain isn't suitable for a large base.

Spoiler

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KSC Girrok Minmus Station Fuel-Power Module A 03:355 - Launched successfully & transferred to Minmus.  Entered Minmus orbit 03:364, and docked with the station core shortly over an hour later.

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DSC Girrok Minmus Station Science Module 03:362 - Launched successfully & transferred to Minmus.  Entered Minmus orbit on 03:370 and docked with the station core soon after.

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KSC Dawngrazer-Heavy Eve Lightning Surveyor 03:379 - To fulfill a contract to place a satellite in a Kolniya orbit of Eve, the Eve Lightning Surveyor was built & launched into LKO.  Eve transfer occured on 03:398.  Departed Kerbin's SoI on 03:402 and course correction scheduled for 04:082

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DSC Girrok Gilly Sojourner-Surveyor 03:381 - Although tiny, there is information to be gained from Eve's companion and the Gilly Sojourner-Surveyor was launched to establish both an orbital & surface presence for scientific research.  Launched successfully into LKO, with Eve transfer on 03:408.  Departed Kerbin on 03:412 and course correction planned for 04:093.

WSC Girrok ACV-1 03:396 - First launch of an Asteroid Capture Vehicle in an attempt to catch a large asteroid passing through Kerbin's SoI.  After launching into a matching inclination, it was a 5 day wait before burning towards an intercept.  After intercept, the ACV maneuvered to what appeared to be a solid point to capture, and used a short burst of thrust from the main engines to push itself forwards for the capture, which was successfull.  Unfortunately, the 1700 ton asteroid was far too massive for the ACV to capture - it would've taken over 300 m/s to brake into Kerbin orbit, but less then 120 m/s was available with the asteroid attached.  After expending all available fuel, the NERV's were shutdown & mission control resigned themselves to having an additional relay in solar orbit rather than successfully capturing an asteroid - the asteroid with ACV-1 would exit Kerbin's SoI over a week before a second ACV could be built, and it would've required a total of 3 for a capture at Periapsis.

Spoiler

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Bye, bye Kerbin.  Out of fuel and on an escape trajectory.

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Aircraft: None

Debris:  

Skydiver-Min-01 2nd Stage - 03:060 - 124x4331km, 6.5* inclination

Jool Large Relay 1 2nd Stage - 03:272 - 141x1039km, 6.5* inclination


Ongoing Missions:

Pioneer-Jool - Expected to arrive in Jool's SoI on 04:249

Chadney Kermin Memorial Station - Uncrewed

Dres Surveyor - Dres intercept expected on 04:281

EDSR-1 - I haven't had this one in the "Ongoing Missions" section, but its my Eve Dust Sample Return mission from the first Eve window.  Transfer back to Kerbin was finally performed on 03:414, departed Eve on 03:417 and course correction planned for 04:064.

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Eeloo Landercan - Course correction planned for 04:250.

Eeloo Voyager - Course correction planned for 04:246

Jool Large Relay 1 - Course corretion planned for 04:115

Laythe Pancake Lander - Course correction planned for 04:120

Jool Voyager - Course correction planned for 04:123

Jooldiver - Course correction planned for 04:124

Ike Sojourner-Surveyor - Course correction performed on 03:405, but was disrupted by staging of the second stage.  Second course correction completed on 03:423, and Duna intercept expected on 04:170.  This was the last operation of year 3.

Duna Pancake Lander - Course correction completed on 03:411, Duna intercept expected on 04:160.

LRR-Duna - Course correction completed on 03:401, should arrive at Duna's SoI on 04:150.

Jool Large Relay 2 - Course correction planned for 04:126

Pioneer-Duna - Course correction completed on 03:423, Duna intercept expected on 04:168.

RSS-Duna - Course correction completed on 03:400, should arrive in Duna's SoI on 04:149.

RSS-Ike - Course correction completed on 03:400, should arrive in Duna's SoI on 04:149.

Laythe Glide-Rover - Course correction planned for 04:150

LRR-Eve - Transfer completed on 03:391, departed Kerbin on 03:395.  Course correction scheduled for 04:076.

Other:  

This ends the third year of my career.  I had a total of 50 launches - 17 manned & 33 unmanned.  18 of those were interplanetary missions, headed for Jool, Duna, Eeloo & Eve.  One manned and 2 unmanned launches resulted in failures of some form.  In addition, 1 mission failed during execution - the attempted capture of a Class E asteroid.  8 new kerbonauts were rescued and added to my space program.

 

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Might be a while for the next update - my oldest son is in the hospital (has been for a week already) and now I've managed to pick up a nasty cold bug, most likely from the hospital.  Climbing out of bed isn't the easiest thing right now, so rocket science may be a bit beyond me till my head clears out.

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