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Project 2-01: A Journey to the Mün

Cydonian Monk

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Project 2-01: A Journey to the Mün

This is Bill Kerman. 


Bill is not important to this report, aside from his distinction as being the first Kerbal to launch atop a rocket, the encouragingly-named "Fly Safe". Bill also has the distinction of being the first kerbal to survive landing in a capsule. And, thanks to his antics after said landing in said capsule, Bill is the first and last kerbal to have gone on an EVA. No one is quite sure why Bill was the last kerbal to go on EVA, they just know that whatever Bill did was bad enough the universe itself has banned all kerbals from ever exiting their capsules. This was an unfortunate turn of events, but not entirely unexpected given the cruel and unstable nature of this universe. 

Bill has not been heard from since.

Project 2-01
Goal: To land a kerbal on the Mün and return them safely to Kerbin.
Purpose: Evaluation of the bounds and fidelity of new Universe construct.
Expected Completion Date: Time is not relevant.
Project Lead: [redacted]

Task 1: Evaluation of Flight
Goal: Launch a kerbal.

This task involved construction of a two-stage rocket with a kerbal pilot, the launching of said rocket, and safe landing of the capsule under parachutes. 

Ignition of the first stage failed for unknown reasons, resulting in the rocket collapsing onto the launchpad. Second stage had a slightly-greater-than-1 thrust to weight ratio, which allowed its fast-thinking kerbal pilot to activate it, which saved the capsule and its pilot from certain destruction. The craft reached an altitude of roughly 2km before fuel exhaustion. The capsule separated from the spent second stage and landed safely under parachutes. Pilot Bill Kerman was recovered and removed to the extra-universal facility for evaluation and comparison with Ur Kerbal of equivalent specifications.


Craft: Fly Safe
Launch Date: Year 0 Day 0
Crew: Bill Kerman
Status: Limited Failure. Crew survived and were recovered successfully.

Task 2: Orbital Flight
Goal: Place a kerbal in orbit.

Task involved correction of the failed and questionable design from the previous Task. The first stage engine was changed to another methalox engine with more conservative specifications. Electrical generation and reaction-control equipment were also added to the craft's second stage to allow us to evaluate its on-orbit capabilities. 

The launch was generally unremarkable, aside from being the first successful launch of its kind. Vehicle traveled downrange and achieved its target apoapsis before exhaustion of fuel in the first stage. Testing of the Reaction Control Thrusters showed much greater than expected performance, a fact which did not go unnoticed by the craft's pilot. Pilot subsequently requested permission for a Münar transfer burn, which was rejected outright. The Reaction Control System was then remotely disabled to prevent any potential pilot interference. The electrical system showed the expected performance, though it was perhaps a bit overbearing with its repeated notifications of obscured stellar inputs into its solar collectors. The craft was permitted to complete roughly three quarters of an orbit before it was instructed to reenter. Entry burn and separation of the second stage was completed without issue. Evaluation of the projected reentry location revealed similar incorrect predictions as in prior Ur Universe constructs, and did not take atmospheric drag into account. No reentry heating was observed. Craft safely splashed down in the ocean at a safe speed under parachutes. Pilot Jebediah Kerman was recovered and removed to the extra-universal facility for evaluation and comparison with Ur Kerbal of equivalent specifications.




Craft: Alpha 02
Launch Date: Year 0 Day 0
Crew: Jebediah Kerman
Status: Success

Task 3: Fly-By of Mün
Goal: Conduct a Fly-By of the Mün at low altitude and return to Kerbin.

This task improved upon the design of prior rocket and increased its capabilities to provide for a free-return trajectory fly-by of the Mün.

Launch was unremarkable. Craft achieved desired parking orbit above Kerbin. Trans-Münar-Injection burn was plotted using maneuver node tools as provided. Delta-V (dV) expenditures predicted by the maneuver tool were within expected values based on observations in Ur Universes. Unfortunately during the conduct of the injection burn it was discovered the dV predictions were not updated reliably throughout the course of the burn, resulting in a severe over-burn and exhaustion of second stage fuel. Craft was ejected into interplanetary space, yet did achieve the desired fly-by of the Mün. Pilot was agitated, but performed his job admirably despite undesired outcome. The pilot was not recovered, and will remain in his capsule until such time as this universe is abandoned or he is rescued. Should Bob Kerman be safely returned to Kerbin, he will be extracted to the extra-universal facility for evaluation and comparison with Ur Kerbal of equivalent specifications.  




