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Expanding the Horizon: A Kerbalized Apollo Era Alternate History


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What is Expanding the Horizons (ETH)? ETH is my take on the apollo program if a lot of AAP concepts and mission ideas (and some of my own ideas) actually existed in my kerbalized way along with many other blessed (or cursed) things! 

In my timeline Apollo 7 is the first Munar Landing after multiple failures and quick attempts to beat the Soviets to the Mun. Recently Apollo 14 landed on the Mun after month long delays and Skylab-4 is prepping for launch (since a lot of the Apollo stuff is repetitive I'll start this forum at Skylab-4-2) 

The year as of starting this thread is 1971 and hopes are high for NASA Scientist and the Space Community as a whole. 

I am open to criticism since I usually screw up things and screenshots will be very novice as I practice camera controls.

Current Year: 1973



currently this is the mission list of all missions in order of launch dates (will edit as missions are completed)


Apollo-1: Failure

Apollo 2 through 4 (fictional): successes 

Apollo-5 (fictional): Failure

Apollo-7: First Successful Landing

Apollo-8: Second Partially Successful Landing

Apollo-9: Failure (crew survived return)

Apollo-10: Third Successful Landing

Apollo-11: Fourth Successful Landing

Apollo-12: Fifth Successful Landing

Apollo-13: Failure (crew survived)

Skylab-1: Success

Skylab-2: Success

Skylab-3: Success

Skylab-4-1: Success

Skylab-4-2: Success

Apollo-14: Sixth Successful landing

Apollo-15: Seventh Partially Successful Landing

Apollo-16: Eighth Successful Landing

Apollo-17: Ninth Successful Landing

Skylab-5: Failure (crew survived)

Skylab-6: TBD




Edited by AlmondTheAstronaut
Changed Current Year to 1973
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June 14, 1971

File:Skylab4-Patch.png - Wikimedia Commons

Mission Plan

Previous to this current mission, the engineers and scientists at NASA were concerned over the safety of external experiments on the Skylab station after some micro debris zipped by the station the day before. And so the engineers when to work designing  an new expansion to the station: the Expanded Science Module (ESM) which would carry new scientific instruments that will take over some of the work the station has been doing until a crew could be sent up to do a maintenance EVA to ensure the safety of the station. Skylab 4-1 as it was called launched on top of a modified Saturn IB Rocket and a modified Apollo CSM which removed the Capsule in place for a instruments unit and decoupler. This mission successfully made it to the station and it is now time for the crew to make their way to the Station for the scheduled EVA.


Gerald Kerman: CM Pilot

William Kerman: Station Commander

Edward Kerman: Station Engineer


Skylab-4-2 Awaits launch on the Milkstool.


The three crew members make their way into the capsule through the Crew Access Arm.


As the Access Arm is pulled away from the CSM, Final Launch Procedures begin as the timer reaches t-30.


The mighty roar of 8 Rocket Engines fills the air as ignition sequence begins and launches the Saturn IB off the pad!


"Ascent lookin' good Skylab 4."-KSC Mission Control.


The S-IVB has successfully separated from the first stage of Saturn IB and the J-2 will continue burning until orbital insertion.


And boom! The CSM successfully detached from the S-IVB after orbital insertion.

Skylab-4-2 will begin rendezvous procedures shortly.


Kerbin from the view of William Kermin.


The station peers into view with the ESM and CSM Ferry docked to the emergency rescue port.

"Proceeding to docking range."



