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The Scrape of Things to Come - Phase 4: Minmus Station


TheSaint
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26 minutes ago, AtomicTech said:

This series is a major inspiration for my new one (i.e. using a bad-kass Spaceplane to build stuff)!

I can't wait to see what you build next!

Thanks.

Sorry for the delay, everyone. It's been a busy week. Hoping to have an update up tonight.

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Mission 113 - Kerbin Station Cupola and Airlock

So this is it. The last Kerbin Station construction mission. The final two modules to be flown are the cupola, which will allow station crew to more closely observe operations taking place in the docking complex (and take breaks observing Kerbin, the Mun, the Sun, and whatever else happens to float by), and the airlock, which will allow kerbals to exit the station for spacewalks. As required by the mission, not just whenever they feel like it. <Everyone looks at Herman. His smile becomes a frown, and he puts his hand down.>

Liberty has the honor of flying Kerbin Station's closeout mission, her fourth flight.

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The flight crew for this mission is as follows:

Commander Gavin Kenney
Pilot Cleveland Kauffman
Flight Engineer Dwayne Kohler
Payload Specialist Herman Kinney
Mission Specialist Edwin Klinger
Mission Specialist Lily Kemp

On a bright and sunny morning, Liberty is rolled out to the end of the KSC runway. Commander Kenney fires up the engines, releases the brakes, and Liberty leaps into the air!

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After reaching space, the crew performs their circularization burn and then rigs Liberty for orbital operations.

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After waiting an hour, they accomplish their rendezvous burns and soon find themselves approaching Kerbin Station to dock.

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After docking, the crew of Liberty greet the crew of Kerbin Station once again. Then they start on the final construction tasks. Payload Specialist Kinney erects the cupola module in the cargo bay.

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Then Assistant Pilot Koonce takes control of Cargo Drone 1 and brings it around to dock with the cupola module.

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He then extracts the cupola module and transfers it to its berth on the docking complex spine.

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Now the cupola's docking adapter is removed and placed back in Liberty's cargo bay for return to Kerbin.

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Then Koonce brings the cargo drone over to dock with the airlock module and extracts it from the cargo bay, also bringing it to its berth on the docking complex spine.

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After the airlock module has been placed in its final location, its docking adapter is also removed and placed in Liberty's cargo hold for return to Kerbin.

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And then, finally, Cargo Drone 1 is removed from Liberty's cargo bay and brought over to a parking spot on the escape pod hub.

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With the transfers finished, the crews spend the rest of the day looking out of the cupola windows, unpacking spacesuits, and coming up with more bogus reasons to request EVAs from mission control, all of which are denied. Finally they settle down, have a hot meal, and go to bed.

In the morning, they bid farewell to the crew of Kerbin Station. They close the hatches, break Liberty away from the station, and burn for reentry.

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Liberty glides through the scorching heat again, and soon the crew has her lined up with the flight path back to KSC.

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Commander Kenney is an old hand at this, and he brings Liberty in for a picture-perfect landing on KSC runway. Applause and fist bumps all around!

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Kerbin Station is now complete and open for business!

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(Click here for a full-sized image, suitable for framing.)

Next, the Kerbal Space Program will set its sights on a higher target: Going back to The Mun! To stay!

(Well, no, not permanently, Lea. You do get to come home. It's only for 90 days, then someone else comes and takes your place. When we say, "to stay," we mean the base is permanent. Relax, for Pete's sake.)

 

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Kerbin Orbit Operations - Y1 D14

Time for some housekeeping. Over the course of construction, with all of the dockings and undockings, Kerbin Station's orbit has gradually become more eccentric. At this point, to the tune of over 20km more eccentric. It has reached the breaking point of the Orbital Operations Manager's OCD, so he has ordered a circularization maneuver.

Cargo Drone 1 will be performing the burn. So Captain Koontz undocks it from its berth on the escape pod hub and brings it around to dock on the nadir port of the docking complex.

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Then she undocks Cargo Drone 2 from the port docking complex and brings it around to dock on the supply module. This is to make the station more symmetrical, which will reduce the amount of effort required by the station's reaction wheels to keep it pointed correctly during the circularization burn.

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Then she uses the station's reaction wheels to bring it around to the correct heading. She fires up the drone's engines to full thrust. Although the burn is only about 23m/s, the drone must burn its engines for over 30 seconds to accomplish it. Go, little drone, go!

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With the burn successfully completed, Captain Koontz brings the drone back around to the escape pod hub. Between all of the docking operations to date and the correction burn, CD1 has used up over half of its monopropellant fuel. They should probably do something about that at some point...

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Phase 2 - Mun Station

The next phase of space exploration involves operations around and on The Mun. This requires some explanation.

