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Kerbal States Forever: Chapter Two - On Atlas's Shoulders


USKnight
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Kerbal States Forever
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Game Mode: Science Sandbox. Jingoist mode; on. Spiritual successor to America Rising.
 

Chapter One – A Higher Frontier

Launch 1: Vanguard 1 / Vanguard SLV 1
Year 1, Day 1 - 0001 Hours
Mission: Technology Test satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSN

The honor of launching the world's first satellite went to the "civilian" team of the Navy Research Laboratory (NRL), headed by Rosen Kerman.  Based out of the Kerbal States' premier launch site at Kerbal Space Center, the NRL team was a major player in the space program from Day One.

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.84Mm x 284km, 34.2 deg inclination.
Payload: Vanguard 1 – Temperature sensor and radio transmitter.

    • World's first artificial satellite.
    • Three-stage launch vehicle developed NRL on behalf of the Navy.
    • Orbital tracking over time revealed Kerbin to be slightly pear shaped.

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Launch 2: Explorer 1 / Juno II 1 
Year 1, Day 4 - 0434 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

Second to orbit a satellite, but not necessarily second-best was the Army's team out of Green Sands Proving Grounds. Led by the world's leading rocket engineer, Werhner Von Kerman, the Army was  poised from the beginning to become the premier agency for the development of satellites and spacecraft. 

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.61Mm x 430.7km, 33.2 deg inclination. Derelict.
Payload: Explorer 1 - Twin Geiger counters.

    • Discovered two distinct bands of radiation around Kerbin now known as the Van Kerman radiation belts.
    • Three-stage launch vehicle based on the Army's Jupiter IRBM developed by Team Von Kerman.
    • Operated on internal batteries until depleted.

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Launch 3: Explorer 2 / Juno II 2
Year 1, Day 16 - 0538 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

Von Kerman was quick to launch a second Explorer after the first, in many ways only to cement his team's ability to repeat their success.

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.83Mm x 141.2km, 32.8 deg inclination. Derelict.
Payload: Explorer 2 - Twin Geiger counters.

    • Provided additional data about the Van Kerman radiation belts.
    • Operated until internal batteries depleted.

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Launch 4: Vanguard 2 / Vanguard SLV 2
Year 1, Day 29 - 0253 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSN

The second of NRL's satellites included an experiment package as a proving flight for using satellites for scientific research.

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.46Mm x 242.7km, 32.9 deg inclination. Derelict.
Payload: Vanguard 2 - Two optical telescopes for measuring planetary albedo.

    • Observed cloud-cover distribution and tested the feasibility of a weather observation satellite. 
    • Operated until internal batteries depleted.

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Launch 5: Pioneer 1 / Jupiter Able 1 (J3-AB3)
Year 1, Day 47 - 0018 Hours
Mission: Science probe to high Mun orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSARMY/KSN

The Pioneer project was the first direct collaboration between the services to jointly launch a series of exploratory space probes. Each service was assigned the lead to launch one space probe to Kerbin's moon. Whilst the Navy and Army immediately joined forces to produce the Jupiter Able launch vehicle, the Air Force remained aloof. The first Pioneer was NRL's space probe.

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.24 Mm x 1.11Mm, 0 degree inclination around the Mun. Derelict.
Payload: Pioneer 1 - Infrared television camera and Geiger counter.

    • First space probe to encounter and orbit the Mun, completing the insertion on Day 48.
    • Three-stage launch vehicle using the Army's Jupiter and the Navy's Vanguard upper stages.
    • Observed the upper border of the Van Kerman radiation belts.
    • First crude images of the far side of the Mun.
    • Operated until internal batteries depleted.

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Edited by USKnight
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Launch 6: Pioneer 2 / Juno II 3 (J4) 
Year 1, Day 56 - 0527 Hours 
Mission: Science probe flyby of Mun and into Solar orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSARMY 

The Army's contribution to Project Pioneer was a flyby of the Mun in an effort to capture a close image of its surface. The probe looped past the Mun and monitored radiation in the space beyond during its short lifespan.

Spoiler

Orbit: 14.42Gm x 13.39Gm, 0 degree inclination around Kerbol. Derelict. 
Payload: Pioneer 2 - Infrared television camera and Geiger counter. 

  • First space probe to escape Kerbin's sphere of influence on Day 75. 
  • Encountered the Mun on Day 58 with a closest approach of 112km.  
  • Transmitted a single image of the Mun's surface at closest approach. 
  • Provided additional data on the upper border of the Van Kerman radiation belts. 
  • Operated until internal batteries depleted.

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Launch 7: SCORE / Atlas-B 1
Year 1, Day 68 - 0502 Hours 
Mission: Communications satellite to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Kerbal Space Center 
Agency: KSAF/KSARMY

Project SCORE was a crash program by the Air Force that can best be described as a publicity stunt. The Army Signal Corps was contracted to create a store-and-forward package that was mounted into the empty nosecone of an Atlas-B ICBM. What was scheduled as a sub-orbital proving test of the missile became SCORE. The "Talking Atlas" was the largest "satellite" yet orbited and transmitted a message from the President to the world on a very weak signal. The goal of the program would remain a mystery to those outside the Air Force's leadership.

