Roman Interstellar Society: An Alternate-ish History Career

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Orbital Ballet at Eve





The Atlas and her crew will arrive at periapsis first, where they will capture into an orbit with an apoapsis on the edge of Eve's SOI. They will then match planes with Gilly, and drop their periapsis just above Eve's lethal atmosphere after that, in order to get a closer look at the purple planet.


The Gilly lander requires slightly less Δv to match planes with Gilly, and will capture into a high circular orbit.


Fifty-or-so days later, the crew get their first glimpse of Eve up close.


An opportunity has arisen for the Atlas to rendezvous with the Gilly lander without expending too much propellant.


The lander's transfer stage, with its higher TWR, performs the velocity matching burn.


Since neither craft has translational RCS, docking is accomplished using the good old point-and-shoot method.



The transfer stage only has negligible Δv once docked to the Atlas, so it separates from the combined stack and deorbits itself. It hits Eve's atmosphere at more than eight kilometers per second and is vaporized almost instantly.


Days later, the Atlas enters Gilly's miniscule sphere of influence, screaming past the captured asteroid at velocities far in excess of its escape velocity. A six-minute burn is necessary for the ship to capture into orbit.


Once a stable orbit is finally established, the lander undocks and deorbits on the fore-and-aft RCS thrusters .




Touchdown indeed. On any other body, such a sight would evoke extreme fear, but here the pod's reaction wheels are enough to right the lander.



Science! is collected from the whopping three biomes that Gilly possesses, and the lander prepares to rendezvous with the Atlas.


Only at Gilly is this direct-rendezvous-sans-plane-change tomfoolery really viable without wasting obscene amounts of Δv.


Once the samples are transferred aboard the Atlas, the lander is remotely deorbited and the crew settle in. Another year or so to go before the return window.


Bellona Returns




Meanwhile, the weary crew of the Bellona I are finally home. They transfer to the Vesta CM in preparation for re-entry.


The SPS fires to lower the entire stack's periapsis to ensure an aerobrake and landing all in one go. Well, landing for the CM anyways.


Their highly inclined trajectory takes them over the rippling green aurorae of home.



The CSM detaches from the habitation module and third stage two minutes before re-entry, and the SM is jettisoned sixty seconds after that.





The Hab and third stage burn up as expected, and the CM streaks through the atmosphere as it ablates off the excess velocity.


Chutes deploy nominally and the crew is home safe after four years. The RIS' first interplanetary mission is thus a success.


Reusable Ruminations: Crew Shuttles




Having finally researched inflatable heat shielding, the third generation of Vesta crew shuttles is now in active service, which is able to deliver five kerbals to orbit at half the net cost of its predecessor.

The core stage has been redesigned from the ground up, and is powered by a pair of PKMC KR-VII sustainer engines. While this configuration is substantially more expensive on paper than the single REM-III sustainer used on the Vesta MkII, it is far more efficient and allows the second stage to place the crew shuttle into orbit on its own, which is crucial for its reusability.

The second stage remains roughly the same, but includes an inflatable heat shield and an additional reaction wheel to maintain its attitude during re-entry.


The crew shuttle itself has also changed drastically. In lieu of a disposable service module, which in its predecessor provided primary propulsion, power generation, and RCS, the "service module" is stowed away in a service bay to protect its delicate components during ascent and re-entry. Primary propulsion is relegated to the S-CIV "abort motors" on the command module, which are thrust-limited once in orbit as they can produce some five gees when fully laden.


Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here to Stay



With the Society's first decennial report to the Imperial Court coming up, and the next significant interplanetary launch window forty-five days after that was due, its focus shifted once again back to Mvna. Even extended-stay Diana missions (at least, those that performed more than one hop) would only linger on the surface of Mvna for less than an hour, with stays up to two days budgeted in supplies. Project Leto would change that, with Vardārivs Brvnvs envisioning a spaceport that would be able to manufacture and launch its own vessels. For now, though, its goals are simple.


A habitation module will first be launched towards Mvna and landed using a skycrane. While it has space for five, it is only intended to house one kerbal, as it only possesses one radiation detox unit.


The first-generation Leto Shuttle, which can ferry four kerbals to the surface of Mvna and back to Kerbin orbit, will also be launched. Once the MiniHab (so named because it is quite small compared to what will be necessary for a full-fledged colony on Mvna) has landed, a Vesta MkIII will carry the single intrepid kerbonaut up to the shuttle.

Both payloads will be launched using the newly-developed Neptvnvs MRLV (Modular Reusable Launch Vehicle), derived from the workhorse Ivpiter series of heavy-lift launch vehicles and the Vesta MkIII's reusable core and upper stages. Since they are rather lightweight compared to the payload potential of the heaviest Neptvnvs configurations, only the core and cryogenic stages are needed to send them to their destinations. The MiniHab will use the LTCS (Long-Term Cryogenic Stage), which uses an extendable nozzle and actively cooled tankage, and the Leto Shuttle will use the BCS (Basic Cryogenic Stage), which uses the baseline engine and standard tankage. A more thorough demonstration of the components of the Neptvnvs MRLV will likely be included in the report to the Imperial Court, since the ingeniātōrēs are quite proud of their work.


The first launch of the Neptvnvs MRLV occurs just before dusk. The core stage pictured here lacks the center REM-VII sustainer, to minimize stresses on the lighter payload during ascent.


Nominal core stage and fairing separation.


TMI occurs on the night side, as is right and proper.


The next Neptvnvs launch also occurs at night, carrying the Leto Shuttle to orbit.


The BCS places the Leto Shuttle into a 350km orbit.
Unfortunately there are no provisions for the recovery of the cryogenic stages, so it deorbits itself after detaching from the payload and burns up in the atmosphere.


