purpleivan

Out of Contract

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A few words and some images (probably lots of those) on the daring exploits of the usual crowd, in their contracts free adventure in career advancement.

In other words The No Contract Career Challenge.

Day one of this grand venture saw Jeb checking out the bunker of the all level 1 KSC. Funny how you see these places but never think to visit... usually too focused on getting to the end of the tech tree.

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It might be just a capsule sitting on the pad right now, but sometime soon this little explorer will be heading to space from there.

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But not in this, oh no, this thing can barely get to the upper atmosphere. But it does get this show on the road.

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A couple of lower atmosphere hops on those baby SRB's, plus scraping up a little science around the launch pad and we finally have the science to put this little stripy beauty into the upper atmosphere.

Kerching!

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After a successful flight, Jeb plops down gently into the ocean.

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With more science bucks to spend, some plane parts were the next things up on the shopping list. The end result... this little bug of a plane.

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Not a bad aircraft really, but not exactly quick (tops out at about 160m/s) but it has a reasonable range for some biome hopping.

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First trip was of course to the Runway Island.

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The landing was a fine until I was too busy grabbing screenshots to notice Jeb had wandered off the runway, ending up down here.

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Problem solved with a little jet juice, so now it's time to visit the old hanger.

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Having grabbed a few science points it was time to head home.

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What adventures might tomorrow bring for Jeb and company?

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Edited by purpleivan

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12 hours ago, demon_313 said:

Rules question... "return to launch" yes or no?

So far I've been returning all vehicles to the KSC before recovering them, if that's what you mean. Except for the splashdown of course.

Edited by purpleivan

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With a high altitude sub orbital (but not quite to space) hop done, it was time for some exploration of the home world.

For this Bill hastily slapped together A Little Sci-Fly. A bunch of small fuel tanks and some wings, powered by a single Juno... plus sciency bits.

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Jeb took to the air, carrying a barometer, thermometer and mystery goo container, to scoop up some valuable science from the nearby grasslands.

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For the return trip it was decided to trundle back on the ground, as that would likely use less fuel (cash) than keeping this thing airbourne.

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With that return trip in mind, Bill put together a little jet powered (no powered wheels available yet) rover for Bob to science the hell out of the KSC.

A trip to the runway in Rover Number 1 brought in enough science to make a little upgrade...

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... by adding the mobile science lab and a data storage unit.

First target was the Spaceplane Hanger, which after just 1 and a bit days of operation is already looking a little ragged.

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Next up was Mission Control. After making a crew report and grabbing the science data, Bob checked out the pad observation telescope, only to find that it was coin operated and he'd forgotten to bring any loose change.

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Time to get back the imaginatively named Rover Number 2.

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Bob was chosen, not because he was a scientist, but he had the only copy of the "Resetting scientific experiments" manual.

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Back toward the heart of the KSC and the VAB building is next up for some sciencing.

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Bob's view from inside the rover was a little limited.

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Back outside again for another round of resetting, this time after snagging science at the Tracking Station.

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Bob's lack of a clear view from the rover resulted in a less than ideal positioning, in a rover with no reverse gear.

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However Bob's years of scientific training had taught him that standing on the back of the rover, while walking into an obstruction would give push it in that direction.

Well actually his years of training told him no such thing, but if it works...

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This seems easily far enough to fire up the jet and make a turn to avoid the buildings.

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Bob's next stop was at the team's digs, in the Astronaut complex, so stopped for a quick snapshot next to the flagpole.

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With the various buildings mined out, it was time to head further afield.

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That strange black lump out on the edge of the KSC estate had attracted Bob's eye for some time, now he had a chance to get up close and personal with it.

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Hmmm... large black slab with mysterious symbols on the side. Bob had no idea as to it's purpose, but assumes it's some kind of ancient machine of grand but unknown purpose. That or some kind of high concept billboard.

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Standing next to it he stares into the inky blackness... the inky blackness stares back.

Bob gets a severe case of the willies and decides to abandon his investigation and head for the beach.

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Sun, sand, surf... maybe a little snooze too.

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Bob guided Rover Number 2 gently into the water, no knowing if it would sink or swim.

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Wow... it swims (if floating counts) and he soon is heading out to see under jet power.

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A little way off shore, Bob took to the water in his suit for a quick paddle.

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Rover Number 2... It roves, it sciences, it floats, what can't this thing do.

Turn... it can't turn, at least not in water. It does move in a slow lazy movement to right, but that only brings it this close to the shore.

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So Bob clambers out on top for more physics shenanigans.

This time sliding a little way down the side of the capsule, then walking back to the top, soon has this thing pointing towards the shore.

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Then it was time to head back to the KSC and empty the data storage unit of the morning's haul.

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With a fistful of science points in hand, Bob turned his thoughts to what would come next and how to get it.

What would it take for a few science points more.

Maybe it'll take the good the bad and the Thudly.

 

Edited by purpleivan

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"Revert to Launch / Revert to vehicle assembly" is what I meant. I didn't see it mentioned in the official rules, was just wondering what you personal rules were.


 

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3 hours ago, demon_313 said:

"Revert to Launch / Revert to vehicle assembly" is what I meant. I didn't see it mentioned in the official rules, was just wondering what you personal rules were.


 

If I make a mess of things then I do revert.

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Bob the pilot

Ok... he's not a pilot, but for this trip he took on a cameo appearance as one. The plan was to grab science from a few different biomes (Mountains, Highlands and Desert), so a scientist was required to reset the experiments.

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Flying a plane without SAS is a lot more dicey than I anticipated and slower, as the nose kept dropping, resulting in a regular tapping pattern on the keyboard to keep airbourne.

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Finally Bob made it down in this picturesque setting and grabbed the science to be had with both hands.

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That would be these hands.

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Then it was time to head into the wild blue yonder again.