Spoiler

Orbit: 645.4km x 129.3km, 32.3 deg inclination. Derelict. 
Payload: Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment (SCORE) - Relay and dual tape recorders for store and forward transmission capable of messages up to four minutes long.  

First satellite to transmit a communication from orbit.  

  • Nicknamed the "Talking Atlas". 
  • Stage-and-a-half launch vehicle utilizing the Air Force's Atlas ICBM. 
  • By far the largest object orbited at the time. 
  • Operated until internal batteries depleted.  

Transmitted the following message that was uploaded to the satellite and then broadcast:  

"This is the President of the Kerbal States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one: Through this unique means I convey to you and to all mankind, America's wish for peace on Kerbin and goodwill toward kerbals everywhere."

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Launch 8: Discoverer 1 / Jupiter Agena-A 1 (J5-AG1)
Year 1, Day 83 – 0409 Hours 
Mission: Technology Test satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return. 
Location: Woomerang Launch Site 
Agency: KSAF

Project Discoverer was the public name for Project Corona, the Air Force's secret reconnaissance program. With massive funding from an undisclosed government agency, the Air Force mated the Army's proven Jupiter booster to their advanced (and unannounced) Agena second-stage to produce a spacecraft that could alter its orbit in space. This launch was also the first from Woomerang, an ideal location for rocket launches into high-inclination polar orbits.

Of utmost importance was that a payload could be taken into space and returned safely to Kerbin for retrieval. Project Discoverer's announced goals were to launch and return science experiments. Discoverer 1 was a proving flight of the system.

Spoiler

Orbit: 150.3km x 104.3km, 89.8 deg inclination. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 84.
Payload: Discoverer 1 - Satellite Recovery Vehicle.  

  • First recovery of a spacecraft from orbit and first satellite launched into a near polar orbit. 
  • Agena performed the first re-firing of a rocket engine in space. 
  • Two-stage launch vehicle utilizing the Army's Jupiter and the Air Force's Agena second stage. 
  • Operated for one day in orbit before releasing the SRV. Operated for an additional day before de-orbiting on Day 85. 
  • SRV contained a wrapped Kerbal States flag which was returned without damage and presented to the President.

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Launch 9: Vanguard 3 / Vanguard SLV 3 (V3-AB4)
Year 1, Day 84 – 0249 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSN 

Project Vanguard ended with the third and final launch of a small NRL satellite into orbit. The Navy chose to turn its attention to improving the Able upper stage and developing more advanced satellite systems. They were content to allow the Army to continue  building their boosters for them.

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.66Mm x 222.5km, 33.3 deg inclination. Derelict. 
Payload: Vanguard 3 - Magnetometer. 

  • Third-stage failed to separate from satellite, but did not affect Vanguard 3's experiments. 
  • Final launch utilizing the Vanguard SLV. The second and third stages under the name Able would remain in service. 
  • Surveyed Kerbin's magnetic field and defined the lower edge of the Van Kerman radiation belts.  
  • Operated until internal batteries depleted. 

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Launch 10: Discoverer 2 (Corona 9001) / Jupiter Agena-A 2 (J6-AG2)
Year 1, Day 105 – 0245 Hours
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Woomerang Launch Site 
Agency: KSAF 

Under intense hidden pressure, the Air Force quickly followed the first Discoverer with a second. This flight included the Corona camera system and film canisters to capture images of "foreign" terrain for analysis. By the second orbit however, the camera system failed entirely. After recovery of the SRV, it was found that the extreme conditions of space were too much for traditional film.

Immediately a contract was awarded to develop a new kind of film. The fate of Project Corona depended on it.

Spoiler

Orbit: 153.3km x 94km, 80 deg inclination. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 107.
Payload: Discoverer 1 - KH-1 Corona camera system and Satellite Recovery Vehicle. 

  • First (unsuccessful) reconnaissance satellite. 
  • Discoverer was announced publicly as a scientific program in a ruse to hide its true mission of military reconnaissance under the name Project Corona.  
  • During the second orbit, the camera system failed when the film snapped as it became brittle due to the extreme cold conditions in space.  
  • Operated for one day before releasing the SRV and de-orbitng. No usable photographic data was recovered.

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Edited by USKnight
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Special shout out to a great challenge. While this series is not an entrant (because I lack the skills needed), I still enjoy the developments taking place in participating series' for @Scarecrow71's Space Race!


Launch 11: Explorer 3 / Juno II 4 (J7)
Year 1, Day 106 – 0537 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

The Army's Explorer program continued forward, producing a new satellite that featured solar panels and could be lofted using the proven, and relatively inexpensive, Juno.

Spoiler

Orbit: 489.4km x 250km, 50.1 deg inclination.
Payload: Explorer 3 - Infrared spectrometer.

    • Observed Kerbin's radiation balance and discovered the relationship between solar and keomagnetic storms. 

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Launch 12: Explorer 4 / Jupiter Able 2 (J8-AB5)
Year 1, Day 117 – 0224 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to high elliptical Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

Only 11 days later, Von Kerman's team lofted the first of three related designs commonly referred to as the "paddlewheel" satellites . The first was their Explorer model and represented the Army's first experience using the Jupiter Able launch vehicle.

