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Next Small Step: RP-1 Career Series


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In this episode, we struggle with untested engines as we push for our first return from orbital velocity. Speaking of returning from dangerous altitudes, we also go into a Johnny Flores double-feature! Are my planes less terrifying now after another round of edits? Well, one of the two I'm using isn't even mine, so probably! (Apologies and thanks to Frisbee_Driver from the Discord!)

 

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In today's episode, I had to spend a lot of time editing down the salt content of my original voiceover. Did you know that launching missions without prior testing can lead to failure? It's true! We take a shot at the first geostationary satellite, do some learning on the job of returning a vessel from high orbit, and dig into the "management" aspect of space program management!

 

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We are go for geostationary orbit! We test a challenging orbit to confirm we can successfully put communications satellites there, and then send Johnny Flores on another thrilling X-15 adventure. Finally, we learn in real-time just how fragile Science Return capsules are, and learn a whole lot about reentry heating! All of this in the service of the upcoming Mercury program!

 

 

In this episode of "Justin yells at inanimate space probes", we troubleshoot a nearly lost Molniya orbit! We complete another orbital return, but only afterwards do I realize that there's a whole set of missions (and science!) I could have been doing. Finally, we talk a bit about early communications satellites, and the advancements of global networking technology!

 

 

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Project Mercury is go! In this episode we talk about the first flights of the Mercury-Redstone, including the adventures of Ham the Chimp. Then, it's back to the Moon! With all that we've learned about Lunar orbital insertion from the first Moonfarer mission, we aim for a more ambitious target: low orbit!

 

 

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As the title implies, we bring a satisfying conclusion to our time with X-Planes with a final flight of my self-designed X-15 by the intrepid Johnny Flores. But more importantly, we're tying a bow on that program because Project Mercury is well underway! Meanwhile, I update RP-1 and RSS yet again with some shiny new textures, and chuck a handful of probes at Mars!

 

 

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Yup! Lots of new designs opening up, so we'll see plenty of interesting stuff. I'm working on testing a new small-sat launcher, working in a Titan II stack to improve my payload to orbit on the 150t pad, and have very distant dreams of, like, half of a Saturn I for the 350t pad. But first, lemme 360 no-scope this rocket a few times.

 

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So that vid was actually last Tuesday's episode, so here's the one for today! After launching a probe in the previous episode, it has now flown all the way between Earth and Venus, and is ready for its close-up with the dense little death-ball of a planet! We also suffer YET ANOTHER bonkers mishap with a Tellah rocket launching a Mercury test-flight, and then I attempt a Moon landing profile I saw on the Discord, and it goes... Well, you'll see.

 

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Power has become a large concern in our space program. We're getting bigger, better communications transmitters, but they come with power-hungry encoders. This leads to a fight with our avionics and scientific experiments for the trickle of power generated by our (probably too-small) solar panels. Nevertheless, we've got missions to run! We put the first human into orbit, launch another CORONA satellite, and land a probe on the frickin' moon, but every mission is hindered in some way by insufficient energy!

 

 

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In this episode, the struggle with re-entry heating is real! We try to return our two CORONA spy satellite film buckets from orbit before sending up the third, which turns out to have been the right move. Then, we make big moves on the next steps for our Mercury Program by introducing the Extended variant before Johnny Flores gets his orbital debut!

 

Edited by Wiseman
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Some missions are easier than others, as it turns out. Sometimes you'll make a detailed plan with failsafes all along the way, and then it's just handed to you at the start! I guess the value is in making the plan to begin with? In any case, it's the debut of the Mercury Extended service module for a long-duration trip to LEO! Also, it's time for interplanetary transfer windows once again - let's try to orbit Venus!

 

 

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Not 100% sure on this, but I think you are going to lose connection when you get to Venus.  The trajectory is currently on the night side of Venus, but in half a year, it will be on the day side. I'm pretty sure based on the encounter time that Kerbin Earth is going to be on the dark side of Venus when you get there.

You might want to change that, it'd be terrible to have another situation like that first Mun *ugh* Moon landing attempt!