"Soft Capture."
"KCC, We've docked to the station!"
"Roger Skylab-4 congrats!"
The crew has transferred to the main lab and will await until the next day to begin EVA Activities.
Morning comes around and Edward is given permission to exit the Airlock and start EVA-1.
With careful instruction from KCC, Edward climbs over to the CSM ferry to unload tools needed for the EVA.
EVA-1 consists of a 360 inspection of the ESM and CSM Ferry and the collection of tools from said Ferry. 
"Inspection completed I'm headin' back inside."
With his inspection done he carries his tools with him as he climbs into the Airlock.
The Crew heads to bed to get rest before EVA-2.
On the next day William and Edward suit up for their EVA and exit the Airlock.
"Grab onto the handles there so you don't go flyin' off on us"
"I'll try not to."
The two Kerbonauts start off with the setup of major science instruments so they can be operational.
"Willy your starting to stray off get back over here."
"Calm down I'm fine. Just getting some photos for the folks back home."
This EVA will be short and will only last 2 hours
"KCC, everything looks good out here and we are ready to return to the Airlock."
"Copy that your free to return when possible."
Now that the EVAs are done all that is left is to turn on the lights and open the hatch to ESM.
"Let there be light!" Exclaimed by Gerald as the lights in the ESM flicker on and the hatch is opened!
All that is left is to deorbit the Ferry which has completed its only mission.
CSM Ferry nicknamed "Hop Scotch" by the crew rotates away from the station for the deorbit burn.
It's deorbit burn now complete leaves it as dead weight during its fiery reentry.
Meanwhile the crew on Skylab cleans up the messy interior of ESM and will stay on the station for another 3 days.
3 days later
Skylab-4-2 Packs up and makes their way into Apollo CSM to prepare for undocking and eventual deorbit and return. 
Used up science experiments are taken back home along with fecal and urine samples for examination.
Bye Skylab!
The crew will bring the csm about 100-150m away from the Lab before deorbit to make sure the station is protected.
The CM has separated from the SM and now the crew will wait.
The capsule heats up as surrounding gas compresses.
Drogues have been deployed.
With a big splash the Skylab-4-2 mission has come to a successful end! 
Thanks to this mission, Skylab can continue making groundbreaking scientific discoveries!
Hey! This was the first upload to my AH Forum! I hope you all enjoyed it
as much as I did and I plan on continuing to do these in the future.
I am open to criticism (Leave it in comments or dm me at Almond#1778 on discord) 
Up Next
Apollo 15 with a working LRV and a ton of munar activity!
Edited by AlmondTheAstronaut
Added crew list and mission plan and full mission
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Apollo 15

July 26, 1971


Mission Plan

By December of 1971 NASA designers were concerned over the small amount of major changes and updates to the Apollo Program. A lack of new features seemed to be the reason that NASA was having a difficult time with the public opinion of the program since Apollo 7 landed all the way back in 1968 and the administration believed that they'll hardly make it beyond cancellation by the end of the mission if they don't think of something new for the program. Months of heightened designing and planning led to the greenlighting of the MRV (Munar Roving Vehicle) an easy to assemble Munar car that will surely catch the public eye with awe. NASA was riding on this concept in order to keep the funding necessary for the Apollo Applications Program or AAP and were crossing their fingers that this vehicle will be the hail mary that will keep NASA on track for their great destiny. This was the dawn of the J Class Series.


CM Pilot: Alfred Kerman

LM Pilot: James Kerman

Commander: David Kerman


The Sarnus (Saturn) V Launch Vehicle sits atop the Launch Platform as continuous fueling is underway.

The Crew has entered the CM.

 (I forgot to get a shot of the crew getting onboard ;-;)


Crew Access Arm retracts at L-30 and we are go for launch!


Ignition of the 5 F-1a engines starts with a loud roar.

"The whole capsule is vibrating!" Exclaimed by Scott.


Ascent continues as Apollo 15 speeds its way to the Mun.


"I can see Kerbin!" Alfred said as the LES was jettisoned.

"Great to hear guys!" KCC Replied



SECO Confirmed and S-II bids farewell to the S-IVB and crew.

TMI will begin shortly.


TMI has started and will put The Crew on course for a deep space journey!

The single J-2 Engine shuts off as TMI is completed. Apollo 15 is Mun Ready!

(Up until this point I didn't realize that I forgot RCS on the CSM so I had to go back and add it :p)


A wonderful view backdrops the CSM and MEM (Munar Excursion Module) with it's special payload. The journey will take 3 days total.

The CSM will also conduct two burns to get a good orbit for Landing.


An orbit of 50m by 83m has been achieved and James and David will transfer to the MEM shortly.

"Can't wait to spend half a day inside this paper mache can." James said sarcastically.

"We will just leave you there then." David cracked back jokingly.


James and David leave the CSM and depart onto the final leg of their Munar trip.


24,000m above the surface, the descent burn continues...

5,000 meters...

Less than 0.8 kilometers left...


"KCC, We can confirm Munar Contact!" James says ecstatically.

KCC Workers let out a sigh of relief and look forward to the unloading of the MRV


"Stepping off the ladder now. I hope the camera has a good shot."

"The shot is fine don't worry."


"Am I clear to exit James?"

"You look fine from down here Dave."

The two Kerbonauts take turns stepping off the ladder.


David plants the flag and permanently left the landing site in the history books.

Now they will make the first: Drive a rover on another body.


During MRV deployment an error was found with the motor on the stowage rack.

