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[1.8.X] Progressive Union of Neo Kerbals


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So, this is where the Progressive Union of Neo Kerbals, or PUNK, will keep its space program progress updated. I wanted to play with some mods, so I needed a new save, and here it is. Mostly, I'm having Snacks, Near Future techs most of the contract Packs and strategas, for a bit more interesting missions.

Baby steps

The first missions are all about sending the mk1 command pod at various place around the KSC. Jebediah and Valentina takes turns trying to reach the highest altitude possible (yes, they need seven days of R&R after any flight, the union is adamant about it) and gather some science about the KSC. Nothing worth of pictures taking, just routine sciencing around.

A lot of discussion involving various branch of union's worker are about what to do next. Should they reach for the stars first (or maybe settle for Mun on Minmus as a first interesting step) or should they focus on getting most out of the natural desire of kerbals to get out there and start a probably profitable tourism program.

To maintain everyone moral high enough, mission control have decided that they can spare some kredits on ice-cream for everyone. So the KSC is driving more and more people these days.

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Messing around KSC

Wernher is probably now having second thoughts about wanting to know first what's around them. The pilots think that they do not need to actually fly to do science there and arguments about boredom versus safety quickly occured through the Cosmonaut complex's mess. Wanting to close the arguments once and for all, Valentina did strap a command pod on top of an almost empty Flea booster, and buzzed the VAB to reach the administrative center Werhner wanted to get data from.

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Surprisingly it worked. The booster didn't survive the landing, the mk16 chute need a bit more than the VAB height to open it seems. But now Wernher will try to find exciting stuff to add to the mission. And Jebediah is a bit frustrated he didn't came with the idea first, so we can reasonnably assume he'll try to do something funky soon.

Anyway, at the end of the day, more area of the KSC have been scienced, allowing Wernher to finally come with some new idea about probes. Bob managed to get a cold in the Cosmonaut Center though. Upgrades of the building might be needed at some point. Arguments about various union groups are to be expected.

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Valentina on ice

In order to train kerbonauts to survive in extreme environment, the PUNK collectively decided that the polar icecap of Kerbin are a good start. After all, there's no heat above the atmosphere, and the ice cold temperature of the ice should be a good way to test the suits and the kerbals. And they needed ice for the free ice creams. So mission control sent Valentina down there south, for the maiden flight of the Mirmy's Hoream, a small plane that the Akademy wants to use to train pilots. And it is named after some weird things happened to Mirmy the famous and beloved pop star of Kerbalkind. Weird things that must remain untold for the future.

The Mirmy's Hoream took of from the airstrip, filled with science experiments that Wernher wanted to run splashed down in the south pole icecaps, with Valentina showing of her mad skills with a stick.

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After taking of, Valentina scotched the stick in position facing south. The travel will be long and boring. And she still have to finish this book she started reading. She enjoy the view of the clouds for a while. She really emjoys seeing the clouds from above. It's not something every kerbal can do but it's something every kerbal should do. It's beautiful from up there.

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Finally, she emerges from the clouds and can see the icecaps. She just need to find the correct spot to land on the water, and hopes that the plane will not protest too much. Engineers didn't expect that plane to land on something else that hard ground, but Val likes her odd. Also, she has mad skills with a stick, so it shouldn't be a problem. And she should not need the chutes either.

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And after several use of the quickload artifact, she manage to not destroy the plane when sealanding. And, after doing all the science, she jumped into the cold water, keeping her suits on. She's crazy, but she does not like having a cold which would ground her for days. She took the obligatory picture of the EVA before going back in, looking at the fuel gauge and asking for a recovery where she was. Not enough fuel to get back to KSP.

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At least she had time to finish her book.

And since the kraken decided to eat the universe, Wernher didn't have time to develop his idea of engine using cold stuff to go up, instead of hot stuff. It should probably be for when the kraken eject the world and allows it to move once again (yeah, computer froze)

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Hammering orbits

The booster cooperative wanted to check that their Hammer can be used to achieve orbit, so they asked if PUNK could benchmark one of them at the edge of the atmosphere. Jeb got hyped at the idea, and said he volunteered to get up there with any solid fuel booster if it would allow him to escape the atmosphere.

And so PUNK engineers did strap together fuels, boosters, engines and one of those small cryoengine Wernher wanted to demonstrate. The result is the HCol Spirld-Oppurosity, which is supposedly a physicists pun but noone told Wernher that he's the only one to get the joke. Anyway, with enthusiasm and way to high caffeine and sugar level, Jeb sat into the command module and, without waiting for the end of the countdown sequences, ignited the Kickback boosters and prepared for a slow ascension path. The Hammer engineers were adamant, it must NOT be tested at speed over 790m/s but it must be tested between 65 and 69 km. Which is going to make the orbit thing a bit tricky, but Jeb loves the tricky things.

So, after separating the boosters and igniting the Reliant engine, heading for a coasting trajectory, Jeb did check if the delta-V would be enough to achieve both the needed test and getting into Orbit.

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Turned out that the engineers did overbuilt the first stage a little bit, giving him roughly 300 m/s of spare delta-v, which he used burn retrograde. 1027m/s is too fast for the test. And the hammer will give more than enough dV for orbiting and circularizing.

Busy moving the rocket rotating on its center of mass for this retrograde burn, Jeb forgot about documenting the stage separation. But he did took some picture after doing all sort of science up there and reaching orbit.

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All good things coming to an end, and it was time to de-orbit by using the Stromboli cryoengine. Jeb couldn't attach the marshmallows on the outside of the command pod since he has not yet been cleared for EVA outside Kerbin, the training facility for EVA have not yet been built in the Kosmodrone - that's how the Kerbals calls the Cosmonaut Center now. Anyway, the material bays heat did worry a bit Jeb, and he started rotating the craft on its axis has it reentered the atmosphere, to help dissipate some bits of heat.

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Beside this, the reentry and landing were quite uneventful. Jeb did land in the desert though and grabbed a lot of science from there but Control didn't really heard about that. They actually managed to send a Kerbal in orbit, and get it back in one piece. They didn't get their roasted marshmallows, but the work on an upgrade of the Kosmodrome started and soon, they'll be dancing under the Mun. Or over the Mun.

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The ace of clubs.

Due to recent advance in science, PUNK scientists have figured a way to imitate plant and to convert kerbol light into electrical power, which allow the collective to launch satellite and maintain them without having to worry for power loss (changing the batteries would have cost way to much in launch and Kredits). And with the urge from control that you cannot go to the Mun if you have no comnet, it was decided to launch the first communication relay. The designer union came up with the  KRV Heun's Crade, quickly dubbed the Ace of clubs due to the shape it has with those Liquid Hydrogen tanks.

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You'll note that the launchpad have been upgraded, rockets are going farther but they're heavier. The first unmanned Neo Kerbal probe reached it's designated orbit without much of a fuss and their two antennae have been set up to have a leg into the Public Broadcast constellation, and a new constellation whch will be the backbone of Kerbin SOI Comnet, connecting broadcast from Kerbin, Mun and, later, Minmus together, allowing to send coms overthere without much of a delay.

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Landing on the water

To disprove the claim that you cannot land on water but only splash there, Valentina took the Mirmy's Hoream for another ride to the Ice caps. But the northern one this time, since there's no ground under the ice, it would be easier to land on the water there.

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And after a long and - once again - boring flight, she was able to land on the water. And to get some reports for a science collective while she was at it. She now have been in the coldest place on Kerbin, and she expect to get away from the atmosphere soon now.

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Bill takes the matter in its own hands

Since no-one really seemed to care about taking more scienctific experiments around the KSC, Bill snook up into the SPH and put himself behind the stick. Everyone was focused on having a blast at the post-unmanned launch party thrown of at the Kosmodrome to even noticed him.