Mvnar orbital insertion is also performed on the night side… as is right and proper…


The East Crater has been chosen as the site of Statio Leto, the name of the future Mvnabase. Unfortunately it is on the dark side, so the MiniHab will have to wait in orbit for a while.


When the time comes, the Neptvnvs cryogenic stage performs the deorbit burn to minimize space debris in Mvnar orbit.


Kerbol rises over Mvna as the skycrane's dual MK-LV engines ignite.


Final descent.



The skycrane is detached and sent towards its demise.


With the MiniHab down safe, Jebedvs is cleared for departure and a Vesta MkIII is rolled out to the pad.
Four newly-recruited kerbonauts will also be sent up with him so they can gain their first stars.




The second stage detaches from the Vesta MkIII, which will be rendezvousing with the Leto Shuttle six hours hence, and performs its retroburn.


The payload adapter/heat shield shroud is detached and promptly burns up.




Meanwhile, the Vesta MkIII burns to establish an intercept with the Leto Shuttle.



Jeb manages to brake just a few meters off the hull of the Leto Shuttle, causing great anxiety to the four other passengers.


Jeb transfers aboard after a smooth docking.


The junior kerbonauts wave goodbye at the legend before burning retrograde and heading home.



Meanwhile, Jeb is hard at work familiarizing himself with the controls of the MkIX-C pod.


Jeb: "Dayum, this is fancy. Sure coulda used that when I shipped up to Duna."
CAPCOM: "Jeb, you're clear to begin TMI at your discretion."
Jeb: "Copy that, Control."



Jeb: "Control, engines are getting a bit toasty up here."
CAPCOM: "Copy that, Centurion, we read the same. We'll let the ingeniātōrēs know about that issue."
Jeb: "Have I mentioned how advanced these readouts are? Would have been great if the Bellona had these."
CAPCOM: "Sure, but the Bellona also didn't have nuclear-thermal rockets."
Jeb: "Fair point."


Jeb: "Never could get tired of that view."



Capture and deorbit burns are performed uneventfully.



Jeb: "And contact. Engines stop."
CAPCOM: "Confirm contact. Fuel and range sit?"
Jeb: "Panel says I've got just under half a tank for the return, and that I'm three klicks out from the MiniHab. No biggie, I'll jetpack over."


Jeb: "Looks like a nice place to me, Control."


Jeb: "Feels like I'm out camping and stargazing with Bill, Bob, and Val again. Except they're not here and I'm on Mvna. Any chance you can fix that, Control?"
CAPCOM: "Working on it. In the meantime, you've got quite a substantial checklist to go through."
Jeb: "Killjoy."


Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are some nice looking IVA screens.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2020 at 1:08 AM, sturmhauke said:

Those are some nice looking IVA screens.

They really are. RPM/ASET/MAS are must-haves for my modded installs nowadays since I'm a sucker for pretty IVAs. :P

Decennial Report


(Roman Interstellar Society // First Decennial Report to the Imperial Court)

Finalized: A.V.C. MMDCCV·CXCIII (Y10D387)
Not to be released before A.V.C. MMDCCVI·III


The Roman Interstellar Society has accomplished many firsts in the past decade, from bootprints on Dvna to a long-term presence in Kerbin orbit and on the Mvnar surface. Our successes, though, cannot be attributed solely to the superiority of Roman craftsmanship, or the bravery of the Kerbonauts under our employ. It is thanks in no small part to the support of the Citizenry, and of the Imperial Court, that the Society has been able to come this far. It is our hope that the decades to come will bring more firsts, and eventually realize our common dream of an interstellar Empire.

—Mortimvs Secvndvs Kermanvs, Chairkerb and Chief Financial Officer


The RIS currently has 15.7 million kilodenarii in liquid assets, with the completion of the Gilly Expedition projected to return a further 1.2 million. The vast profit margin of the Society is proof that the profitability of space exploration is not limited only to its Science!.

Research and Development

With its leading scientific research facilities, the RIS has been able to develop many advanced technologies for use in its spacecraft, but there is still much more to learn before it can truly expand towards the stars.
All technologies up to Tier 6 (300 Science!) have been researched, as well as a multitude of other Tier 7 (550 Science!) technologies.

Ongoing Expeditions

Atlas MkI RDSEV // Gilly Expedition

Nvmerivs Blossivs [P-II], Captain
Sentia Kermana [P-I], Helmskerb
Ivlia Kermana [E-I], Chief Engineer
Flavivs Cæcilivs [S-I], Chief Science Officer

Completed primary objective, awaiting return window. Crew are in good spirits, but radiation shielding is subpar and will be rectified in the design of the Atlas MkII. Vehicle will be defueled and deorbited upon return to Kerbin, as on-orbit mass production of shielding is infeasible.

Statione Cælvm // Expedition IV

Servilia Kermana [P-I], Expedition Commander
Barbatia Kermana [E-I], Flight Engineer
Ivventia Kermana [S-I], Hydroponics Specialist

Completed secondary objective of repairing faulty components and disposing of failed components aboard Statione Cælvm. Primary objective of evaluating efficacy of orbital hydroponics ongoing.

Future Plans

Uncrewed exploration: Robotic landers will be launched to Dres and Moho, as well as Laythe, which is of particular interest due to what appears to be an oxygenated atmosphere surrounding it. SCANsat deployment is slated for all Joolian moons in preparation for a future crewed expedition.

Crewed exploration: A major expedition is planned for the next Dvna window, which aims to return surface samples from all biomes of Dvna and Ike, and atmospheric samples from the former.

Colonization of Mvna: Testing of ISRU components on the surface of Mvna will commence shortly, as Expedition I of Project Leto was a success. Deployment of surface hydroponics is contingent upon the success of SC Expedition IV.