Craft: Alpha 03
Launch Date: Year 0 Day 1
Crew: Bob Kerman
Status: Limited Success, Continuing

Task 4: Landing on the Mün
Goal: Project Completion. Kerbal placed on surface of the Mün and returned safely to Kerbin.

This task involved the creation of two new elements: A lander for landing on and returning from the surface of the Mün, and an orbiter for the crew to launch in and return to the surface of Kerbin. Previous designs were discarded in favor of larger size classes of spacecraft. It was decided to launch the lander and the orbiter on two separate rockets and rendezvous in low Kerbin orbit, after which the second stage of the orbiter would be used for the trans-Münar-injection burn. The orbiter was designed to have sufficient dV to complete the capture into Münar orbit with the lander docked, and to escape Münar orbit alone upon completion of landing. The two-stage lander had sufficient dV in the landing stage to reach any equatorial location, and in the upper stage to return the capsule and crew of one kerbal to a rendezvous orbit with the orbiter. 

Task 4 Phase 1
Launch of the lander into its parking orbit was conducted by an onboard probe and without a live crew. This operation presented the first major difficulties of this new universe. It was discovered during the launch that the first stage of the launch vehicle was reluctant to detach from the second stage, despite being physically and visually separated. Some experimentation and reversal of time showed that the use of engine plates (mostly) alleviated the issue. Otherwise the launch was unremarkable and the craft successfully achieved its parking orbit.



Craft: Dust Lander
Launch Date: Year 0 Day 4
Status: Success

Task 4 Phase 2
Launch of the three crew members into an intersecting orbit with the lander revealed similar issues with separation of first stage from second stage. Adjustment of engine plates possibly resolved this issue after multiple reversals of time, events apparently unnoticed by the three crew members. Craft was placed into an acceptable parking orbit for rendezvous with the Dust Lander, and the rendezvous was completed within two orbits. Final docking and acquisition of the lander was completed in the dark, as is only fitting and proper. Remaining resources were transferred from the Dust Lander's second stage which was afterwards discarded. 





Craft: Dust Orbiter
Launch Date: Year 0 Day 5
Crew: Valentina Kerman, Tim C Kerman, Geofski Kerman
Status: Success

Task 4 Phase 3
The Trans-Münar-Injecetion burn was conducted at the first available opportunity. Prior experience with the maneuver node burn predictions were taken into account. The burn was started at the specified time, conducted for the specified length, and resulted in the predicted change in velocity. To verify results and act as a fail-safe, the calculated remaining dV available in the transfer stage at the start of the burn was noted, and expected dV remaining in the stage at the end of the burn was calculated by subtracting the dV required for the transfer. These numbers matched after the burn, a result which does not explain the results from Task 3. Further experimentation is suggested. Transfer stage was discarded following one minor correction burn to place the orbiter and lander at the desired Münar periapsis.




The Münar orbit insertion burn was unremarkable.



Craft: Dust Combined
Crew: Valentina Kerman, Tim C Kerman, Geofski Kerman
Status: Success

Task 4 Phase 4
Following Münar orbit insertion, preparations were made for the Dust Lander to proceed to the surface. No specific landing site was chosen; the only requirements being an equatorial location on the daylight side of the Mün with a clear unobstructed view of Kerbin. The crew elected Geofski as Dust Lander Pilot (due in no large part to his lower status on the seniority roster). Geofski transferred successfully into the lander's crew cabin and made preparations to separate from the orbiter and begin his descent. It was at this point the instability of the universe began to reveal itself, requiring multiple reversals of time. [Project Lead's Note: this constant manipulation of the new universe's timeline may have contributed to its increased instability, despite safety assurances from The Machine.] One particularly alarming instance saw the Dust Lander propelled at relativistic speeds into the Dust Orbiter after the lander extended its landing legs, resulting in total loss of both ships and crew. 