He did not took any risk of flying and instead drove the plane around, gathering some experiments, including on the launch pad. This showed the robustness of the Mirmy's Hoream, since Bill didn't broke anything. It also showed the necessity of, maybe, put some locks on space ship and planes when no ones is there to watch them. But then, who cares about theft or accident? This is PUNK after all, if Bill wants to ride a plane on the ground, he should be allowed to do it.

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So, lots of stuff is happening in PUNK space program.

Mun's program

Finally, we did land things on the Mun. Actually we even setup a com relay first in a whacked orbit, then landed three probes at different places. Lots of science got back into Linus labs and scientists are now crushing bits of data. By whacked orbit I mean a Molnya kind which provide a hell lot of coverage :

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The relay is of the same model than the one that's orbiting Kerbin, and the launch was quite standard, nothing funky happenned. But at least the Heunk's Crade works fine, and will surely be use at a later time for Minmus infrastructure.

Then, a three launch campaign started to get data out of different biomes. The probes where a bit heavier than the relay (due to science experiment and fuel to land), so Wernher came up with a slightly modified launche. Enter the ID Hamcess-Qumite launcher and autonomous micro lab.

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Yes, the second stage is long. It almost go to a fully circulated orbit on its own (well, at least after the SRBs have been ditched), leaving the cryo engines plenty of deltaV to reach Mun, get into a polar orbit and prepare a landing. Landers have hit the ground in the North Pole, and into the East and farside craters. Landing in the North pole at night on high steep slopes was made possible because those gyroscope gives the lander a lot of momentum and stability (allowing to get back on its feet after falling).

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With all the science gathered from those three landing, R&D got a lot of new things for engineers to engineer new rockets. Including the first parts which could sustain crew for long term stay in space.

Let's build a station in space!

Gene and Wernher went working a bit on this first space habitat that will stay around Kerbin. More a tin can painted in white than an actual hab, it will do for now. And so the KF Crion Shiord was brought on the launchpad, filled with engineers, scientists and tourists. All entrusting the electronic neurons that would drive the rocket to the space. Space sick pills were distributed because a lot of whoblinness was expected, those docking port are really too damn small.

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After being whobbled a bit (struts were added after the second time the rocket fell on the launchpad), the station escaped atmosphere and install themselves on a 250km orbit. Hydrazine and snacks were consumed in zeroG o celebrate, to notice that they have yet to design a craft for going back onto Kerbin.

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But that would be for another day. Valentina is prepping herself to get everyone back down on Kerbin in one flight will Jebediah is working on his pilot second star at the Akademy.

And of course Gene and Wernher are already planning scout mission for Minmus.

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Infrastructure development

After the Mun, Minmus now also have a relay sat, and three probes have successfully landed there. Not a lot to show (I mean, it's basically the same launches for the Mun but for Minmus, the launcher were a bit overbuilt for Mun operation). Nothing special there except that I forgot that orbiting Minmus is slow.

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Oops

So, while I did think to do the four launch then to warp and land everything, I did not ran in a stupid issue.

I did not totally forgot that I got tourists inside a space station. I did not totally forgot that the modules I had didn't allows for soil conversion into snacks. Or stale air in fresh air. No one faint there. And no one drank seventeen unit of Hydrazine to cool down a little.

So yes, I had to do a rescue / refill mission to the Crion Shord and get those tourists back. Also, a little bit before going off-coms due to fainting, Bob was quite angry about the tourists who were doing nothing at all to help.Oh, and they got a cold epidemic of sort up there too.

It was the administration collective who realized that those two space tourists didn't ever paid the second half of the trip. And, after yelling at enough people, Gene manage to figure they were still up there. Everyone was so used to Bob being angry that noone actually checked if the tourists were actually up-there. After some explications, oopsies and what not, an emergency plan to refill the station and get back those tourists on Kerbin was issued.

Since everyone was rushing, there's not a lot of archives pictures of this quite straightforward mission. But the tourists got their feet on the ground again and finally paid the other half of what they owned us. Bill and Bob were still up there, but with snacks, hydrazin and fresh air, so they could wait a little bit before being rescued. At least they could wait until there was a request to enhance the Crion Shord and adds more space to it.

So, I stook Valentina in an onion pod, on top of a Hitchiker module, some cryo-engines, one bobcat with lot of fuel and four gigantic Pollux boosters. The engine of destruction fly as well as an anvil. But it get the job done. Look at it waiting on the launchpad with its shiny mettalic Liquid Hydrogen tanks.

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And after rendez-vousing for the first time around Kerbin, Bill and Bob joined Val in the now crowded onion module. Which has absolutely no control system (this is what happens when you rush Wernher for a design, he forgets stuff). But deorbiting with the gimbal was finally done.

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And, after burning the last drops of fuel, the onion separated from the rest, deploy its chute and landed nice and soft on the grasslands where our three kerbonauts could finally breathe actual fresh air, while the onion pod refused to stay still and started rolling on itself.

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So, now everyone is almost ok. Bill and Bob are a bit weirder out by the stay in such a confined space, and it seems Bill is now scared to be out in the open. But everything is fine now. And there's a new station around Mun too (an empty one this time< I checked, twice).

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Space is not about success. It never is. It's about how we survive our failures. And what we learn about them. Here is one of them :

The Minmus orbital disaster

Following a quite good unmanned approach of minmus, mission control decided that it was time for PUNK to send Kerbal there and establish a scientific outpost. Engineers and scientists spent a lot of time on iteration of a Minmus orbital lab/hab that could hold four kerbals on long term missions, meaning they would need snacks and fresh air as well as enough electrical juice to feed scrubbers, recyclers and entertainments systems. The Hope's Paw was the result of this process, and you can see it on the launchpad here :

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Four SRBs for an initial acceleration burn, and then a hybrid between onion and asparagus staging, carrying a cryo engine propelled station into space. Two wings have been made out of mk2 fuselage and covered with solar panels, and big containers for snacks and trash where stacked under a MPL and a Hitchicker module. Jebeddiah stands in the observatory on top of it, and uses that as a control center. So far so good. Janzer from engineering and Clauly from science are there too.

Launch goes according to plan, and staging worked as expected.

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The last four boosters are on their way to evaporation in Kerbin atmosphere, which allows you to have a better look at the station, now relying on two two rocket stages to reach its objective and Minmus low orbit. Jeb doesn't really know why mission control thought that an altitude below 30km around the moon would be high enough, but they might have their reasons for such a low orbit. This is the point where Jeb started worrying about staying too much in Minmus shadow. There is some batteries, but will it last enough for the life support system to work half the time on their own ? Jeb guessed that they'll figure out. Mission control probably knows what their doing.

So far so good, the Paw finally reach Minmus SOI, and the cryo engines kicks in, circulazing the orbit with an apoapsis under 30km, just like Mission Control asked.

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The science lab goes on, as well as air scrubbers, but already it seems that the planary design of the station is going to be an issue as it does not follow the sun exposition, it requires constant rotation to maximize energy output. And Jeb also discovers that Wernher didn't bother to embed a station core, meaning he have to stay in the observatory post to maneuver the station.

Meanwhile, at KSC, a second launch for Minmus is being prepared. To compensate for the lack of core and reaction wheels, and to send a Kerbal on the surface of Minmus, a station core and a lander, driven by Valentina, is sent with the mission of rendezvous with the station, scores some important milestones, gather science to give it to the scientist in Minmus orbit, plant flags and get back up, dock to the station and return Kerbin. The payload fit nicely in a fairing, and everything is go.