Spoiler

Orbit: 18.64Mm x 111.6km, 46.9 deg inclination.
Payload: Explorer 4 - Television camera, Geiger counter, and Magnetometer.

    • Transmitted the first crude picture of Kerbin from orbit.
    • Observed that the Van Kerman radiation belts are far more complex than just two bands around Kerbin.

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Launch 13: Pioneer 3 / Atlas-D Able 1 (AL2-AB6)
Year 1, Day 124 - 0219 Hours
Mission: Science probe to high Minmus orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSAF

The Air Force's contribution to Project Pioneer finally came in the form of the second and largest of the "paddlewheel" satellites. Mating the Able stage to the top of an Atlas-D ICBM, the Air Force used the power of their large booster to send their probe to successfully visit far off Minmus. After this achievement, the Air Force essentially abandoned any initiative for space exploration outside the ruse known as the Discoverer series. 

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.25Mm x 731.7km, 6 deg inclination around Minmus.
Payload: Pioneer 2 - Geiger counter, television camera, and micrometeoroid impact detector.

    • First space probe to encounter and orbit Minmus, completing the insertion on Day 132. 
    • Provided the first close images of Minmus as well as magnetic field data and micrometeoroid impacts in the vicinity.
    • Three-stage launch vehicle using the Air Force's Atlas-D ICBM and the Navy's Able upper stages.
    • Represented the only Air Force science mission conducted before focusing solely on Project Corona and ICBM development.

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Launch 14: Discoverer 3 / Jupiter LV9 - Agena A 3
Year 1, Day 134 - 0228 Hours
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Woomerang Launch Site
Agency: KSAF

At Woomerang, the Air Force's top priority was a successful Corona launch. Loaded with new polyester-based film, which also ended weighing half as much per canister, Discoverer 3 successfully operated its camera system and returned the exposed film to Kerbin. The treasure trove of intelligence captured on its reels instantly validated the funding poured into the project and solidified Project Corona as the Air Force's top priority. Even if no one outside the program could know why.

Spoiler

Orbit: 368.6km x 98.9km, 81.6 deg inclination. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 135
Payload: Discoverer 3 - KH-1 Corona camera system and Satellite Recovery Vehicle. 

    • First reconnaissance flight to successfully return film. Camera system utilized more durable, lighter film designed to withstand the environment of space. 
    • Operated for one day before releasing the SRV and de-orbiting.
    • Provided more images and reconnaissance data than all previous collection methods combined.

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Launch 15: Pioneer 4 / Jupiter Able 3 (J10-AB6)
Year 1, Day 141 - 0100
Mission: Science probe to high Mun orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSARMY/KSN

The final "paddlewheel" satellite was a collaboration launch utilizing an Army launch crew at the Navy's Kerbal Space Center. A Pioneer 4 was placed into orbit around the Mun to capture (slightly) higher quality images of the Farside. While a successful probe, the true victory of the mission was the high level of cooperation enjoyed by Von Kerman's and NRL's teams. 

Spoiler

Orbit: 1.43Mm x 1.04Mm, 0.7 deg inclination around the Mun.
Payload: Pioneer 4 - Television camera, Geiger counter, and Magnetometer.

    • Encountered and inserted in orbit around the Mun on Day 142. 
    • Provided images of the Mun and surveyed its magnetic field.

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Launch 16: Explorer 5 / Juno II 5 (J11)
Year 1, Day 148 - 0135 Hours
Mission: Scientific experiment satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSARMY

The next series of Explorers were referred to as the "topside sounders". Their goal was the study Kerbin's ionosphere.

Spoiler

Orbit: 808.5km x 243.7km, 50.3 deg inclination. 
Payload: Explorer 5 - Electron spectrometer. 

  • Also known as the Ionosphere Explorer. 
  • Monitored radiation energies over time to determine the behavior of charged particles in the Van Kerman radiation belts.

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Launch 17: TIROS 1 / Jupiter Able 4 (J12-AB7)
Year 1, Day 161 - 0140 Hours 
Mission: Weather satellite to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSN/KSARMY 

In support of a Navy initiative for an orbital weather observation satellite, the Army handled the launching of TIROS 1. The returned cloud cover images instantly revolutionized weather reporting and forecasting.

Spoiler

Orbit: 436.6km x 302.1km, 48.4 deg inclination. 
Payload: Television Infrared Observation Satellite 1 - Television camera system. 

  • First weather satellite. 
  • Observed weather patterns across Kerbin and became instrumental for forecasting. It provided the first ever orbital views of jet streams, storm fronts, and cyclones.  

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Launch 18: Transit 1 / Jupiter Able-Star 1 (J13-AS1) 
Year 1, Day 163 - 0000 Hours 
Mission: Navigation satellite to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Kerbal Space Center 
Agency: KSN

NRL's next major project was the launching of the first of two Transit satellites. This satellite would act a radio beacon to aide in navigation and location finding for naval ships and submarines at sea. The launch featured the first use of the Able-Star second stage. Among its improvements was the ability to restart the engine in orbit. This became a major factor in stemming the growing amount of orbital debris around Kerbin as the stage could de-orbit itself after deploying the satellite.

