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Starbound - A JNSQ Adventure


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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Maria Sirona said:

For me in 100% stock, a Minmus always mission takes 11 days from finishing burn to encounter with Minmus. I tend to use the minimum amount of fuel

I wouldn't know haha - when I was playing my previous stock save, I never really frequented Minmus, I just skipped over it after going there once or twice. I just prefer the Mun better.

Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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Posted (edited)

 Chapter 8

"We have taken steps... to prevent recurrence of corned-beef sandwiches in future flights." - George Mueller

r5Pu6d2.png

Spoiler

With the primary objectives of the Moho program complete, the next logical evolution of manned spacecraft would be something with much more on-orbit capability than the cramped Moho spacecraft - a two-seater spacecraft, with two pilots aboard, the spacecraft would be able to perform much more advanced maneuvers. It also allowed the option of flying a flight-trained scientist or engineer onboard instead of having two pilots.

The Leo spacecraft would meet this goal. Leo would inherit some of the more prominent features of the Moho capsule - like the Moho, it possessed a front 'snout' for the storage of its parachute and batteries. Leo would be an order of magnitude more capable, with a much more advanced service module for orbital maneuvering.

All this new capability meant a substantial increase in weight, which the Javelin launcher would be unable to support. However, engineers already had an answer - a new, 2.5 diameter rocket had been in development specifically to launch the Leo spacecraft and the heavier payloads that the agency would need going forward.

With lessons learned from the Explorer program, the new launcher, dubbed 'Vanguard', would undergo rigorous testing. Paired with the Vanguard would be a new, even more powerful upper stage - which the engineers thought funny to name 'Poodle'. The Poodle was essentially an upscaled Sphinx stage - featuring 2.5m tankage, and a new, upscaled engine, the Poodle.

Spoiler

For anyone confused about my naming scheme, here's how it goes. Upper stages are named after the upper stage engine - for example, an upper stage using the Poodle engine will be referred to as the Poodle upper stage. Stacked launchers take the name of first stage. Payloads attached to the launcher are classified as 'configurations', such as Payload-Launcher.

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Spoiler

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Since it's the first flight of the Vanguard outside of my testing save, BARIS is throwing me a curveball. But no worries, it works fine. Also, you'll notice Vernier engines on this one, but they'll be removed later, which I'll explain in a later spoiler.

dbar5xo.png

Spoiler

During integration, some things happened. Event card:

nIB7vQW.png

Which meant I had to reintegrate it. Oh well.

Not related to that, I remembered that you could repair spacecraft remotely in BARIS from the tracking station - by forming a 'Tiger Team' and researching a solution progress. Remember, all the Pioneers broke some of their gyroscopes at the same time. Not a critical matter, but it doesn't hurt to try and fix it.

zNoLLAB.png

No solution progress on Pioneer-1, but we have something for Pioneer-2. 

20hy4Te.png

As you can see, the fix on Pioneer-2 has restored its reliability to 40%. No such luck with Pioneer-1, but we can try again.

ulfk0D0.png

U7ChMBu.png

Pioneer-3 gets its fix too, bringing its reliability back up to 40%. 

I also tried fixing Explorer-7 to try and get that back online, but since it's out of juice, no commnet connection. But for that, I have bigger plans. :D

With the Vanguard finally kerbal-rated after repeated static fires, and the Leo spacecraft ready to go, Leo was finally ready. Leo had originally included an autonomous guidance system - the original plan was to fly the first mission unmanned. However, with various problems with the system, the first mission would end up, out of all things, being manned.

Spoiler

If you remember from the earlier spoiler, I removed the Vernier engines from the Vanguard design. Originally, the Vanguard had no verniers. But in testing with just the probe core, the rocket was unable to turn, while I still had full probe control. Confused, I thought it was a gimbal problem, so I added two verniers, but the problem persisted. So I ended up removing the verniers.

I'm pretty sure the problem is this: I mounted the probe core upside-down on top of the Leo for aesthetics, in place of the docking port, assuming that I could still fly it in the correct orientation unmanned if I just set control point to the capsule. But I don't think it likes that, so it refuses to turn. Confident in my design (and completely ignoring the probe core design flaw which was also my design), I decided to just fly the first mission manned anyway.

Jebediah Kerman, the most experienced pilot in the Astronaut Corps, would pilot the spacecraft. Having been part of the design process and the most experienced pilot in the corps, Jebediah would be piloting and commanding the mission.

Flying along with Jeb would be Bill Kerman - a flight trained engineer, he had been part of the Moho 8 astronaut selection, but he hadn't flown along with the rest of the corps while the Pilots flew first on the Moho capsules. In the meantime, he had been busy working on the engineering of the Leo spacecraft, so he was specifically assigned to this first mission. If anything went wrong, this would be the best crew for the job. 

With all things in place, Leo-1 rolled out to LC 41 in mid october. LC 41 had been one of the newly constructed pads at the KSC, and the pad had finally been finished up in time for the first flight of the Vanguard and Leo stack.

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"All lights are green across the board, Leo. T-Minus 30 seconds."

"Roger, flight. Leo's looking good, we're ready to go."

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"Clamps released."

"Liftoff, we have a liftoff! Leo-1 has cleared the tower!"

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"Looking good up here."

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"Go for roll program."

"Copy, starting roll program."

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On ascent, the Vanguard booster would push the Leo to a nearly constant 3 gees of acceleration. The Moho-Javelin, at its peak, would only hit about 2 gees on ascent. However, this was nothing compared to the design version of the Vanguard which had included two vernier engines, which would hit nearly 4 gees on ascent.

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Stage separation would end up being a little hairy - an unidentified explosion happened in the depleted first stage, although the second stage remained fine. Later analysis would reveal that one of the two separatron motors had failed and exploded during ignition. This would be fixed for future missions.

WX9KN68.png

In the (near) vacuum of space, Leo rotated to its upright orientation.

I4zztP3.png

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(Hey, look, it's Welcome Back Airfield!)

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In a test of its full capabilities, the Poodle upper stage would be burned to complete depletion, with only fumes remaining in its tanks. This left the Leo spacecraft in a high orbit of nearly 445 km * 96 km - the highest ever achieved by a manned spacecraft thus far.

With the upper stage depleted, the Leo spacecraft separated from the spent upper stage.

(Incoming image spam from all angles - sorry, I just really like how this looks.)

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Leo-1's primary mission objective, of course, would be nothing special - just a straightforward test of all the spacecraft systems, to ensure operability on future flights. An important test would be the new Reaction Control System - based off the Altitude Control System of the Moho capsules but much more capable, the RCS thrusters were built to allow fine maneuverability, useful in future scenarios. 

An interesting situation arose when it was discovered that Commander Jebediah Kerman had snuck aboard the spacecraft... a corned beef sandwich. One of the secondary objectives of Leo-1 was to test new space foods. However, these early space foods were usually cubed protein material, bland and unappetizing. Complaining of this, Jebediah had snuck aboard a corned beef sandwich from the canteen before launch, intending to eat it in space.

However, without any gravity, as soon as Jeb took a bite, bread crumbs began floating throughout the cabin. Fearing damage to the life support and ventilation systems, Jeb put the wrapper back on and stuffed it back into a pocket on his pressure suit.

Jeb would be reprimanded for his actions, but for once, program managers took notice of the complaints from the astronaut corps about the bland food, and research into tastier options was immediately prioritized. The offending sandwich would be forever immortalized in the Museum of Spaceflight for future generations to see, while Jeb became even more of a hero for bringing about 'the food revolution' in the Astronaut Corps. In an ironic twist of fate, the corned beef sandwich would go on to inspire a similar menu item for future astronauts, although replacing bread with tortillas.

Spoiler

Cue uh... epic montage music? No idea.

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After nearly 6 hours in space and over twenty orbits, smashing previous records for orbital stays, and with all objectives complete (and the offending sandwich tucked safely away in his pocket), Mission Control gave the go-ahead for the return to Kerbin.

This time, with the expertise of Jeb onboard, the spacecraft would aim for a landing in the ocean on the other side of the world from the KSC.

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"Hey Jeb, mind if I take a bite of that sandwich?"

Spoiler

For once, I actually forgot to take a picture of the final frontier mission summary. Bill earned his ribbons (and yes, he did get a bite of the sandwich).