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Fast forward to Minmus approach. Valentina has been complaining that not enough snacks were brought in the command pod, and after 6 days (out of 10), she started starving. It did not really goes well on PUNK reputation, and some hefty fine have been paid to Astronauts United, the system-wide powerful union of every space workers.

Rendezvous was quite text book.

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What is this bg tank behind the lander for you'll ask. Well, besides the issues of not enough snacks and fresh air, this is one of the major design flaws of this mission. There's enough fuel to go back to Kerbin in there. More than enough even. But there's no docking port on this tank, and I can't land it on Minmus and I didn't pack anything for engineers to attach those tanks to the station. So Valentina we'll have to rely on monoprop engines to land, explore and get back up.

But more pressing matters are at hand. No one's answering from the Paw, and the scan Valentina ran dhows that their out of fresh air, and the air scrubber is stalled, due to a loss of power. She's on her own for docking, and she'll transfer some of the air she have left into the station rotating the station to face the sun and relaunch the air scrubbers. At least it's an axial docking, and she have plenty of monoprop.

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After docking, she transferred into the main base, and initiate some transfer resources, rotating the station to get more power, started the air scrubber and wait for kerbals in there to woke up while drinking some Hydrazine to help with her stress level which are getting high. She used this time to prepare for the third step of the mission, and realize that she will be extremely short on monoprop. Landing won't be an issue, but she might miss a dozen m.s of dV to rendezvous with the station on her way back. She also realized that Wernher forgot about a heat shield for reentry, and it's a quite angry Val who yelled into the radio and asking for a rescue mission. And snacks. But the kosmodrom is out of Pilot for now, so the recruiting of a third one is launched, but it will take time.

" Mission first ", Val told herself. And the rescue mission won't be here before at least ten days. At best. So she might as well get back to the mission and land on Minmus.

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The lander detached itself from the station, and rotated quickly in retrograde position to land on Minmus and get some more science from the ground. Landing was quite easy. There's really not much to it, and Val, the first kerbal on Minmus, then goes out for a walk.

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Those of you who have been paying attention probably noticed that she totally forgot to plant the flag before taking the picture. At least she found some greenstone and she drove around a bit, doing some creative SAS assisted driving on Minmus, setting some new world record for "longest distance driving on two wheels instead of four", "number of creative braking done" and "time spent driving on the ground while not technically touching it", as you can see of the pictures.

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She have juste enough deltaV to reach orbit, and get close to the station, but there's no way she can dock. She popped another can of Hydrazine while waiting for the rescue mission.

Back at KSP. The newly recruited pilot, Triry, took the Desatch Wing for an emergency ride toward Hope's Paw. She have more than enough snacks and air to go there, dock, take the pilots and go back home. Or does she ?

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Ten days later, she's around Minmus and starts the rescue. First, she rendezvous with Val (who passed out due to lack of fresh air) and the lander.

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Then, after Val regained consciousness, and transffered into the crew cabin with all the data gathered, Triry rendezvous with Hope's Paw and dock there. Once again, everyone have fainted there, the air scrubbers lacks power to run efficiently. Waking up everyone and positionning the station, once again, Val starts to feels really angry at Wernher and Gene because they were unable to check up basic stuff such as going back to Kerbin, surviving reentry or having enough fresh air.

Anyway, Clauly have now a lot of data to process in the MPL and she gets at work while all the pilots heads toward Kerbin for aerobreaking and reentry. A lot of plasma was involved, but at least, it was normal.

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Once landed, recovered and back in the Kosmodrom, Val summoned an emergency meeting to discuss and fix the issue of the mission. When faced with the fact that the greenstone have been processed in minmus, not brought back to Kerbin and that no flags have been planted, Val lost it and started throwing rock at Wernher and Gene. "You want rocks ? Here you are. Rocks. And other ones. And I guess you can have this desk to. And this trash can. And ..." and then she fainted, exhausted by this stupid mission which didn't really went well.

"Who's gonna tell her that she needs to get back there ?" asked a quite worried Gene before leaving the medical staff take care of Val, Jeb and Clauly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 The Unnamed Space Ship adventures

So, Val was asked to go back to Minmus, once again. Something about planting flags and grab some sandstone back home. Given how the ast mission went (bad), she insisted on the fact she must have a say on the design. That's why, for a whole week, Val has been running back and forth between R&D and VAB, trying to stick has much survival gear as possible on the classic landing pod — now converted in a rover with VTOL capabilities (not from kerbin though). Which was fine for the mission project team, they had to run an emergency supply-run to the Minmus space base who was running out of air. But that mission will be for later.

Confident in her engineering skills (*cough*), Val managed to assemble the glorious Unnamed Space Ship. Someone tried to give it a better name, but the champagne bottle destroyed the archive cabinet for the project, so that will be a one time thing. Anyway, she's now standing in the rocket, on the launch pad. Realizing that the pod is upside down.

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The setup is a classic asparagus to reach LKO, and then cryo engines to Hoffman to Minmus. Val should be ok, at least from a delta-v point of view. Launching nominal (she trained a lot in the simulator for this mission), and booster separation is fine.

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Once in LKO, and after getting rid of the fairing, she starts the orbital transfer to this kraken forsaken moon (her words).

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This is when mission control realized that she packed a lot of stuff on this capsule. Which cannot really be considered as such. More snacks than what she would need, SOCS candles all the way around, scanning arm, wheels, stage separation for the oscar tanks and ants, and the list goes on.

Ten days later, still stuck in this small pods while sipping Hydrazine, Val finally circularize herself around Minmus, using some of those new telescopic cryo engines.

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And then, the landing starts. After ditching the cryo stack, Val switch the control in forward mode. Technically, in reverse mode because the pod is reversed. After sticking soe stuff around prograde and retrograde commands, to stay sure that she will swap them, she starts the awfully slow process of slowing down the craft with only two ants engines.

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Burning a lot of delta-v, she finally land the rover and starts sciencing what she can. She even have some time to stop and witness Kerbin going down the horizon.

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After driving a little bit around, and not finding any olivine formation, she decide that it would be an issue for the nxt crew coming here. She took the greenstone she found (she won't forget it twice), and up she goes, on those seriously undersized ants engine.

The way back home is nominal, safe for a small misunderstanding of how the SOCS candle works, and firing all of them at once. Losing a lot of precious fresh air in the process. But Val would be ok, she'll just have to hold a breath before reentry. Which should be easy. Ditch the fuel tanks, aerobrake the excrements out of the atmosphere in order to make good use of the heat shield, deploy chutes and land.

But she decided that she can land all the craft in once piece, in order to avoid getting back to KSC on foot. At this points, she's not really breathing and just shut down mission control who's trying to convince her to g the safe way.

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So, in a hot ball of plasma she goes. Slowing down nicely. She still have a little bit of fuel left from the transfer back from minmus. She goes for three successive aerobraking, before fainting due to the lack of breethable air. And it gets hot outside.

Anyway, she finally reach the ground with the full rover, without even losing a part. And she managed to get close to one of those trees, and to extract precious science out of it.

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And the mission went fine. Except for the bit of SNAFU regarding the SOCS candle, but documentation and training procedure have been upgraded and it shouldn't be an issue later on.

But what about Jeb ? Well, he's been busy trying to get new Kerbals in the roster and through the academy. But training them one by one is long, and takes a lot of time and kredits, so he's been working with Gene and the Akademy staff to figure a way to train more kerbal at once. This process is now known as :

The Camp Fire mission

The idea is simple, and brilliant, and will require a lot of complexity. But such is the way of space program, and PUNK is not one to shy away. While spending some quality time roasting marshmallow in the plume of a decommissioned Swivel, Jeb realized that a lot of Kerbal likes to gather ans spend time together, having a good time with their friends. This is how Kerbal bonds,  and how they've done that for ages. And this is how Kerbonauts should be trained, spendning time in space and trying to figure out how to get down there. But the kerbal way. With friends and roasted marshmallows.