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Leaving the shores between the landmass the KSC is on behind.

Much, much, much keyboard tapping was required to cross that sea and limited to x2 physics warp too.

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Eventually the desert coastline came in sight (at last!!!) meaning that the game of pogoing the nose up and down would soon be at and end.

Well the first half anyway.

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Once on the ground more delicious science was gleaned from the surroundings.

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With a respectible haul radioed back to the KSC, it was time to follow them back to base too.

A stop overnight in the desert was required, to avoid landing in the dark.

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With A Little More Sci-Fly back in one piece, Jeb was on hand congratulate Bob on his unexpected piloting skills.

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Big Sci-Fly

Bob was not keen to take to the air again without the aid of SAS, so Bill got to work on a two seater, allowing Val to do the fancy piloting stuff, with Bob focusing on his test tubes and gauges in the back.

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With 900 units of fuel on board, the Big Sci-Fly's got plenty of range, although with 2 Juno's pushing it along, it only does about 170m/s fully fuelled.

On the way to the northern icecap, Val took them through a mountain range to pick up the "in flight" crew report from that biome, which Bob had forgotten the day before.

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Talking of the icecap, there it is dead ahead.

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Minutes later Big Sci-Fly was on the ground, ready to start sciencing.

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Before departure from the ice, Bob headed outside to reset the experiments, reading to snag some more science from the surrounding tundra.

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Up up and away... no where's that tundra.

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Ok... anywhere round here should do, although it looks a little bumpy.

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Val kept her eyes peeled for a smooth(ish) peice of tundra to put the bird down on.

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Something like this... well, exactly like this.

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The short trip from the icecap hadn't put enough power into the batteries to be sure of transmitting Tundra science back to the KSC, so Val hit the brakes and throttled up the engines.

Soon the good stuff was flowing.

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With a full set of science gathered from the frozen North it was time to head home.

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It's a fairly long haul, meaning that this was a very welcome sight.

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Touch down and wheel stop.

Time to think about where this career play goes next... maybe some kind of foray spaceward.

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Touching Space

At last it was time to look spaceward again, after a couple of days (Kerbin time) of hunting down science on kerrafirma.

The mission was a no parts lost (i.e no dropping spent stages into the ocean) suborbital flight. As Jeb was busy training for a later orbital mission, it fell to Val to make this first trip beyond the atmosphere.

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And beyond the atmosphere is where she made it, even if she only cleared it by 77m.

That meant it was a mad scramble to grab temperature, pressure, mystery goo, science lab and crew report data, in the few seconds the vehicle was clear of it.

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Then the inevitable fall and fiery show before hitting the chutes.

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There they are, what a wonderful sight. Much better than the sight of "Unsafe" in the right click menu as your craft piles nose first into the ground.

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Val also got a perfect sunset finish to this program's first trip to space.

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The quest for science and cash continued today with a flight to a famous tourist attraction and a couple of space flights.

Val and Bob took to the skies to pick up what goodies they could find at the ancient pyramids site.

Any pyramids over here... er nope.

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How about over here... that would also be a no.

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Ahah, found the tricky little blighters.

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Once Val had brought the Big Sci-Fly up from the lower level they had landed on, Bob went out on top for the obligatory "staring whistfully into the distance" photo.

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Ok... enough time sightseeing, time to get back to the KSC and get spacebourne.

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A 2nd orbital flight around Kerbin was made to scoop up a few things that had been missed on the previous flight.

For the first time, a Thumper was used to make the break into the upper atmosphere, leaving the Terrier to do the remaining legwork for orbit to be achieved.

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Jeb took a moment form his busy schedule to take a walk outside.

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Then there was the rapid and flame coated return to the surface.

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Here's the stats at the end of Jeb's flight. At this stage the only upgraded things were the Astrounaut Complex and Launch Pad.

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Ok... what sweet bags of tech goodies will my fistful of funds get me.

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Mun bound

Finally today Kerbals broke free of Kerbin's warm cuddly gravity grip and headed for that of the Mun.

14,200 funds for a vehicle that in theory could just about make a Mun landing isn't too shabby. However I forgot to put the thermometer and pressure sensor on it, so missed the opportunity to grab the science for those on this trip.

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With the pair of Thumpers expended it was time for the Reliant to take over.

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Once in orbit and with a level 1 tracking station, the game of blndfolded darts ensued, with the Mun the target.

Jeb's really hoping that's good enough to get him there.

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It is, but by smashing into the middle of it, so once in the Mun's SOI, Jeb made a hard right turn to avoid a more deadly encounter than planned.

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That looks more like it.

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With more fuel expended, the Mun 1 (great name eh) was in orbit.

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Ever the shutter bug, Jeb positioned his camera, then pushed off towards the Mun to get the pair of them in the shot.

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With fuel to burn, as the sensible decision was made not to attempt a landing (the trip there had been too inefficient) Jeb parked the Mun 1 in a roughly circular, roughy 60km orbit.

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Having picked up all the "EVA report over X" goodies that were to be had around the equator, it was time to head home.

Again the level 1 Tracking Station meant it was another case of "usually I burn around here in the orbit, with about this much delta-v... a what could go wrong".

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In this case, not much, as the transit burn put periapsis about 1000km about Kerbin. A small burn later, it was a more useful 30km.

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The plan had been to bring back the vehicle intact, but the heat of re-entry put paid to that and only made it to about 30km. At least the capsule and the data storage sat on top of it would make it home.

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With the goodies obtained from the Mun orbital trip spent, this was the state of things after upgrading the Tracking Station and spending more on R&D.

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With some extra parts to work with and an upgraded Mission Control (so manouver nodes are unlocked) what to do... what to do.

Rendezvous and docking that's what.

Jeb took the skies first, in a fully reusable vehicle, so now losing those expensive parts by dropping them in the ocean.