A.V.C. MMDCCVI·XXXIII (Y11D67): Transfer window to Dres opens
XLV (Y11D91): Transfer window to Jool opens
CXIV (Y11D229) Transfer window to Moho opens
CXXXI (Y11D263): Atlas MkI / Gilly Expedition performs TKI
A.V.C. MMDCCVII·LXXII (Y12D145): Atlas MkI projected to return to Kerbin
A.V.C. MMDCCVIII·XI (Y13D23): Transfer window to Dvna opens


Appendix: Neptvnvs MRLV (Modular Reusable Launch Vehicle) Family


The Neptvnvs family of launch vehicles represents the pinnacle of launcher technology. Combining the unparalleled lifting capability of the Ivpiter line and the complete reusability of the Vesta MkIII crew shuttle, the Neptvnvs MRLV is able to propel a wide range of payloads to Kerbin orbit and beyond at a minimal cost, thanks to the reusability of its core and upper stages.

At the heart of Neptvnvs MRLV core stages is the RE-M7 "Pila" sustainer engine. Developed by Conglomeratvs Rockomaximvs, it is the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fuel engine currently in production, outstripping even the LE1F-2214-A "Regor A" used on the Ivpiter II and III.


Static fire test of the RE-M7 being conducted.
Image: Public Relations, Conglomeratvs Rockomaximvs

Like the Ivpiter series, the Neptvnvs MRLV utilizes cryogenic propellants in its upper stages due to their higher efficiency. The Expendable Kerbin Departure Stage (EKDS) is also available for payloads that will travel beyond Kerbin orbit. Actively cooled tankage is used on the Advanced EKDS, though they are much cheaper than the primitive cooling systems used on the second and third stages of the Ivpiter IIIa.

Neptvnvs I MRLV - Medium-Lift Launch Vehicle Family

The Neptvnvs I series is best suited for lofting medium payloads to LKO, though it can certainly be used to send lighter payloads interplanetary thanks to its plug-and-play compatibility with the Neptvnvs EKDS.


Table of Configurations




Upper Stage

Payload to LKO

Gross cost




20,000 kg

95,000 kD



Basic EKDS

28,000 kg

93,000 kD




40,000 kg

120,000 kD


2x SRB1208


29,000 kg

127,000 kD


2x SRB1208

Basic EKDS

39,000 kg

125,000 kD


2x SRB1208


53,000 kg

153,000 kD


4x SRB1208


38,000 kg

160,000 kD


4x SRB1208

Basic EKDS

48,000 kg

157,000 kD


4x SRB1208


63,000 kg

185,000 kD


2x CCB


75,000 kg

230,000 kD


2x CCB

Basic EKDS

85,000 kg

230,000 kD


2x CCB


95,000 kg

258,000 kD

Neptvnvs II MRLV - Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle Family

The Neptvnvs II series is optimized for delivering medium-sized payloads beyond Kerbin orbit with the addition of the Neptvnvs EKDS, but it is also perfectly suited for behemoth loads to LKO.


Table of Configurations





Payload to LKO

Gross cost




120,000 kg

370,000 kD




130,000 kg

391,000 kD




145,000 kg

419,000 kD


4x BR-375-A


170,000 kg

505,000 kD


4x BR-375-A


180,000 kg

527,000 kD


4x BR-375-A


200,000 kg

554,000 kD


4x BR-375-XA


250,000 kg

618,000 kD


4x BR-375-XA


260,000 kg

640,000 kD


4x BR-375-XA


275,000 kg

667,000 kD


4x CCB


230,000 kg

645,000 kD


4x CCB


240,000 kg

666,000 kD


4x CCB


260,000 kg

693,000 kD


Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

More Probe Launches…


Locvtivs III

Launch date: A.V.C. MMDCCVI·XXVI (Y11D53)
Launch vehicle: Neptvnvs IB
Objective: Contract fulfillment - Sentinel telescope between Kerbin and Dvna
Nominal first stage recovery, EKDS-B deorbited after placing payload on transfer orbit
Orbital insertion burn scheduled more than one year hence


Appretiativs I

Launch date: A.V.C. MMDCCVI·XXXIII (Y11D67)
Launch vehicle: Neptvnvs IA
Objective: Evaluation of Dres' existence and efficacy as an insane asylum Robotic Dres orbiter and lander
Nominal first stage recovery
EKDS-A remains attached to final payload, will likely be placed on impact trajectory after propellant depletion
Plane change maneuver in 156 days


Proserpina I

Launch date: A.V.C. MMDCCVI·XLV (Y11D91)
Launch vehicle: Neptvnvs IIA
Objective: Carrier vehicle for robotic Laythe lander and Joolian satellite SCANsats
Nominal first stage recovery
Ignition failure on one upper-stage engine during orbital insertion, catastrophic failure of another engine during deorbit; otherwise successful second stage recovery
Payload placed on high-energy Joolian transfer, expected to enter Jool SOI in 2¼ years




Leto Lab



Once the uncrewed exploration department was finally done hogging the launch schedule, another Neptvnvs IIA was rolled out to the pad, with a very special payload.


Though of course that didn't stop one of the upper stage engines from failing during ascent yet again. :huh:


The Advanced EKDS is placed into orbit with the Leto Lab in tow. Featuring a bevy of laboratory experiments and a greenhouse, it can house a crew of four for…quite a while, actually, considering that the loop is nearly closed with the greenhouse and water recyclers. The initial expedition is "only" planned for around 150 days, though, and resupplies are just over a day away from Mvna if they do become necessary.


The station is placed in a low Mvnar orbit and the EKDS deorbits itself.


Before Leto Lab can open for business, though, the shuttle needs to be refueled. The Mercvrivs MkIII tanker, capable of delivering exactly enough propellant for the Leto Shuttle, is launched atop a Neptvnvs I II-V (two SRBs, standard upper stage).


Nominal booster separation.


Docking and fuel transfer proceeds as planned, and the tanker is deorbited using its RCS.