Spoiler

Orbit: 325.3km x 162.6m, 51.2 deg inclination.
Payload: Transit 1 - Navigation beacon and communication relay. 

  • First navigation satellite. 
  • Two-stage launch vehicle utilizing the Army's Jupiter and a widened, restartable Able stage called Able-Star. 
  • Proved the feasibility of using satellites as navigational aids; used as a beacon for military naval vessels and submarines.

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Launch 19: Transit 2/SOLRAD-1 / Jupiter Able-Star 2 (J14-AS2)
Year 1, Day 177 - 0300 Hours 
Mission: Navigation and ELINT satellites to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Kerbal Space Center 
Agency: KSN 

Transit 1 was followed quickly by Transit 2 in order to better test the feasibility of an orbital (military) navigation system. The launch was the first to include a piggyback payload with SOLRAD riding on top of Transit and separating once in orbit. SOLRAD itself represented the Navy's first "spy" satellite.

Spoiler

Orbit: 272.9km x 455.4km, 66.7 deg inclination.
Payload: Transit 2 - Navigation beacon and communication relay.
SOLRAD-1 - X-ray imaging scope and SIGINT receiver.

  • First dual satellite launch.  
  • Transit 2 was a second navigational beacon for military naval vessels and submarines.  
  • SOLRAD-1 was an electronics intelligence satellite that obtained information on foreign radar signals as it passed overhead. 

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Launch 20: Discoverer 4 / Jupiter Agena-A 4 (J15-AG4) 
Year 1, Day 183 - 0237 Hours 
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return. 
Location: Woomerang Launch Site 
Agency: KSAF

The fourth Discoverer included a small biological exposure experiment in the SRV in order to continue the ruse of the program's purpose. These samples were carried into orbit and returned along with the reconnaissance film.

Spoiler

Orbit: 297km x 112km, 82.7 deg inclination. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 185. 
Payload: Discoverer 4 - KH-1 Corona camera system and Satellite Recovery Vehicle. 

  • Operated for one day before releasing the SRV and de-orbiting.

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Edited by USKnight
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Posted (edited)

Launch 21: Courier 1 / Jupiter Able-Star 3 (J16-AS3)
Year 1, Day 186 - 0545 Hours 
Mission: Communications satellite to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSARMY 

In the wake of SCORE, the Army Signal Corps engineered a proper communications satellite to launch into orbit. Courier was the first satellite used for long distance communications from one ground station to another.

Spoiler

Orbit: 538km x 407.6km, 28.3 deg inclination.
Payload: Courier 1 - Communications relay. 

  • First active relay communications satellite. 

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Launch 22: Explorer 6 / Juno II 6 (J17) 
Year 1, Day 201 - 0523 Hours 
Mission: Science satellite to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSARMY 

The second of the "Topside sounders", Explorer 6 mounted no solar panels in order to prevent their use from interfering with the collected data on the Ionosphere.

Spoiler

Orbit: 997.5km x 194.7km, 49.9 deg inclination. Derelict. 
Payload: Explorer 6 - Ionization and electrostatic sensors. 

  • Collected data on Kerbin's Ionosphere and atmospheric density.
  • Operated until internal batteries depleted. 

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Launch 23: Discoverer 5 / Jupiter Agena-A 5 (J18-AG5)
Year 1, Day 214 - 0424 Hours 
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return. 
Location: Woomerang Launch Site 
Agency: KSAF

The fourth Corona satellite would be a "routine" one-day mission to capture images of foreign terrain and return them intact to Kerbin for processing. It was the first to feature the moderately improved KH-2 camera system.

Spoiler

Orbit: 287.9km x 105.7km, 81.4 deg. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 215. 
Payload: Discoverer 18 - KH-2 Corona camera system and Satellite Recovery Vehicle. 

  • Operated for one day before releasing the SRV and de-orbiting. 

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Launch 24: Explorer 7 / Juno II 7 (J19)
Year 1, Day 218 - 0548 Hours 
Mission: Science satellite to high Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSARMY 

The final satellite of the "Topside sounders" series, Explorer 7 was launched into an elliptical orbit for a long duration study of the Ionosphere to determine its shape.

Spoiler

Orbit: 72.12Mm x 80.1km, 33 deg inclination.
Payload: Explorer 7 - Ionosphere experiment. 

  • Collected data on Kerbin's Ionosphere in order to determine its shape. 

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Launch 25: Mercury 1 (Mercury-Jupiter 1) (J20) 
Year 1, Day 229 - 0455 Hours 
Mission: Technology Test spacecraft sub-orbital flight. 
Location: Kerbal Space Center 
Agency: ARPA 

Originally called Kerbal-In-Space, Project Mercury's mission was to put a kerbal in space and return them safely. Coordinated by ARPA, the program would use the Army's Jupiter rocket for the sub-orbital missions and the Air Force's Atlas for the orbital missions. Von Kerman's team took the lead on the project and worked closely with the Navy in producing the spacecraft and selecting the candidates who would fly into space. Aside from making the Atlas available and providing technical assistance, the Air Force's involvement was minimal.