 

Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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3 hours ago, Misguided Kerbal said:

George Mueller

Ah yes, the launch pad führer (apparently this dude was called that as a joke/running gag)

And i just wanna say i really love this mission report, please don't stop

Edited by Maria Sirona
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Maria Sirona said:

And i just wanna say i really love this mission report, please don't stop

Thank you, I really appreciate it! I'm having tons of fun making this, so I don't plan to stop anytime soon. There's a lot more I have planned that I'm really excited to show ya'll!

Spoiler

I think now would be a good time to mention that I've never actually finished a mission report before. Third time's the charm, eh? :wink:

 

Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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Posted (edited)

Chapter 9

"I'm coming back in... and it's the saddest moment of my life." - Ed White

332OxI6.png

Spoiler

With Leo proven to be a fully functional and capable orbital spacecraft, the next order of business would be to begin the extensive mission manifest already being planned for the spacecraft. First up on the list would be - a spacewalk.

For the Leo program, a new pressure suit had been developed. The Moho program's flight suit was nearly identical to the flight suits found on (former) military jets and high altitude aircraft - a mere pressure suit, hooked up using lines to an external life support system. 

The Leo program's flight suit was different - it would feature an internal, closed-loop life support system, allowing it to sustain itself for short periods of time via a life support backpack. Multiple, hardened layers of fabric and robust joints would allow for activity in the vacuum of space itself, and provide protection from the bombardment of micrometeoroids and radiation.  This wouldn't just be a simple pressure suit - designed for usage in the vacuum of space, this was a true spacesuit. It would be christened the Mark II.

Of course, this had all been leading up to the main objective: the completion of a spacewalk. Thus far, all Kerbals had flown to space and back, never setting foot outside their spacecraft except for launch and landing. Being able to step outside a spacecraft would open up all sorts of new possibilities - engineers could service components for reuse, experiments could swapped out for new ones, maintenance could be conducted on satellites and spacecraft - all sorts of possibilities that left program managers drooling at the thought of.

Spoiler

Event Card:

YWAedct.png

22faAw4.png

She has pretty nice stats, but we need more pilots, not scientists. It seems that BARIS just generates astronauts with better stats, unlike stock astronauts. Not sure to think of it as OP or realistic.

Flying aboard Leo-2 would be Scott and Bob Kerman. Bob was a scientist by profession, also originally recruited as part of the Moho 8. Of course, he was flight trained, but hadn't flown aboard the Moho flights in favor of the pilot corps. In the meantime, Bob had worked on designing the Mark II spacesuit and studying spacewalks - he would be perfectly trained for this mission. 

An enterprising young reporter would notice the almost eerie similarity between Scott and Bob - despite continuing claims that they weren't related, they were nicknamed 'The Twins' by both the media and the public.

aqeVPoW.png

yXj9Keb.png

nyzYGzX.png

Spoiler

You might notice that... Scott and Bob Kerman look exactly the same. 

MmHpHJO.png

You can see, similar even in their reactions. I thought it was kinda funny.

kkNukfd.png

fwMzwV9.png

SgvYxkX.png

mXfo6QK.png

EAUtPAG.png

0xAsnAY.png

wBwbFEV.png

esWY8IV.png

Leo-2 would aim to spend nearly a day and a half in orbit. Most of this would be dedicated to conducting science experiments as well as some earth observation activities. Scott and Bob would also test a new variety of space food - dehydrated meals, intended to be rehydrated and consumed in-flight. Although still bland, it was a significant improvement over the protein cubes of previous missions.

Of course, the main event of the mission would be the spacewalk. The Leo spacecraft was too small to fit an airlock, so instead the entire cabin would be depressurized and Bob would simply open the hatch and climb out. The service module had enough oxygen for two more refills of the spacecraft if necessary - after the spacewalk was over, the capsule would simply be repressurized. 

eMIbs4e.png

"Climbing out.. alright, I'm outside now."

skXniHU.png

"I'm letting go now."

Bob took a deep breath, and took a moment to take it all in. 

"It's beautiful. Absolutely magnificent, I'm lost for words here. What a view."

SrOrNEE.png

bHC3vFj.png

To allow astronauts to move around in space, the Mark II suit had been fitted with a MTP - a Manned Thruster Pack. It would simply spray out jets of cold nitrogen, similar to the RCS on the Leo spacecraft. Thanks to Newton's third law, this would allow astronauts to move around, free of handholds, in the vacuum of space.

KlxxBVt.png

"MTP is activated. I'm jetting back."

uWUt5Fr.png

"Got it. I'm coming back inside."

myfH8GY.png

Bob's historic spacewalk had taken a little over five minutes. The revolutionary spacewalk would lay the groundwork for generations of spacewalkers to come - and open up all sorts of new possibilities. Future spacewalks would last over 12 times the length. But for now, it was time to go back home.

Mission Control would get quite a scare when right before the reentry burn, Scott spotted the Low Battery indicator light switch on. Running only on reserve batteries, the Leo spacecraft would be unable to use its internal reaction wheels. Luckily, with the RCS systems still online and Scott's expert piloting skills, Mission Control was able to align the spacecraft for reentry. 

Spoiler

NnQ6nyW.png

You can see... we're completely out of electric charge. Also known as I did a dumb and forgot to turn off SAS during warp. I got lucky though - I have Scott, an experienced pilot, and RCS

9ZBqCbu.png

j8GtlTF.png

pkwGq1c.png

SYse5M0.png

Spoiler

Mission Summary:

yC9j6AB.png

Bob has obtained a load of ribbons.

Following the scare on Leo-2, all future Leo spacecraft would be redesigned with double the battery capacity - both for redundancy, and to allow for (slightly) longer stays on-orbit. Future generations of Leo would be designed with power generation capability in mind, via fuel cells or solar panels, but for now, all Leos would rely solely on battery power.

Vx6Sd3N.png

nJe5p1r.png

Spoiler

Integration stuff:

c4awX5R.png

Pioneer-1 finally gets fixed!

zROUVfg.png

Like the other ones, reliability is back up to 40%.

dTVuehF.png

Pioneer-2's connection is getting worse and worse. Remember, it only has 6 Communotron-16 antennas onboard, and Kerbin currently only has direct DSN connection - no relays. Since it's ahead of Kerbin, eventually it's going to drop out of comms range entirely until I get actual relays in place.

xcavpHk.png

Hangar collapse - of course, we're not exactly using the SPH in any capacity (besides planes (not spaceplanes, just the regular variety) and rover testing, I don't really use the SPH. And it's JNSQ, so unless you're using something like OPT it's hard to build SSTOs in any meaningful capacity. I could, of course, do an air launcher launch system... hmm...)

IVJsh8e.png

Ooh, eclipse. Shiny.

Leo-3 would essentially be identical to the previous mission. However, it would break a new milestone in spaceflight. While the majority of astronauts so far were male (cocky test pilots and military pilots = astronaut candidates), Leo-3 would feature the first all-female crew. 

Valentina Kerman would pilot the spacecraft, while Tracy Kerman would conduct the spacewalk. Like Bill and Bob, she had also been part of the original Moho 8 astronaut selection, but seeing as she was only flight trained and not a professional pilot, she didn't earn a seat on the Moho program. As an expert on the Mark II spacesuit, she had been selected to conduct the first female (and only the second) spacewalk.

Spoiler

Originally, I didn't actually plan on doing this mission - Valentina and Tracy were going to get a much more ambitious mission. But I didn't like how the lighting turned out on the screenshots on the last mission, so I'm basically doing it again. 

cydNejz.png

3NgEmpM.png

RL70vvu.png

pzByoAw.png

Y6PfllH.png

todqDDd.png

lmwSVOd.png

(Due to my shoddy piloting skills, Leo-3 ended up in a pretty elliptical and suboptimal orbit. It turns out that you actually end up getting a more circular orbit by just burning prograde instead of following a maneuver node - my best guess is that maneuver nodes end up burning away from prograde at the end, leading to efficiency losses.)

NZGDcd5.png

pqYK9hq.png

6MW3Sxn.png

ZZnS0Xl.png

VDEZglk.png

KuLx1SI.png

Using the MTP, Tracy Kerman managed to get a lot further from the spacecraft.

xrl7FPJ.png

Her spacewalk would beat Bob by over 2 minutes.

qR5rCj5.png

After nearly two days in orbit, Leo-3 would head home. This time, thanks to the doubled battery capacity, Valentina and Tracy would have plenty of electric charge to get home.

qJjb6lE.png

RQhOwVX.png

O6wpwOb.png

During Service Module separation, Mission Control would be treated to an explosive surprise. An explosion in the Service Module caused the fairing panels to be blown off, creating a field of debris around the spacecraft. 