A Vesta MkIII launches at dawn, carrying the all-female crew of the Leto Lab up to the shuttle. (The newest addition to the Society's kerbonaut corps, these ladies have never been to Mvna before, but already have experience with station life thanks to their stint at Statione Caelvm.)


The twin LANTRs ignite shortly after orbital dawn.


Servilia witnesses a Kerbolar eclipse as they cruise towards Mvna.


Due to a slight oversight in the design process of the shuttle (rendezvous and active docking was not originally part of its mission profile), it lacks properly-centered RCS, but docking is completed anyways. This will be rectified in the next iteration, along with cooling for the LANTRs, as soon as the ingeniātōrēs figure out how to stop radiators from spontaneously combusting.
The crew settle in and begin performing experiments that will gain valuable Science! and data on orbital habitation and hydroponics away from home.



Has anyone else had their radiators catch fire for no apparent reason? It's a purely visual bug and the kerbonauts aboard are oblivious as ever (if things actually started melting à la DRE they would start freaking out) but it does affect my screenshotting quite a bit.

As in it's hard to get good screenshots when there are long trails of fire extending out from inside the fairing. :rolleyes:




Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Caelvm Expansions



With the crew of the Gilly Expedition having returned safely, (though not without some hijinks involving the Leto Shuttle, as the Atlas did not have enough propellant to insert into an orbit that a Vesta spacecraft could easily reach) and the crew of the Leto Lab getting a larger-than-expected dose of hard radiation, it was clear that the aging Statione Caelvm desperately needed some upgrades. The greenhouse module that had been launched to test orbital hydroponics was hardly an upgrade, though the contract that it completed more than paid for its launch.

Since the quaesītōrēs had just figured out how to install more RDUs in larger habitation modules, a four-SRB variant of the Neptvnvs I was ordered and these habitation modules (and a generous oxygen supply) were launched into orbit, along with a small RCS tug to facilitate docking.



For those wondering, this is not default Kerbalism behavior. I've simply modified larger habitation modules (particularly the 3.75m habs from Stockalike Station Parts Redux) to have half as many RDUs as they do seats. There's a reason I installed SSPXr, and it's not because I want to build DSEVs out of Hitchhiker cans. :wink:



Nominal ascent. The upper stage detaches and awaits deorbit while the RCS tug takes over.


The first module is docked. The linkage between the two modules are separated, and the station rolls 180°.


Once both modules are secure, the tug undocks and re-docks to the aft node.



Meanwhile, another baseline Neptvnvs I launches, carrying the station's new Service Module. It is intended to perform minor orbital corrections, as the many dockings and undockings have shifted its apsides quite considerably. Crew passage is uninhibited as it uses radial monopropellant engines, and it also comes with reaction wheels to speed up any rotational maneuvers without affecting the station's orbit.


It docks to the aft node once the RCS tug has unceremoniously deorbited itself.


The engines fire on the night side to circularize at 300 km, its original orbit. Though these monopropellant engines are fairly strong, they still only accelerate the station at less than half a meter per second per second.


Back to Dvna



Once the renovations to Statione Caelvm were complete, the mission planners were reminded that the next Dvna launch window was scarcely a hundred days away. The blueprints that were devised before the last Dvna launch window, almost two years ago, were dug up from the depths of the ingeniātōrēs' drawers and made compatible with the latest and greatest launch vehicles.


Perhaps the most intriguing of these craft is the imaginatively-named Dvna Hopper. With its twin liquid carbon dioxide NTRs and an atmospheric scoop, it is able to enter Dvna orbit with around 2 km/s to spare, more than enough to reach Ike or even return to Kerbin. Of course, it can also perform a near-limitless amount of atmospheric hops on Dvna without touching its reserve CO₂ tankage, which is its primary objective.


The Ike Hopper is slightly less interesting, as it uses boring old LF LANTRs, but it certainly gets the job done.

Both hoppers will be launched using Neptvnvs IIA launch vehicles.


The proverbial cherry on top of the second Dvna flotilla is a pair of SCANsats, which will map out landing sites and resource concentrations for our intrepid crew.

While there is enough carbon dioxide in Dvna's atmosphere to fuel many, many CO₂ NTR-powered vessels for decades to come, the same probably cannot be said for Ike, which lacks an atmosphere and may not have carbon dioxide in its crust. In any case, liquid fuel is superior in efficiency to carbon dioxide, and water ice might be accessible on Dvna (and maybe Ike) for electrolysis and the Sabatier reaction.

The SCANsats will be launched as soon as possible to ensure they have a head start in scanning their targets before the crew of the second expedition arrive. The hoppercraft and Atlas will be launched closer to the window for an optimal transfer.

All told, the ships comprising the Second Dvna Expedition (including the supporting craft) are expected to have a total gross cost of around 2.65 million kilodenarii. Contracts will only pay for around half of this sum, which will likely be more than enough when considering the reusability of the launch vehicles. The Atlas MkII will also hopefully live up to its name of a Reusable DSEV this time around, so if all goes well it will be an investment rather than an expenditure.


Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, TotallyNotHuman said:

half a meter per second per second.

I believe you're looking for the standard unit of acceleration of meters per second^2 (squared) (yes terrible name but it's what the unit is)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/7/2020 at 9:23 AM, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

I believe you're looking for the standard unit of acceleration of meters per second^2 (squared) (yes terrible name but it's what the unit is)

They mean the same thing, I just didn't feel like writing m/s². :)

Launches Launches Launches



First to go up was the pair of SCANsats, which performed its ejection burn ninety days before the window. As it turned out, this would give it a sixty-or-so-day head start on the hoppercraft and a whole 130 on the Atlas, since it departed from a higher orbit. Launch and TDI proceeded uneventfully, though Kerbol peeked above the horizon as the EKDS-A kicked the probes up beyond escape velocity.


