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Hatsunese Space Program - HASDA (reboot, RSS/RO) | 1976-07-23 | Final Utahime mission, Venus orbiter, 2nd lunar lander probe

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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 14

1970-09-12 - Utahime-01 was the first Hatsunese human spaceflight, launched on an M-1A rocket. With a mass of 2 tonnes, the Utahime (diva/songstress; literally "song princess") capsule was similar to Mercury and Gemini, and did not have much in capability compared to Apollo or Soyuz; it was only meant for the prestige and to prove technologies for larger, future spacecraft. The cone-shaped Core Module had enough room for one astronaut, several days worth of food, water, and oxygen, and a heat shield and parachutes to return from orbit safely. The Propulsion Module contained avionics, propellant, and thrusters, able to perform rendezvous and docking tests on future missions. Electrical power was provided by alkaline fuel cells running on liquid oxygen and hydrogen, which required insulation to prevent boil-off. Living space in the vehicle was cramped, so HASDA was looking for small, lightweight candidates who also had previous piloting experience. After going through several rigorous physiological tests, three candidates were selected. The first astronaut was Yuzuki Morita. At 24 years old, she was one of the youngest to go into space. The other two astronauts were Marumi Nabatame (who was of Hatsunese and Micronesian descent) and Akari Miura. Together, they were known as the "Rocket Women."

The launch took place 39 minutes after noon (locally). The M-1A leapt off the pad with a sudden jolt, gradually increasing in acceleration as the fuel and oxidizer burned off. At booster separation, it reached up to 9-10 Gs for about a second. Yuzuki and the other astronauts had undergone special training to handle these high forces, and even they could only withstand it for a few seconds before losing consciousness. The second stage separated, and the launch escape system tower was jettisoned at three minutes after launch. The thrust of the LE-03B engine felt relatively calm compared to the wild roller coaster of the first stage and boosters. After 9 minutes, Utahime-01 had finally reached orbit. Yuzuki tested the reaction control systems to rotate the craft, and viewed the Earth 200 kilometers below through a tiny window. As she waited, she sometimes drank vegetable juice, which became HASDA's version of "Tang." After orbiting two times, Utahime-01 performed its de-orbit, separation, and re-entry maneuvers, re-entering with an offset center of mass at a certain angle of attack to generate a small amount of lift and reduce forces to just under 3 Gs. The parachutes deployed, and the capsule splashed down south of Saipan almost five hours after launch, having gone about 3 times around the Earth, to be recovered by a vessel of the Hatsunia Maritime Defense Force.

With the completion of this mission, Hatsunia had become the third country to send a human into space. This was celebrated within the country and met with fanfare in Hatsunia's Asian and Western allies, but did not get as much attention as the American manned Moon landing that occurred in the year prior. It had some impact in that it was the second time a woman was launched into space (the USSR had, but not the US). In the US, this brought attention to the "Mercury 13", a group of 13 women who went through the same tests as the actual, all-male astronauts selected for the Mercury program. A few of them would be selected to go on the last few Apollo missions and visit the Skylab space station. The flight also encouraged the European space program to develop their own crewed spacecraft, using an evolved version of the "Europa" rocket based on the British Blue Streak missile with French and German upper stages. South China was also interested, but would need to overcome post-war restrictions on indigenous rocket and re-entry vehicle development. Some news media dubbed Hatsunese space travelers "uchuunauts," combining the Hatsunese term for "universe"/"outer space" with the Greek term for "sailor." Officially, HASDA used the term "astronaut," or uchuuhikoushi. September 12 also became known as "Space Day" in Hatsunia.






Yuzuki Morita before boarding


A minute after launch


Launch escape system jettison


Over eastern Africa


Over India


Over South China


South of Hatsunia's western islands




Separation of core and propulsion modules




Drogue chute


Main parachutes


Splashed down




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This keeps getting better and better.  I swear anytime I see someone do missions using RSS/RO or RP-0 and post it onto the KSP forums with such exciting Screenshots and/or Backstory that is just as exciting Is an automatic Follow, It is basically catnip to me.   

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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 15

1971-08-03 - Utahime-02 was piloted by Marumi Nabatame, who had Micronesian and Hatsunese ancestry. She performed Hatsunia's first extra-vehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk, on the second orbit. Unlike the Mercury capsule, which had a hatch that was bolted on before launch, the Utahime capsule had a hatch which could be opened during flight. The EVA lasted over 30 minutes (mostly over Asia), with Marumi testing the flexibility and handling of her thin, lightweight spacesuit (similar to the ones used on the Gemini missions), which also had small thrusters using nitrogen gas. During the EVA, the vehicle was stabilized by the onboard avionics. After climbing back into the vehicle, she would stay in orbit until one day had elapsed to evaluate life support systems, before returning to Earth southeast of Negishima Space Center.