After talking to Gene about this idea of sending a lot of tourists and applicant together to spend some time in space, and see who will wants to be part of the next generation of kerbonauts, a contract with the Akademy has been signed. They would need to send twelve tourists in space, with enough snacks and stuff for everyone, and have them stay fourty days up there with a veteran crew of kerbonauts, before going down to earth. Whoever wanted to join PUNK after that, would be welcomed and recruited — after a quick crash course.

Wernher, however, add a bit more issue coming to a solution. And after trying everything he can to try to use the existing orbital infrastructure, he finally settled for a new base station. He had some new stuff he wanted to try anyway, and the previous space station didn't really had any spare ports to be used. Also, he wanted to try to grow salads in orbit, which would improve the classic Snacks™ that's now became the basic astronaut food.

There was no way to launch the full camp at once. And he spent some might trying to figure the way to get all those kerbals back to kerbin forty days after the camp started.

The core was finally assembled and placed on the launchpad. An unmanned flight for this one, but nothing really fancy. Five mainsails in a classic asparagus configuration would provide more than enough delta-V. The mainsail are the biggest engine Linus and Wernher engineered and built as of today. So, putting five of them for their maiden mission made everyone in the engineering and science department happy. The crew in charge of repairing the launchpad was a bit less enthusiastic, but they secured a deal for this kind of heavy launches, in which the damage done to the pad are to be paid by the customer — in this case, the Akademy.

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Launch was nominal, some issues around not having nose cones on the booster and related drag made the rocket a bit hard to control, but it was fine. The booster were jettisoned easily, and the station core is now using the last mainsail to circularize.

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And the core is now and up and running, waiting for the campers to come and roast marshmallows. And learn stuff about stuff.

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There was a "little bit" of fuel left (a bit more than 2k dV, but Werhner likes to overpower the rockets, and PUNK can afford it).

Next step of the mission, is getting everyone up there. The transport modules have been designed around a PPD hitchhiker pod, fitted with fuel and fresh air. Four of them will be launched to gather everyone. Yes, that means there will be an extra kerbonauts, but she's a kadet from the Akademy, and Jeb thought that she can probably gave more insight to the tourist than he can (after all, he's never been to the akademy. It didn't exists when PUNK started).

So, that's one of the four consecutive launch, extracting itself from the tyranny of gravity. The applicants are not really reassured by the power of the 5 mainsail launcher.

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But, they'll get around eventually, and for those who decides to join, they'll manage to enjoy the G they're taking of take of. Fast forward, the launch is boring, and there's a lot of them. The module is now in final approach of the core, and for once, kerbol is on the good side of kerbin, so the automated pod can actually see what it's doing.

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Four launch and docking sequences later, this is how the Camp Fire looks like now.

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All 16 kerbals are present and accounted for. The salad are growing (albeit in weird shapes), and the observation docks are full of amazed young kerbals who are seeing kerbin the way they never did before : from up there. Jeb is trying to find some interesting things to keep everyone busy, and with Bill and Bob, they're now planning some maneuvers. They'll probably go in geosynchronous kerbin orbit, but they'll need an engine module and some more fuel for that. But they have the time to figure it out, they have 40 days to do it. And the first order of business is to explain that those are not bunk beds, because bunk beds don't makes sense in 0G, they're just beds, next to each other. There's no over or under in space.

And while they're sorting out who sleeps where, Val enjoy a nice and relaxing evening in the deserted Kosmodrome. For the first time in a while, she's alone here. But she hears people arguing from the mission control, something about space casino, space hostels, profitability and other non sense. That's not her problem, she decides. And it will always be time to deal with that later. For now, she have some tv shows to catch up on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The investor grand tour

Finaly settling up for the hostel building, Val drove the investor around the KSC. Nothing really fancy there, except that was during a Kerbol eclipse. Which messed up with the whole solar panel powered thing. But it does not happens that often, so it was ok.

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And now that the contracts have been safeguarded, Gene and Werner started working on the hostel complex. 50 rooms, huge hallways, more space for all the hostel staff, and everything should be feeded by hydroponics farm. For advertising purposes, here's an artist view of the thing :

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The final version will probably include some more support modules at the end of the complex. Work have started on figuring out how the heck this will be brought in LKO, but some new engineering and konstruction techniques will help a lot. The idea would be to use the staff base as a mooring point for everything needed, and then, using a lot of welding ports and KAS based anchors, bring each module to position. One issue is the manpower though, so we must wait for the end of the camp to have enough engineers.

And, you can't see it because it's a picture, but the Y shaped modules, each of them holding a number of suite of this hostel, rotate slowly on themselves for better views of space and Kerbin.

Rookie training on Mun

In the meantime, there's a need to better understand the world out there. And new techs is always nice to have. Since Val is the only flight crew in the KSP and due to her involvment with the hostel complex, PUNK decided to hire a full crew from the Akademy, and send them in the Mun canyon to collect as many data about this biome as possible.

The mission was also the maiden flight of the multi purpose rover the ASS Endery Spieen. Which you cannot see on the picture from the launchpad due to fairings.

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The rocket behaved nicely, and after a circularisation burn it is time to ditch the fairing.

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After a classic Hoffman maneuver - nothing fancy, it's supposed to be an easy trip to train the rookies - the team is finally in Munar orbit, starting to gather experiments from there, and waiting for the Canyons to be lit by Kerbol.

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After a day or two, sitting there, flying close to the empty munar station (but more on that on another chapter), mission control can finally see the canyon from their telescope, so its time for landing.

And this is when Werner realized that the exit hatch was upside down. Not really an issue, but the kerbals on EVA have their head really, really close to the ground. Also, some unknown component - at the time - blew up at landing, but the crew didn't really pay attention. That was probably an unimportant part.

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After gathering all the needed science, the crew took the mandatory mission picture that will be pinned on the Great Mission Picture Wall in the Kosmodrome before heading back to Kerbin

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But because it's not a real mission without some issues, a weird misconfiguration of the Bon Voyage module sent the rover nose first on the ground. Which resulted in the destruction of all the solar panel. Getting of the Mun was quite easy (and a last EVA was needed to fulfill the Linus science checklist), but going back to Kerbin was spiny for two reasons. First, no solar power generation from the small engines. They're nice and all, but Werner didn't think about that science there was some solar panel. Second, the center of trust is slightly off-center, which leads to the rover spinning uncontrollably, without any option for position locking on small burns.

Despite this, the pilot managed to bring the rover at a 60km peripasis of Kerbin. Since they're going to be spinning uncontrollably, the heat shield wouldn't be much of an help on reentry. Which brings us back to finally discovering what part did blow up on Mun landing : the aforementioned heat shield. But in a very kerbal way, all the crew stock together and went on a dozen pass of aerocapture, spinning round, without power, until the speed was low enough to be able to land without a heat shield.

All ended up for the best, even if the camera has been somehow blown in atmospheric reentry. Linus got 1k science point, and the crew did gt a nice first mission, with just enough excitements for them to actually have fun. Werner is working on strapping moar batteries on the rover, to balance it on the final stages. And mission control is now trying to figure out what to do until the end of the space camp, because the work on the hostel cannot really starts before the end of it.

There's some tourists to be brought to space stations, and Val' wants to go to the Tundra once more, there's some new plane parts that would make the trip faster coming from Linus and Werner R&D labs.

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A lot happened recently.

