Out of the Sands

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Update 01:374        Can you take me Higher?


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.


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





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.




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



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


Kathberry gathering a rock sample on the second landing


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.


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



This should be close enough


Almost home


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


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.




Breaking 30km on a jet engine


High speed run on the flight home



Second attempt


Breaking 40km


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


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.



Rendezvous in dangerously low Minmus orbit





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.


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.  



Rendezvous at 5 million meters





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)





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



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.








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.



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.




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


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.


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


Finishing up orbital entry


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


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.





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.




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.




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





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


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.





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.





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.





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?  


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.


Launch of the MiL-4


Approach to Minmus landing


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


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


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)


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





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.


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.


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


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


In orbit, all systems operational, waiting for the transfer


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


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


Second stage - just the adapter tank & a Poodle engine


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.


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


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


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.


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



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.


Kerbin reentry


Post-reentry, with drogue chute fully deployed


Floating in the ocean while awaiting pickup


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.



Preparing to drop Pe to 76km after deploying relay A


Deploying relay B


Deploying relay C


Aircraft: None

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

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