Later analysis would reveal this to be a staging error fault with one of the explosive bolts. One of the bolts had been defective, and when fired, the stray spark ignited a fuel tank and allowed it to spontaneously combust. The sudden pressure increase inside the service module caused the structural connections between the panels and the spacecraft to fail, and sent them flying.

Luckily, the capsule itself (and the heatshield) were unharmed - since the panels were sent flying away, the risk of collision would be minimal. Of course, there wasn't exactly any other choice - the SM (and the engines) had already been jettisoned, after all.

0OGkX4a.png

FFh0DJf.png

6E9Any5.png

With Valentina's expertise, the spacecraft would make a pinpoint landing off the coast of the western continent.

7MoGDb6.png

Spoiler

Mission Summary:

weiBC80.png

 

Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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1 hour ago, Misguided Kerbal said:

Chapter 9

"I'm coming back in... and it's the saddest moment of my life." - Ed White

332OxI6.png

  Reveal hidden contents

With Leo proven to be a fully functional and capable orbital spacecraft, the next order of business would be to begin the extensive mission manifest already being planned for the spacecraft. First up on the list would be - a spacewalk.

For the Leo program, a new pressure suit had been developed. The Moho program's flight suit was nearly identical to the flight suits found on (former) military jets and high altitude aircraft - a mere pressure suit, hooked up using lines to an external life support system. 

The Leo program's flight suit was different - it would feature an internal, closed-loop life support system, allowing it to sustain itself for short periods of time via a life support backpack. Multiple, hardened layers of fabric and robust joints would allow for activity in the vacuum of space itself, and provide protection from the bombardment of micrometeoroids and radiation.  This wouldn't just be a simple pressure suit - designed for usage in the vacuum of space, this was a true spacesuit. It would be christened the Mark II.

Of course, this had all been leading up to the main objective: the completion of a spacewalk. Thus far, all Kerbals had flown to space and back, never setting foot outside their spacecraft except for launch and landing. Being able to step outside a spacecraft would open up all sorts of new possibilities - engineers could service components for reuse, experiments could swapped out for new ones, maintenance could be conducted on satellites and spacecraft - all sorts of possibilities that left program managers drooling at the thought of.

  Reveal hidden contents

Event Card:

YWAedct.png

22faAw4.png

She has pretty nice stats, but we need more pilots, not scientists. It seems that BARIS just generates astronauts with better stats, unlike stock astronauts. Not sure to think of it as OP or realistic.

Flying aboard Leo-2 would be Scott and Bob Kerman. Bob was a scientist by profession, also originally recruited as part of the Moho 8. Of course, he was flight trained, but hadn't flown aboard the Moho flights in favor of the pilot corps. In the meantime, Bob had worked on designing the Mark II spacesuit and studying spacewalks - he would be perfectly trained for this mission. 

An enterprising young reporter would notice the almost eerie similarity between Scott and Bob - despite continuing claims that they weren't related, they were nicknamed 'The Twins' by both the media and the public.

aqeVPoW.png

yXj9Keb.png

nyzYGzX.png

  Reveal hidden contents

You might notice that... Scott and Bob Kerman look exactly the same. 

MmHpHJO.png

You can see, similar even in their reactions. I thought it was kinda funny.

kkNukfd.png

fwMzwV9.png

SgvYxkX.png

mXfo6QK.png

EAUtPAG.png

0xAsnAY.png

wBwbFEV.png

esWY8IV.png

Leo-2 would aim to spend nearly a day and a half in orbit. Most of this would be dedicated to conducting science experiments as well as some earth observation activities. Scott and Bob would also test a new variety of space food - dehydrated meals, intended to be rehydrated and consumed in-flight. Although still bland, it was a significant improvement over the protein cubes of previous missions.

Of course, the main event of the mission would be the spacewalk. The Leo spacecraft was too small to fit an airlock, so instead the entire cabin would be depressurized and Bob would simply open the hatch and climb out. The service module had enough oxygen for two more refills of the spacecraft if necessary - after the spacewalk was over, the capsule would simply be repressurized. 

eMIbs4e.png

"Climbing out.. alright, I'm outside now."

skXniHU.png

"I'm letting go now."

Bob took a deep breath, and took a moment to take it all in. 

"It's beautiful. Absolutely magnificent, I'm lost for words here. What a view."

SrOrNEE.png

bHC3vFj.png

To allow astronauts to move around in space, the Mark II suit had been fitted with a MTP - a Manned Thruster Pack. It would simply spray out jets of cold nitrogen, similar to the RCS on the Leo spacecraft. Thanks to Newton's third law, this would allow astronauts to move around, free of handholds, in the vacuum of space.

KlxxBVt.png

"MTP is activated. I'm jetting back."

uWUt5Fr.png

"Got it. I'm coming back inside."

myfH8GY.png

Bob's historic spacewalk had taken a little over five minutes. The revolutionary spacewalk would lay the groundwork for generations of spacewalkers to come - and open up all sorts of new possibilities. Future spacewalks would last over 12 times the length. But for now, it was time to go back home.

Mission Control would get quite a scare when right before the reentry burn, Scott spotted the Low Battery indicator light switch on. Running only on reserve batteries, the Leo spacecraft would be unable to use its internal reaction wheels. Luckily, with the RCS systems still online and Scott's expert piloting skills, Mission Control was able to align the spacecraft for reentry. 

  Reveal hidden contents

NnQ6nyW.png

You can see... we're completely out of electric charge. Also known as I did a dumb and forgot to turn off SAS during warp. I got lucky though - I have Scott, an experienced pilot, and RCS

9ZBqCbu.png

j8GtlTF.png

pkwGq1c.png

SYse5M0.png

  Reveal hidden contents

Mission Summary:

yC9j6AB.png

Bob has obtained a load of ribbons.

Following the scare on Leo-2, all future Leo spacecraft would be redesigned with double the battery capacity - both for redundancy, and to allow for (slightly) longer stays on-orbit. Future generations of Leo would be designed with power generation capability in mind, via fuel cells or solar panels, but for now, all Leos would rely solely on battery power.

Vx6Sd3N.png

nJe5p1r.png

  Reveal hidden contents

Integration stuff:

c4awX5R.png

Pioneer-1 finally gets fixed!

zROUVfg.png

Like the other ones, reliability is back up to 40%.

dTVuehF.png

Pioneer-2's connection is getting worse and worse. Remember, it only has 6 Communotron-16 antennas onboard, and Kerbin currently only has direct DSN connection - no relays. Since it's ahead of Kerbin, eventually it's going to drop out of comms range entirely until I get actual relays in place.

xcavpHk.png

Hangar collapse - of course, we're not exactly using the SPH in any capacity (besides planes (not spaceplanes, just the regular variety) and rover testing, I don't really use the SPH. And it's JNSQ, so unless you're using something like OPT it's hard to build SSTOs in any meaningful capacity. I could, of course, do an air launcher launch system... hmm...)

IVJsh8e.png

Ooh, eclipse. Shiny.

Leo-3 would essentially be identical to the previous mission. However, it would break a new milestone in spaceflight. While the majority of astronauts so far were male (cocky test pilots and military pilots = astronaut candidates), Leo-3 would feature the first all-female crew. 

Valentina Kerman would pilot the spacecraft, while Tracy Kerman would conduct the spacewalk. Like Bill and Bob, she had also been part of the original Moho 8 astronaut selection, but seeing as she was only flight trained and not a professional pilot, she didn't earn a seat on the Moho program. As an expert on the Mark II spacesuit, she had been selected to conduct the first female (and only the second) spacewalk.

  Reveal hidden contents

Originally, I didn't actually plan on doing this mission - Valentina and Tracy were going to get a much more ambitious mission. But I didn't like how the lighting turned out on the screenshots on the last mission, so I'm basically doing it again. 

cydNejz.png

3NgEmpM.png

RL70vvu.png

pzByoAw.png

Y6PfllH.png

todqDDd.png

lmwSVOd.png

(Due to my shoddy piloting skills, Leo-3 ended up in a pretty elliptical and suboptimal orbit. It turns out that you actually end up getting a more circular orbit by just burning prograde instead of following a maneuver node - my best guess is that maneuver nodes end up burning away from prograde at the end, leading to efficiency losses.)