Expanding Minmus operations

The minmus base have some issues with sustainability, designers falled a bit short in terms of life supports systems and since it was launched, leading to having a resupply run done in a hurry which made the whole structure a mess to maneuver. But at least scientists there are now crunching data and sends gigabytes of science points back to Kerbin.

But recently the on-site engineer detected a malfunction on one of the hatch, and after many tries, he just condemned the hatch with yellow tape and ask her teammates to use other hatches. Mission Control took a bit of time to find a hatch technician who was willing to go there to fix it, but they managed to do it. And since Linus and Werner developped those hydroponics and battery modules for the hostel project, Gene decided that some more work could be done to reduce the overall installation and makes things tidier. A pair of Clamp'O'Tron and a little bit of storage space for tools were added to the module, as well as a landing can, and everything was sent to the launchpad.

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Yep, that's an asparagus of six liquid fuel booster around a MainSail core. The last stage is a cryo engine, but it's mostly there in case something bad happens as the whole stuff reach 8k dV. The throttle was left on a low thrust, given the TWR ratio of the startup stage (reaching 3.3), to avoid crashing into the atmosphere.

A nominal staging sequences, to reach the upper layer of the atmosphere.

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And, after ditching the fairing, we're headed to minmus.

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Except for the manual switching of the antenna to the destination frequency, the trip was uneventful.

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Approaching the Ktol's Tiger. The parts to be ditched are everything after the clamp'o'tron junior that's closing the habitation modules. During the trip, resources have been transferred from the cargo to the main hab modules. On board engineer have been training the whole time to use all those space screwdrivers and stuff, because she'll need to get rid of the Junior clamp and replace it with a biger one, before the farm module can be docked to the station, for the specialist to go onboard and start fixing the hatch.

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While the old cargo have been ejected, the technician asked for a visual diagnostic of the hatch. So the two small station moved close to each other. The pink module nosing around the KTOL.

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The engineer have removed and ditched the old Junior Clamp, and she's now prepping the work for the bigger clamp'o'Tron to be installed in place. Pilots are a bit nervous, because they need to maintain stability with a now unmanned station, and maintain a distance under five meters for the engineer to screw that clamp in place.

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Job's done. Now, the pilot need to dock and the station would have a nice upgrade. And the technician would be able to work on the hatch without going EVA, which he was not trained for.

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The station is now fully upgraded and a bit more self sufficient. There's still a lot of dV in that tank, so I'll leave it there, it will help for a return vehicule I guess. Because no one's going back home in this setup. This mission took some time, and the space camp is now reaching an end.

School's Out

After forty days of not converting the soil into snacks, the camp finally reaches the end of it's supplies, and everyone fainted due to hunger. Besides that - which costed a heck in Union's fines - everyone is happy, and it's time to get back home. There's four modules to bring everyone back on Kerbin, which are the space where everyone lived for a while.

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First module is go. The orbit is stupidly low (85 km), so no issue with entering the atmosphere. Also, there's a small engine with lots of fuel, just in case.

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Re-entry is totally fine and under control, giving the attendees nice memories of this final stage of their camp.

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Chutes deployed before touchdown. And that's one of four modules to be recovered

The three other modules hit the ground the same way, and everyone's back and accounted for. A full crew asked to jon the Kosmodrom, and most of the other participants are now under medical supervision before being released to their families. The Akademy staff seemed perfectly happy about this camp, so the operation will probably be renewed at some time. But for now, Jeb, Bill and Bob are enjoying their R&R time with Val. The originals four are gathered again in the Kosmodrom for the first time in a while, and they have been granted a day off.

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The loveing Big Hotel - part 1

We have the funds, the tech and the crew, so might has well get starting. The goal is to build a luxury hotel in orbit of Kerbin, for Kerbucks, Fun and Glory. Also because Gene lost a bet. Anyway. The plan (the second version of the final final release) is to build what the architect have planned as close as possible to the artist view below :

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The one launch option has been rejected quite early in the design process, but how big can Mission Control go with the different part, without Val, Jeb and the engineer Union storming their office, yelling about boring launch. Or too many launch pad explosion.

The hardest part will surely be the main gallery, with the dining rooms and lounge. It will need to be cut down for easier deployment. But we're not there yet. First, we need to get the construction site (which will ultimately be the kitchen and logistics center of the finished hotel).

FBH - Launch 1

The first launch is unmanned. The rocket is quite standardm safe for the funky fairing. But it looks better this way.

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After ascending, and getting rid of the fairing, it's time to check if the lights work. And to circularize.

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Nice, lights are A-OK. Orbit too. Except that someone at mission control decided that if we're to build a loveing Big Hotel, we should at least go beyond LKO. And so, here goes nothing, the FBH will orbit at 800 000 km of kerbin. And the project has now been named the FBH 800K (it's not the definitive name, PR says that it does not sells itself very well).

Anyway. Boosters are go.

To The Mun ! (Or, well, a little bit before the Mun would be nice)

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As you can see on the picture, the FNH is indeed big. It's almost as big as Kerbin. And it's bigger than Kerbol.

Nothing fancy on this launch, except that all future launch will need to reach 800 000 km altitude. Also, a lot of Liquid Hydrogen is stuck in the tank, so that might be used later for orbiting purposes. Time to get serious now. Mostly

FBH 800K - Snacks and power (and crew)

The second launch will be dedicated to life support of the crew during the build up. So, mostly, it's a farm and power module. Plus one spaceship for crew rotation (borrowed from the space camp program, with more resources. And a claw. The Claw is cool, and it might be of help in case there's stuff to move around that lacks extra docking ports. Such as a liquid hydrogen tank for instance.

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Up we go. 4 dual staged boosters. Mainsail with liquid fuel for the first part of the trip, where the atmosphere is denser, then Fuji cryo engines when it gets lighter. Besides that, nothing too fancy here either.

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Deployed, and on a rendezvous trajectory with the mooring point. Note that after launch, some solar panel where folded back to avoid them being broken by staging. Also, it will be convenient later to fold some of them when maneuvering the biggest modules.

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This is it. Mooring point in sight, starting rendezvous and docking maneuver.

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Starting a leech maneuver, the Claw grab the Liquid Hydrogen tank. Which is deceptively solid, confirming that it,s not just a roll of golden aluminum foil.

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And that's it for the second launch. The crew seems happy, the farm is running fine too. Some antennas have been reconfigured to relay the backbone signal, the entertainment network will come in later.

FBH 800 K - Main gallery

This one is a bit toucgher. And Valentina called dips on it (the other pilot with enough experience is Jeb and he's still on vacation, so that was not really a fight). The main issue here, was that it's a luxury hotel. So, RCS thruster and staging pads are out of question. Some ressources (namely SAS systems, battery and monoprop) were also needed on site. The gallery have been finally split in three parts, two of them being radially attached via docks to the soon to be lobby and visitors docking station. Two boosters have been added on the other sides of the lobby, and Val installed herself under the Cuppola, in a central position.

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After a light test on the launchpad, the Gallery goes up. The two fairing with docking ports contains the needed supplies.

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And staging! Some six liquid fuel boosters aren't needed now, we can rely on the two mainsails for now.

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And the mainsails are gone. Circularisation and rendezvous will be done on cryogenic power.

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Rendezvous is a success! All lights are go! Now, the tricky parts (docking, and docking and more docking). Since we do not need that much power, the upper solar panels of the farm are being folded back to provide leeway for the docking maneuvers.

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And docking is a success. And it's a nice picture with Kerbin being illuminated. You'll not that the service ship is clawed on the farm, he also docked itself to the Liquid Hydrogen tank.

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First order of business : preping the first stage of the Gallery. For that, we need to move one of the supply container elsewhere. It's a good thing we have a lot of docking port on this part of the station.