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Oh, perhaps! I'm not sure it matters in this case, though, since MechJeb is happy to execute maneuvers even if you don't have signal. A handwave and a nod compared to the way RemoteTech makes you actually pre-load the manuever with a delay, but it makes it dramatically less annoying.

Let's talk communication networks! I'm apparently still very used to and stuck in my ways of thinking about old RemoteTech strategies. RealAntennas in RP-1 are a lot more forgiving in certain ways (and more challenging in others). We need to think through what our actual goals are so we can plan for the future! Oh hey, also, we're going to Mars!

 

 

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This is an other one of those episodes where I get super into talking strategy and plans instead of, y'know, executing them. I'm really good at that, apparently. But this time we send another lander to the Moon, but with a twist! Then, it's time for Intrepid 5's orbital insertion at Venus!

 

 

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Let's take a stroll through the Mars system, for cash and prizes! Apparently, Phobos gives me the giggles. I spend a bunch of time waxing poetic about comm networks and KSP in general, and then we see if lightning strikes twice on a dicey lunar landing!

 

 

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I'm going to earn that First Rendezvous contract if it takes me all day! And it very nearly does. Rendezvous with other craft in RSS is a different beast due to the scales and speeds involved, not to mention how precious fuel is in orbit. But yet, we need a proper capstone for the Mercury program! Then, it's on to the Asteroid Belt with a new rocket!

 

Edited by Wiseman
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First, let's launch the fateful third of three Combox Satellites, and revel in how wrong I was about them staying put in their relative orbits. Then, we go really deep into my design and build process as I tackle my most ambitious project yet: Pioneer Venus, a combination orbiter and lander!

 

 

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All design, all the time! I continue walking through my process for building a spacecraft (and a new booster!) for a complicated mission. Will the dang thing work? Who knows! The fun is in building it, right?

 

 

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After a bunch of design work, we're finally ready to just launch a few things! We've got a bunch of Moon missions lined up, the return of our CORONA spy satellite's film capsule, and a SCANSat mission on the way!

 

 

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We continue to tie off loose ends of missions we've been planning for a long time! As it turns out, executing 5000~ m/s dV burns in Earth's orbit is not a perfectly precise operation, so we make some adjustments to Pioneer Venus' final trajectory. Then, I finally get a Surveyor Moon lander that I'm happy with, just in time to discontinue the program! And last, my mission to Mercury goes so well that it makes me nervous.

 

 

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I do some hopeful checking of Pioneer Venus' orbit and conclude that I got it exactly backwards. Well, maybe in a few more months we'll be able to land. Then, it's time to build our first Titan II Gemini Launch Vehicle, which indeed includes our shiny new Gemini spacecraft! Finally, fast pitch to Mercury indeed, we're already there for our flyby! Hopefully, I tuned my antenna properly. I did check that, right? Right?!

 

 

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A very eventful episode, it was hard to figure out which screenshot to use! We finally (finally!) put the Pioneer Venus lander down on Venus' surface, launch our very first Titan II GLV, and then perform a flyby of Vesta! Surely everything I've planned for will work out perfectly?!

 

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Let's get working on some new science! Then I fuss with KSC upgrades for a while, and talk about our plans for the future. Finally, it's time to take another swing at the Pioneer Venus mission, taking everything we've learned and applying it to a new launch vehicle and new spacecraft!

 

 

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Well, we wanted to get back to the manned space program, and here it is! I spend probably far too long pontificating as we launch our first Gemini + Agena mission. I do things manually and it winds up being the slowest rendezvous I've ever done, both in real time and in-game, which is... A sort of achievement? In any case, we're learning a ton about the Gemini and Agena Target Vehicle architecture, which will pave the way for Gemini Advanced concepts!

 

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Let's wrap up our first rendezvous, dock, and orbit change of a Gemini spacecraft and Agena Target Vehicle! Then, I spend some time digging into my process for building proper Moon lander that includes sample return. We've got big plans on the Moon, so let's keep pushing towards those milestones!

 

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