The long-term goal is to establish an extensive presence around and on Minimus. Because of the discovery of extensive water ice deposits on Minimus (their existence conclusively proven by the now infamous Kerpollo 5 snowball fight), KSP leadership wishes to create a large installation to mine water ice on the surface of Minimus and convert it into hydrogen and oxygen to provide fuel for intersystem and interplanetary spacecraft. They also wish to construct a large space station in orbit around Minimus to make it a departure point for interplanetary missions.

That is the long term goal. However, in light of the recent bowling ball incident <everyone looks at Dominic, who grins sheepishly>, KSP upper management has decided that it would be best to gain some experience with kerbonauts living and working within days of major medical facilities, before we send them weeks away from them. So it has been decided that the next major step in the program will be to establish a permanent base on the far side of The Mun. This will be a primarily scientific base, studying Mun geology and other disciplines as afforded by its unique location.

The first step in establishing this presence will be the construction of a station in Munar orbit. Mun Station will not be permanently kerballed, in the long term, but will instead perform two important functions:

  1.  It will act as a staging point in Munar orbit for cargo and personnel destined for Farside Base, especially during base construction, but also during base operations.
  2. It will act as a safe haven for Farside Base kerbonauts in the event of an emergency at Farside Base that requires immediate evacuation.

The design of Mun Station is simple, and uses many of the same standard modules as Kerbin Station, although a new compact truss module has been designed because of the station's lower power requirements.

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Mun Station Specifications

Height: 19.1m
Width: 11.1m
Length: 46.6m
Mass: 30.497 tons
Crew: Up to 6

So now the program managers begin to reorganize and prepare for the next phase of exploration.

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10 hours ago, TheSaint said:

Phase 2 - Mun Station

The next phase of space exploration involves operations around and on The Mun. This requires some explanation.

The long-term goal is to establish an extensive presence around and on Minimus. Because of the discovery of extensive water ice deposits on Minimus (their existence conclusively proven by the now infamous Kerpollo 5 snowball fight), KSP leadership wishes to create a large installation to mine water ice on the surface of Minimus and convert it into hydrogen and oxygen to provide fuel for intersystem and interplanetary spacecraft. They also wish to construct a large space station in orbit around Minimus to make it a departure point for interplanetary missions.

That is the long term goal. However, in light of the recent bowling ball incident <everyone looks at Dominic, who grins sheepishly>, KSP upper management has decided that it would be best to gain some experience with kerbonauts living and working within days of major medical facilities, before we send them weeks away from them. So it has been decided that the next major step in the program will be to establish a permanent base on the far side of The Mun. This will be a primarily scientific base, studying Mun geology and other disciplines as afforded by its unique location.

The first step in establishing this presence will be the construction of a station in Munar orbit. Mun Station will not be permanently kerballed, in the long term, but will instead perform two important functions:

  1.  It will act as a staging point in Munar orbit for cargo and personnel destined for Farside Base, especially during base construction, but also during base operations.
  2. It will act as a safe haven for Farside Base kerbonauts in the event of an emergency at Farside Base that requires immediate evacuation.

The design of Mun Station is simple, and uses many of the same standard modules as Kerbin Station, although a new compact truss module has been designed because of the station's lower power requirements.

zIGIC5ih.png

BSrovWth.png

Mun Station Specifications

Height: 19.1m
Width: 11.1m
Length: 46.6m
Mass: 30.497 tons
Crew: Up to 6

So now the program managers begin to reorganize and prepare for the next phase of exploration.

I can't wait to see it!

Definitely worth the wait!

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17 hours ago, Staticalliam7 said:

Wait, I want to hear about the bowling ball incident!

Sorry, that incident is classified Confidential - NOFORN, and covered by patient confidentiality and HIPAA. In other news, Dominic was shopping a script to Kamazon, something about an underdog stone putter...

Edited by TheSaint
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Mission 201 - Mun Satellite Network

The first mission in the development of the Munar infrastructure will establish a network of satellites around the Mun. One will be a survey satellite to create a detailed map of the Mun's surface, while the remaining three will establish a communications network that will cover almost the entire surface of the Mun.

These satellites will be carried to the Mun by the first of a fleet of automated orbital tugs. These tugs will use liquid hydrogen and oxygen engines, in anticipation of the fueling infrastructure that will be constructed on Minimus. However, until that infrastructure has been completed they will be refueled by tanks brought up from Kerbin by spaceplane.

Because the payload for this flight is completely self-contained, this will be the first spaceplane flight since Independence's test flight that will not rendezvous with Kerbin Station.

Freedom is the carrier for this mission. Orbital Tug 1 is loaded in her cargo bay with the satellite bus already attached.