The "Rocket Women," from left to right: Yuzuki Morita, Marumi Nabatame, and Akari Miura


Marumi on EVA (you can pretend there is a tether)


(note: the Realistic Progression mod disables EVAs for the single-person capsule, like the real-life Mercury. To re-enable, I had to remove "ModuleNoEVA" from the "mk1pod_v2" part in [KSP folder]\GameData\RP-0\Tree\TREE-Parts.cfg)






Marumi exits the vehicle


Using nitrogen thrusters over India


Viewing Minamikushi Prefecture/Negishima Space Center


Over the Philippines


Suez Canal












Edited by Pipcard
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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 16

The M-1B launch vehicle replaced the hypergolic upper stages of the M-1A with the first Hatsunese cryogenic stage, which used the LE-05 engine fueled with liquid oxygen and hydrogen. The higher specific impulse (444 s vs 311 s) of the LE-05 meant that the payload capacity could be approximately doubled from 2800 to 4800 kg to low Earth orbit. Without boosters, up to 1900 kg could be launched. Only two stages were needed to send most payloads destined for geostationary transfer orbit and beyond, so the shorter version of the M-1A fairing could be used. The second stage was also longer due to hydrogen's low density, but was still light enough to be lifted by a single LE-04 core stage. The development and operation of such an engine and its associated infrastructure had significant costs, due to the very low temperatures of liquid hydrogen which made it difficult to store, but they were considered worth it for launching larger or longer-range interplanetary probes without completely redesigning the rest of the vehicle. Insulation and white paint were used to mitigate the evaporation and leakage of hydrogen when in orbit.

edit: the hydrolox upper stage was nicknamed "Hakuba" (白馬) or "White Horse."



1972-01-09 - The M-1B launched the Neginohana-3 test satellite to geostationary orbit. The LE-05 ignited at almost 100 kilometers, with a flame that was faint but packed a lot of energy. It burned again to deliver the satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit. After separation, Neginohana-3 used two burns: the first burn to raise its orbit slightly so that by the next time it reached apogee, it was above East Asia and Australia.







First/second stage separation


GTO burn


Second geostationary insertion burn


Neginohana-3 in geostationary orbit







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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 17

1972-04-17 - "Taiyou" was a spacecraft launched by a single-core M-1B to study the Sun's effects on the Earth's upper atmosphere (using an ultraviolet spectrometer), magnetic field, and plasma environment. It also tested a heavier and more sophisticated live camera.






1972-08-09 - Utahime-03, piloted by Akari Miura, tested the endurance capabilities of the spacecraft's life support systems. She spent over three days in orbit photographing the stars and Earth and recording her medical status, as the alkaline fuel cells produced power from the reserves of liquid hydrogen and oxygen, generating water in the process. Due to the small space of the capsule, a person could not psychologically handle being in there for longer periods of time.






1972-11-21 - M-1A launched Usagi-7, Hatsunia's second lunar orbiter. The probe had higher-resolution instruments compared to its predecessor, a slightly longer structure to hold these instruments, and spherical propellant tanks. It used the camera to select sites for future lunar lander probes.








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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 18

1973-01-04 to 1973-10-22 - Sakura-5a, 5b, 5c, and 5d were launched by M-1B rockets and their "Hakuba" hydrolox upper stages to form a new geostationary communications network spanning most of the globe. Advances in antennas made longer-range applications of communications satellites possible. The network was used to maintain almost-constant connections for future satellites launched into Earth orbit. It was also used for communications between places on Earth during emergencies, or to remote areas. Sakura-5a was positioned over Hatsunia and the western Pacific Ocean, 5b over the Middle East, 5c over the Atlantic Ocean, and 5d over the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Sakura-5a (5b, 5c, and 5d)

1973-04-01 to 1973-04-08 - Utahime-04, Yuzuki Morita's second flight, was launched by a triple-core M-1A to perform the first crewed rendezvous. The reason why leading zeroes were used for human missions was that the number "4" could be pronounced similarly to the word for "death" (shi) in Hatsunese* (an alternate pronunciation for 4 was yon). The destination was the Rendezvous Target Vehicle (RTV-1) which had launched a week earlier by a single-core M-1A to a 300 kilometer orbit. It only consisted of the M-1A upper stage and a basic cylindrical structure with solar panels to keep the batteries alive. Utahime-04 launched into a 200 kilometer orbit and was behind the RTV, but since a lower orbit is faster, the capsule gradually caught up. It performed a transfer burn to intercept the RTV, then another burn to slow down relative to the target. Morita was assisted by radar systems and some visual aids to maneuver the capsule in front of the RTV and proceed forward as if to dock, stopping only a few meters short, then backing away. After station-keeping for about an hour, she initiated the Earth return sequence and splashed down almost 21 hours after launch.