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Val followed and as I'd sent her up in a vehicle with slightly more fuel, she made the burn to rendezvous with Jeb. The reason for the extra fuel was that as this was her first orbital flight, so she couldn't make use of lock prograde/retrograde for a smoother ride at the times when it's convenient.

She made a job of the rendezvous though, finishing the matching burn about 200m from Jeb.

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Docking was more tricky than anticipated as the two long vehicle, with Junior docking ports were a real handful to lineup. After several minutes and about half her RSC consumed, Val's rocket finally made contact with Jeb's.

After that it was time for Val to take a quick jaunt outside, so that Jeb could transfer to her rocket, allowing her into his. So allowing the "1st crew transfer" reward to be notched up.

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With the business of crew transfer done it was time to take these two travellers home.

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Jeb went first and re-entry boardered on detonating some of the parts.

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But it the vehicle that had taken Val to orbit made it back down to the ocean intact. There was even a little juice left in the tanks to give a nice soft splashdown.

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Just one more thing to do... get Val home. Again heat was an issue, but not an explosive one.

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Finally Val made it down with a quick burst on the Reliant to give a nice soft touchdown.

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Not a lot has changed stats wise, but at least things are upgraded enough that the next trip to the Mun won't be like playing "pin the tail on the donkey".

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In the next thrilling espisode it's time to get down in the dirt of the Mun.

First you've got to get to the Mun, starting with something like this.

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Jeb and Val are on top of this candle, which is a little on the slow side to make it above the atmosphere. It's a fair amount of mass for that Reliant to push.

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Finally the Reliant's job is done and it's time for the Terrier on the back of the return vehicle to take over, getting it and the lander into orbit.

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Next step, burn for a trajectory for the Mun... something like this one.

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See ya Kerbin, back before you know it.

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Val gets her first up close look at this cold grey lump of rock.

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Then it's time for her to separate from Jeb in the return vehicle.

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Shortly after she hits the brakes and starts descending.

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That Terrier at the base of the lander is overkill for something this size, but I've not unlocked anything smaller yet.

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Val makes a nice gentle touchdown on pretty much flat ground, which is always nice when you're landing on your engine bell.

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With the crew report and EVA reports done it time to stamp the kerbal seal of approval on this little grey world.

LABREK (League of Astronauts, Breaker of Records and Extreme Kayakers)... at least that's what Val says it stands for.

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With work done on the surface (no scientific readings as the VAB is still limited to 30 parts) Val throttles up and heads for orbit. This happens rather quickly with there being little fuel left on the tank, allowing the Terrier to give a real punch up off the surface.

About 1/4 of an orbit along from the landing site she meets up with Jeb and docking was pretty straightforward.

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Both vehicles have little fuel left, so the lander engine was lit up first, doing about 3/4 the work of getting the pair home. After that it was detached, after Val transfered to the return vehicle of course, then its engine finished off the work.

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With the Mun behind them it was time to dig out the really nice snacks (mainly the chocolate coated variety) as a little celebration on the way back.

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Having made it home in one piece... well not quite, the engine and fuel tank were lost as splashdown was at about 10m/s, this was the status after snagging a bit more off the tech tree.

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A little more cash in the bank and thoughts are already turning to upgrading the VAB, as that 30 part limit is a bit, well... limiting.

Just need to earn a little more to leave me with the funds to build something worthwhile in it.

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Edited by purpleivan

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Next stop Minmus.

With the Mun ticked off the "been there, done that" list, it was time to head for the little green spud. With 7 Thumbers strapped together as a first stage, it didn't take long to get Jeb up above the atmosphere, then it was all Terrier all the time.

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A small 2nd stage did most of the work of setting up the appropriate orbital plane and the transfer to Minmus. Soon Jeb was on his was to pastures greener.

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Mmmm... minty.

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Jeb set down on one of the higher plateau, next to a rock that was strangely covered in moss. This puzzled Jeb, as the place is bone dry, so headed out the hatch to investigate. Unfortunately as soon as he was hanging onto the outside of the capsule, it was clear that this was going to result in the thing toppling over, so he headed back inside.

Moss mystery solving would have to wait.

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He blipped the throttle to push the lander up a few hundred metres to pick a new, flatter landing site. Unfortunately the vehicle still leant over dangerously when he exited. Given how easily it was to rotate it round on SAS, he decided to let gravity have its way, and plop that thing down on its side.

Another unfortunately was the complete uselessness of the HG-5 antenna, which meant he'd been out of contact with home since a little beyond Mun orbit. This meant that he'd be taking only a single data set back with him (the surface), rather than ones from orbit and over other biomes.

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Wth that single data set snagged, he rapidly ascended back to orbit.

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Now for that tricky business of getting back home. Tricky because his tank was almost dry of fuel. Fortunately Mun was in position to give a little helping hand.

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With the main return burn done, just need to nudge that trajectory as smidge to get a re-entry rather than a huge eliptical orbit.

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See ya Mun and thanks for the gravity.

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Well helloooo Kerbin.

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With the tiny amount of fuel (less than 1 unit) remaining in the tank, Jeb gave a blast on the Terrier at splashdown, just enough to save the tail end of the lander from being lost to impact damage.

There was a tasty reward for Jeb in the form of a deep fried cheese burger, wrapped in a pizza, and for the program a reward of lots of science and a fair chunk of change.

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The R&D department was able to whip up some new parts with all that science.

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Finally the VAB was upgraded to level 2, so no more interplanetary adventuring on 30 parts.

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Success, failures and weirdness.

MunBot 1:

The plan was to have a small unmanned probe hop around between biomes, picking up sweet, sweet science on the way. It had fuel on board for a couple of trips from orbit to the surface and back again. After that it would refuel at the small orbital tanker and relay station that it accompanied it on the trip from Kerbin. The tanker having enough onboard to refuel the lander 3 or 4 times.