Mercury 1 was a proving flight of the sub-orbital mission profile. The spacecraft was successfully lofted and splashed down intact.

Spoiler

Orbit: Highest altitude was 110km. Mercury 1 splashed down in the Korin Sea. 
Payload: Mercury 1 spacecraft - Crew: Unmanned. 

  • First launch under the umbrella of ARPA, ostentatiously a collaboration between the Army, Navy, and Air Force to coordinate a manned space program.
  • Travelled 572.9km downrange.

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Edited by USKnight
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Launch 26: Explorer 8 / Jupiter Able 5 (J21-AB8)
Year 1, Day 239 - 0317 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to high elliptical Kerbin orbit
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

The Explorer series continued with a satellite launched to the very reaches of Kerbin's sphere of influence in order collect data on Kerbin's magnetic field. Explorer 8 was also the first satellite to record the shock wave of a solar flare.

Spoiler

Orbit: Originally 78.47Mm x 87.7km, 33 deg inclination. Derelict.
Payload: Explorer 8 - Magnetometer.

  • Collected data on the size and shape of Kerbin's magnetic sphere.
  • Improvements from Able-Star allowed engine re-firing for the Able stage going forward.
  • Operated until internal batteries depleted.
  • By the end of Year 1, the satellite had slipped out from Kerbin's sphere of influence and entered solar orbit.

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Launch 27: Transit 3/LOFTI-1 / Jupiter Able-Star 4 (J22-AS4)
Year 1, Day 247 - 0250 Hours
Mission: Navigation and Science satellites to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSN

With the success of the original pair of Transit satellites, Transit 3 was an attempt to improve the design with a stronger navigation beacon. Like its predecessor, it also carried a piggyback satellite into orbit called LOFTI. This diminutive satellite was able to detect how Very Low Frequency radio waves were affected by the Ionosphere.

Spoiler

Orbit: 436.1km x 103.9km, 28.3 deg inclination.
Payload: Transit 3 - Navigation beacon and communication relay.
        LOFTI-1 - Ionosphere experiment.

    • Transit 3 featured an improved navigation beacon and solar panels.
    • LOFTI-1 was a modified SOLRAD satellite with a science package instead of ELINT sensors.

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Launch 28: Explorer 9 / Juno II 7 (J23)
Year 1, Day 249 - 0216 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to high Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

The ninth Explorer was the first Gamma ray telescope in orbit. The experiment's goal was to detect these energies and attempt to catalog their direction of origin. The launch was the final time the Army would call upon the Juno before relying instead on the Navy developed Able and Able-Star.

Spoiler

Orbit: 660.6km x 188.4km, 28.7 deg inclination.
Payload: Explorer 9 - Gamma-ray telescope.

  • First Gamma-ray telescope experiment in space.
  • Final launch using the Juno II launch vehicle. The Jupiter booster itself would long remain in service. 

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Launch 29: Discoverer 6 / Jupiter Agena-B 1 (J24-AG6)
Year 1, Day 256 - 0302 Hours
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Woomerang Launch Site
Agency: KSAF

Discoverer 6 is notable for being the first launch of the improved Agena-B upper stage. It was otherwise a routine reconnaissance flight.

Spoiler

Orbit: 156.8km x 97.3km, 82.1 deg inclination. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 258.
Payload: Discoverer 6 - KH-2 Corona camera system and Satellite Return Vehicle. 

    • First launch of the improved Agena-B stage.
    • Operated for a day and-a-half in orbit before releasing the SRV and de-orbiting.

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Launch 30: Mercury 2 (Mercury-Jupiter 2) (J25)
Year 1, Day 262 - 0434 Hours
Mission: Manned spacecraft sub-orbital flight.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: ARPA

The first kerbal in space was lofted into a sub-orbital flight above the twenty-fifth Jupiter booster of the space program. Jebediah Kerman experienced the violence of blast off, six minutes of zero gravity,  and the fires of re-entry before splashing down safely in the ocean. He emerged from this ordeal as the world's most famous kerbonaut and a national hero. He was the first explorer to reach a higher frontier.

Orbit: Highest altitude reached was 116.7km. Mercury 2 splashed down in the Korin Sea.
Spacecraft: Mercury 2 "Morning Star" - Crew: Jebediah Kerman

    • First manned space flight and first kerbal in space.
    • Spent six minutes in zero gravity. 
    • Travelled 581.9km downrange.

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Edited by USKnight
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Chapter Two – On Atlas's Shoulders

Launch 31: Explorer 10 / Jupiter Able 6 (J26-AB9) 
Year 1, Day 265 - 0321 Hours 
Mission: Science satellite to high elliptical Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSARMY 

Following the "Topside Sounders" series, Explorer 10 was designed for long-term data collection on Kerbin's magnetosphere.

Spoiler

Orbit: 41.82Mm x 1.51Mm, 42.8 deg inclination. 
Payload: Explorer 12 – Magnetometer. 