[*supposedly this is why the video game "Ace Combat 04" is specifically named that way, at least according to TV Tropes]

(pretend that the capsule has forward-facing windows)

Utahime-04 launch


"This is Utahime commander Yuzuki Morita. I am entering the transfer orbit, now"




Slowing down relative to the RTV
























1973-08-05 to 1974-02-28 - Nozomi-2 or PLANET-C was HASDA's first Mars orbiter, launched by an M-1B rocket on a seven month journey. On 1974-02-28, the spacecraft arrived at Mars and inserted itself into a 300 by 3400 km polar orbit. It built an extensive map of the Red Planet as it observed craters, deep valleys, inactive volcanoes, polar ice caps made of frozen water and carbon dioxide, and dust storms. Implications of past liquid water were seen in what looked like dried out rivers and lakebeds. The upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and the magnetic and gravitational fields of Mars were also studied.


Trans-Mars injection with a significant normal (perpendicular) component, so it is tilted at an angle from the prograde/forward direction

Path from Earth to Mars (the purple line is the orbit it would have if it continued to fly past Mars instead of entering orbit)

Mars approach and insertion

Above Martian south pole

In orbit


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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 19

1974-03-13 - The Mercury flyby probe "Mio" (PLANET-D) was launched by an M-1B. The name, meaning "waterway," represented the journey it would take through interplanetary space and the solar wind, as it would conduct the first gravitational assist at Venus en route to Mercury. This would save propellant and Delta-v requirements by transferring some of Venus's orbital energy to change the spacecraft's velocity. The name also reflected the Chinese and Japanese names for Mercury, which meant "water star" (水星) as it represented one of the five elements in Chinese philosophy. The probe was due to arrive at Mercury in January 1975.







1974-06-18 - Utahime-05 was piloted by Marumi Nabatame to conduct the first orbital docking with the second Rendezvous Target Vehicle. This required the attachment of a small docking port at the end of the cylindrical structure that normally detached when the launch escape system was jettisoned. The procedure for carefully approaching the target, moving into position, and docking was partially assisted by computers to compensate for limited visibility from the capsule. Once docked, Nabatame performed an EVA to test satellite inspection and repair operations. Afterwards, she undocked from the RTV and returned to Earth about a day after launch.








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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 20

1974-08-24 - Mio got a gravity assist at Venus on its way to Mercury, passing as close as 600 kilometers from the planet.


1974-10-10 - M-1B launched Usagi-8, Hatsunia's first (robotic) lunar lander, which arrived on October 14. The design of the lander was an adaptation of the Usagi-6 and 7 orbiters, with larger propellant tanks to be able to decelerate into lunar orbit and land on the surface, extendable leg structures to support the vehicle once landed, and solar panels angled to receive some light when the Sun is low in the sky. The landing site was a relatively flat area in Mare Humorum (Sea of Moisture), a basaltic plain which has been estimated to be 3.9 billion years old. Data about local magnetic fields, high-resolution images of the surrounding area, and regolith composition were transmitted. The probe's systems had to hibernate during the half-month-long lunar night.







Lunar orbit insertion


Descent and landing








Regolith scoop




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1974 has been quite a year for HASDA. I like the Usagi design with the petal arranged solar panels. Hopefully Hatsunese engineers have an exciting "Gemini" program in the works. 

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6 minutes ago, USKnight said:

1974 has been quite a year for HASDA. I like the Usagi design with the petal arranged solar panels. Hopefully Hatsunese engineers have an exciting "Gemini" program in the works. 

They're going to leap from a single-person tech demo capsule to a three-person capsule.

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As an aside, but very relevant to this story, I can see that a lot of work and planning has gone into your HASDA playthrough. I especially am jealous of the markings and colors featured on your rockets. I'm often annoyed that I can't do the same in my own playthroughs.

Real scale is not my "thing", but I can appreciate the work it takes to make realistic progression in a harsh and vast solar system. The 1970s begin a dead zone, where the Americans will basically stop until the coming of the Space Shuttle in the 80s. I hope the Hatsunese can use this time to catch up in the space race and make strides to take the lead.

I tried to find a quote out there to help support HASDA's dreams:

"Dreams become real in this digital world." - Hatsune Miku

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16 hours ago, USKnight said:

Real scale is not my "thing", but I can appreciate the work it takes to make realistic progression in a harsh and vast solar system.