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Heading for the Mun all was going well, it even snagged a "high above Kerbin" temp and pressure reading for a few science points.

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The lander separated from the tanker without a hitch.

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Then descended to the surface.

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At it's first landing site a temp and pressure reading was sent back the the KSC.

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Before heading back into orbit...

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... before dropping back down again to a landing in the East Crater.

Hello little Mun rock.

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Then, with it's fuel down to about 20% our brave robotic explorer headed to orbit for a 2nd time, passing over a Mun arch on the way.

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Once in orbit next thing to do was to set up a rendezvous with the tanker.

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Whiiich was crashing down almost vertically from what had been a nice circular 46km orbit.

Obviously something wrong with the temporal quantum phasing dodads, or some such nonsense. So the KSC did what any good space program does in such situations... called tech support.

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With a quick "ahem" Hyperedit of the tanker, to put it back in its original orbit, all was well for a successful rendezvous. I'm declaring this is fair and all above board, as this is clearly due to a bug.

Note: I had this happen again with other vehicles in Kerbin orbit this afternoon... thing had the gaul to do it right in front of me too as I was watching the map screen at the time.

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Ok, that's the successful and the weird, how about the fail. Well that was when I attempted to transfer fuel from the tanker to the lander, only to find that such things were beyond the current technology of kerbalkind.

Something about having to upgrade the R&D building... oh well, I guess MunBot 1 will just have to wait a little longer before heading for another biome.

At least a reasonable amount of sciene (about 150) came out of this.

Edited by purpleivan

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MinmusBot 1

With the partial success of MunBot 1, it was decided to attempt a similar biome hopping mission to lil' green.

With the low gravity meaning that orbital refuelling wasn't going to be neccessary, the payload was significantly smaller, requiring a smaller launcher to get it into Kerbin orbit.

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The upper launcher stage completing the job.

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The upper stage also did all the work of hurling the probe towards Minmus, as well as some of the braking on arrival.

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With nearly a full tank, MinmusBot 1 headed down to the surface.

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Plonk... nice neat landing on the surface for MinmusBot 1 and temp and pressure readings sent home.

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Then off to another biome (Flats) to scrape up some science from.

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MinmusBot 1 dropped onto a blob of "land" in the middle of the flat, which turned out to be the same biome it had just left.

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So a small detour was made to put it onto the Flats propper, for more science goodness.

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MinmusBot 1 might have gone smoothly, but the mystery deorbiting of Munbot 1's tanker, followed by the 1st module of a Kerbin space station, has the KSC concerned. Enough so that all flights to Kerbin orbit and beyond have been been put on a hold until the cause can be isolated and rectified.

So things might be quiet here for a few days.

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With a couple of the more recently added mods ripped out, in an attempt to stop the craft dropping out of orbit porblem, it was time to get the show back on the road.

MinmusBot 1 continued its journey around the little mint ball, gobbling more science out of its tasty surface. This meant a lot more suborbital hops for the little probe that could.

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Before a final blast away from the surface, using most of its remaining fuel reserves.

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It is now in orbit, to act as a relay for future missions.

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Kerbin Station

Making use of a new reusable launcher, named Reuso, a small orbital station above Kerbin was started on. The belief was that there's a milestone for "1st station", but that seems not to be the case, or the appropriate parts haven't been put together in orbit yet. I followed the contract formula of accomodation for 5 kerbals, means of generating power and an antenna, but no milestone was to be had.

Oh well at least I have Reuso.

The 1st version if this launcher is seen here putting the first station module in a 75km orbit.

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Before dropping back down to the surface, with a little fuel in the tanks for a nice soft touchdown.

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A slightly different design (I ended up deleting the orginal by accident and couldn't remember the details) was launched soon after.

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Rendezvousing with the first station module directly from launch.

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Then it was just a case of hunting down the station and docking.

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Once back in sunlight the enlarged station was released.

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With it's payload in orbit it was time to move off to a safe distance before heading for home.

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Ah... the KSC, dead ahead.

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Well, not quite dead ahead, but close enough.

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Didn't make a landing on the porch, but at least made Reuso made it down into the pond in the front garden.

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Current status is that not much has changed except science, which now stands at 460, which would be nice, if I had somewhere to spend it.

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Unfortunately that's going to require upgrading the R&D Center to level 2 at a cost of 461,000 funds, which is a little out of my price range right now.

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So nothing for it, but to launch a manned mission as the next step to grab some sweet, sweet milestones.

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Further progress over the last couple of days.

Minmus 2

A return trip to the little green moon, with Val at the controls this time.

First the lander had to be placed in Kerbin orbit, a job left to the Reuso 2 launcher.

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With Reuso 2 safely back on Kerbin, it was time to head for Minmus.

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Once it orbit Val took a quick peek outside for the EVA over Minmus milestone.

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Once down on the surface, Val took the opportunity to stretch her legs.

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Then followed a sequence of biome hopping, picking up the Crew Report and EVA goodies from them.

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With about 1/3 of the fuel remaining, it was time to head for orbit and then back the the big blue marble.

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Mun 2

Time for some love for the Mun, with Jeb taking an identical vehicle to Val's to visit a few biomes.

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With the first landing made in the Northwest crater, Jeb went outside for the EVA science and a chance to stretch his back.

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Then it was a quick hop to the East for the Midlands...

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... then the Midlands Craters biomes.

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With 3 biomes ticked off, it was time to head for home.

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Project Runaway

Val headed for orbit a 2nd time on top of the venerable Reuso 2, piloting the Runaway, a craft headed for Kerbol orbit.

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The Runaway was the same design as the one she took to Minmus, minus the transfer stage. Using the lander's engine the vehicle headed out of Kerbin's SOI.

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One the way back she had a quick flyby of the Mun.

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The finally a nice soft landing in the grasslands. Even the landing gear made it back through re-entry.