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Using the small clawed ship, our crew took the first gallery part and is now aiming to install it at its place. Valentina didn't felt that she would have the patience of moving her big ship around, with unbalanced RCS.

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And here it is. First part of the gallery done. However, the claw is not helping at all, everyone would have been better of with a simple clamp instead of that Kraken bait. After examining their options, they decided that they would be better of without that tank and engine, and that they would use the spaceship only for crew rotation, then they'll complain to Mission Control. So, some maneuvering were involved to dock the spaceship out of the way.

The second part of the gallery was installed by Valentina, without much of an issue. She also did alignment right. (and yes, I forgot about pictures for that). To get to the last part of the Gallery, some reconfiguration were needed, in order to give this single module some ability to move itself and stay powered.

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And here we are for the final docking needed for the Gallery. The lobby now closes the long gallery (even if it needed to be cut in parts, interior designers will have to work with that).

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And this is it. It took a lot of time, so the crew is now javing Hydrazine and Snacks, while Mission Control design what's next.

Should be easy. It's just four farm and power modules, four room and suites modules, which needs to be precisely aligned, and then coding the HAL9000 for the suites to rotates. Easy.

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FBH 800K - Continued

So, PUNK's crews have been working hard toward building this resort and leisure space hostel. The backbone have been assembled in orbit already and a team of four (Val, Paner, Wilburry and Hudly) is now residing there to help assemble and coordinates everything. Also to slack off in orbit, dodging all the chores they're supposed to be doing in the Kosmodrom.

Rooms and suites.

According to Gene, any good hotel must have bedrooms and suites. So, room modules must be sent up there. Four of them to reach the objective decided by the investors fund who's paying the Kerbucks for the hotel. Tecnically, since there's already a lot of space in the backbone, only two would be necessary. But you do not want people to sleep in the corridors in such a luxury hotel. You want them to have bedroom and suites in space.
 

Spoiler

 

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Various attempts have been made to send the original HitchHiker based suites, but the aerodynamic drag and the sheer weight of those made it not possible to reach orbit with enough dV to coast, rendezvous and dock with the FBH. So, architects have been tasked with finding something kerbals can actually launch. And to remove shiny things such as golden doorknob, marbles tables and other eye candy that weight more than a dead kerbals. Some arguing followed but in the end, the architects were beaten to the loudness contest that erupted from those meeting, and came with a new design, which hold as much kerbals than the previous one, while still offering the same amenities.

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A more rational unmanned rocket now carries one of the four suites modules. This make for four almost identical launches (technically, twice that, the rocket is a bit moody and often ends up bottom-up and spinning, yes the very wide fairing is probably the reason).

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The module in all its gilded lighted glory (an acceptable compromise according to the designers), going to orbit and reaching for the FBH 800K.

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Rendezvous with the backbone. The kraken lakes everything stops for a while each time we reach the 2300m from the FBH, but it's ok, it's just the Kraken moving in its sleep. Nothing bad will happen.

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And that's one suites done. The remaining fuel will be used to deorbit the remaining parts of the rocket as an offering to the kaken, may he remains asleep.

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And only three left.
 

Spoiler

 

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Launch.

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Dock.

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Deorbit.

Repeat.

 

While the onboard crew proceed to cleaning and decorating the suites, the investor funds declared themselves satisfied and delivered a whole bunch of kerbucks. They didn't really care that it wasn't finish or running, they counted space for 50 kerbals, and were fine with that.

Gene didn't care much, and the launch campaign continued

Farming in space.

There's a need to feed tourists in hotel it seems. And they'll only accept organic locally grown space food. So hydroponic farm - organic certified, do not ask where the soil come from - where next. Four of them. Again, with some wild hopes about the drags and TWR, attempts where made to send the four of them in one launch.

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That one was a bit too close to waking up the kraken, and didn't made it past 20k before going upside down in loveed up loopings.

So, again, with some disappointment, the engineers unions provided a simple launch vehicule with one hydroponic farm, which would allow for a fast delivery of the payload.

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Up we go, sending lettuces to space, for them to grow in weirded shaped space lettuces.

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Yes, that is a lot of solar panel, but Linus have yet to science something more efficient that would allow for a different kind of design. Also, there's lots of batteries at the bottom of the farm. We do not want it to go offline, that's bad for lettuces, radishes and whatever snacks grows there.

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And, docked. Perfectly aligned. Let's deorbit the engines and launch the remaining three.

The Kraken wakes up

The reentry of the engine finally awoke the kraken. His sleep has been disturbed more and more (it eats a full minutes of loading time when approcahing at 2300m from the FBH).

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A weird wave hit the KSC, flooding it. Kinda. Kraken fighters team were immediately dispatched, and an emergency launch was planned to please the Kraken.

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The launchpad have been spared by the odd flooding, and another farm is going to space, while driving the Kraken focus out of the KSC.

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The higher the farm goes, the more water recess. Everything is fine, krkaen baiting team is A-OK, kraken is now back to sleep. Even if docking to the FBH 800K still makes him move in its sleep (and freeze time).

Going down.

All the farms are now connected and live, all suites are operational and rotates slowly on themselves, funds and kerbucks have been recovered. It is now time for our team to call it a day (or a week), and go back down to the land of the Kraken.

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A last look at what they achieved. "The lighting could be better" says Val, but besides that, they were quite proud of what they did.

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Burning prograde toward Kerbin, the crew of four prepares themselves for a long reentry.

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One of the best reentry she had, according to Val. With lots of plasma going around. The rest of the crew, which are still rookies from the space camp, is splitted between slightly nervous and amazed.

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Chutes are deployed, all of them are A-OK, and some gees kick the crew while they slow down to landable speed.

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Mandatory crew pictures for the archive. And for the first landing wall of the Kosmodrom, on which each Kerbanauts have theur picture of their first landing on Kerbin after reaching orbit.

The FBH 800K - desperatly in need of a more selling name - is now done. The biggest project that PUNK did so far. One that will change the way we see space, making it a more comfortable place. Or lucrative for those who are motivated by kerbucks. And what's next some may ask? Well, first, the KSC is now fully upgraded. And Linus keeps complaining about the lack of science stuff, so its time for PUNK to focus itself a little bit more on the scientific gathering part, and a little less on the tourist one.

And after that, it will be time to extend the communication infrastructure and goes beyond Kerbin SOI. An asteroid detector is being planned to. As well as a huge communication relay. And some space base too.

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Attitude correcting.

Talks have been started at Mission Control that there might be a way to get a permanent base on the Mun. The why and other trivialities are, for now, out of scopes of the talks, all of them being about having a nice party on Munar ground. But before starting deploying and engineer a full base, there's a need for moar science from the Mun. Conveniently, R&D teams lead by LInus discovered way to do orbital bodies scan with the M700 survey scanner. It's an easy enough to use tech that it was decided that it should be part of the first scouting mission.

Gene and Wernher later discovered that this scanner needs to be in a polar orbit to work efficiently. After a lot of swearing, and since trhe current munar space station is in low equatorial orbit, it's been decided to send a fuel tanks and nukes engines rig to move the station around, and change its counter clockwise rotation while we're at it. Another station was also in need for some attitude correction, the Spirld-Oppurosity who use to be the center of the space camp. It's on a very low orbit (just above 80 km), and no one felt comfortable having a station this low. Plus it might be more interesting to have a kerbostationnary station at some point, so another engines and tanks package needed to be launch.

Lastly, well, technically, before anything else, there was a need for more comfort space on the Munar MuncCat's Swngd which lacks any room for local kerbaunauts to blow of some steam (or plasma) between labs session. Using this needs, a pack of stronger antenaes and a Survey scanner where piggy backed on a Hitchhiker's module and the whole bunch was prepared to be sent to the Mun.