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The flight crew for this mission is as follows:

Commander Jackie Kimball
Pilot Jane Knoll
Flight Engineer Sierra King
Payload Specialist Araceli Krebs
Mission Specialist Lea Kimbrough
Mission Specialist Keisha Keene

It's yet another sunny clear day when Freedom is rolled out to the end of Runway 09 at KSC. Commander Kimball takes the yoke, fires up the engines and lets off the brakes. Freedom rolls down the runway and takes flight. Soon she is climbing into space.

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After they perform their circularization burn, the crew rig the ship for orbital operations.

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Because they won't rendezvous with Kerbin Station on this mission, procedures are a little different. Once they have circularized in their 100km parking orbit, the crew perform their usual systems checks to ensure that Freedom is operating normally. Then they execute a series of burns to raise their orbit to the standard operating orbit of 400km. No need to wait around for transfer windows or stress about burn timing on this mission!

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Once they are at their normal operating orbit, they get to work. Payload Specialist King releases the clamps that secure the tug in the cargo bay, then brings it vertical in preparation for its release. Once it has been locked in the release position, the crew deploy its solar panels and antenna, bring the rest of its systems online, and perform systems checks to make sure it is ready for release.

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Once the systems checks are complete, Freedom is about twenty minutes away from the tug's transfer window to the Mun. Commander Kimball brings Freedom around so that the tug is facing prograde for release, to ensure that there won't be a collision when the tug burns its engine for Munar injection. Then, five minutes before the transfer window, Payload Specialist King punches the big red button, and the tug is released.

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Control of the tug is now handed off to mission control. They check all of the systems and telemetry, and everything is go for the Munar injection burn. Commander Kimball brings Freedom around prograde, and the crew crowd around the forward windows so they can all watch. With a silent flare of light, Orbital Tug 1 takes flight, carrying kerbalkind's first steps back to the Mun.

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With its burn complete, the tug settles in for its day-long flight to the Mun.

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Meanwhile, back on Freedom, the show is over. Because this mission didn't require the hours of time spent waiting for a rendezvous window with Kerbin Station, they will actually not be required to spend the night in orbit. If they perform their reentry burn on this orbit they should be able to land at KSC before dinner. It's chicken nuggets tonight! So the crew start stowing gear and getting set for reentry, then they perform the reentry burn.

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The flight deck crew finds it odd, reentering with the sun at their back instead of in front of them. They rig the ship for atmosphere, then cruise through reentry and line up with the glide path back to KSC.

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Commander Kimball guides Freedom in to a perfect landing, and after the rollout the crew sprints to the chow hall.

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On 1/22/2022 at 3:25 PM, TheSaint said:

Mission 201 - Mun Satellite Network

The first mission in the development of the Munar infrastructure will establish a network of satellites around the Mun. One will be a survey satellite to create a detailed map of the Mun's surface, while the remaining three will establish a communications network that will cover almost the entire surface of the Mun.

These satellites will be carried to the Mun by the first of a fleet of automated orbital tugs. These tugs will use liquid hydrogen and oxygen engines, in anticipation of the fueling infrastructure that will be constructed on Minimus. However, until that infrastructure has been completed they will be refueled by tanks brought up from Kerbin by spaceplane.

Because the payload for this flight is completely self-contained, this will be the first spaceplane flight since Independence's test flight that will not rendezvous with Kerbin Station.

Freedom is the carrier for this mission. Orbital Tug 1 is loaded in her cargo bay with the satellite bus already attached.

12iZ52Gh.png

The flight crew for this mission is as follows:

Commander Jackie Kimball
Pilot Jane Knoll
Flight Engineer Sierra King
Payload Specialist Araceli Krebs
Mission Specialist Lea Kimbrough
Mission Specialist Keisha Keene

It's yet another sunny clear day when Freedom is rolled out to the end of Runway 09 at KSC. Commander Kimball takes the yoke, fires up the engines and lets off the brakes. Freedom rolls down the runway and takes flight. Soon she is climbing into space.

WmmbxBlh.png

yuwQ6Noh.png

After they perform their circularization burn, the crew rig the ship for orbital operations.

mkJWaWah.png

Because they won't rendezvous with Kerbin Station on this mission, procedures are a little different. Once they have circularized in their 100km parking orbit, the crew perform their usual systems checks to ensure that Freedom is operating normally. Then they execute a series of burns to raise their orbit to the standard operating orbit of 400km. No need to wait around for transfer windows or stress about burn timing on this mission!

rePwedzh.png

H58UhtIh.png

Once they are at their normal operating orbit, they get to work. Payload Specialist King releases the clamps that secure the tug in the cargo bay, then brings it vertical in preparation for its release. Once it has been locked in the release position, the crew deploy its solar panels and antenna, bring the rest of its systems online, and perform systems checks to make sure it is ready for release.