NZGDcd5.png

pqYK9hq.png

6MW3Sxn.png

ZZnS0Xl.png

VDEZglk.png

KuLx1SI.png

Using the MTP, Tracy Kerman managed to get a lot further from the spacecraft.

xrl7FPJ.png

Her spacewalk would beat Bob by over 2 minutes.

qR5rCj5.png

After nearly two days in orbit, Leo-3 would head home. This time, thanks to the doubled battery capacity, Valentina and Tracy would have plenty of electric charge to get home.

qJjb6lE.png

RQhOwVX.png

O6wpwOb.png

During Service Module separation, Mission Control would be treated to an explosive surprise. An explosion in the Service Module caused the fairing panels to be blown off, creating a field of debris around the spacecraft. 

Later analysis would reveal this to be a staging error fault with one of the explosive bolts. One of the bolts had been defective, and when fired, the stray spark ignited a fuel tank and allowed it to spontaneously combust. The sudden pressure increase inside the service module caused the structural connections between the panels and the spacecraft to fail, and sent them flying.

Luckily, the capsule itself (and the heatshield) were unharmed - since the panels were sent flying away, the risk of collision would be minimal. Of course, there wasn't exactly any other choice - the SM (and the engines) had already been jettisoned, after all.

0OGkX4a.png

FFh0DJf.png

6E9Any5.png

With Valentina's expertise, the spacecraft would make a pinpoint landing off the coast of the western continent.

7MoGDb6.png

  Reveal hidden contents

Mission Summary:

weiBC80.png

 

Amazing, and impressive! Even without many inconvenient BARIS failures the inclusion of manual error makes it so immersive!
+ weebil (bonus points)

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5 hours ago, JaviAvali said:

Amazing, and impressive! Even without many inconvenient BARIS failures the inclusion of manual error makes it so immersive!

Thanks! Ever since I bumped up the quality, BARIS hasn't been giving me as many failures (which is, hands down, a good thing). But a small part of me misses the Explorer days - constant failures make interesting scenarios.

5 hours ago, JaviAvali said:

+ weebil (bonus points)

weebil

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I got just a teeny bit sidetracked re-playing the entirety of Endless Sky. 

Chapter 10

"We're flying in formation with [Gemini] VII. Everything is go here." - Wally Schirra

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Spoiler

Explorer 7 had been the first satellite launched into orbit. However, shortly after launch, a battery failure caused the spacecraft to run out of electric charge and fail. Without electricity to power the heaters, which kept the sensitive electronics alive in the hostile vacuum of space, the systems quickly failed, bringing the entire spacecraft offline. Kerbalkind's first artificial satellite quickly turned into a defunct ball of junk floating in orbit.

To most within the space agency, the failure of Explorer-7 was somewhat of a minor embarrassment. However, in the failure of Explorer-7, program managers saw an opportunity. With extensive orbital maneuvering capabilities, the Leo spacecraft was designed around its capability to rendezvous from the start. It had been a core capability, and an important planned part of the program.

Here, planners saw a valuable opportunity to knock out two birds with one stone. The Leo spacecraft would rendezvous with Explorer-7, testing both rendezvous procedures (and eliminating the need to launch  an unmanned target satellite just for rendezvous), and also allowing for the investigation of the crippled Explorer satellite - perhaps it could be retrieved back to Kerbin on a future mission...

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Flying aboard Leo-4 would be Alan and Gus Kerman. While previous missions had seen 'The Twins' and 'The Girls', Leo-4 would see the flight of 'The Mustache Men'. Both self-proclaimed comedians (and enjoyers of Dad jokes), Mission Control would go on to nickname the duo 'Double Trouble', in light of their antics. 

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After excellent maneuvering by Alan Kerman, Leo-4 pulled up alongside Explorer-7.

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Using the RCS thrusters,  Alan eased the spacecraft into the correct orientation. With Alan inside keeping the Leo in a stable orientation, Mission Control gave Gus the go-ahead to suit up. An engineer by trade, and part of the original Moho 8 selection, Gus had been part of the team that designed the Explorer satellites. His main job would be to inspect the damaged satellite during a spacewalk, and check for any sign of external damage.

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Using his thruster pack, Gus jetted towards the satellite.

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"Seven looks fine, KSC. No signs of external damage, but it's slowly tumbling end over end."

The slow tumbling complicated things, and prevented Gus from getting any closer, much to the disappointment of Mission Control. After inspecting the satellite for a few more minutes, he was given the go-ahead to go back inside. for the next few orbits, Leo would play a game of cat and mouse, with Alan doing his best in stationkeeping Leo near the vicinity of Explorer. 

After a day of doing this, Alan finally backed the spacecraft away from Explorer-7 for good, and fired up Leo's engines to bring it into a higher orbit. For the rest of the duration in orbit, Leo-4 would be conducting Kerbin ground observations.

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After nearly 2 days in orbit, once again pushing the limits of the Leo spacecraft, Leo-4 returned to Kerbin.

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Due to a small trajectory calculation error, Leo-4 landed only a mile away from the ocean in the middle of a remote and nearly uninhabited stretch of grassland, much to the surprise of the local animals and the few villagers living nearby.

Spoiler

Mission Summary:

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With even the moderate crew requirements of the Leo program, and with future expansion on the way, it quickly became clear to program managers that the existing Astronaut Corps simply wasn't big enough to support all the planned missions - already, pilots had to be rotated almost every other flight just to make ends meet, leading to a very tight schedule for training and complaints about stress and from family members.

While in the future, another class of astronauts like the Moho 8 would be recruited, for now it was decided that for now the agency would recruit just enough new astronauts to finish off the Leo program - the future class of astronauts could then just be trained for whatever followed. Thus, for now, only 4 astronauts were hired.

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From left to right - Frank Kerman (Pilot), Sally Kerman (Scientist), Jim Kerman (Engineer), and Pete Kerman (Pilot).

The new hirees were all candidates who just simply didn't make it onto the original Moho 8 selection - all extremely well-qualified, of course, KASA just wasn't looking to hire more astronauts. Once hired, they were immediately pushed into training - the Leo program needed more astronauts, after all. The new pilots would allow KASA to finally ease up the pilot rotation a bit, while more mission specialists would also allow for more complicated missions in the future. 

Spoiler

Integration Stuff (Double the integration time than normal. Long story - so, TextureReplacer has an annoying problem with the og 4 (orange suits) - it's not all veterans, just them. Even with personalise suits off, and hero = true set to false (another fix), it still sometimes assigns orange suits to the og 4 instead of the assigned suit. So I reverted to fix that issue, but that ended up screwing up BARIS since I'm doing a multi-launch - whenever I switch to the other craft, it resets the suits on both of them. Weird bug. I have no idea if that rambling made any sense, but long story short I basically did integration two times.

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Pioneer-2 inches ever farther out of comms range and Kerbin's warm embrace.

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I decided to time the launches exactly on New Year's Day - because yes, even though everything had already finished integrating about a week before that. Maybe the workers get a few days off for Khristmas or something.

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Spoiler

For anyone wondering (probably zero, but I like rambling), I didn't (entirely) build the plane. It's a T-11 Skyhawk from Raptor9's excellent craft repository - absolutely amazing work, it's been a huge inspiration for me over the years. I modified it a bit, but it's essentially the same thing. See, I just can't build planes for the life of me. I can build mostly functional planes, sure. I can build planes that look alright, sure. But never both at the same time. Why are planes so complicated... argghgh. I like rockets better.

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On New Year's Day, the agency would undertake their most ambitious mission yet - a dual launch, with both Leo-5 and Leo-6 standing at the ready, launching mere hours after one another. To facilitate this, LC-40, originally built for Javelin launches, was retrofitted to accomodate a Vanguard stack. 

This mission would push the agency to its limits - dual launches, shortly after another, meant double the work for both mission controllers and pad crews. In order to properly pull this off, Mission Control would have four rotating teams - a day and night shift for both Leo-5 and Leo-6. Pad crews were stretched thin in order to properly service both pads in time.

Flying aboard Leo-5 would be Frank and Bob Kerman. Leo-5 would launch first from LC-40, taking on a 'passive' role - once in orbit, the spacecraft would maneuver into a higher, circular 200 km orbit, and wait for its partner.

Pete and Bill Kerman would fly aboard Leo-6, and would play a game of catch-up, launching a few hours after Leo-5. Leo-6 would play the role of being the 'active' spacecraft. After being inserted into the standard 100 km orbit, it would maneuver to intercept Leo-6 via a hohmann transfer and move in to rendezvous with its twin.