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Up we go, onion staging with LFBs around a mainsail main stage and a cryo Ulysse engine for maneuvering up there.

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Approaching the mun, deploying the scanner.

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And rendezvous with the MuncCat.

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And docking done. One long station (with a lot of wobble potential). Before doing everything else, let's ditch the engines.

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And let's whack Kerbin into the Mun !

Crew complaint about breathing and lack of air have now stopped. They have a nice life support module with some room to extend their legs. But still, too close to the mun, not on a polar orbit.

Nuking the poles

A liquid fuel rig have been assembled, and a launch vehicle have been specially prepared. There's a lot of delta-V in there, but Wernher argued that you can never have too much delta-V for orbit corrections on a space station. The camera did blow up on the launchpad though, and there's — sadly — no picture of this launch. And, as shameful as it is, no photo-op is not a good enough reason for mission control to redo a launch. PR disagrees much with it, but they were offered a similar launch for a second engine rig around Kerbin, so they finally agreed t pursue this mission report.

Nothing really fancy happened and the Mun have been surveyed. With data that mission control is, apparently, enable to use in a meaningful way. A scout operation with a rover on the ground should be conducted soon to establish an outpost on the Mun.

(Almost) Faster than sound

While a lot of those mission are unmanned, pilots at KSC starts to be bothered. So Jab and Val harassed Gene for a new thing to fly. Arguing that there was still some science to be recovered from kerbin tundra, and that it would do a nice test flight. And there's also all those new parts coming fron R&D, please, please, please ?

A quick Mk2 jet have been assembled, and this time, Jeb got to flight it (the rock/scissor/paper between he and Val took forever, but in the end Jeb won). He took Bill with him, to work the experiments and headed for the Northern tundra.

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With the afetrburners, Jeb could reach some interesting speeds, close to Mach 1 but he remained on the slow side of the wall of sound. He flew the skiff to the tundra, and needed to landed it on the water, Bill insisted it was extremely important.

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Joking about the fact that this plane did look a bit like a speedboat, and after the necessary report have been collected, Jeb pushed the boat forward, to see how fast he can goes on the water.

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The answer was : too fast for the jet. He hit a wave and the engine separated from the body, locked on full throttle, pushing everything without a lot of space to brake. «That would make a nice addition to my report» said Bill. Eventually the engine ran out of fuel, and the crew could be rescued.

Attitude correction strikes back

Finally, the propulsion rig was ready to be sent to the Spirld Opporusity in LKO. Camera has been secured, and PR are now happy.

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A quadratic onion staging of LRBs, huge tanks with mainsails and, finally, Fuji's engines on LH². Those four boosters carries an array of four Liquid fuel tanks and Nukes engines, which are connected with a pair of clamp to the array carrying some monopropellants, solar panels, RCS, antennaes and deployable reflectors.

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Square staging for a square shaped rocket.

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Circularizing on Fujis, toward the Spirld.

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And coasting to rendezvous.

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After orienting the array upside down, in order to pull the station instead of pushing it, and docking, the Spirld Opporusity is now going into keostationnary Orbit (with an eccentricity under .01). A lot of dV is still left in the station, that fuel might be used later as a Kerbin SOI spaceport. And as a morring point to wait for launch windows.

And this is it. Before launching the base, there's a need for some cash for the space program, and there's a need to patch some communications issues, so a satelitte campaign is in order. There's also a need to recover the technician still locked on Tger's Kitaw minmus station.

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Moar sats

In order to have a proper communication network, supporting future bases on Kerbin moons, and to exploit the new idea of splitting antennas and reflectors, some sats needed to be sent over Mun and Minmus.

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Nothing fancy. Three times the same launch for the same sats. Two for the Mun, one for Minmus.

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Cute sat on its way to Minmus.

What kept the engineers busy was the realization, now that they have a bigger ground antenna, that asteroids might collide with Kerbin and destroy the space effort. And the rest of Kerbal-kind, but it didn't seems to be a high priority of PUNK, which is about going beyond Kerbal, and so in space. Also, the PR team asked for material that kerbals can use as a nice desktop wallpaper.

Karmageddon [dramatic music]

The idea was to send, and to actually want to do it, not like this sat who escaped Kerbin SOI a while ago and no one really knows why, some space science thingy to take picture of the sun (in case something scientific happens there) and a sentinel infrared telescope (in case of some rocky scientific points coming fast for Kerbin), on an autonomous ship with lots of antennas.

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Wernher was serious with the "lots of" antenna part. Sticking more of them was tricky, and it's near 200 feeders splited across 4 reflectors. For fun and profit. And also to test the electrical power delivery of engineers. Because each of those feeder needs 40w.s when transmitting. And transmission, especially of 4k pictures for wallpapers of the sun, can last some seconds. Gene went crazy and estimated that its possible to take the load on capacitors only. Packing almost 50 of them, on top of thirty-ish batteries. But then, you need to reload everything. So you need solar panel. Lots of them. So the monster above (while being designed in R&D) came to existence.

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Trusting the mighty thrust of the LRBs, Mainsails and Fujis, in a quad configuration, science instruments protected in nice aerodynamic fairing, the Big Kerbol Science Rocket is ready to reach for the stars. Or The Star.

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In a perfect feat of engineering, the first staging went well. Living the mainsails free from inert mass, roaring through the atmosphere toward a stable orbit.

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In a perfect feat of pyrotechnics, the second stage is being blown up into dust by the power of the Fuji's cryo engines.

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Slowly coasting to orbit, before circulazing around Kerbin. Going for an eccentric orbit, to maximize Oberth. If our engineers got Oberth effect right.

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Now in orbit, without a need for its boosters, the BKSR deploys its arms filled with solar pannel. R&D is working on a more efficient solution but that will do for now. Nukes are deployed, as well as reflectors, radiators and fairings.

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The BKSR is now being pushed very slowly by the LR-N. Going for a gravitational assist from the Mun, the long burn of 5 whole minutes starts. No solar panel have been blown up during the process, thanks to a precise alignment of the engines and the massive solar arrays.

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Enjoy a closer view of the com array and all the neatly aligned feeders. PR sais we need to do this kind of thing to keep the cash coming. So, here you are. A nice picture.

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And for a more relevant picture, this is our escape trajectory, pushed forward by the Mun.

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In 10 days we will exist Kerbin SOI, with 6000 dV to position ourseleves on two different orbit. One for a sattelite contract, the other one for the SENTINEL, where it will wait until kerbin will be almost impacted by asteroids. Seven times.

Next order of engineering will be to send a scout rover onto Mun, to find a good spot to deploy a base. And to collect science to. And plant flags. Flags are serious business.

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Buro of Strategies and Fundraising

" Kerbs, I know that noone likes flying with tourists. But we need the kerbucks if we want to start a Mun base. And we all know how much Pilot's Union likes to have another base. And yes, maybe its time to rob a bank or something like that, but no, that's not how we do it at PUNK. So, if you want me to let you access the snack machine in the pilot's mess, then takes this lovely couple out there for their honey moon in the FBH 800K, and let them enjoy the fact to be in space. And to give us a gazillions of kerbucks. Also, those whole launches for the hostel should be put to profit. So, go. Stop complaining. Takes tourists around."

" But … " Jeb tried to reply

" No but, no whatever. Take this nice couple up there. Or those tourists above the desert. Or above the crater on the other side of Kerbin, I do not really care. Just get it done, get the kerbucks and then we'll talk about funding your mun bases."

One after the other, the kerbonauts leave the Strategies offices, picking their assignment from Gene's hat and going with not a lot of enthusiasm to their briefings.