FXjuyMjh.png

Once the systems checks are complete, Freedom is about twenty minutes away from the tug's transfer window to the Mun. Commander Kimball brings Freedom around so that the tug is facing prograde for release, to ensure that there won't be a collision when the tug burns its engine for Munar injection. Then, five minutes before the transfer window, Payload Specialist King punches the big red button, and the tug is released.

VAorahRh.png

Control of the tug is now handed off to mission control. They check all of the systems and telemetry, and everything is go for the Munar injection burn. Commander Kimball brings Freedom around prograde, and the crew crowd around the forward windows so they can all watch. With a silent flare of light, Orbital Tug 1 takes flight, carrying kerbalkind's first steps back to the Mun.

zoYc8Nlh.png

With its burn complete, the tug settles in for its day-long flight to the Mun.

ifs7i5Kh.png

Meanwhile, back on Freedom, the show is over. Because this mission didn't require the hours of time spent waiting for a rendezvous window with Kerbin Station, they will actually not be required to spend the night in orbit. If they perform their reentry burn on this orbit they should be able to land at KSC before dinner. It's chicken nuggets tonight! So the crew start stowing gear and getting set for reentry, then they perform the reentry burn.

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The flight deck crew finds it odd, reentering with the sun at their back instead of in front of them. They rig the ship for atmosphere, then cruise through reentry and line up with the glide path back to KSC.

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Commander Kimball guides Freedom in to a perfect landing, and after the rollout the crew sprints to the chow hall.

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Excellent piloting!

I've still been struggling with nailing a runway landing.

I think I've only done one, with that one using lots of quicksaves.

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1 hour ago, AtomicTech said:

Excellent piloting!

I've still been struggling with nailing a runway landing.

I think I've only done one, with that one using lots of quicksaves.

Thanks, but...

On 12/21/2021 at 10:41 PM, TheSaint said:

Additionally, I'm autopiloting almost everything with MechJeb and Kramax.

I can land on the runway, some of the time, but it's a pain in the kiester, and it harshes my mello. And since part of the reason I'm doing all this is to relax at night after work....

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14 minutes ago, TheSaint said:

Thanks, but...

I can land on the runway, some of the time, but it's a pain in the kiester, and it harshes my mello. And since part of the reason I'm doing all this is to relax at night after work....

Gotcha!

I just try to land on the runway just for the sake of it. I usually end up about anywhere from 1~3 kilometers away.

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8 hours ago, AtomicTech said:

Gotcha!

I just try to land on the runway just for the sake of it. I usually end up about anywhere from 1~3 kilometers away.

They don't make it easy. You can actually use Kramax as just an ILS to give you NAV and glide slope and then fly in to the runway manually with those. It makes it much easier, and it's actually more realistic, since that's how real aircraft fly.

In any case, sorry again for the late update, been a busy week. The next mission has actually been flown, I have a folder full of screenshots waiting to be uploaded and posted. Unfortunately I asked the Magic 8-Ball if that would happen tonight, and it said:

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Maybe tomorrow.

Edit: Apparently the Magic 8-Ball is as unreliable today as it was when I was a kid. ;)

Edited by TheSaint
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Mission 202 - Mun Station Core

The next spaceplane mission will have Opportunity begin lifting equipment for Mun Station itself, beginning with the core module. The core module for Mun Station is identical to that of Kerbin Station, with a control center, a small habitation area for six kerbals, and a expansion hub with five docking ports for future expansion. This mission will also be carrying a docking adapter and a cargo drone destined for Mun Station as well.

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The flight crew for this mission is:

Commander Elaine Kohn
Pilot Dominic Kozak
Flight Engineer Judi Keith
Payload Specialist Clayton Kilgore
Mission Specialist Irwin Kimmel
MIssion Specialist Phillip Kemper

Opportunity is rolled out onto the tarmac on a sunny morning. Taking the yoke for the first time, Commander Kohn brings the throttles to 100% and releases the brakes. Opportunity rolls down the runway gaining speed, and takes to the air. Soon she is cruising through the sky to the edge of space.

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After reaching space, the crew executes their circularization burn and rigs the ship for orbit.

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After a half-hour wait, they execute their rendezvous burns and bring Opportunity in to dock at Kerbin Station.

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After exchanging greetings and salutations with the crew of Kerbin Station, the crews get to work. Payload Specialist Kilgore sets to work erecting the Mun Station core module in the cargo bay.

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Then Pilot Kozak releases the new cargo drone, Cargo Drone 3, and guides it around to dock with the new core module.

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Then the core module is released from the cargo bay, and Kozak guides it around to dock on the port arm of the docking complex.

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Their cargo now delivered, the crew of Opportunity now digs in to a hot dinner and then a good night of rest on Kerbin Station.

Because of operational constraints, Opportunity's departure from Kerbin Station is delayed until the middle of the next day. So their departure is shrouded in darkness. But still the crew manages to bring her around and burn for reentry.