While Bill and Bob Kerman were both veterans, for Frank and Pete both, this would be their first spaceflight. While some questioned sending up inexperienced pilots on such an ambitious mission, simply put, the agency just didn't have enough astronauts - the more experienced pilots would be needed for the even more ambitious missions to come. Besides, with both of them being seasoned pilots and having undergone extensive training, this was accepted as a necessary measure.

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Under its own engine power, Leo-5 maneuvered into a nearly circular 200 km orbit.

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Spoiler

Another hairy stage separation - not defective separatrons this time, just heat. I think the rocket exhaust blew up one of the interstage fairing panels.

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After a quick hohmann transfer and a series of orbital maneuvers, Leo-6 was reunited with its twin.

"Tally ho! Fiver's in visual range, KSC. How are you guys doing in there?"

"Doing fine, Pete. Don't sneak up on us like that again, would ya?"

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Pulling up right alongside each other, the twin spacecraft flew together, with the respective crews conducting experiments in unison.

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After nearly an entire day in orbit maintaining positions next to each other, the spacecraft finally parted to conduct the rest of their respective missions.

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Leo-5 would once again stretch the Leo spacecraft to its limits, but its orbital stay fell just about an hour short of the previous record.

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Spoiler

Mission Summary:

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However, Leo-6 would manage to smash the previous record by an entire day, pushing the Leo spacecraft to the absolute brink and staying nearly 4 days in orbit.

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Spoiler

Where did Leo-6 get all this extra electricity? Well, my best guess is that since it did so many maneuvers, the alternators contributed a significant enough amount to boost its stay.

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Spoiler

Mission Summary:

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Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Sorry for the hiatus - with school starting, I've been caught up in a whirlwind of classes and homework, so while I'll try my best to keep this updated, my posting schedule will probably be somewhat erratic. Nonetheless, the space program continues to march on.

Chapter 11

"Flight, we are docked. It was a real smoothie." - Neil Armstrong

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Spoiler

With the art of rendezvous proven, it would finally be time to move on to the finale of the Leo program - docking. Two spacecraft would rendezvous and maneuver into position around each other (as already demonstrated in previous missions) and move in for docking - forming a temporary connection between the two spacecraft. This would be a revolution in the abilities of spacecraft, and had been one of the primary objectives for the Leo program.

To facilitate this, the Leo spacecraft would see an interim upgrade from the original Block 1 to a 'Block 1.5' spacecraft. The main modifications would be to the front nose section, with the parachute section swapped out for a lighter, more compact parachute, allowing a structural docking port to be fitted to the nose of the spacecraft.

This would also require the development of a new spacecraft, the Leo Autonomous Target Vehicle. Essentially a docking port and a probe core fitted onto a modified pug upper stage, the LATV would give something for the Leo to dock with before moving on to more challenging targets.

Spoiler

Event card I got during integration:

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With the new year rolling in, LC 40 and 41 would be prepared for another dual launch. Pad 40 would see the launch of the very creatively named 'LATV-1' aboard a Javelin rocket, though matters were slightly complicated due to the pad crews having to remove some of the modifications made to the pad allowing it to support Vanguard launches.

Launching from Pad 41 would be Scott and Tracy Kerman aboard Leo-7. Launching shortly after the LATV, Leo-7 would play a game of orbital catch-up. After rendezvousing with the LATV, it would then move in to dock, in the process demonstrating docking capability and procedures.

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Once again, the Javelin booster carried out a picture-perfect launch. The days of constant failure were now but a distant memory.

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The LATV would settle into a circular 200 km orbit and await Leo-7's arrival.

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After a perfectly synchronized launch, Leo-7 moved in to rendezvous with the LATV.

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Clang. Ka-Thunk. 

Scott checked out the LATV from his window. "KSC, we have hard dock." 

Inside the cabin, a small monitor hastily bolted right on top of the cabin seat flickered to life. Previously unused, it now sprang to life with a row of text. "All LATV Systems nominal. Power sharing engaged. All spacecraft systems nominal."

A day later, Tracy would step out of the capsule on her second spacewalk of her career, making her the first Kerbal to perform an EVA twice. 

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"Absolutely magnificent... the view's better the second time around."

Tracy would have more work to do than just admire the view. Leo-7's planned week-long stay in orbit had been interrupted when Mission Control noticed an anomaly in the power generation. The LATV had been designed with two solar panels to supplement its considerable battery capacity, allowing for longer stays in orbit. 

After some analysis, Mission Control determined that the solar panels weren't producing any electric charge, and with two sets of spacecraft systems running simultaneously, the total battery capacity had already been drained halfway. Thus, with Tracy already having prior EVA experience, she would head out to the LATV and attempt to fix the power generation.

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After considerable difficulty and with the assistance of Mission Control, Tracy managed to unscrew the LATV's service module panels and jettison them. Inside, much to the surprise of everyone, she discovered another corned-beef sandwich, surprisingly unaffected by the effects of vacuum. Later investigation would reveal that it was an engineer's lunch, haphazardly left inside, which had bounced around within the fairing during launch and knocked two wires apart. The media would quickly pick up on "The Corned Beef Saga - The Sequel", while an embarrassed agency would instead try and emphasize the importance of the first on-orbit repair of a spacecraft, to no avail.  

Spoiler

Actually, what happened was pretty simple. I clipped the OX-STAT solar panels slightly inwards to hide the 'truss' structure on the back of the panels, not knowing that the service module would 'block' the solar panels. Luckily, I jettisoned the fairing of the service module and power generation began working again.

Six days later, with the science manifest complete, Leo-6 undocked from the LATV. Unfortunately, the removal of the service module panels would lead to the LATV's fragile internal systems getting considerably damaged from micrometeorites, and administration pronounced it off-limits for future use.

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(The (re)stock parachute, in my opinion, fits a lot better than the previous one did)

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Spoiler

Mission Summary:

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With the basic docking and approach procedures solidified, and docking to an unmanned spacecraft proven, albeit with another corned beef sandwich in the works, it would finally be time to move on the the grand finale of the Leo program - docking two manned spacecraft together.

Leo-8 and Leo-9 would be another dual launch, much to the annoyance of pad crews at LC-40 and 41. After converting the Javelin pad at LC-40 to one that could support Vanguard launchers, they had just converted it back to support a Javelin launch - only to, once again, have to adapt the pad for another Vanguard launch.

Spoiler

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Safety inspections? (The pad crew, quite annoyed, had actually just staged it to get a few days of well needed rest.)

Program planners had meticulously manipulated the crew manifest so that the finale, and arguably, the most challenging mission to date, only the Astronaut Corps' most experienced pilots would fly aboard Leo-8 and 9 - Jebediah and Valentina Kerman.

Jebediah and Jim Kerman would fly aboard Leo-8, while Valentina and Sally Kerman would fly aboard Leo-9. Some jealous members of the Astronaut Corps complained about this decision, as, of course, only the best pilots would fly... with two brand new recruits. However, administration decided that this would be a valuable opportunity for the new recruits to gain experience, with the best of the best.

Just like with the previous dual launch mission, Leo-8, sitting on LC-40, would launch first, and wait in a parking orbit for the other spacecraft to rendezvous.

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Spoiler

Small pause here, as I just wanted to talk about something for a bit. The Leo-Vanguard is a tricky beast to fly - if you fly it correctly, it has just delta-V to get to a nice 100 km circular orbit with a little bit of margin. However, you have to fly it in a pretty specific way, and recently I hadn't been hitting the mark (I had to, on occasion, use the Leo itself's service module to push the last 100 m/s into orbit. Luckily, of course, the Leo is way overbuilt and has about 1k delta/v on orbit, so that was fine, if only a little embarrassing.) Well, while flying Leo-8, I finally figured out how to fly the Leo-Vanguard stack correctly again, and I inserted into orbit perfectly just as the tanks ran dry.

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I'm a bit proud of that one, even if it is a minor accomplishment. (Even though, of course, I knew how to fly it correctly at the start, only to forget. Embarrassing.)

After a few minor corrections, Leo-8 settled into a 200 km orbit. Back on Pad 41, Valentina and Sally got the go for liftoff.

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With the launch perfectly timed for rendezvous, Valentina began the approach immediately.

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Mission Transcript:

Leo-9: "KSC, we have a visual on eight. Hey Jeb, did you have fun just sitting around?"