"KCC, We have an issue with the motor."

"We read you here Apollo 15 standby."

Contingency experts scramble to find a solution to make sure this is a successful mission.

Attempts to fix the MRV issue have no success and the crew is forced to abandon the MRV and deploy surface science before return to orbit.


The Kerbonauts and KCC team members somberly prepare for the return home after placing down misc. science experiments.

The Ascent Stage made it to orbit and the CSM is beginning docking maneuvers.




The CM Pilot successfully docked to the MAS (Munar Ascent Stage) and the MEM Crew has transferred to the CSM!


The Crew transferred and the MAS and Docking Adapter were jettisoned into Munar Orbit.

The Crew will begin TKI soon.



TKI has been accomplished and now Apollo 15 is set on a reentry trajectory.


A very grainy photo shows Alfred Kerman during Film Tape recovery from the SIM Bay. The lens was burnt out after this and became inoperable.

"This is why you don't point the camera at the sun Alfred."


Reentry begins while the SM burns closely by.

(No photos since it's too dark)

Drogues Deployed.

Main Chutes Deployed at a higher altitude than normal.

And with splashdown, Apollo 15 has come to an end somewhat successfully.




A very tragic failure for NASA, this won't stop NASA from trying again next time (Although with less support).

I also enjoyed doing this mission a lot and have a lot of stuff planned for the future.


Up Next

I am still deciding on what the next mission should be and you guys are free to reply with ideas for the future (Keep in mind the year is now early 1972 as of ending Apollo 15).

Edited by AlmondTheAstronaut
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In 1974 I'll debut the AARDV-1 which will launch on a Saturn 1B to Skylab. That will probably be the only Skylab Mission until 1976

Currently this is the list of upcoming missions for Apollo and Skylab (goes out to about 2 weeks from now)


Apollo 16: April 16, 1972

Apollo 17: December 7, 1972

Apollo 18: August 8, 1973

Apollo 19: January 16, 1974


AARDV-1: May 12, 1974

Skylab-5: September 23, 1976 


Edited by AlmondTheAstronaut
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  • 2 weeks later...

Apollo 16

April 16, 1972


Two Steps Back, One Step Forward...

The humiliation that followed the MRV Incident on Apollo 15 was immense. Public Reception of the failure were laughs at the Administration, and this left a mark on the morale of the workers at NASA. During the time between Apollo 15, Engineers found the issue and made a replacement for the faulty system which ignites the hope needed to get a new mission off the ground. Everyone at the Administration knew that this mission was a redemption arc of sorts to get the Public Opinion back in the positives so they can keep a reason to have the funding necessary to stay on track with AAP plans.  Apollo 16 is planned to continue the hopefully long series of J Missions that will keep Kerbalkind on the Mun through the rest of the decade. But in order to get there, Apollo 16 has to be successful.


Commander: John Kerman

LM Pilot: Charlie Kerman

CM Pilot: Ken Kerman


Apollo 16 Crew looks at the horizon as boarding begins


Access Arm Retract


Liftoff of Apollo 16 to the Mun!


TV Cameras on the ground capture imagery of the Ascent as the 5 F-1 engines continue to fire


A few minutes into flight the S-IC engines shutoff and the S-II is set free from the first stage as the J-2 engines ignite to life


The S-II throttles down as orbit is achieved and the S-IVB leaps out of the Adapter (I had 3 ullage motors on the S-IVB last time but changed it to 4 after being told it was 4 on Saturn V)


The J-2 engine ignites to set the Apollo 16 Spacecraft on a trajectory with the Mun

The rumbling felt by the Kerbonauts from the burning of the engine slowly came to a stop...

"KCC...TMI is complete we are on our way!"

"We read you here Apollo 16 have a good trip!"


The CSM begins Transposition and docking



The CSM will pull the MEM away as part of the final big hurdle before arrival at the Mun

"Carefully pull it out Ken..."


"We are clear I repeat we are clear."

As Ken said these words he officially ended the first half of the long journey forward

The crew will prepare for their 3 day journey to the Mun


On the dawn of Day 4, Apollo 16 has arrived at the target of the whole mission: The Mun

Ken will rotate the CSM into position for MOI (Munar Orbital Insertion)


(Game crashed so I couldn't get a photo of MOI)

After a 1 minute and 30 second burn, the SPS engine placed the two spacecraft into an operational orbit of 110km by 97km.