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Opportunity cruises through the heat of reentry once again, and soon Commander Kohn is steering her down the flight path to KSC.

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And then, in a totally unforgivable failure of program management, nobody remembered to take a picture of Opportunity after her rollout had completed.

(No, Irwin, that doesn't mean we have to fly the whole mission over again. Just go home.)

The next mission will see more hardware brought up to Kerbin Station to continue the assembly of Mun Station.

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Munar Orbit Operations - Y1 D15

While Mission 202 was ongoing, Orbital Tug 1 reached the Mun's sphere of influence.

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The first step in deploying the constellation of satellites around the Mun is for the orbital tug to change its inclination to 85 degrees. This is a relatively low cost burn at the edge of the SOI.

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Once the plane change has been accomplished, the survey satellite is released.

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After the survey satellite is clear the orbital tug burns again to change its inclination back to zero.

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The survey satellite deploys its antenna, panels, and sensors, and performs a small correction burn.

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After a short while, both craft approach their periapsis. The survey satellite arrives first and circularizes its orbit. It then begins to perform its survey.

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Orbital Tug 1 arrives at its periapsis shortly thereafter and burns to circularize at 200km.

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Next, the orbital tug performs another burn to enter a resonant orbit, an orbit with an orbital period which is exactly 2/3 of the orbital period of a circular orbit at the altitude of the resonant orbit's apoapsis. This way when the communications satellites are each released at the apoapsis of the resonant orbit, they will be equally spaced around their circular orbit after they circularize. It makes many of the kerbals' heads spin, but the engineers swear it works.

After the burn and the first orbit, the tug arrives at its first apoapsis and releases the first communications satellite.

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The satellite quickly circularizes, then deploys its solar panels and orients itself for operations.

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This process is repeated for the second communications satellite...

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And for the third.

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Now that the tug has delivered its payload, it performs a quick burn to bring its periapsis to the Mun's surface. Then it releases the spent decoupler from the docking port in the center of the satellite bus, which will allow that docking port to be used to place the satellite bus back in a spaceplane cargo bay for return to Kerbin once it has been returned to Kerbin Station.

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The tug now circularizes once again, and then once it reaches the proper node it burns to return from the Mun to Kerbin orbit, arriving there in about a day.

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Mission 203 - Mun Station Truss & Cargo Drone

The next mission will bring up the compact truss module for Mun Station. This module will provide all of the functionality that the various truss modules provide for Kerbin Station: solar power, energy storage, heat removal, reaction wheels, and remote control. However, since Mun Station is smaller than Kerbin Station, these functions can be provided in a single truss module rather than the five modules used for Kerbin Station. Additionally, this mission will also be carrying up the second cargo drone for Mun Station. And the foosball table.

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The flight crew for this mission is:

Commander Keith Kilpatrick
Pilot Charles Kern
Flight Engineer Clarice Kopp
Payload Specialist Selma Knotts
Mission Specialist Gary Knight
Mission Specialist Cleo Kiser

Because of Opportunity's late landing after M-202, this ends up being a late afternoon launch for Independence. She is rolled out to the runway after lunch, and as the sun is setting over the western mountains, Commander Kilpatrick takes her aloft.

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Once Independence has reached space, the crew burns to circularize their orbit, then rigs the ship for orbital operations.

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After an hour spent debating the merits of the Oxford comma, the crew performs their rendezvous burns, and soon they are docked with Kerbin Station once again.

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Now that they have arrived, they give their greetings to the Kerbin Station crew and everyone gets to work. Payload Specialist Knotts releases the clamps holding the truss module and erects it in the cargo bay.

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Kerbin Station Captain Koontz realizes that she has been distracted. Cargo Drone 3 should have been moved from its location on the aft docking port of the Mun Station core module to its port-side docking port. This is a delicate maneuver, since it brings the drone very close to Kerbin Station's port radiator array. Captain Koontz takes personal control of the drone and guides it in to its destination.

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Now Executive Officer Keegan takes over from Captain Koontz (who has retired to her stateroom with her latest BAR). She undocks Cargo Drone 4 from Independence's cargo bay and brings it around to dock with the compact truss module.

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She uses the drone to extract the truss module from the cargo bay and brings it around to dock with the Mun Station core module.

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Once the truss module has been docked to the core module, XO Keegan undocks the cargo drone and brings it around to dock at the Mun Station core module's starboard docking port. All future operations will be conducted with Kerbin Station's cargo drones in order to conserve the Mun Station cargo drones' fuel supplies.

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Now that the cargo has been delivered, the mission objectives have been completed. However, this mission was a late launch. Their first reentry opportunity is only one orbit after they have finished. No rest for the wicked! <Mocking, diabolical laughter> After a quick snack they close the hatches and Independence breaks away from Kerbin Station once again.

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They bring Independence around and burn for reentry.