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The science is piling up and I have enough funds to upgrade the R&D center to level 2. However there'd not be enough remaining to build anything useful, so it looks like another journey for someone is on the cards before the cash gets plonked on the table for that investement.

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Not that it added to to the coffers, but Jeb took a trip to the Southern icecap today. In doing so he earned more science (that can't be spent yet) and took some snaps along the way.

An early morning takeoff.

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Then hang a sharp right for the South Pole.

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After much flying across seemingly endless ocean, these loomed out of the clouds, so it must be time to descend.

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"Thar she snows".

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Now to pick a good place to land.

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This should do.

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With science grabbed it was time for Jeb to take a moment to stretch his legs.

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Before climbing back on the wing.

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And clambering back into the cockpit.

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For the trip...

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... home.

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With the Mun and Minmus pretty much mined out in terms of milestones, it was time for my brave little adventurers to head further afield... to Duna.

To keep the cost down the vehicle that would go to the red planet had to be separated into two parts, to enable it to be put into orbit on top of reasonable reusable launchers.

The first, for the transfer vehicle, looked like this. A Reuso 2 with some SRB's slapped on the sides, for a bit of help off the line.

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It was hefted into a 95km orbit, ready and sat waiting for something to push.

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It's cargo sat on top of this similar looking launcher, a regular Reuso 2.

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The launcher and it's payload met up with the transfer vehicle.

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One separated from the launcher, Jeb guided the lander/return vehicle stack towards the waiting transfer vehicle.

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With its work done, the Reuso 2 headed down, arriving just off the coast from the KSC, for the almost obligatory 97% recovery of parts value.

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After a bit of warping it was time to throw this pair of kerbonauts away from Kerbin, courtesy of some Poodle power.

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After a couple minutes or so burn time, the engine was shut down and apart from a minior course correction, it was time for Jeb and Val to get the cards out and settle in for the long trip.

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On the way to Duna, it seemed only polite (and profitable) to say hello to Ike.

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Jeb even went outside to giver the little trash gatherer (and general disruptor of orbits) a wave.

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Once back inside he had a decent view of Duna as they approached it.

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Not long to go now.

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As they approached the great ball of redness, the vehicle took on a very rosy hue.

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Not as rose as when it plunged through the atmosphere, approaching about 20km from the surface, before passing through and into orbit.

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Once in orbit it was time for Val to head for the door for yet another EVA milestone.

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That surface sure does look inviting.

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Jeb took a last look at the landed attached to the nose of his craft, he wouldn't have it blocking his view of the planet nuch longer.

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Once detached the pair manouvered round to get a good look at each others vehicles.

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One short burn was all it took to drop from the 65km orbit and head towards the surface.

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Almost close enough to reach out and touch it.

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And TOUCHDOWN.

Val quickly grabbed the scientific data and crew report, eager to head out and get her boots dusty.

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Of course not landing on a new planet is complete (or paid for) without hoisting a flag.

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"Val looked across the vast empty desert and silently she screamed"... that or she's got some corn stuck in her teeth.

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No screaming here, just a quick jog around the ship before departure.

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Ok, time to blow this popsi... er, planet.

It's not the fastest liftoff ever seen, but with about 300m/s delta-v to spare it's provides a fairly dependable trip to orbit.

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Time to stop heading upwards and start to push that trajectory around the equator.

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A nice view was to be had while coasting towards the circularisation burn point.

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FInally in orbit, there was little to do but look out of the window until it was time to make a rendezvous burn to meet with Jeb in the return vehicle.

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There it is, just a 100m of so distant once the engine shut down.

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Val manouvered the lander in, sipping at the roughly 5% of its touchdown fuel that remained.

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Once parked alongside, it was time to head to the other vehicle, but critically she remembered to collect the data from the lander.

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Before entering the return vehicle she loaded (ecstatically it seems) the data into waiting module.

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Once the celestial timepiece had been advanced sufficiently, it was time to hit the throttle and head home.

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With that their new red friend receded into the distance.

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Sometime later to be replaced an old blue one, that rapidly filled the view.

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The capsule took the heat...

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"Fancy some barbequed ribs when we get back" asked Jeb.

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"Sure" Val replied "as long as it's not theirs"

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No need to worry Val, the pair of you made it back safe and sound and with a good haul of cash (a bit over 500,000) and science (around 1500) from the trip.

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With a healthy bank balance it was time to blow 455,000 funds on upgrading the R&D center and go on a technological shopping spree.

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Well... this is going to be a big one, KSC proudly presents the Jool 1.

At 73k funds and change it better be, especially as about 65k of that is going to be dropped in the ocean or left adrift in space.

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The pan (what there was of one) was..

1. Go to Jool.

2. VIsit moons.

3. Profit!

.... at least there's a number 2.

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With the big stack of SRB's expended, the lone Poodle pushed the Jool 1 to a 765km orbit.

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Then the important task of getting the Jool 1 to, well... Jool.

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Burn baby burn.

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With the vehicle enroute to Jool, it was time for a little nudge to its trajectory, to play the game of "Jool system pinball), to get an almost free orbit of the gas giant.

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With the course correction burn done, it was time to grab some solar orbit science, which meant for the first time (with many more to come) Bob headed out to restore the goo canister.

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On passing into the Jool system Laythe was the first in the queue to be ready for its closeup.

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With Laythe in the rearview mirror and a bunch of science gathered, as well as its handy gravity assist, it was time for the next target.

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"Ok Bob... which of these is Tylo again".

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Jeb got a nice view of the fuel gobbling rock and Bob grabbed more science, before they all headed for their first landing target

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This little blue grey blob here.

Vall... officially procounced "Vall".

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With a big burn done on the single nuke engine, it was time for Val to descend to Vall.

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She gave a wave from the window to... well, no-one exactly as no-one on the Jool 1 could see her from this angle, but it's the thought that counts.