Next up was the Atlas, a 260-ton behemoth which exceeded even the capabilities of the 2.4 kiloton Neptvnvs II XSB launch vehicle it was bolted to. The fairing itselfmassed some twenty tons, which meant that the DSEV would have to perform the circularization burn. It also produced quite the lightshow at launch.


Booster separation shown here is deceptively clean, but two of the boosters collided with each other after sep.


Core stage and fairing away.


Second stage performs admirably and the LANTRs insert the vehicle into a 500km orbit.


A total of three Mercvrivs MkIII LF tankers would need to be dispatched, but things already aren't going well on the first launch.


Nevertheless, the required amount of LF was delivered through the auxiliary docking nodes on the Atlas, an improvement from the previous generation where propellant and consumables had to be routed exclusively through the forward port. Supposedly this was needed as the ducting would leak and vent fuel into the command deck, causing it to reek of LF fumes, but such claims are completely unsubstantiated.


The Dvna and Ike Hoppers were launched into parking orbits once the Atlas was fully laden with propellant. Those went as well as one would expect, except for an upper-stage engine on one of the LVs failing outright on ascent (but not exploding).



Finally, it was time for the crew to launch. Since the Atlas possesses autonomous command systems, an additional crewmember, who would remain in orbit to pilot the mothership, was no longer necessary. Consequently, the MkII provides habitation space and RDUs for only three crewmembers, who would all have the privilege of setting foot on Dvna and Ike. For the Second Dvna Expedition, these crewmembers would consist of Jebedvs and Visellia, veterans of the Bellona I mission to Dvna, as well as Lutatia acting in the capacity of Chief Engineer.

After the Vesta MkIII crewlift nearly put an end to the flawless track record of the Vesta capsule and the Society, by flipping during reentry and exposing the capsule to the plasma sheath, the idea of a fully reusable service module was put on hold. The Mark IV returned to a disposable service module and discrete reentry capsule, much like the Vesta CSM used on Mvnar and interplanetary missions, but uses a fully modular Universal Storage™ service core in lieu of the prebuilt Vesta service module. Orbital maneuvering was still provided by the abysmally inefficient abort motors, and the RCS left something to be desired, but it would have to work for now.

The Neptvnvs I, after being crew-certified, also replaced the Interim Reusable Launch Vehicle that carried the MkIII to orbit.


The crew first transfered to Statione Caelvm, where Visellia had remained after being cured of radiation sickness, to pick her up.


After retrieving Visellia, as well as another kerb who was feeling a mite homesick, the crew transferred up to the 500km orbit where the Atlas was stationed.


Once the crew transferred aboard, goodbyes were exchanged and the Vesta burned for home.



Meanwhile, the hoppers began their transfer burns on the dark side. As is right and proper.



The Atlas followed suit, though with a bit more daylight to spare as it started from a higher orbit.



Probe Arrivals



As the Atlas and the rest of the flotilla crossed into Kerbolar orbit, some of the probes that were launched earlier finally produced results.

The first to arrive was Electrvm I, a Moho orbiter and lander. Its initial images of the innermost planet revealed a layer of material that had been ablated away due to its proximity to Kerbol, which was quite fascinating to the astronomy department.


However, its capture burn was quite risky. The EKDS-A would not be able to provide all of the Δv needed to capture into orbit, so the onboard ion thruster had to take over once the highly efficient LH₂/Ox transfer stage ran dry. To add more insult to injury, the capture burn would occur on the night side, so the probe would have to rely on its onboard batteries to power the ion thruster. Things seemed grim, but the probe was somehow able to capture into a ground-intersecting orbit before its batteries ran dry; when contact was eventually re-established, the orbit was corrected and the probe began transmitting back valuable Science!.

Appretiatvs I also arrived at Dres around this time. Much to the dismay of the Society's astronomers, Dres does indeed exist. But the probe's onboard camera initially had trouble picking it out of the sky, since it is utterly unremarkable.


During the capture burn, the transfer stage also ran dry, and the probe's CANDLE engine took over.


After the midcourse corrections of the flotilla's ships were performed, the timeline looks something like this:


Fun times for Mission Control once again.


Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Which mod are you using for your launch gantries? I've been using Modular Launch Pads for my stuff, which is nice for historical-ish rockets but not so much for massively oversized kerbal engineering like I tend to build. The one you have looks like it might fit my needs a little better.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

Which mod are you using for your launch gantries? I've been using Modular Launch Pads for my stuff, which is nice for historical-ish rockets but not so much for massively oversized kerbal engineering like I tend to build. The one you have looks like it might fit my needs a little better.

These are just the old FASA umbilicals and Apollo clamps that are included with Bluedog. I might switch to the SpaceY heavy-duty clamps for heavier Neptvnvs variants, since the Atlas' LV clipped the tower ever so slightly on ascent.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Dvna Arrival



The SCANsats, having arrived first, reoriented for the capture burn. The burn would put the Dvna SCANsat at a high enough apodune that it could detach and easily correct to a polar orbit, while the Ike SCANsat and transfer stage fell towards Ike, where the Ike SCANsat would capture into orbit under its own power. The transfer stage, after receiving a gravity assist from Ike, would crash into the Red Planet.




The hoppers also arrived uneventfully.




Meanwhile at Jool



As the pair of SCANsats arrived at Dvna, the onboard guidance of Proserpina I reawakened as it detected its entry into Jool SOI. To the horror of Mission Control, there was nowhere near enough Δv in the EKDS-A to capture all six probes into orbit.


To make matters worse, the reaction wheels on several of the SCANsats had malfunctioned—but without an engineer they may as well have failed completely. The reaction wheel on the Laythe Oceanic Investigator had failed as well, and with no other form of control it would not be able to adjust its trajectory to guarantee an ocean landing.