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As they drop towards Kerbin, they rig the ship for atmosphere. They ride the plasma homeward, and soon they are lined up for landing at KSC.

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And Commander Kilpatrick has brought Independence down to a perfect landing once again.

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The next mission will lift the expansion modules for the Mun Station, continuing to build the next step in Kerbalkind's exploration of space.

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10 hours ago, TheSaint said:

Mission 203 - Mun Station Truss & Cargo Drone

The next mission will bring up the compact truss module for Mun Station. This module will provide all of the functionality that the various truss modules provide for Kerbin Station: solar power, energy storage, heat removal, reaction wheels, and remote control. However, since Mun Station is smaller than Kerbin Station, these functions can be provided in a single truss module rather than the five modules used for Kerbin Station. Additionally, this mission will also be carrying up the second cargo drone for Mun Station. And the foosball table.

rJHDviHh.png

The flight crew for this mission is:

Commander Keith Kilpatrick
Pilot Charles Kern
Flight Engineer Clarice Kopp
Payload Specialist Selma Knotts
Mission Specialist Gary Knight
Mission Specialist Cleo Kiser

Because of Opportunity's late landing after M-202, this ends up being a late afternoon launch for Independence. She is rolled out to the runway after lunch, and as the sun is setting over the western mountains, Commander Kilpatrick takes her aloft.

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P66Sfa3h.png

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Once Independence has reached space, the crew burns to circularize their orbit, then rigs the ship for orbital operations.

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After an hour spent debating the merits of the Oxford comma, the crew performs their rendezvous burns, and soon they are docked with Kerbin Station once again.

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Now that they have arrived, they give their greetings to the Kerbin Station crew and everyone gets to work. Payload Specialist Knotts releases the clamps holding the truss module and erects it in the cargo bay.

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Kerbin Station Captain Koontz realizes that she has been distracted. Cargo Drone 3 should have been moved from its location on the aft docking port of the Mun Station core module to its port-side docking port. This is a delicate maneuver, since it brings the drone very close to Kerbin Station's port radiator array. Captain Koontz takes personal control of the drone and guides it in to its destination.

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Now Executive Officer Keegan takes over from Captain Koontz (who has retired to her stateroom with her latest BAR). She undocks Cargo Drone 4 from Independence's cargo bay and brings it around to dock with the compact truss module.

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She uses the drone to extract the truss module from the cargo bay and brings it around to dock with the Mun Station core module.

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Once the truss module has been docked to the core module, XO Keegan undocks the cargo drone and brings it around to dock at the Mun Station core module's starboard docking port. All future operations will be conducted with Kerbin Station's cargo drones in order to conserve the Mun Station cargo drones' fuel supplies.

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Now that the cargo has been delivered, the mission objectives have been completed. However, this mission was a late launch. Their first reentry opportunity is only one orbit after they have finished. No rest for the wicked! <Mocking, diabolical laughter> After a quick snack they close the hatches and Independence breaks away from Kerbin Station once again.

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They bring Independence around and burn for reentry.

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As they drop towards Kerbin, they rig the ship for atmosphere. They ride the plasma homeward, and soon they are lined up for landing at KSC.

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And Commander Kilpatrick has brought Independence down to a perfect landing once again.

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The next mission will lift the expansion modules for the Mun Station, continuing to build the next step in Kerbalkind's exploration of space.

I really liked this week's entry but I found it really hard to see some of the pictures. Perhaps for the next set of missions you could turn up the brightness using PlanetShine?

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1 hour ago, AtomicTech said:

I really liked this week's entry but I found it really hard to see some of the pictures. Perhaps for the next set of missions you could turn up the brightness using PlanetShine?

I already have PlanetShine installed. It's just that Kerbin Station is at 400km, so at that altitude it doesn't really receive a lot of shine. I suppose I could crank it way up, but I worry that may have unintended consequences. I'll take a look.

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So, just by way of explanation, updates to the mission report thread will be on hiatus for a while. My truck, King Taco, is laid up hurt. Initial diagnosis indicates either a head gasket leak or possibly even a cracked head, pending a compression test and/or cylinder leak down test. So, that will be consuming much of my free time for the foreseeable future. Do not fear, this thread is not abandoned, simply on hold.

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6 minutes ago, TheSaint said:

So, just by way of explanation, updates to the mission report thread will be on hiatus for a while. My truck, King Taco, is laid up hurt. Initial diagnosis indicates either a head gasket leak or possibly even a cracked head, pending a compression test and/or cylinder leak down test. So, that will be consuming much of my free time for the foreseeable future. Do not fear, this thread is not abandoned, simply on hold.

Don't worry about it!

Take care of your truck, spend some time enjoying the outdoors, then, when you feel like it, maybe write another chapter!