Leo-8: "You took your sweet, sweet time, Valentina, didn't you? As the best pilot in the corps, I am thoroughly disappointed in you."

Leo-9: "Oh, I see, the best pilot is the one who managed to crash his skyhawk into the ocean? Superb flying skills there, really."

KSC: "Both of you, watch it."

Leo-9: "Dammit Gene, why are you always such a party pooper?"

KSC: "I'm just doing my job, like you should be doing yours, Val."

Leo-8: "Ha, take that!"

KSC: "That applies to you too, Jeb."

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Three days into the week-long mission, Jim and Sally Kerman would climb outside for their scheduled spacewalk. With both recruits outside, it would be the first two-kerbal spacewalk.

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Most of their EVA activity would include a simple inspection of the Leo spacecraft, but they also performed some basic experiments that had been tucked away in the nose of the spacecraft.

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After the spacewalk, Jim and Sally switched places. Sally climbed into Leo-8 with Jeb, while Jim boarded Leo-9 with Val.

Mission Transcript:

Leo-8: Looks like you got the short end of the straw, eh, Jim? Don't worry Sally, I'm the cool one.

Leo-9: I'm the cooler one. You should know that by now, Jeb. 

KSC: You guys don't have to worry, I'm the coolest one.

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Sally Kerman inside Leo-8, as captured by Jebediah Kerman.

The remaining length of the mission quickly flew past, and with the science manifest complete, KSC gave the go-ahead to undock. With Leo-8 having arrived in orbit first, it would also depart first, leaving Leo-9 behind to stay in orbit until Leo-8 was safely back on the ground.

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Mission Transcript:

Leo-8: "Don't be lonely Val, I'm sure you'll have a great time sitting around in orbit."

Leo-9: "Grumbling noises"

(I was going to make Val make a joke about Jeb, uh, pulling out early, but not really appropriate here eh?)

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Spoiler

Mission Summary:

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Shortly after Leo-8 splashed down, Leo-9 did too. Two more successful missions for the book, with the grand finale of the Leo program complete.

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Spoiler

Mission Summary:

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Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 12

"I don't know what what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets." - John Glenn

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Spoiler

With the agency launching increasingly ambitious missions, need for bandwidth had been creating a great strain on the network of ground stations across the globe. This had been especially prevalent with Pioneer 2 - after being accidentally ejected out of Kerbin's SOI, it had nonetheless turned out to be a vital asset. Free of Kerbin's influence, it allowed to measure all sorts of data about interplanetary space and conduct rudimentary observations of Kerbol with its onboard instruments. 

However, it's distance from Kerbin and sheer amount of data it was sending created major strain on KSC's ground stations, with missions controllers having to resort to coaxing data packets bit by bit through the network. It was not an ideal situation, especially for such a productive spacecraft. Combined with the slowly growing network of satellites around Kerbin, this was quickly becoming a major issue. Even with upgrades to many ground stations, this simply wouldn't cut it.

Thus, engineers proposed a revolutionary new solution, which had been in the works since the Explorer program - a relay satellite. A relay would essentially act as an orbital mirror, allowing signals to be relayed back to Kerbin or across vast distances. Orbital physicists had also been researching a new type of orbit, known as a Geostationary orbit. Essentially, this would allow such a relay satellite to remain stationary over a certain area. Placed in a Geostationary orbit, only a small network of satellites would be needed to provide consistent relay coverage across the Kerbin system, greatly freeing up bandwidth for future expansion.

Engineers immediately got to work, building upon the reliable Pioneer satellite bus. All in all, the changes would be relatively minor, with the scientific equipment swapped out for an array of reflector dishes and the batteries slightly beefed up to support them. Designed for delivering messages across long distances, this new line of satellites would become known as 'Courier'.

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Spoiler

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Speedy Delivery!

However, delivering the satellite itself to a Geostationary orbit would prove to be a much greater challenge than originally thought. After running and rerunning multiple calculations in disbelief, it was concluded that even the 6 SRB augmented Javelin used to launch the Pioneers  wouldn't cut it. When a passing janitor overheard this dilemma, he proposed that they simply add more boosters. Combined with a stretched first stage, this monstrosity would be known as the Javelin-2C.

Spoiler

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With March just around the corner, Courier-1 was rolled out to Pad LC-40. For the third time, much to the grumbling of the pad crews, LC 40 was once again converted back to support a Javelin launch. 

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"I don't care what they say, that rocket is a fiery boomstick of death." - Gene Kerman

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Riding atop a literal plume of smoke and fire, Courier-1 had to throttle back to prevent being ripped to shreds by aerodynamic forces.

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Unfortunately, Gene's premonition would turn out to be accurate.

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The main engine promptly shut down and exploded, causing the tank to structurally collapse and ending a string of successful launches. Later investigation would reveal that a defective SRB wasn't burning properly, and caused particulates to infiltrate the engine's turbopump, causing the main engine to seize up.

Spoiler

totally didn't do a stupid and forget to integrate the mission in BARIS before launching it. Nope, not me... :blush:

With the debris quickly plummeting back down to Kerbin, Range Safety ordered the rocket to self destruct. Inside the tank structure, small, strategically placed explosives compromised what little structural integrity the Javelin stack had left.

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If nothing else, Courier-1 would demonstrate a successful use of the newly implemented Range Safety system.

Inspection of the rest of the stockpiled rockets would reveal that this manufacturing defect was simply a one-off occurrence. While protocols would be put into place to prevent such an accident in the future, the rest of the Couriers passed stringent inspection and were cleared to fly.

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Courier-2 would see a picture-perfect launch, and after a series of precise maneuvers, it would settle into a circular Geostationary orbit of 8968.11 km, with a Gsync of just +83 ms. 

A couple of weeks later, Courier-3 would launch from LC 40.

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Spoiler

If anyone is wondering, the SRBs kept blowing up the launch stand, creating smoke effects. I liked the effect a lot, so I didn't bother fixing it.

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With careful timing Courier-3 would settle into a Geostationary orbit with a Gsync of -43 ms, about a third of the orbit from the previous launch.

Spoiler

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Event card. (Everytime I have a failure, it seems, I get a quality boosting event card afterwards. Ironic.)

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With the unfortunate demise of Courier-1, the relay constellation was one satellite short of being complete. It took a few months, but eventually a flight spare was converted into a fully functioning satellite, and once again a Javelin 2C lifted off from LC 40.

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Building upon the previous launches, Courier-4 settled into Geostationary orbit with pinpoint accuracy, with a Gsync of just -5ms. Settling into orbit a third of the way from the previous launch, it would complete the relay constellation.

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After fully deploying, the results were immediately evident, freeing up enough bandwidth for Mission Control to finally establish a stable, if still somewhat limited connection to Pioneer 2.

Back at Pad 40 and 41, pad crews were once again preparing for a dual launch mission. The Leo program had been extended to accommodate one more mission - Leo 10. Having been in the works since the start of the Leo program, Leo 10 would finally see the debut of the Leo Block II. While the Block II would see minor changes to the service module, the most prominent feature would be, of course, the rear docking tunnel. 

While the Leo already had a nose docking port, it was merely a structural one due to the avionics and parachutes stored inside the nose, unable to transfer crew. A rear docking tunnel through the spacecraft would allow for seamless crew transfer without a time consuming EVA, essential to the agency's future plans. However, the Leo Block 2 would continue to retain the nose docking port in the name of redundancy.

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Spoiler

Event Card:

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As July rolled around the corner, LATV-2 and Leo-10 were rolled out to their respective pads. The mission plan for Leo-10 would be quite simple, testing out approach and docking with the rear docking port. Specially modified, LATV-2 would have a partially pressurized interior to allow for pressurization tests.

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Flying aboard Leo-10 would be Alan and Gus Kerman. Having last flown on Leo-4, the Mustache Duo would fly again. While planners typically switched up mission crews after a flight, the duo worked so well together that they were allowed to fly again as a crew.

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Spoiler

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Long snoot. Boop.

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Approach was an interesting affair. While a small camera had been installed in the rear to give some sort of perspective, it showed no feed when switched on. Later, it was discovered that a lens cap had accidentally been left attached, blocking all feed. Due to this, the entire approach was conducted using just radar and dead reckoning. Later, Alan would joke that "he tried using the rearview mirror, but it was too dirty."

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With enough snacks to last 16 days and no other real restrictions on orbital stay, Leo-10's primary goal would be to gauge endurance. With a full science manifest and a spare camera, the duo quickly settled in.