Keep in mind that my pacing is deliberately slowed down somewhat, and required me to cheat for science points in the 1960s because the tech tree assumes you're going everywhere as soon as possible.

And HASDA will definitely pick up the pace in the coming decades.

(If you want to see where all of this will lead to in the 21st century, the wiki is an open book. Keep in mind that the images are placeholders.)

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Posted (edited)

Phase 2 - 21

The development of HASDA's mass and volume-constrained interplanetary probes was becoming part of the revolution that was making computers smaller and more convenient for public use. Computers across the country were also starting to be connected in what was known as the "Hatsu-net" project, started earlier in the decade for use by universities and the military.

1975-01-07 - Mio arrived at Mercury, but was only within the sphere of influence for four hours. It observed Mercury's craters and escarpments (cliffs formed at fault lines, suggesting geological activity in the distant past), a trace atmosphere of helium, a magnetic field implying a large iron core, and large temperature variations between the night and day sides (-183 °C to 187 °C). It also measured the plasma of the solar wind at a much closer distance compared to Earth. Small course corrections put it on a path to visit Mercury again in approximately six months (2 Mercurian years), but due to Mercury's 3:2 spin-orbit resonance (3 rotations for 2 orbits around the Sun), only the same portions of the surface would be visible. Data from Mio complemented NASA's Mariner 10 probe, mapping some parts of the planet that were in shadow when it passed by Mercury.







1975-06-08 - Akatsuki-2 (PLANET-E) was launched to Venus, where it would perform an orbital insertion at the end of October to study the Venusian atmosphere at different wavelengths. Shaped as a rectangular prism with two solar arrays, it contained metal balancing plates etched with images of Hatsune Miku (like all Hatsunese probes) and thousands of submissions from the public for a "Send Your Name to Venus" campaign.

(real life inspiration: http://wiki.nicotech.jp/nico_tech/index.php?HatsuneMiku_to_Venus)







1975-07-02 - Mio made its second flyby of Mercury, passing closer to the southern hemisphere.

1975-07-02 - Watarimono (渡り者, "wanderer") or PLANET-F was launched as Hatsunia's first probe to the outer planets, specifically Jupiter and Saturn, using a design similar to Pioneer 10 and 11. After using the Hakuba hydrolox stage, the spacecraft was boosted by a Star-39H solid kick motor borrowed from Thiokol, as it had a high propellant mass fraction in a small, compact package. It provided the majority of the 6390 m/s required to get to Jupiter, where it would be redirected to Saturn by its gravitational field. Because solar panel power generation is too weak at those distances, two SNAP-19 radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) were used. The Plutonium-238 fuel in the RTGs was expensive to produce, and used a significant but not excessive portion of HASDA's budget, but provided higher power density and safety compared to alternatives. This mission was done in preparation for a Grand Tour of Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune which would occur in the late 1970s with a larger next-generation rocket. Watarimono was expected to reach Jupiter in December 1977, and Saturn in May 1981 with a flyby of its atmospheric moon Titan.







Separation of Star-39H solid kick motor




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Phase 2 - 22

1975-10-02 - Utahime-06, piloted by Akari Miura, was the final mission in the Utahime program. After docking with the third Rendezvous Test Vehicle 300 kilometers above Earth, Miura waited for almost a day before using the RTV's propulsion system to raise the apoapsis to 1039 kilometers where she could view most of Hatsunia. Then she returned to a 300 x 300 kilometer orbit before undocking and performing the last re-entry and splashdown of an Utahime capsule, which would be replaced in a few years by a newer, bigger crew vehicle that was being developed along with its launch vehicle.








1975-10-31 - Akatsuki-2 performed Venus orbit insertion, which mostly took place while Venus was blocking communications signals to and from Earth. The final orbit had a periapsis of 539 kilometers and an apoapsis of over 9000 kilometers. The spacecraft observed the thick, dense, and hot CO2 atmosphere and its cloud layers in visible, infrared, and ultraviolet spectra, while mapping the topography of the terrain and measuring the ionosphere and magnetic field around Venus. The orbiter discovered an equatorial jet stream, and a large atmospheric wave in the region of Aphrodite Terra nearly stretching from pole-to-pole.







1976-07-19 - Usagi-9, HASDA's second lunar lander probe, went to Ina, a shallow crater in Lacus Felicitatis (Lake of Happiness) considered to be one of the Moon's lowland regions. The surface was porous from ancient volcanic activity, with high levels of titanium.




Orbit insertion


Landing burn



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