The mission could, however, be salvaged. By detaching one of the SCANsats and using its onboard CANDLE engine to continue the capture burn, a basic scientific satellite could still investigate Jool and (hopefully) its moons.

With the sequence programmed into the probe, all Mission Control could do now was try to enjoy the awe-inspiring photos that were being transmitted.




The engines ignite as planned before the probe enters comm blackout.


Several tense minutes pass before telemetry is regained. Much to the relief of Mission Control, the probe has successfully captured into Joolian orbit by way of a powered Tylo flyby.


The mission planners get to work plotting maneuvers for the probe, which has been renamed Virtvs I after the god of bravery, once it re-enters Joolian SOI. It has captured into an inclined retrograde orbit, which will need to be corrected to equatorial retrograde to at least be in the same plane as the inner moons of Jool, if not the same inclination. It will then fly Tylo by a second time after one orbit, and a slight burn will be performed at the preceding apojool to fine-tune its encounter; another powered flyby will then take it within a few meters of Laythe's atmosphere.


Eighty-or-so days later, it flies Laythe by, but the supposedly Kerbin-like moon is rather unremarkable up close. Perhaps the view would be better on the dark side or from the surface, but its radiation sensors detect an unhealthy amount of radiation due to its proximity to Jool, against which its wispy atmosphere and nonexistent magnetic field cannot really protect. Future crewed landers will need to be well-shielded.


A flyby of Vall is then performed, but the icy moon is only mildly intriguing.


Finally, the probe enters an orbit that, if undisturbed by either of the inner moons, will allow it to collect Science! from space near Jool until its reaction wheel—which already malfunctioned once but was somehow repaired remotely—inevitably fails from the onslaught of ionizing radiation.



Back to Dvna



The crew first brake into a high Dvna orbit, before rendezvousing with the hopper in a low orbit.


Jeb performs an EVA so he can move the hopper in to dock with the Atlas.


After transferring aboard, the crew undock and prepare to hop around Dvna.


The crew land safely without expending a single drop of liquid carbon dioxide in the reserve tanks.


As Jeb takes off on the second hop, he notices a floating boulder. Probably best not to report it, lest the crew get sent to Dres.


Less than six hours later, the expedition comes to a close as they have collected atmospheric and surface samples from all biomes of Dvna.


Once the samples were secured, the hopper lifted off for the last time and rendezvoused with the Atlas in orbit.


As soon as they docked, the high-gain laser communication system beamed back all the data they had collected. The quaesītōrēs back home on Kerbin shed tears of joy at the sheer amount of Science! that they received, with still more to come once the crew returned with the atmospheric and surface samples.




Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Disaster at Ike



Jeb: "Mulch."


Lutatia: "Say again, sir?"
Jeb: "Micrometeoroid struck the capsule and ripped the reaction wheel clean off. Cabin's in vacuum and I have next to no control authority unless I enable the RCS, which is grossly off-center and only has two hundred units of monoprop to feed it."
Visellia: "That would be grounds for a mission scrub—"
Jeb: "Not on your life. I'll be bringing the lander in to dock; if you do not wish to come aboard you are free to remain aboard the Atlas."

Both transfered over.


Lutatia: "I'm opening the hatch and removing some of the redundant wedges. Might make the landing a bit smoother."


Jeb: "Starting terminal descent."


Despite Jeb's best efforts, three of the four landing legs failed and the lander toppled over.


The crew pose for the photo calmly because there is a plan (albeit a rather insane one) for them to get off the surface.


Lutatia removes the remaining landing leg and excises some other redundant components.


The crew then enter the pod, before Jeb performs a sliding takeoff.


Jeb: "Wow, that worked?"


The crew jetpack over with the samples, since the monopropellant reserves were running low and they needed it to fuel their KMUs.


Once aboard, they settle in for another long wait for the return window.


Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Project Ares



Application of Resource Extraction in-Situ: Design Reference Architecture II


The Society's second expedition to Dvna has, in addition to the vast amounts of Science!, given us a great deal of insight on the composition of our neighboring planet. Notably, atmospheric spectroscopy has revealed anomalously high concentrations of molecular hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen in Dvna's atmosphere. While the compositions of these elements are almost negligible compared to the carbon dioxide that makes up the vast majority of its atmosphere, scientists believe that the presence of three of the four most common elements may indicate that Dvna, at some point in its history, may have harbored life.

Be that as it may, the presence of these elements in the atmosphere means that electrolysis of extracted water, all of which are locked away under Dvna's polar ice caps, is unnecessary to produce propellant in situ. This also has the effect of making refining operations more efficient; the first iteration of the Ares DRA called for a station in polar orbit to act as the hub for refining operations, which would require higher propellant margins for interplanetary transfers and launches to orbit.

Multispectral scanning of Dvna's regolith and crust has also revealed a high concentration of uranium ore, which can help alleviate the demand on Imperial uranium mines to some extent. It remains to be seen whether mass production of enriched uranium at Dvna is cost-effective, efficient, or safe.

Primary Spacecraft

Statio Ares


Statio Ares is the hub for extraction and refining operations. Intended to be positioned in a medium Dvna orbit, it will provide habitation for the two crewmembers of each expedition in addition to enrichment capability. An advanced chemical plant will also enable the production of monopropellant, through a combination of the Haber-Bosch and anthraquinone processes. Its habitation module provides unparalleled comfort, with fifty cubic meters and one hundred square meters of living space available to each crewmember.

Due to the payload constraints of the EKDS-A, Statio Ares will be launched separately and constructed once in Dvna orbit. The core module will provide habitation and life support, with refining equipment on a separate module.

Crew Transport Vehicle


The CTV is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ares DRA. Instead of carrying supplies and living space for the interplanetary transfer to Dvna, the crew will enter cryosleep upon departing Kerbin orbit, and reawaken when docked to Statio Ares. The CTV will also act as a short-range testbed for missions to the Outer Planets, which will undoubtedly require cryonics.