Spoiler

Event card:

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Twelve days into the flight, Gus would go on his longest EVA yet.

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Immediately floating over to the service module, he promptly unscrewed the lens cap and stuck it in his pocket.

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With two days of snacks remaining, the crew decommissioned LATV-2 and departed.

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Another successful mission for the books.

Spoiler

Mission Summary:

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Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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2 hours ago, Maria Sirona said:

The Javelin-2C is one heck of an epic-looking rocket, imma be sad if you won't use it for interplanetary missions.

Yeah, as much as I call it a 'monstrosity' there's a nice place for it in my heart. I'll probably use it to fling a probe or two towards Eve or Duna when the time comes.

2 hours ago, Maria Sirona said:

That weevil docked with the rear port looks so goofy :D

I agree, I think I like the look haha. I left two docking docking ports on the Leo for a reason...

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  • 1 month later...

A blink of an eye, and it's suddenly been nearly 3 months now since the last post. The missions themselves were completed nearly right after the last post, but alas, due to the perfect mixture of procrastination, more pressing matters, and pure bad luck, the writing part (that's this!) was never completed. This is, in fact, the fourth time I'm typing up this post. The first two times, nearly fully completed posts were deleted thanks to the whims of the forum editor, while the last time I mustered the motivation to type this up, about a week ago, my laptop decided it would be a good time to restart and install the new OS update.

Tragic, yes, but what more could you expect out of the 13th chapter?

Chapter 13

"Neither a space station nor an enlightened mind can be realized in a day." - Dalai Lama

o0RsvJ4.png

Spoiler

A space station. An orbital laboratory, a platform for research of microgravity and the mysteries of the cosmos. An orbital outpost, serving as a jumping-off point for spacecraft bound for the Mun, or perhaps, someday, to Duna. An orbital shipyard, forging vessels in the vacuum of space, meant for the exploration of the stars. A refueling platform, a power generation facility, a space elevator anchor, an observation facility.

Perhaps, if it were successful, the Spacelab program would be the genesis of an orbital civilization, carving out a legacy of habitation in orbit for generations to come. Spacelab would be the first. Little more than a glorified tin can with research equipment stuffed inside, it would serve as a man-tended orbital platform, served by Leo Block IIs and their complement of two crew, vastly extending the length of stay possible in orbit, and thus, the scientific productivity, especially when combined with the much more capable scientific experiments the mass budget of a dedicated station would allow over the Leo.

s4KXRoq.png

Spacelab itself would only be planned to last for 4 missions, with enough onboard supplies to forego resupply by a Leo spacecraft and freeing up the mass budget to allow for more experiments to be rotated on and off the station. If its mission was successful, a much greater successor station would follow, learning from the lessons of Spacelab.

In late July, Pads 40 and 41 would once again see a flurry of activity. Spacelab would be fitted upon a standard Vanguard booster (although with barely any margin to spare), launching from Pad 40 as Spacelab-1. Launching shortly after aboard Spacelab-2 (the Leo designation would be ditched for the Spacelab program, solely reserved for free flights of the Leo spacecraft), Frank and Tracy Kerman would be on standby, to immediately troubleshoot any problems with the station should the need arise.

Spoiler

Event Card: 

8JygPY8.png

Once again though, we lucked out. No astronauts from the main corps.

PnxZXDD.png

GvISuzU.png

acVD6HE.png

8fsDt09.png

lXdw9Xg.png

The first flight of the Vanguard in a cargo configuration, the booster performed admirably, pushing the heavyweight payload into the skies and performing even better than expected. Thus, when stage separation resulted in another hairy separation, flight controllers paid no mind, merely noting yet another reocurrence of the (believed to be) harmless, if hair-raising phenomenon. Unfortunately, it would be a herald of the things to come.

LinkxFH.png

The first sign of trouble would be the refusal of the upper stage engine to start up. Nonetheless, on the second ignition attempt by controllers, the engine spooled up and began functioning nominally. 

ZkjNsu8.png

P5HJ9Tb.png

PyBW2yl.png

However, after just a brief period of function, the entire engine would seize up. Fortunately, flight controllers managed to initiate an emergency shutdown, preventing a catastrophic explosion, but nonetheless, Spacelab would be doomed to never reach orbit.

Later investigation would reveal that the cause of the engine malfunction was, in fact, caused by debris from the messy stage separation, some of which managed to impact vital components of the upper stage turbopump assembly.

AeqFVVh.png

6mn28VV.png

AOqOg7z.png

Short of reaching orbit, the doomed space station would find its fate as a shooting star across Kerbin's night sky.

New procedures would be developed for throttle up of the upper stage, changing ignition to a gradual spool-up process instead of the standard full throttle ignition in an attempt to reduce future 'explosive events' during stage separation.

Despite all this, the failure would only be a minor setback to the agency's plans. Having prepared for such an outcome, a backup station, known as Spacelab B had been built alongside the original, exactly for such a scenario. Thus, while the agency would no longer see plans to launch a second Spacelab using Spacelab B, the Spacelab program would be able to proceed without the costly fabrication of a new module from scratch.

Thus, Spacelab B would proceed as the launch of Spacelab-2, rolling out to the pad at the end of August. There was minor debate in the astronaut corps over whether the original Spacelab-2 crew or the already chosen Spacelab-3 crew would fly, but in the end it was decided that the crew of Spacelab-2 (the original crewed mission) would proceed as Spacelab-3, flying with the same crew of Frank and Tracy Kerman.

Spoiler

Event Card:

qlsFmC6.png

The reliability boost is quite nice, and actually useful for once! Somehow, the reliability boosts always seem to occur after failures. Hmm.

FEBhXv0.png

gFc63lx.png

n22Tgu3.png

YkD4RQp.png

G37IHgT.png

After a flawless launch, this time the upper stage would ignite, thankfully, without any unexpected explosions.

vLDRr2R.png

nTl7hFN.png

tDJkl43.png

BmTuyqb.png

hw7lJqn.png

RbQaKzt.png

Settling into a stable orbit, Spacelab spread its great solar wings, much to the relief of engineers who had anticipated potential problems with deployment, which would have crippled the station. With the vital juice flowing into the station's batteries and all systems nominal, the crew of Spacelab-3 breathed a sigh of relief as well - they would no longer have to hastily launch into a 'Spacelab rescue' mission, and could instead proceed with a nominal mission.

WvrqHpt.png

wSsBktp.png

Mk5YvmW.png

ar9PKKP.png

xgsQQCJ.png

Safely in orbit (and once again, without an explosive stage separation), the Leo began rendezvous procedures, which, perfected on previous flights, would bring the spacecraft on a intercept trajectory towards Spacelab.

pXu2Epm.png

KOpWd0A.png

Mission Transcript:

Spacelab-3: "Tally ho, visual acquisition of Spacelab! Good thing they fixed the lens cap, now, instead of looking at absolutely nothing, we can pretend to see a grainy image on the CRT monitor."

KSC: "Noted, Spacelab. No need to be snarky Frank, we get it."

Spacelab-3: "Just making a statement, control."

ETKSWqN.png

This time with the assistance of the rear camera, although mostly still relying on radar, the Leo moved in to dock with Spacelab.

3hiDfyD.png

AnqASzj.png

Safely aboard Spacelab, the crew would settle in for their 40-day long stay, packed with a tight enough science manifest to leave the crew completely exhausted, with a mix of orbital observation, usage of the onboard laboratory space and EVAs occupying the vast majority of their schedule. The only relief would be found in the daily 5-hour rest periods, which the crew soon came to relish. (Small sidenote, a JNSQ day lasts 12 hours.)

ApfdnVb.png

Frank and Sally Kerman inside Spacelab, as captured by an onboard TV camera.

TbU2dgF.png

8UbXNyL.png

SzgJ8nT.png

wLjTJFR.png

Tcw5Gwa.png

Much to the surprise of mission planners, the crew had consumed more provisions than expected, consuming nearly 3/8 of the entire onboard supply including the snacks brought onboard the Leo. However, this was quickly deemed not to be an issue, as more provisions could simply be brought aboard the next flight, even if that meant cutting into room for experiements.

p2wzoCR.png

With their mission complete, Spacelab-3 departed the station after their 40-day long stay, ready to head home.

cJgzWlI.png

DGTqTNp.png

OCNKGZW.png

gXqzrgE.png

Spoiler

Mission Summary:

5tp4ewD.png

 

Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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16 hours ago, Misguided Kerbal said:

A blink of an eye, and it's suddenly been nearly 3 months now since the last post. The missions themselves were completed nearly right after the last post, but alas, due to the perfect mixture of procrastination, more pressing matters, and pure bad luck, the writing part (that's this!) was never completed. This is, in fact, the fourth time I'm typing up this post. The first two times, nearly fully completed posts were deleted thanks to the whims of the forum editor, while the last time I mustered the motivation to type this up, about a week ago, my laptop decided it would be a good time to restart and install the new OS update.