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So yeah, funds are running out. So some tourists have been carried around Kerbin. And some others have been sent to the Hostel at 800 KM above Kerbin. Not much to say about those mission, except that the last one was in sync with a solar eclipse.

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And, well, the time lag when reaching the 2.3km of the hotel is still a thing. But at least, you can see it from afar. Or while closing by.

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The flyer said that you could see kerbin from the room. Not that the window will be big. Or in a convenient place. For kraken's sake, you're in space people, stop sending complaint to the staff about not having a nice view of Kerbin.

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And the view from the suites are much better. They're not technically rooms. But this is a nice view. No you cannot see your house from here. Not without a telescope. No we do not have one yet. And if we did, we would keep it for Science. See, that's why we don't like riding with tourists.

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Privacy ? What privacy? We need to monitor the space station in case something bad happens. Ok, Ok, I'll give you space for you and your girl. No, chamapign does not work in zero-G. Neither flower petals. They're a mess. Look, I'll leave you alone, just leave me alone now. Ok ? We leave in two days. Which will be a little bit more than twenty sunrises. No, you do not needs bed. You cannot lie down in zero-G. It does not makes sense. Just … leave us a good review on Kelp, OK?

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Mun Recon

So, since the data from the scanner was inconclusive, Mission Control decided that it was best to first send an unmanned rover to find a nice surface on the Mun to land a base. Not too far from potential ore deposit, but close to the equator and relatively flat.

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A basic rocket has been assembled and is ready to sent its payload to the Mun.

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The tiny rover is inside the 2.5m bay, which will serves as a kettle for the mission, allowing the rover to have a place to spend the cold night on Mun, and reload their batteries.

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And, here we are. Landed at a promising site, at the bottom of the Farside crater. The tiny rover is neatly packed and ready to extend their wheels and robot-arm to science stuff around.

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Like this Mun crater for instance. Full of juicy science. Beaming the data through its deployed reflector back to its kettel, the rover will now stay there, waiting for the base to come. The place they is is good enough.

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And, docked back to sleep. It's tight, but it's comfy according to them. Sweet dream little rover, we're coming back in a few cycles.

Just a little fold on the Mun

Now that a place have been scouted, it was time to design a Mun base. It won't be self sufficient at first, but it should allow for a team of three to spend a reasonnable amount of time on the Mun. And ideally, going with the full base in one launch. What it means, is that, finally, Wernher can have fun with his idea of a deployable base.

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This is what he came with. Including the 2.5m wide fairing which will (barely) hold everything together. A Pier station core has been repurposed as a base core, and, on the other sides, there's batteries and a mk1-crew cabin with a hatch.After some adjustment in the payload (especially in the quantity of snacks embedded), the base is balanced, even with four different arm.

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The launch has been event-less, and we're now in stable orbit, where we can ditch the fairing and see the compacted mode of the base, dubbed the Dagon.

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And we're landing it. Jeb's going to do it full manual, he wants to train himself to precise landing, at which he sucks. The target is the tiny rover' kettle.

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« Nailed it, » yelled an enthusiastic Jeb when the mono legged base finally touch the ground, 47m from its target. This has received the "Close enough" certification from Mission Control, and will probably be added to the training manual for future pilots.

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A firmware flash of the KAL-9000 later, and the Dagon is now deployed and functional.

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And Bob finally deploys a flag on the Mun, gathering some dust for science at the same time. Enjoying some recycled air in his suit.

The team will stay there for a while, at least until a crew rotation craft comes around to get them back. or gives them more supplies. Or a bigger base. Mission Control don't really know that yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Moar science on Mun!

As soon as the Dagon sent their first ping to Kerbin, Bob started complaining about the precarity of science installation there, and wanted a brand new lab to science the way scientists are suppose to science : in a lab. So mission control agreed to work on an extension for the Dagon. They've also been relieved by the fact that no kerbonauts on the Mun noticed that they had no way back home. But Jeb will be needed soon for a second space camp on the Twellary Dwine. The mission was extended for a little bit of crew rotation.

A lot of deployable experiments where packed, and a nifty laser with a cam added as a gift for Bob, to enable him to vaporize (technically, sublimize) rocks to see what they're made of. Everyone keeps syaing that rocks are made of rocks, it does not seems to be a scientific enough answer.

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Val, who's going through an amnesia due to a lithobreaking with a space station that was not intended to reenter Kerbin atmosphere, strapped herself in the pod and aim for the Mun. Nothing fancy for the flight, quite standard.

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"Nailed it" she said, landing close to the Dagon. "Yep, but you're supposed to dock with the Dagon Val, not just be close enough". "But why, they can walk from there, it's barely 100m!", "Yes but mission parameters specifies that you need to dock". "You'll have to find me who created this mission, it will be short on fuel if I have to hop this lab around".

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"Told you, I'll be short on fuel. I'm not even ten meters close." said val after spending a lot of quickload to get this close to the Dagon. "Ok, ok, we'll help you from here. Brace yourself, we're removing gravity from the Mun." "Wait, what ? You can remove gravity, and you never did it before ? But why ? It would be so much easier!!!". "Well, the priest of the Kraken forbids it, they say it tends to awake the Kraken. But they're not there, so don't tell them and I won't tell them either" "You mean, we're not on live worldwide broadcast as usual ?"

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A lot of energy have been spent on calming the kraken after the short suspension of gravity on Mun, but now the Dagon and its pinky friends are docked together in one glorious surface base.

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Bob started to deploy the new toys he got, eve if the weather station seems to require an atmosphere to works, everything else is fine.

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"Pew, pew" made Bob while sciencing the ground of Mun, trying to figure if rocks is, indeed, made of rocks. The data will be available soon, he needs to process them in is new lab.

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Leaving Bob at his sciences tools, Jeb and Val left Mun to get back home. Even if, for Jeb, it felt more like he was actually leaving home.

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And Kerin is in view. The landing was almost safe, except for some part exploding on reentry, but nothing unusual. And now Jeb is taking a well deserved rest, preparing himself for leading another space camp, while Val drove around another investors who wants to build a casino. With four asteroids in it. Val knows better than asking why a casino would need four asteroids, so she remains quiet. Its not her problem yet, it's Gene's one.

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Moar communications

To address a frequent lack of communication, and to allow for communication outside Kerbin SOI (There's an Eve window opening soon), and also to allow Kerbonauts to stream their movies in high-def, mission control decided that a fricking big antenna relay should be sent out there, in a keostationary orbit. By fricking big, they meant 900 G of power. R&D quickly noted that no, they have no single antenna that big and that yes, you'll have to use those 20G ones which are about the best that they can do right now.

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This nightmare of electromagnetism is now ready to be launched. Since the antennae are powered up, blasting full power, most electronics communications where shut down, save for command uplink. Phones didn't worked on KSP all day for that.

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Getting rid of twelve thoroughbred is always a satisfying view. It's even more satisfying when they do not bring their mainsails stage 2 engines friends with them toward a violent (but probably exciting) lithobraking.

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Of with the mainsails, and inserting the dishes into LKO with the poodles. Then, started a series of four one minute long burn to reach a keostationnary apoapsis, then two more burns to raise the periapsis to reduce the orbital excentricity.

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Six orbits later, ditching the fuel tanks and the poodle, to switch on nuclear engines for small orbital adjustments. There's a lot of liquid fuel there, but Wernher suspected that mission control might wanna adjust the orbital parameters at some point in time, and too much fuel in orbit isn't really an issue. You can still dock craft there to refuel, so this com array can also serve as a refueling station.

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Anyway, the relay dishes are now online, and the crew aboard the Minmus orbitals systems can now enjoy their full HD streaming there. And it only took 48 antennae.

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