The height was chosen for the deployment of the Munar Subsat stowed onboard


With the GRS and Mass Spectrometer deployed, preparations for extended CSM science have been set up

Next up on the list: Munar Descent 


Shadowed by darkness the lights of the MEM power on as John and Charlie enter the MEM also known as "Orion"


"Have a safe trip down there. I'll see you all in a few days."

Ken waves off Charlie and John as Orion undocks from the CSM


"Godspeed Orion..."

Ken says as he captures a final view of Orion before deorbit


"Contact Light."

"KCC, We can confirm landing..."

"Splendid Job!"

Apollo 16 has landed 50m north of the landing site on the rim of a large crater!


"I'll step out first John."

Charlie climbs off of the balcony and makes his way down the ladder


"I'm coming down now KCC."

"Lookin' good so far Apollo 16..."

Both John and Charlie have left the MEM


"Such a wonderful sight." The patriotic John says enthusiastically

It is now time for the main event: MRV Deployment


During deployment everyone at KSC went silent until they heard the warming words "IT'S WORKING IT'S WORKING!" from John

Everyone let out a sigh of relief and shocked laughter as the MRV releases out of launch position


"We got it ready KCC you can calm yourselves down now."

"You two had us on the tips of our toes!"

The MRV was now ready to be built into operational form


Happily John and Charlie hop on the Rover with a plan to drive out a few 100 meters to take observations and to go for a test drive


18 Minutes into their Lunar Drive, Charlie notices a boulder of interest about 800 feet away

The two go to inspect it


John captures a photo of Charlie as he gives the boulder a good stare

They now continue their drive up the side of the crater


The two arrive at the edge of the crater and get a spectacular view of one of the largest craters on the Mun

After planting some science equipment the crew return to the MEM to get some rest



After another 15 minutes Charlie and John return to the Safe Sight of the MEM and park the MRV

They will now rest until the next day to do final objectives before returning to the orbiting CSM

The Next Morning...

The crew have rested long enough and are now beginning preparations to return home

All systems have been set for Stage Separation


Ignition and ascent


The MEM Upper Stage will now sit in orbit until the CSM arrives


Ken docks the CSM to Orion and the crew has reunited


MEM Jettison

Time to return home


(Forgot to get Return burn photo)

Apollo 16 has arrived and begins to heat up as descent begins


The capsule shakes severely during Drogue Deploy but KCC ignores it


The Oscillations stopped once Main Chutes deployed


As the CSM touches the oceans of Kerbin, Apollo 16 comes to an end





The Munar Activities on this mission were especially fun with the MRV and its fast speeds! Only one more mission before I can start using creative liberties for AAP and beyond


Up Next

Apollo 17 (1972) and after Apollo 17 we'll have Apollo 18 (1973)

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I've got a few things happening irl that I need to get done before Apollo 17 so bear with me. If I did this in the summer there would not have been such a long wait so just bear with me thanks!

you just gotta stick with me through the repetitive missions before we can get to the really cool stuff like Munar bases and Space Stations 

And I've decided once we arrive at AAP I may skip a mission or two to not keep it repetitive (A lot of the missions will be land, set up base, do science, sleep, repeat) so I'll remove two missions and keep moving. Skylab 5 will come out after Apollo 19 I'd say.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Apollo 17

December 7, 1972


One More Big Step...

With Apollo 16 succeeding in completing mission objectives and returning safely, preparations for AAP continued as all plans continued to go perfectly as Apollo 17 teams prepared the next crew for their Munar Mission. If Apollo 17 is to succeed then all pre AAP missions will be complete and Apollo 18 will have a set date a few weeks or so after crew return. Mission objectives followed the usual J-Class order with a long stay on the Mun and multiple science experiment kits. Everyone in the KCC have their fingers crossed for a successful mission...


Commander: Gene Kerman

CM Pilot: Ronald Kerman

LM Pilot: Harrison Kerman

Authors Note: This mission is not entirely accurate (Obvious from it being a day launch) 


The crew of Apollo 17 await onboard their Sarnus V as the final countdown begins for their historical flight...

(No liftoff photo since ksp crashed) The F-1 engines fire up once again and Apollo 17 is off the pad!


Ascent continues to look good on the ground as A17 rolls and begins the gravity turn


T+ 2 Minutes into the flight the sky darkened as SECO and LES Jettison is confirmed and the flight continues with the ignition of 5x J-2 Engines


The J-2 engines shut off for SECO and the S-IVB broke free from the S-II and the crew prepared for TMI


T+ 2 Hours into the flight the single J-2 on S-IVB ignited to put the CSM and MEM on a track for the Mun



The J-2 Engine shutdown and the crew glided on the S-IVB until they reached Transposition altitude and the SMA Fairings were jettisoned


"Capture" Said Ronald after the successful docking


In usual fashion after Transposition and Docking the CSM and MEM made their way to the Mun

3 days later...