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She made short work of the descent and wasted no time before heading out to get some blueish dust on her boots, to get with the red coated ones she has in her locker at the KSC.

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With another flag hoisted on a distant world, Val took a look around a little further afield from the lander, occasionally checking to see if it was still there.

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FInally it was time to leave the surface and head for a rendezvous with the Jool 1.

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This Jool 1.

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Firmly attached to the main vehicle again, Val joined Bob in the luxury cabin for a game of I Spy to while away the time before affiving at...

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... Pol

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The plan (as much as there'd been one) was to visit Tylo, Pol and Bop, but with oxidiser for the lander getting low, it was decided to make do with Pol only.

This time it would Jeb at the controls of the lander.

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Having made it to the surface Jeb took the opportunity to stretch his legs...

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... and raising a flag of course.

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Jeb took a finally look out across his moody looking landing site.

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Then he hit the throttle and headed spaceward.

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The intention was to rendevous directly from the surface with the Jool 1, but these things are always at best guesswork, so it took almost a full orbit before the two vehicles actually met.

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Well that's it for this points gathering opportunity, time to put the ship in an orbit of Jool. But why is there still an lander on the front of that things?

Well, the crew forgot to grab the science data from "high over Pol" and the gear for that is on the lander so...

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With that final bits of data grabbed, it was time to jetison the lander.

Farewell Jool 1 lander... we thank you.

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Then all there was to do was to hunker down and wait for the transfer window, then burn for home.

With the burn complete, plus a little course correction too, the fuel that would have been used to get to Bop (plus the reserve) was available to resuce their speed when hitting the atmosphere.

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The Jool 1 was still going faster enough to give an impressive light show though.

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But finally the flaming re-entry was over, then a gentle coast down before deploying the chutes.

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Well done crew of the Jool 1, now to see what goodied your trip has for us.

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Hohoo!... now that's a nice haul.

About 1,400,000 in funds and about 5,300 science. Not bad for a single mission.

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After spending 2,300 science this is what the tech tree looked like. Some of the low hanging fruit in terms of building upgrades were done to. More tech would have been obtained, but that would require unlocking level 3 on the R&D center and at a cost of 1.65M funds, that's not happening today.

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So what's the current KSC status... let's see, let's see, righty clicky, notey takey.

Level 3: Launch Pad, Astronaut Complex, Tracking Station and Misssion Control.

Level 2: VAB, Spaceplane Hanger, Admin Building and R&D Center.

 

With half the Jool system still to make an orbit and landing on, as well visits to Eve, Dres, Eeloo, Moho, Ike and Gilly to be done, things are looking good shape.

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A lot of progress was made in the quest for cash that is this career game, in the last mission that headed to Jool. This time it was time for Jeb to head for a solo mission to Eve and Gilly.

Ok... the Eve part would only be orbital for Jeb, with a tiny lander heading uncontrolled to the surface, but it all counts.

The Journey of Eve 1

First the business of getting things into Kerbin orbit. This started with the launch of the might Reuso 3, that carried the entire Eve 1 craft with it.

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Once in orbit the Eve 1 was detached, at which point it was noted that the Reuso 1 was now uncontrolled, due to some bozo (that would be me) forgetting to include a probe core in the build.

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Not a complete waste of funds though, as the recent splurge on tech included the grabber unit. So a Reuso 1 (not seen one of those in a while) headed upward on a rescu mission, to add the missing part.

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With the rendezvous made, all that needed to be done was the detach the little vehicle that was Reuso 1's payload. This included the missing probe core, some RCS for propulsion and manouvering, plus a little fuel to give the almost empty Reuso 3 a much needed top up.

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And that's what the full package looks like.

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Reuso 1 then de-orbited.

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Where it landed some distance beyond the runway island group, but close enought for a 95% return on the parts value.

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The Reuso 1 rescue launcher dropped into the ocean a little closer to home.

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Once all the rescue work and de-orbiting was done with, it was time to head for Eve, courtesy of Mr Poodle.

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In high space over Eve it was time for Jeb to head out the door for those EVA report points.

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Back inside Eve approached rapidly, or he the vehicle approached Eve... one of those.

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With some fuel spent to put the Eve 1 into a long eliptical orbit, a sequence of passes through the upper atmosphere cut the orbit down to something more reasonable to drop its tiny payload.

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It was a case of drop it and cross your fingers time, as this thing is uncontrolled with no relay system established to communicate with the probe.

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But after a fiery descent the probe finally made the glorious sight of the deployed chute was seen.

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Followed by the glorious sight of the Eve ocean... if it had been there. Looks like Scatterer freaked out a bit, ran home and took the water with it.

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Then with "splashdown" there was the glorious sight of milestones (and cash) from this little wonder.

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With the activity on Eve at an end, it was time to head for Gilly, the tru cashcow of this mission.

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Once through the tideous crawl down to the surface, due to warp getting disabled at some ridiculously high altitude, Jeb made a spotless landing.

Once out of the vehicle it of course decided that it had had enough of standing and wanted to take a little nap.

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This didn't concern Jeb in the slightest, who got straight on with the EVA report, surface sample and raise the flag routine.

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With that important work out of the way, he climbed back in and headed back to orbit.

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The long slow boring climb to orbit.

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With an Eve landing and abunch of Gilly milestones under his belt, Jeb held out his thumb towards where he thought Kerbin was, squinted, made a rough calculation on the back of a cereal box and hit the throttle for home.

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There was a little fuel left in the tanks to burn off a couple hundred DV...

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... before smashing into Kerbin's atmosphere.

Actually the first of 4 trips through it, as the eliptical orbit gradually reduced on pass.

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Until finally good old gravity brought the Eve 1 safely back down through the clouds, its tasty haul of science aboard.

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While waiting for the recovery crew, Jeb went out for some much needed fresh air.