  • Also known as EPE, for Energetic Particles Explorer. 
  • Collected data over a long period of time on Kerbin's magnetosphere. 

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Launch 32: Transit 4/Injun-1/SOLRAD-2 / Jupiter Able-Star 5 (J27-AS5) 
Year 1, Day 279 - 0419 Hours 
Mission: Navigation, Science, and ELINT satellites to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Kerbal Space Center 
Agency: KSN 

Transit 4 was the most advanced satellite yet developed by NRL. It featuring an improved beacon, solar panels, and a SNAP-3 radio isotope generator. Riding piggyback on this mission was Injun-1 atop which rode SOLRAD-2 for a the first trio of satellites orbited in one launch.

Spoiler

Orbit: 434.2km x 383.7km, 66.8 deg inclination. 
Payload: Transit 4 - Navigation beacon, communications relay, and SNAP-3 RTG
Injun-1 - Ionosphere experiment. 
SOLRAD-2 - X-ray imaging scope, SIGINT receiver. 

  • Transit-4 was the first nuclear powered satellite. 
  • First triple-satellite launch.

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Launch 33: OSO 1 / Jupiter Able 7 (J28-AB10) 
Year 1, Day 292 - 0404 Hours 
Mission: Science satellite to low Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSARMY 

The Orbiting Solar Observatory was specially designed to maintain its orientation focused on the Sun. Above Kerbin's atmosphere, OSO 1 collected data on solar radiation, x-rays, and gamma rays.

Spoiler

Orbit: 234.7km x 221.3km, 31.8 deg inclination. 
Payload: Orbiting Solar Observatory 1 – Solar observation experiment suite. 

First solar observatory in orbit.

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Launch 34: Ranger 1 / Atlas-D Agena-B 2 (AL3-AG7) 
Year 1, Day 307 - 0104 Hours 
Mission: Science satellite to high Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Kerbal Space Center 
Agency: KSARMY/KSN

Project Ranger was an Army/Navy collaboration for a series of space probes that would collect data about the surface of the Mun and Minmus. Of chief concern was the difficulty and surface conditions of both bodies in order to perform a landing upon them. The first Ranger was a fully instrumented satellite to prove the base design's reliability in orbit far from Kerbin.
 

Spoiler

Orbit: 47.64Mm x 2.6Mm, 33.9 deg inclination. 
Payload: Ranger 1 - Magnetometer, Lyman-Alpha UV telescope, Electrostatic analyzer, and Cosmic dust detector. 

Fully instrumented science satellite to prove out design for use on Mun and Minmus. 

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Encountered Minmus by chance on Y2, Day 71. 
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Launch 35: Composite 1 / Jupiter Able-Star 6 (J29-AS6) 
Year 1, Day 312 - 0530 Hours 
Mission: Science and ELINT satellites to medium Kerbin orbit. 
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds 
Agency: KSN 

With the Navy's ground crew at Kerbal Space Center busy preparing to orbit the first kerbal on Mercury 3, the Army agreed to launch the Composite 1 mission from Green Sands. NRL would continue to push the limits of multiple small payloads by releasing four separate satellites as well as the ferrying stage into orbit. These included the third SOLRAD, second LOFTI and Injun, and SECOR which was used to as a beacon to plot precise ground coordinates (such as for islands or remote locations).  The final "satellite", Surcal, was used as a detection target for the military's ground-based orbital detection network.

Spoiler

Orbit: 404.km x 404.2km, 66.8 deg inclination. 
Payload: SOLRAD-3 - X-ray imaging scope and SIGINT receiver.
LOFTI-2 - Ionosphere experiment.
Injun-2 - Ionosphere experiment.
SECOR 1 - Ground calibration reflector.
Surcal 1 - Surveillance calibration target.

  • First five-satellite launch. 

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Posted (edited)

Launch 36: Discoverer 7 / Jupiter Agena-B 3 (J30-AG8)
Year 1, Day 315 - 0302 Hours
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Woomerang Launch Site
Agency: KSAF

Due to continued pressure from the science community for almost complete lack of data being returned by Project Discoverer, the seventh would ferry a biological exposure experiment into orbit. The experiment included Kerbal tissues and a vial of a liquid referred to as Mystery Goo. The flight performed nominally, returning both the official and unofficial contents safely back to Kerbin. 

Spoiler

Orbit: 156.8km x 97.3km, 81.8 deg inclination. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 317.
Payload: Discoverer 7 - KH-2 Corona camera system and Satellite Recovery Vehicle. 

  • Operated for a day and-a-half before releasing the SRV and de-orbiting.

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Launch 37: Mercury 3 (Mercury-Atlas 1)  / Atlas-D 3 (AL4)
Year 1, Day 337 - 0528 Hours
Mission: Technology Test spacecraft to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: ARPA

Mercury 3 was an unmanned orbital proving flight. Its success paved the way for launching the first kerbal into orbit.

Spoiler

Orbit: 128.1km x 86.4km, 0 deg inclination. Mercury 3 splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 338.
Payload: Mercury 3 spacecraft - Crew: Unmanned.

  • Performed one orbit before firing retro-rockets for re-entry.