Apollo 17 finally arrived at their destination the Mun in a Parking Orbit. The crew is now beginning for detachment of the MEM and CSM for landing


The MEM powers on in the darkness


After final checkouts and goodbyes Gene and Harrison departed from the CSM and began their descent on MEM "Challenger"


"Engine ignition..." Harrison confirms as the MEM falls out of orbit on a trajectory towards a somewhat clean landing site

"Within 150 Meters..." 

"Keep it steady Harrison"


With a soft bump Challenger touched the Mun for the first and last time

KCC let out sighs of relief as they awaited Gene and Harrison to leave the Ascent Stage hatch


Gene leaves first...


...Followed by Harrison shortly after


And of course in traditional fashion the Stars and Stripes was planted on the surface


After flag planting Harrison and Gene moved over to where their MRV was stowed and prepared it for use


The MRV was carefully removed and assembled and was brought on a small test drive around the MEM before they moved to face the direction of Science Station #1


After a 20 minute drive through rough and rocky terrain the crew arrived at SS #1 and set up a small array of science equipment

Harrison being a geologist collected multiple rock samples for examination back on Kerbin

the two went in a loop near a large impact crater before returning to the MEM a few hours later to get rest before SS #2

7 hours later...


The crew woke up after their rest period to head out on a 30 minute drive to SS #2 to place Seismometers and Antennas 

Twice as many samples were collected for examination with the largest rocket ever collected by any mission

The duo made another loop near the crater before returning for the return home


Once they returned to the MEM Harrison made his way back on foot while Gene parked the MRV to get a video of ascent

When Gene stepped inside the hatch he made a final message 

"I'd like to just say what I believe history will record, that America's challenge of today has forged Kerman's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Munn, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all Kerbalkind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17 and Long Live AAP."


The guillotine system cut connections to the descent stage and the ascent stage was free flying back to orbit (MRV is a small speck if you zoom in)


Gene and Harrison now wait in isolation as Ken comes to rendezvous 




After transfer, Ken docked with the Ascent Stage to give Gene and Harrison access to the CSM

They greeted each other after their long separation


With the crew onboard Challenger was discarded and left in Munar Orbit

now it was time to go home...after deploying a subsat


Alright now they return




During transit Ken did an EVA to extract film from the SM for review back on Kerbin


As they reached Kerbin the SM was jettisoned and the crew strapped up for reentry


Super hot gases make a flaming trail around the CM as they burn through the atmosphere at 3k m/s




Main Chutes


And the final splash brings Apollo 17 to a wet end! From here on it is all AAP!



This one took much long than it should've which meant some important details were left out of the final draft (Which I've remade 4 times now ;-;) I ask for your guys support as I continue this AH so tell a friend to come check this out (help)

Up Next

Skylab 5 will be launching with a new crew and after Skylab 5 will be 6 with some more expansions and adjustments 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/29/2022 at 3:11 PM, emord-nillap said:

Liking the work so far! It's a wonder you have only two subscribers (me included)  :D

Yeah I don't get much traffic here often (probably because of my bad upload schedule) but I'm glad you enjoy it and I'm actually gonna do Skylab-5 today or tomorrow so stay tuned!

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I wanna post this now so people are aware of this but THERE WILL BE A TIMESKIP AFTER APOLLO 19-1!!! I chose to do this because Apollo Munar Landings are very repetitive (and difficult because of some issues I encounter) and the timeskip will probably go from 1974 (A-19-1 mission) to 1976 maybe I’ll post one or two more messages to follow this up but keep this in mind as I continue ETH

Just now, AlmondTheAstronaut said:

I wanna post this now so people are aware of this but THERE WILL BE A TIMESKIP AFTER APOLLO 19-1!!! I chose to do this because Apollo Munar Landings are very repetitive (and difficult because of some issues I encounter) and the timeskip will probably go from 1974 (A-19-1 mission) to 1976 maybe I’ll post one or two more messages to follow this up but keep this in mind as I continue ETH

Also I’d like to apologize for the lack of posts lately due to things I’m doing in my life rn so just bear with me. Skylab 5 will be coming soon!!!

Hint hint for 1976: XLR-129…

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