The long-term effects of Glykerol, the substance used to protect Kerbonauts during cryosleep, on Kerbal biology is poorly understood; however, third-party studies have shown that it may be addictive and/or have debilitating mental effects. For this reason, crews assigned to Ares expeditions will be removed from the active flight roster and undergo a battery of tests upon return and debrief. Any signs of Glykerol addiction will result in immediate rehabilitation, as the Society's Kerbonaut Corps has zero tolerance for delinquency.

It is expected that two or more CTVs will be active simultaneously, due to the overlap in Dvna transfer and return windows.

Dvna Excursion Vehicle


The DEV is essentially an improved version of the Dvna Hopper used on DE-II. The primary difference is the addition of two backup pairs of RR LV-N-O nuclear thermal rockets, which allows the DEV to ascend to orbit with up to two failed engines. Normal operation uses only one pair of NTRs, as all three firing at the same time produces some 3 g of acceleration when fully laden.

Freight Transport Vehicle


The FTV is composed of two main components. The Freight Tug is used to haul the Freight Return Container between Kerbin and Dvna. Once fully laden with enriched uranium, the FTV will return to Kerbin, where the FRC will detach and perform a targeted descent into the Recovery Zone of the Imperial Launch Complex. An empty FRC will then be launched to LKO and docked to the FT.

Cryogen Ferry


The Cryogen Ferry is used to haul liquid hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen from the surface to Statio Ares, where it will be refined into monopropellant and/or other products.

Uraninite Ferry


The Uraninite Ferry is used to haul uraninite from the surface to Statio Ares, where it will be refined into enriched uranium.


A.V.C. MMDCCXI·CXLVII (Y16D295): Dvna transfer window
Uncrewed Ares payloads launch for Dvna

A.V.C. MMDCCXIII·XV (Y18D31): Uncrewed Ares payloads arrive at Dvna

A.V.C. MMDCCXV·LXXIII (Y20D147): Dvna transfer window
Ares I crew launches for Dvna with CTV-I

A.V.C. MMDCCXVI·CXLV (Y21D191): Ares I crew arrives at Dvna

A.V.C. MMDCCXVIII·CXXXIX (Y23D279): Dvna return window
Ares I crew returns to Kerbin with CTV-I
Ares I FTV returns to Kerbin

A.V.C. MMDCCXIX·VI (Y24D13): Dvna transfer window
Ares II crew launch for Dvna with CTV-II
Additional payloads launch for Dvna

A.V.C. MMDCCXIX·CCXI (Y24D423): Ares I crew and FTV arrive at Kerbin


The Ares I expedition is expected to oversee the production and return of 2,500 standard units (27 metric tons) of enriched uranium. If this target is reached ahead of the return window, an uprated FTV will be launched at the next Dvna transfer window to accommodate a higher quota.

Future Plans

Scans have also indicated that Dvna possesses fairly rich deposits of metal ore. While not particularly lucrative in terms of funds, extraction and smelting of metal ore can allow for in-situ production of replacement components, and even ships. Such plans are, of course, contingent upon the success of the Ares I expedition. Supporting equipment to facilitate processing of metal ore and construction of components will likely be launched alongside the Ares II crew and CTV-II if Ares I is able to fulfill its quota.


Selected Launch Photos







Grand Tours



The uncrewed Ares flotilla alone has doubled Mission Control's worries, but there was still one more thing to take care of. A contract had just come in, requesting the Society to perform a flyby of Ike, Moho, the inner Joolian moons, and Dres using a single vessel. Since the Dvna window was coming up anyways, a spare Locvtivs bus was stripped of its Sentinel infrared telescope and rad-hardened for its long voyage.

Then came the problem of sending the probe to Dvna; its onboard ion propulsion system would take an obscene amount of time to depart Kerbin orbit, and the EKDS was deemed too expensive to use on a probe that already cost more than the contract advance. One of the propulsion engineers came up with the seemingly radical idea of using a solid kick stage, which would provide the necessary impulse in an acceptable amount of time, and cheaply to boot.

So the probe, christened Viator I, was strapped to its solid kick stage and a Neptvnvs I booster, then sent on its merry way.


After performing on-orbit checkouts, the kick stage ignited and sent the probe on an approximate Dvna intercept course, which it would correct once in Kerbolar orbit when its meager TWR was less of a concern.


As a result, the KAC List™ now looks like this:


Other reminders of note include the Atlas' midcourse correction and the arrival of the rad-hardened replacement of the original Laythe Oceanic Investigator, which is likely wandering in a useless backwards Kerbolar orbit at present. Space really is mind-bogglingly big; LOI-II was launched almost two years ago, and still has another two years to go.


Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Asteroid Shenanigans



Having completed the transfers and midcourse corrections for the flotilla without incident, and having launched yet another Viator-class probe to complete yet another grand tour contract, the mission controllers had a whole lot of nothing to do.

At least, not for another hundred-or-so-days until the Atlas entered Kerbin SOI.


In the meantime, they turned to tourism contracts, which were now lucrative as the majority of the profits would be converted to Science! by way of an administration strategy. The most profitable contracts (other than landings on Mvna or Minmvs, something that was out of the question at the moment) involved shuttling tourists to and from asteroids, so if an asteroid could be captured into low Kerbin orbit, the money and Science! would come rolling in as tourists lined up to visit. The astronomers got to work identifying a "potential hazard", and the engineers got to work building a tug to bring it into LKO.

Thirty days later, a Neptvnvs I Heavy lifts off.


Instead of heading east like a typical launch to equatorial orbit, the launch vehicle pitches due east-northeast to launch into the orbital plane of the asteroid, thus minimizing the Δv needed to match planes with it once in orbit.


Nominal booster separation.