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So, last night I managed to get the truck into a limp mode. Should be good for local use until I can make plans to fix the larger problems. So I have free time tonight.

I doubled the shine from Planetshine, so now everything is bathed in an unearthly unkerbinly blue glow. Not sure how I like it, but that's how it is for this mission. I may try tuning it down in the future. Don't say I never gave you anything, @AtomicTech. ;)

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Mission 204 - Mun Station Expansion Modules

The next mission will lift the two expansion modules for Mun Station. These modules will provide additional docking ports for the station to allow it to dock all of the equipment needed to build Farside Base.

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Liberty's flight crew for this mission will be:

Commander Cleveland Kauffman
Pilot Gavin Kenney
Flight Engineer Herman Kinney
Payload Specialist Dwayne Kohler
Mission Specialist Lily Kemp
Mission Specialist Edwin Klinger

LIberty is rolled out once again on the tarmac. Commander Kauffman fires up the engines and with a roar Liberty takes to the air.

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After they reach space, they burn to circularize, then rig the ship for orbital operations.

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After a half an orbit (and a quick game of zero-G hacky-sack), they perform their rendezvous burns, and soon they are docking with Kerbin Station once again.

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Once LIberty has docked, everyone gets down to work. Payload Specialist Kohler erects the expansion modules in the cargo bay.

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While Assistant Pilot Kearney fires up Cargo Drone 2 and brings it around to dock.

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Kohler releases the clamps, and Kearney uses the drone to bring the first expansion module around to its berth on the Mun Station core.

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Undocking the drone, Kearney brings it around once again and docks it with the second expansion module.

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He then uses the drone to bring the second expansion module with its berth on the Mun Station core.

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Now that the work is done, the crews can relax. They enjoy a hot dinner, watch a movie, then settle in for the night.

The next morning Liberty breaks away from Kerbin Station and burns for reentry.

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As Liberty glides down to Kerbin, the crew rigs her for atmosphere, She rides the waves of plasma through reentry, and soon they are lined up for landing at KSC.

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With a steady hand, Commander Kauffman brings Liberty in for another touchdown.

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But back in orbit, the fun never stops...

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Kerbin Orbit Operations - Y1 D18

Back in orbit, Orbital Tug 1 is arriving in its 800km parking orbit. It burns to circularize there, then awaits its rendezvous burn with Kerbin Station.

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The tug executes its rendezvous burns and then maneuvers to within about 50 meters of Kerbin Station.

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Assistant Pilot Koonce brings Cargo Drone 2 online again and undocks it from the Mun Station expansion module. He brings it around to dock with the satellite bus on the orbital tug.

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Once the drone has a firm grip on the bus, it is undocked from the tug. Then the drone brings the bus around and docks it to Kerbin Station, where it will wait for an empty spot on a Kerbin-bound spaceplane flight.

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Now that the docking port is clear on the orbital tug, Captain Koontz takes local control of it and guides it in to dock on Kerbin Station's starboard docking arm.

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Now that Mun Station is almost complete, and Orbital Tug 1 has returned to Kerbin Station, the preparations for the departure of Mun Station are almost complete. The next spaceplane flight will bring up a couple final modules and a tank of hydrolox fuel to refuel the orbital tug.

 

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7 hours ago, TheSaint said:

Kerbin Orbit Operations - Y1 D18

Back in orbit, Orbital Tug 1 is arriving in its 800km parking orbit. It burns to circularize there, then awaits its rendezvous burn with Kerbin Station.

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The tug executes its rendezvous burns and then maneuvers to within about 50 meters of Kerbin Station.

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Assistant Pilot Koonce brings Cargo Drone 2 online again and undocks it from the Mun Station expansion module. He brings it around to dock with the satellite bus on the orbital tug.

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Once the drone has a firm grip on the bus, it is undocked from the tug. Then the drone brings the bus around and docks it to Kerbin Station, where it will wait for an empty spot on a Kerbin-bound spaceplane flight.

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Now that the docking port is clear on the orbital tug, Captain Koontz takes local control of it and guides it in to dock on Kerbin Station's starboard docking arm.

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Now that Mun Station is almost complete, and Orbital Tug 1 has returned to Kerbin Station, the preparations for the departure of Mun Station are almost complete. The next spaceplane flight will bring up a couple final modules and a tank of hydrolox fuel to refuel the orbital tug.

 

Beautiful!

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Mission 205 - Mun Station Docking Modules & Fuel Tank

The next mission will see Freedom lifting the last modules for Mun Station before it will depart for The Mun. These are two small but important docking modules that will allow the smaller docking ports on kerballed spacecraft to dock with the expansion arms on Mun Station. Additionally, Freedom will carry a fuel tank to Kerbin Station which will be used to refuel Orbital Tug 1 before it carries Mun Station to its orbit around The Mun.