He stared into the ocean...

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... which was a good deal more watery looking than that on Eve.

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Well it didn't bring in a kings ransom, but the mission certainly made a useful addition to the pile of funds.

Plus... more science!

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Edited by purpleivan

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To the spud we go

Soon after returning from the landing on Gilly, it was time for Jeb to once more hurtle through the cosmos in the quest for cash. This time the target was your friend and mine... Dres.

Once again the Reuso 3 (no with added controllabilit thanks to actually including a probe core) did the honours of taking Jeb and his craft into orbit.

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The Dres 1 the same design as the Jool 1, minus the separate lander. It was such a rush job that the design team forgot to remove the docking port, which would be entirely pointless on this mission.

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With the Dres 1 safely in orbit, the Reuso 3 headed back down towards the KSC. Looks like it's going to be closer to the target than the last attempt.

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Oooooo... close, but no cigar. Still 97.8% return isn't bad.

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With the transfer window open the single nuke was lit and Jeb was on his way.

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Before entering orbit of Dres, Jeb threw open the hatch to grab that EVA cash prize, then snatched a bit of science and a crew report.

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Bob's pretty stoked to be here.

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As is Bill... seen here on his first flight.

On this cash run there's not been much of a need for an engineer so far, but Jeb thought he could do with the experience.

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Ok... time to head for the surface.

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Jeb found a nice flat piece of dirt to put the vehicle down on, but given the weak gravity...

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... there was no way this thing was going to stay upright.

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Jeb and Bob teased Bill by saying that he could only raise the flag if here was part of the 3 star club and with this being his first trip he had to wait by the ship.

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Their little joke over, they invited him to do the honours.

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Bill and Bob headed back on board, to grab a celebratory snack before departure.

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"Hey you coming Jeb?"

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With all 3 aboard it was time to get this thing upright. Wobbling it around on the SAS unit failed to raise it more than about 30 degrees, but at this did have the amusing side effect the ship appearing to do "one handed" pushup on a solar array.

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At the peek of a solar array push up, Jeb lit the nuke and vehicle steadily climbed as it sped across the surface.

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Some time later (another body where celestial health and safety set a really lot warp limit) the Dres 1 was back in orbit.

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Then... nuke time.

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A big burn and a plane change later (ok... plus a lot of waiting around) the Dres 1was rapidly approaching the blue hues of Kerbin.

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The usual firework display followed, with the nuke engine being use to reduce speed somewhat with the remaining fuel, before it could take the heat no longer and exploded.

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This is left the Dres with it's crew of three (protected by the heat shield) to drift Kebinward, splashing down a few hundred metres off the desert coast.

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Well... not quite the payday that was hoped, at only around 400k funds.

With little more than it would cost in the bank, that R&D center upgrade will have to wait until the conclusion of the next mission.

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Liking Ike

Another day, another cash grab, this time on that little world, not too far away called Ike.

The vehicle that would make the journey to that tiny grey dot in the sky was to be piloted by Val and in a break with the previous naming convention (planet name with a 1 tacked on the end was getting boring) was named the Ikester.

This was dropped off in Kerbin orbit by a Reuso 2.

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After separation and a bit over 1/2 an orbit, it was time to hit the brakes and head back to the KSC.

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Nice... right in the parking lot, plus no drying the thing off afterwards.

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After a quick transfer to Duna SOI, the Ikester got this close to its target while heading toward Duna.

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A nice little burn to slow things down.

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Plus some aerobraking to save fuel, however...

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... someone remind me again why I parked this thing in low Duna orbit.

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After the burn towards Ike the detachable side tanks were... detached.

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Once in orbit Val headed out to inspect her craft, not that there's much to take a look at. Also... EVA cash.

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Not the most hospitable looking place Ike.

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But once you get down there it's just another rock with grey dust on it. But hey, it does have a nice rosy planet in the sky.

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After landing doing an EVA report from the surface and grabbing a surface sample, Val spent some time pulling funny faces for the camera.

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Not forgetting the flag, which is worth its weight in funds.

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With the surface activities drawing to a close it was time to had back to the Ikester.

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Up, up and away.

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After waiting for the clock to count down to the transfer window, it was time to light that nuke and head for home.

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So long Ike and Duna...

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... and helloooo Kerbin.

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Planet of wet stuff (if the camera's pointing the right way... Scatterer's water has been a bit glitchy lately).

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Funds, funds, funds... the Tigers are playing tonight.

No... that's something else.

But there is enough in the kitty to pay the stonkingly huge bill (1,655,000) to upgrade the R&D center to level 3.

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With the upgrade that big stake of science points that's been accumulating can finally be used.

Need to earn roughly 5,000 science to unlock the whole tree, which isn't a requirement of the challenge (AFAIK) but would be a nice bonus.

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So... current status.

The only buildings remaining to upgrade to the top level are the VAB, Spaceplane hanger and Admin Building.

Total cost for that will be 2,253,000.

Planets (and moons) left to vist are Moho, Eeloo, Eve (for a kerballed landing anyway) Laythe, Tylo and Bop.

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Edited by purpleivan

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The cooler side of town

The list of planets to visit and drain their cash filled rewards is definitely getting smaller (ok... that was true from the start), so things are getting tougher for in this career game.

Next target... Eeloo.

The means of travel would be The Big Chill, the launch vehicle, the new Reuso 4. This reusable launcher is capable for putting something like The Big Chill (weighing in at a not so svelt 51 tons) into an 80km orbit, then returning to do the whole thing again should the need arise.

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Yep things get pretty hot on the way to orbit.

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But all is well above the atmosphere.

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With circularisation done, The Big Chill is detached.

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Reuso 4 made the return trip to the surface for the pretty much standard 97% return value, after plopping down just a few km behind the KSC.