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Launch 38: TIROS 2 / Jupiter Able 8 (J31-AB11)
Year 1, Day 342 - 0029 Hours
Mission: Weather satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSN

The Army continued to support its sister agency by handling the launching of TIROS 2 from Green Sands Proving Grounds in addition to their own satellite programs. This allowed the staff at Kerbal Space Center to focus on preparations for Mercury 4.

Spoiler

Orbit: 364.2km x 309.8km, 48.2 deg inclination.
Payload: TIROS 2 - Television camera system, radiometer.

  • Provided a second satellite to provide data for weather forecasting.

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Launch 39: Ranger 2 / Atlas-D Agena-B 2 (AL5-AG9)
Year 1, Day 368 - 0430 Hours
Mission: Science probe to impact the Mun.
Location: Green Sands Proving Ground
Agency: KSARMY/KSN

Ranger 2 was the first space probe to both impact and land on another world. Prior to impact, science data was collected and transmitted. The camera was operated until the moment Ranger collided with the Mun, sending back poor quality images of the surface. The Rough Lander was released successfully and survived the landing, providing seismic data until its batteries expired.

Spoiler

Orbit: Impacted and landed on the Mun on Day 370.
Payload: Ranger 2 - Block 2; Radar Altimeter,  Gamma Ray Spectrometer, Electrostatic analyzer, Television camera, and Rough Lander with Seismic sensor.

  • First spacecraft to land on the Mun.
  • Operated for a day before impacting the Mun on Day 370.
  • Rough Lander survived landing and settled in the Munar Midlands.

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Launch 40: Mercury 4 (Mercury-Atlas 2) / Atlas-D 5 (AL6)
Year 1, Day 376 - 0543 Hours
Mission: Manned spacecraft to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: ARPA

Valentina became the first kerbal to orbit Kerbin. Like Jebediah before her, exposure to zero gravity did not seem to affect her adversely. Valentina was also the first to eat and drink in space. Her safe return paved the way for future missions of longer durations. 

Orbit: 134km x 91km, 0 deg inclination. Mercury 4 splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 377.
Payload: Mercury 4 "Freedom" - Crew: Valentina Kerman

  • First kerbal in orbit.
  • Performed three orbits for a mission time of 1 hour, 57 minutes.

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Edited by USKnight
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Posted (edited)

Launch 41: Discoverer 8 / Jupiter Agena-B 4 (J32-AG10)
Year 1, Day 389 – 0339 Hours
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Woomerang Launch Site
Agency: KSAF

Discoverer 8 would be the last publicly acknowledged launch related to Project Corona.  Officially the payload was listed as "undisclosed" as the ruse of Project Discoverer had run its course. This launch was the first KH-4 satellite which featured dual stereoscopic cameras for increased image quality.  

Spoiler

Orbit: 120.4km x 89.5km, 81.7 deg inclination. SRV splashed down on Day 391.
Payload: Discoverer 8 – KH-4 Mural camera system and Satellite Recovery Vehicle

  • First mission utilizing the KH-4 Mural dual camera system.
  • Final launch under the guise of the Discoverer program.
  • Operated for two days before releasing the SRV and de-orbiting.

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Launch 42: Ranger 3 / Atlas-D Agena-B 3 (AL7-AG11)
Year 1, Day 397 – 0450 Hours
Mission: Science probe to impact Minmus.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY/KSN

The third Ranger was the final of the Block 2 model; this one bound for distant Minmus. It provided the first close images of the terrain and transmitted data from its experiments up until it impacted the surface. Information from the seismic sensor showed that the Rough Lander survived landing and rolled for an extended period of time before coming to rest somewhere in the Midlands. 

Spoiler

Orbit: Impacted and landed on Minmus on Day 400.
Payload: Ranger 3 – Block 2; Radar Altimeter,  Gamma Ray Spectrometer, Electrostatic analyzer, Television camera, and Rough Lander with Seismic sensor.

  • First spacecraft to land on Minmus.
  • Operated for two days before impacting Minmus on Day 400.
  • Rough Lander survived landing and rolled to stop in the Minmus Midlands.

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Launch 43: ANNA 1 / Jupiter Able-Star 7 (J33-AS7)
Year 1, Day 423 – 0007 Hours
Mission: Science satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

ANNA was based on the Navy's Transit 3 satellite chassis. The primary purpose of the satellite was in the same vein as SECOR, but as a larger target. Both military and civilian agencies used the satellite, with its known orbit parameters, for calibration and keodesy.

Spoiler

Orbit: 516.2km x 470.9km, 50.1 deg inclination.
Payload: ANNA 1

  • Used by the military as a target for the calibration of satellite tracking systems.
  • User by the scientific community to measure Kerbin's size and shape.

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Launch 44: Mercury 5 (Mercury-Atlas 3) / Atlas-D 7 (AL8)
Year 1, Day 424 – 0045 Hours
Mission: Manned spacecraft to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: ARPA

The third kerbal to ride into space would spend half-a-day there. Robert Carpenter Kerman would be the first to conduct science in space, capturing photographs with a camera and taking part in visual observation experiments from both land and sea as he passed overhead. 