Fairing separation reveals the Legionarivs I, powered by four LANTRs using hydrazine as propellant, which was found to be the most volume-efficient propellant for NTRs.
(Even more so than LF, which is quite shocking considering that LF is literally magic.)


The EKDS-B pushes the Legionarivs into a parking orbit with an inclination within one degree of the asteroid's.


After the EKDS-B deorbits itself, the Legionarivs accelerates up beyond escape velocity so it can catch the asteroid.


Several days later, it decelerates and moves in to dock.


The Legionarivs adjusts the asteroid's Pe to around 200 km, then changes its inclination to 0°. Unfortunately it does not have enough propellant remaining to capture into LKO, and to make matters worse, the tug's structure melted after its propellant was exhausted due to the radiators all malfunctioning at the same time.
Which means that there is a cloud of radioactive debris in orbit now. Oops.

(Windows decided to eat my screenshots. :mad: Darn shame, because there were some gratuitous explosions at the end there.)

To complete its orbital insertion, a monopropellant tug and docking adapter is launched atop a baseline Neptvnvs I.



Once the asteroid is in a roughly circular orbit that straddles the high space Science! border, the tug undocks from the claw-to-port adapter and deorbits itself. Statio Saxvm is thus open for business.


Atlas Returns



After shuttling several batches of tourists up to Statio Saxvm and getting plenty of Science! out of it, Mission Control was alerted that the Atlas had entered Kerbin SOI and would hit perikee in about three days. So one of the Vesta Mark Five shuttles was reassigned to retrieve the crew and samples.


The Vesta MkV features the same upmass capability as its short-lived predecessor at eight standard Universal Storage™ wedges. Key improvements include optimized RCS and solar array placement, more potent fuel cells, and an actual orbital maneuvering engine cluster. Regrettably it still has no downmass capability, as even a double-height service core attached to the re-entry capsule would cause aerodynamic instability.


It catches up to the Atlas in a few orbits, and moves in to dock. The crew and samples are transferred aboard.


A fiery re-entry over the ILC, ending in a splashdown a few hundred klicks off the coast.


The capsule had not even settled after being hauled back to the Complex by recovery craft before the quaesītōrēs swarmed it, clamoring to analyze the surface and atmospheric samples. Some of the more senior researchers even fainted after seeing the 200+ pressurized vials of Dvnian atmosphere that the crew had returned.



Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/13/2020 at 5:26 PM, TotallyNotHuman said:

Statio Saxvm

Dude. Rock Station? If there was such a thing as a Latin pun, that is totally it right there.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Ares Arrival



First order of business: the six Vrania II comsats. Three of them would be inserted into an equatorial orbit, and the other three would head for a polar orbit. Together, they would (theoretically) provide full coverage of Dvna's surface and SOI, allowing the expedition pilot to remotely control the cryogen and uraninite ferries from the (relative) safety of Statio Ares.



The constellations are set up and seem to be working well (though the routing algorithm could probably use some work :confused:), which means the assembly of Statio Ares can proceed.
DP (Dvna Polar) orbits at an altitude of 1200 km (1.25x Dvna's radius), while DE (Dvna Equatorial) orbits a bit further out at 1440 km (1.5x Dvna's radius).


First up is the Processing Module, which is temporarily docked to one of the longitudinal nodes because the transfer stage's avionics core is providing control for the station.


The Freight Transfer Vehicle arrives next and the Freight Return Container splits off, since the FTV cannot dock when combined.zszAZsc.jpg


Now that the FRC can provide control, the transfer stage is detached.


The Freight Tug is used to re-dock the Processing Module to the aft port, and it then docks opposite the FRC.


With the arrival of the NTR Backup Container and the Dvna Excursion Vehicle, all that's left to do now is to wait for the next Dvna transfer window.



Really, that's all the Mission Controllers have to look forward to for now—except for maybe the arrival of LOI-II in less than two hundred days. The two Viator probes and the Locvtivs observatory all have onboard guidance to handle the burns, and they're not going anywhere particularly exciting. And of course there's the second decennial report coming up—time really does fly, but only if you're not a space probe enroute to the king of the planets. Future probes to the even more Outer Planets will definitely have to utilize high-energy transfers.



Edited by TotallyNotHuman

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

ooooh high-energy transfers? Now those are the way to go! (Also works for Moho, as exemplified by my 28-minute fly-by through low space at 11 km/s)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oceans of Laythe

After a very, very long journey, LOI-II has entered Joolian SOI. Preliminary systems check indicates few component failures, which is likely thanks in part to the triple-redundant systems onboard.
An intercept is plotted for Laythean orbital insertion over its north pole after several phasing orbits.


After several more orbits of Jool, the probe enters Laythe SOI and begins its capture burn.
An awe-inspiring "family portrait" (that is the scientific term, according to the quaesītōrēs) is taken of the inner planets.


Once its orbital Science! collection mission is confirmed, the EKDS-A is deorbited, as is the probe.


The deorbit stage is jettisoned and the heatshields inflate two minutes before entry interface.


The top heatshield is jettisoned to allow the parachutes to pre-deploy.


Nominal full deployment. The probe splashes down a few moments later, and a truckload of Science! is acquired through the oceanic composition analyzer.


With the success of this very long mission, the logical next step is to send a crewed mission to Jool and its moons.

The subject is certainly a divisive one. Some ingeniātōrēs believe that a flotilla should be sent, as with the Second Dvna Expedition; others argue that a mothership, like Bellona, will be more effective and less prone to mission-scrubbing issues. The Senate has also considered, much to the chagrin of all ingeniātōrēs, to place a moratorium on the use of advanced nuclear propulsion.



Apologies for the lack of updates, other things have been occupying my time lately. I will now try to post here at least once a week.

And yes, I am planning on doing a Jool-5 if I can do so without removing the prohibited mods. I don't plan on using these mods, of course, but removing them would break the savefile and that is certainly not ideal.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.