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Back in orbit, it was time to get out of orbit and on towards Eeloo, thanks to Mr Wolfhound.

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On arrival in Eeloo space, it was time yet again for the EVA, Crew Report and science data grab.

Don't take too long Jeb, that planet is getting closer rapidly.

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The Wolfhound done, it was time to hit the nuke.

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With orbit established Jeb hopped out of the pod, to allow Bob to reset the Mystery Goo machine, ready for its use on the surface.

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Fat with fuel it took longer than anticipate slowing this thing down to a non flamey wreckage speed, prior to landing. it was travelling almost horizontally a couple of km up, at about 150m/s, when this was taken.

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But have no fear, the landing is here, with a nice smooth touchdown (ok... an F9 rescue was required after I fluffed the landing the first time taking this shot).

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Once the usual data was grabbed it was time for Jeb head outside. Bob and Val were sleepy after the long trip and couldn't be bothered to go with him.

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Leaving Jeb all along to go exploring.

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Ooo... shiny (kind of).

Jeb made a beeline for this little lump of colourful rock, that was a short rocket jump from the landing site.

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"I claim this rock in the name of the Kerbin Guild of Pilots" (local 42).

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Having stack his claim to the little rock, Jeb's attention turned to something bigger.

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Yes... bigger.

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Much bigger.

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Wth his bootprints carved in the crusty outer layer of the large rock, it was time head back to the ship.

Jeb decided that this rocket jumping thing was so easy he could do it backwards.

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With the inevitable consesquences.

At least he's still smiling.

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Before departing the surface, don't forget to raise the flag Jeb. Don't that coming back for that one milestone is going to be cost effective.

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Up, up and away from yet another planetary body.

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After watching the calendar wind down to the time of the transfer window, it was time to light that nuclear blowtorch and head for Kerbin.

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Bob had a nice view of the home planet coming in, but Val, as much as she tried just couldn't swivel around enough to see it. The effort pincjed a nerve in her neck, resulting in her being stuck in this pose of manic laughter until the medics could deal with it, after landing.

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Using the remaining fuel, Jeb brought the re-entry speed down to something like a Mun return.

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Still... don't think those solar arrays are going to make it to the ground.

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The nuke engine did make to the homeworld, but only for an instant, as there was only 0.3 units of fuel remaining to arrest the 13m/s descent speed on the chutes.

So it, like the solar arrays, went poof!

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But the rewards of the trip are plain to see. About 800,000 funds and 2600 science, not bad from the little ball of ice.

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Time to spend my science winnings. To unlock the remaining parts of the tree will only require another 2058 points.

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With a respectable amount of funds in the bank, it was time to upgrade something.

What to pick, what to pick... ahah... VAB I choose you.

Now this only leaves the Space Plane Hanger and the Admin Building for this challenge entry to reach its conclusion.

At a cost of about 1.4m funds for the last two upgrades, a trip to the remaining Jool system bodies (Laythe, Tylo and Bop) might just pay the bill.

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Edited by purpleivan

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Posted (edited)

Detour

Are you sitting comfortably, well let me tell you a story.

It's a story of a whizzy spaceplane bound for Laythe.

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and of a massive reusable launcher putting a lander for Tylo in orbit.

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splashing down safely in the sea.

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But it's also a tale of a certain person (that would be yours truely) splashing his cash around like there's no tomorrow and upgrading facilities (the Admin Building) that he's not even using.

Which gives this tale a shocking twist... this space program of mine is almost broke. Well... down to 145,463 funds which was short of what was needed.

After putting the Tylo lander in orbit empty of fuel (so I didn't need a bigger launcher) the screen on the hole in the wall at the KSC, was flashing "insufficient funds" to launch the fuel vehicle, or the one to bring Jeb back from Tylo. The reason for a separate vehicle for the return was to pick up the rendezvous, docking and "space station" milestones.

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So, I was stuck.

Then it occured to me that although Duna and Ike had been visited, no docking had taken place at Duna and not even a rendezvous at Ike. So tragedy turned to hope.

Hope in the form of a couple of little payloads like this.

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One had to be automated so it could be flown remotely to recover Jeb, who was standed in the Tylo lander.

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Then for both Jeb and Val it was a case of goodbye Kerbin...

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... and hello Duna.

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Both got a nice view of Duna while waiting for that first kerching.

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I can he that bell ringing already.

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and there it is.

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With the pair of ships docked it was time to head for Ike for a repeat performance.

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Ike was in the middle of an eclipse when the pair arrived... they're pretty brutal in these part.

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Once there was some light on the surface Val detached her vehicle and headed for the surface.

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Even though the little grey spud had been visited before, Val couldn't resist taking a quick excursion on the surface.

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Shortly after she made picked up the rendezvous, docking and a space station milestones when meeting up with Jeb.

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After winding the clock forward to the transfer window it was time to head for home, again with the two vehicles flying as one.

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On approach to Kerbin (about 400km out) Val realised that the solar panels had been blocked for some time, so she and Jeb were out of juice for re-entry. But a quick trip outside to nudge the vehicle into a slow spin fixed that.

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Yep... fixed, and not much time to spare.

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Once the craft was plunging though the atmosphere it was realised that by pure luck, it was due to land nice and close to the KSC, so the recovery percentage should be pretty high.

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Jeb shouted over the comms that he could see the mountains to the West of the launch site.

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"You sure Jeb, I don't see a thing".

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The pair had a good view of their home on the way towards the ground.

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Before finally touching down in the foothills of the mountains.

Unfortunately I'd never planned for the two vehicles to land while docked together, so as they teetered around on the chutes before hitting the ground, there was no opportunity to give a touchdown blast on a Terrier to soften the blow.

So scrub two tanks.

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But joy of joys... this tale has a happy ending, in the form of 393k funds in the bank. Enough to complete the launches needed for that trip to Tylo.

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Edited by purpleivan

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