Tragic, yes, but what more could you expect out of the 13th chapter?

Chapter 13

"Neither a space station nor an enlightened mind can be realized in a day." - Dalai Lama

o0RsvJ4.png

  Hide contents

A space station. An orbital laboratory, a platform for research of microgravity and the mysteries of the cosmos. An orbital outpost, serving as a jumping-off point for spacecraft bound for the Mun, or perhaps, someday, to Duna. An orbital shipyard, forging vessels in the vacuum of space, meant for the exploration of the stars. A refueling platform, a power generation facility, a space elevator anchor, an observation facility.

Perhaps, if it were successful, the Spacelab program would be the genesis of an orbital civilization, carving out a legacy of habitation in orbit for generations to come. Spacelab would be the first. Little more than a glorified tin can with research equipment stuffed inside, it would serve as a man-tended orbital platform, served by Leo Block IIs and their complement of two crew, vastly extending the length of stay possible in orbit, and thus, the scientific productivity, especially when combined with the much more capable scientific experiments the mass budget of a dedicated station would allow over the Leo.

s4KXRoq.png

Spacelab itself would only be planned to last for 4 missions, with enough onboard supplies to forego resupply by a Leo spacecraft and freeing up the mass budget to allow for more experiments to be rotated on and off the station. If its mission was successful, a much greater successor station would follow, learning from the lessons of Spacelab.

In late July, Pads 40 and 41 would once again see a flurry of activity. Spacelab would be fitted upon a standard Vanguard booster (although with barely any margin to spare), launching from Pad 40 as Spacelab-1. Launching shortly after aboard Spacelab-2 (the Leo designation would be ditched for the Spacelab program, solely reserved for free flights of the Leo spacecraft), Frank and Tracy Kerman would be on standby, to immediately troubleshoot any problems with the station should the need arise.

  Hide contents

Event Card: 

8JygPY8.png

Once again though, we lucked out. No astronauts from the main corps.

PnxZXDD.png

GvISuzU.png

acVD6HE.png

8fsDt09.png

lXdw9Xg.png

The first flight of the Vanguard in a cargo configuration, the booster performed admirably, pushing the heavyweight payload into the skies and performing even better than expected. Thus, when stage separation resulted in another hairy separation, flight controllers paid no mind, merely noting yet another reocurrence of the (believed to be) harmless, if hair-raising phenomenon. Unfortunately, it would be a herald of the things to come.

LinkxFH.png

The first sign of trouble would be the refusal of the upper stage engine to start up. Nonetheless, on the second ignition attempt by controllers, the engine spooled up and began functioning nominally. 

ZkjNsu8.png

P5HJ9Tb.png

PyBW2yl.png

However, after just a brief period of function, the entire engine would seize up. Fortunately, flight controllers managed to initiate an emergency shutdown, preventing a catastrophic explosion, but nonetheless, Spacelab would be doomed to never reach orbit.

Later investigation would reveal that the cause of the engine malfunction was, in fact, caused by debris from the messy stage separation, some of which managed to impact vital components of the upper stage turbopump assembly.

AeqFVVh.png

6mn28VV.png

AOqOg7z.png

Short of reaching orbit, the doomed space station would find its fate as a shooting star across Kerbin's night sky.

New procedures would be developed for throttle up of the upper stage, changing ignition to a gradual spool-up process instead of the standard full throttle ignition in an attempt to reduce future 'explosive events' during stage separation.

Despite all this, the failure would only be a minor setback to the agency's plans. Having prepared for such an outcome, a backup station, known as Spacelab B had been built alongside the original, exactly for such a scenario. Thus, while the agency would no longer see plans to launch a second Spacelab using Spacelab B, the Spacelab program would be able to proceed without the costly fabrication of a new module from scratch.

Thus, Spacelab B would proceed as the launch of Spacelab-2, rolling out to the pad at the end of August. There was minor debate in the astronaut corps over whether the original Spacelab-2 crew or the already chosen Spacelab-3 crew would fly, but in the end it was decided that the crew of Spacelab-2 (the original crewed mission) would proceed as Spacelab-3, flying with the same crew of Frank and Tracy Kerman.

  Hide contents

Event Card:

qlsFmC6.png

The reliability boost is quite nice, and actually useful for once! Somehow, the reliability boosts always seem to occur after failures. Hmm.

FEBhXv0.png

gFc63lx.png

n22Tgu3.png

YkD4RQp.png

G37IHgT.png

After a flawless launch, this time the upper stage would ignite, thankfully, without any unexpected explosions.

vLDRr2R.png

nTl7hFN.png

tDJkl43.png

BmTuyqb.png

hw7lJqn.png

RbQaKzt.png

Settling into a stable orbit, Spacelab spread its great solar wings, much to the relief of engineers who had anticipated potential problems with deployment, which would have crippled the station. With the vital juice flowing into the station's batteries and all systems nominal, the crew of Spacelab-3 breathed a sigh of relief as well - they would no longer have to hastily launch into a 'Spacelab rescue' mission, and could instead proceed with a nominal mission.

WvrqHpt.png

wSsBktp.png

Mk5YvmW.png

ar9PKKP.png

xgsQQCJ.png

Safely in orbit (and once again, without an explosive stage separation), the Leo began rendezvous procedures, which, perfected on previous flights, would bring the spacecraft on a intercept trajectory towards Spacelab.

pXu2Epm.png

KOpWd0A.png

Mission Transcript:

Spacelab-3: "Tally ho, visual acquisition of Spacelab! Good thing they fixed the lens cap, now, instead of looking at absolutely nothing, we can pretend to see a grainy image on the CRT monitor."

KSC: "Noted, Spacelab. No need to be snarky Frank, we get it."

Spacelab-3: "Just making a statement, control."

ETKSWqN.png

This time with the assistance of the rear camera, although mostly still relying on radar, the Leo moved in to dock with Spacelab.

3hiDfyD.png

AnqASzj.png

Safely aboard Spacelab, the crew would settle in for their 40-day long stay, packed with a tight enough science manifest to leave the crew completely exhausted, with a mix of orbital observation, usage of the onboard laboratory space and EVAs occupying the vast majority of their schedule. The only relief would be found in the daily 10-hour rest periods, which the crew soon came to relish.

ApfdnVb.png

Frank and Sally Kerman inside Spacelab, as captured by an onboard TV camera.

TbU2dgF.png

8UbXNyL.png

SzgJ8nT.png

wLjTJFR.png

Tcw5Gwa.png

Much to the surprise of mission planners, the crew had consumed more provisions than expected, consuming nearly 3/8 of the entire onboard supply including the snacks brought onboard the Leo. However, this was quickly deemed not to be an issue, as more provisions could simply be brought aboard the next flight, even if that meant cutting into room for experiements.

p2wzoCR.png

With their mission complete, Spacelab-3 departed the station after their 40-day long stay, ready to head home.

cJgzWlI.png

DGTqTNp.png

OCNKGZW.png

gXqzrgE.png

  Hide contents

Mission Summary:

5tp4ewD.png

 

Awesome as always! I had begun to think that i had accidentally unfollowed the thread, but nay, it was just a pause! Thank you for this installment.

10 hour daily rest periods? Isn't a single Kerbin day 6?

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7 hours ago, Maria Sirona said:

Awesome as always! I had begun to think that i had accidentally unfollowed the thread, but nay, it was just a pause! Thank you for this installment.

Thanks! I had some terrible luck writing this chapter, but I hope we're back on a more consistent schedule now.

7 hours ago, Maria Sirona said:

10 hour daily rest periods? Isn't a single Kerbin day 6?

4 hours ago, Leganeski said:

JNSQ increases the day length to 12 hours due to Kerbin's larger radius. However, given the context, I would guess that "10 hours" refers to 10/24 of each day.

Yep, that's it. I had a massive brain fart, but yes, I am referring to 10/24 hours a day. I should probably go back and edit that, thanks for catching that.

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