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The hydrolox fuel tank is one of the heaviest single cargo items that the spaceplanes are asked to carry, massing almost 35 tons. A keen eye will notice that the cargo erector has been moved forward in the cargo bay almost 2 meters. If it were to be left at the rear of the cargo bay the spaceplane's center of mass would be too far aft, and Commander Knoll would have a very bad day trying to control her on the way up to orbit.

Speaking of which, the flight crew for this mission is the most experienced crew on the roster; almost all of them have 4 or more flights under their belt at this point. The crew is:

Commander Jane Knoll
Pilot Jackie Kimball
Flight Engineer Araceli Krebs
Payload Specialist Sierra King
Mission Specialist Keisha Keene
Mission Specialist Lea Kimbrough

Freedom is towed out to the runway. Knoll, Kimball, and Krebs go through the pre-flight checklist. Aside from the gum under the Flight Engineer panel (everyone glares at Payload Specialist King, who flew as Flight Engineer on Freedom's last mission) Freedom is go for liftoff. Commander Knoll runs the throttles up to full power, releases the brakes, and Freedom takes flight!

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Upon reaching space, the crew executes their circularization burn, then rigs Freedom for orbital operations.

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The rendezvous burn is an hour away. The crew laughs, remembering how many missions ago an hour to set up for rendezvous would have felt rushed. Now they have time to calculate their burns and still get in time for a Hearts tournament, which Sierra the Shark still somehow manages to win! They settle back into their couches, then execute their burns, and soon they are coasting in to dock at Kerbin Station. Even docking in the dark is no sweat for this Dream Team!

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After docking, they give their greetings to the crew of Kerbin Station. Then everyone gets down to work. Payload Specialist King erects the fuel tank in the payload bay. 

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Captain Koontz warms up Cargo Drone 2, undocks it from the satellite bus, and brings it around to dock with the fuel tank.

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Maneuvering the tank with the drone takes skill, since it weighs almost 20 times as much as the drone does. Koontz takes her time and carefully maneuvers the tank past the station and brings it to dock on the forward-zenith port of the docking complex. This will keep this large mass near the centerline of the station, simplifying future orbital correction burns.

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Once the tank has been docked, Assistant Engineers Kent and Killian start the process of refueling the orbital tug. Meanwhile, Commander Koontz undocks the cargo drone from the tank and brings it back around the station again to dock with the first docking adapter.

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Extracting the adapter from the cargo bay, she brings it around and docks it to the first expansion arm on Mun Station.

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Then she undocks it once again and brings it around to pick up the next docking adapter from Freedom's cargo bay.

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This adapter will be docked on the other side of Mun Station, which will require a bit more maneuvering. But Captain Koontz handles it with ease.

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Mun Station is now ready to depart. Undocking the drone from the docking adapter, Captain Koontz now turns her attention to the satellite bus, which is supposed to be returned to Kerbin. she maneuvers the drone over to dock with it once more.

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In the meantime, Kerbin Station is only half an hour away from the next departure window for The Mun. Leaving Cargo Drone 2 for the moment, the crew turns their attention to Orbital Tug 1. Now fully fueled, it is ready to be moved to its berth on Mun Station. Executive Officer Keegan takes the controls for this transfer. She undocks the tug, then slowly moves it across the width of Kerbin Station and docks it to the adapter on the end of the Mun Station truss.

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As preparations are taking place for the departure of Mun Station, Captain Koontz delegates the disposition of the satellite bus to Assistant Pilot Kearney. He undocks the satellite bus from the supply module, then maneuvers it around the station with Cargo Drone 2 and deposits it on the aft docking port in Freedom's cargo bay.

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Once the bus has been secured in the cargo bay, Kearney extracts the cargo drone and docks it to the starboard docking arm.

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Now Kerbin Station is approaching the departure window. After all of the systems on Mun Station have been checked out, and the tug's engine has been warmed up and checked, the hatches are closed and Mun Station is undocked from Kerbin Station.

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Mission control now takes control of Orbital Tug 1. The final calculations for Mun Station's Munar injection burn are made and transmitted to the drone. And then the burn is started and Mun Station is underway!

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This has been the longest, most complex mission to date, and the crews of Freedom and Kerbin Station have executed it flawlessly. But now they are exhausted. They have a quick snack, exchange some well-deserved fist bumps, then hit the hay.

Much too soon, Mission Control wakes the crew of Freedom. They say goodbye to the crew of Kerbin Station, close the hatches, then break away and burn for reentry.

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They rig the ship for atmosphere, then ride through the heat of reentry. Soon they are lined up with the KSC runway and ready to land.

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And, touchdown! As Freedom rolls to a stop at the end of the runway, Mission Control congratulates the crew on a job well done.

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The next mission will bring up a second orbital tug, which will speed the flow of equipment to Munar orbit.

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