Spoiler

Orbit: 112km x 95km, 0 deg inclination. Mercury 5 splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 424.
Payload: Mercury 5 "Aurora" - Crew: Robert C. Kerman

    • Performed six orbits for a mission time of three and-a-half hours.
    • Carried three additional batteries for longer mission duration.

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Launch 45: Telstar 1 – Jupiter Able 9 (J34-AB12)
Year 2, Day 13 – 0435 Hours
Mission: Communications satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

Telstar was the first television relay satellite. It was capable of handling a trans-continental live television connection when overhead. It was also the first commercially developed satellite and was launched in partnership by the Army.

Spoiler

Orbit: 2.45Mm x 411.6km, 44.8 deg inclination.
Payload: Telstar 1 - Communication relay.

    • First commercial satellite; funded by KT&T.
    • Final launch using the Able second stage.

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Posted (edited)

Launch 46: KH-4 9007 / Jupiter Agena-D 1 (J35-AG12)
Year 2, Day 19 - 0109 Hours
Mission: Reconnaissance satellite to low Kerbin orbit.
Location: Woomerang Launch Site
Agency: KSAF

The seventh Air Force reconnaissance satellite was launched without any public announcement of any kind. This began the new normal for Project Corona, where launches were neither publicly acknowledged nor their payloads revealed. Referred to as Mission 9007, the second KH-4 completed its voyage into orbit using the improved and standardized Agena-D stage.  

Spoiler

Orbit: 303.1km x 88.9km, 76 deg inclination. SRV splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 20.
Payload: KH 4 2 / KH-4 Mural camera system and Satellite Recovery Vehicle

  • First launch of the improved Agena Model D stage.
  • First launch not publicly announced ahead of time. 
  • Operated for one day before releasing the SRV and de-orbiting.

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Launch 47: Mercury 6 (Mercury-Atlas 4) / Atlas-D 8 (AL9)
Year 2, Day 21 - 0015 Hours
Mission: Manned spacecraft to low Kerbin orbit and return.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: ARPA

Pushing the endurance record to one-day in space, the flight of Mercury 6 was the last for Project Mercury. Kerbonaut and spacecraft successfully returned to Kerbin safely, closing the first chapter in manned spaceflight.  It had been proven that a kerbal could withstand the forces of riding a rocket into space, extended time in zero gravity, and the fires of re-entry.

Spoiler

Orbit: 107.9km x 85.1km, 0 deg inclination.
Payload: Mercury 6 "Delta" - Crew: Deke Kerman

  • Operated for one day in space before de-orbiting. Mercury 6 splashed down in Booster Bay on Day 22.
  • Carried six additional batteries for longer mission duration
  • Final Project Mercury mission.

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Launch 48: Relay 1 / Jupiter Delta 1 (J36-D1)
Year 2, Day 34 - 0320 Hours
Mission: Communications satellite to high Kerbin orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

Spoiler

Orbit: 3.23Mm x 575km, 47.5 deg inclination
Payload: Relay 1 - Communications relay.

The second commercial satellite was launched by the Army not long after Telstar. Relay 1 featured a more powerful antenna with increased range and was placed in a higher orbit. The launch also featured the next iteration of the Navy's Able second stage. Delta featured a longer tank, improved engine, and totally revamped guidance system.

  • First launch of the Delta second-stage, which had many improvements over the Able.
  • Second commercial satellite launch; funded by RCA Astro.

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Launch 49: Transit 5A / Jupiter Delta 2 (J36-D2)
Year 2, Day 45 - 0125 Hours
Mission: Navigation satellite to medium Kerbin orbit.
Location: Kerbal Space Center
Agency: KSN

The fifth Transit was the first of a series intended to be the final phase of test models for a standardized satellite design. 5A featured a new chassis, large extendable solar panels, an improved hoop shaped beacon, and most importantly a gravity boom which orientated the satellite to keep it facing Kerbin.

Spoiler

Orbit: 314.4km x 304.4km, 90.4 deg inclination
Payload: Transit 5A - Navigation beacon and communications relay.

  • Most powerful navigation beacon satellite to date.
  • First satellite to feature a gravity boom.

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Launch 50: Syncom 1 / Jupiter Delta 3 (J37-D3)
Year 2, Day 54 - 0535 Hours
Mission: Communication satellite to keosynchronous orbit.
Location: Green Sands Proving Grounds
Agency: KSARMY

The Army's next communications satellite was the first launched into keosynchronous orbit. Telstar and Relay has shown the value in using satellites to relay transmissions across vast distances, but this was only possible while the satellite was overhead. The idea behind Syncom was to place a satellite at an altitude where it would always be available over a certain part of Kerbin.  In the case of Syncom 1, this orbit would not end up being a fixed point in the sky due to its inclination. Syncom moved in a lazy figure-eight pattern north and south of the equator in an orbit roughly above Kerbal Space Center.

Spoiler

Orbit: 2.86Mm x 2.86Mm keosynchronous, 32.7 deg inclination.
Payload: Syncom 1

  • First keosynchronous satellite.
  • Orbit station is relatively above Kerbal Space Center.

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Edited by USKnight
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