It was also during this phase that it was discovered objects could become "stuck" in space, instantly losing all of their orbital velocity. They would maintain their altitude and position over the surface of the Mün provided they were not directly observed; observation resulted in the resumption of gravitational acceleration, ultimately ending in the reversal of time to a point prior to the unavoidable demise of the craft and crew. 

The landing attempt proceeded once sufficient manipulation of the universe and timeline produced a viable sample. Further peculiarities were observed during the descent, such as the lander engine reporting zero available delta-V despite periodically offering accurate fuel readings. Further examination of the descent stage fuel tanks gave unreliable and occasionally non-existent values for fuel capacity. As such, the landing was performed with no indication as to the amount of remaining fuel, a remarkably stressful situation which did not go unnoticed by the pilot Geofski.




Landing was successful and safe. 

Geofski was unable to exit the lander and did not successfully plant a flag for reasons which have not been adequately explained at this time. [Project Lead Note: I blame Bill.]

Craft: Dust Lander
Landing Date: Year 0 Day 6
Crew: Geofski Kerman
Status: Controlled Success

Task 4 Phase 5
Geofski launched from the surface in the ascent stage of the Dust Lander after the Dust Orbiter had completed one orbit. Intercept information was not available for the best trajectory to launch into to the reach the orbiter, so Geofski was required to "eyeball it". During ascent, the pilot observed a large, partially-exposed rock arch in the distance, south of his trajectory. The reported location of this arch agrees with our observations of a similar arch in the various Ur Universes. Further exploration of this feature is encouraged. A close rendezvous orbit was achieved despite the complete lack of orbital tracking or interception predictions, which is a testament to the navigation and piloting skills of Geofski Kerman.

Further instability of the universe was observed during the rendezvous between the Orbiter and Lander. It was determined during this operation that any change in "Control" of a craft would cause the craft being switched away from to lose all of its orbital velocity and become "stuck" in orbit. Once the exact cause of this violation of conservation of momentum was confirmed, it was decided that Geofski would perform the entire rendezvous and docking procedure on his own. This was a procedure for which the dV of the ascent stage of the Dust Lander had not been budgeted, and required precise actions to prevent exhaustion of fuel resources. Orbital tracking and intercept predictions remained unavailable during this operation.

Despite these challenges, Geofski Kerman successfully docked with the Dust Orbiter and returned safely to his seat in its capsule. The ascent stage of the Dust Lander was discarded shortly after.




Craft: Dust Orbiter
Crew: Valentina Kerman, Tim C Kerman, Geofski Kerman
Status: Mitigated Abject Failure, Manipulated into Success

Task 4 Phase 6
The Münar escape burn occurred in the dark, as is only fitting and proper. The correct use of the maneuver tools once again verified prior mistakes with calculations were due to ignoring how the rather obstinate tool wished to be used. The timing and dV expenditure of the crew's own calculations agreed with the predictions of the maneuver tools. [Project Lead Note: The AeroGUI tool continues to inject itself into the observations, due to some peculiar instruction collision related to a previously unused interrupt known as "F12". The Machine suggests either the AeroGUI be moved to a new interrupt for the new universe, or the interrupt used for recording observations should be changed on our end. This wasn't a problem when the "F1" interrupt still worked.]

After a minor correction burn, the Dust Orbiter had a Kerbin periapsis well within the requirements for aerocapture and landing. 



Craft: Dust Orbiter
Crew: Valentina Kerman, Tim C Kerman, Geofski Kerman
Status: Success

Task 4 Phase 7
The service module of the Dust Orbiter was separated once the craft interfaced with the atmosphere of Kerbin. The capsule was self-righting during descent, and once again no reentry heating was observed. [Project Lead Note: This is a peculiar change in this new universe, and is not expected to endure.] Drogue chutes were effective at slowing the vehicle, and the main chute was sufficient to safely land the capsule and its crew. Note that one main parachute is not sufficient to comfortably land a capsule of this size, and the crew impacted the ocean in excess of 20 meters per second. Future missions should include more parachutes or some form of propulsive landing. 

The three crew members were extracted to the extra-universal facility for evaluation and comparison with Ur Kerbals of equivalent or similar specifications.





Craft: Dust Orbiter
Splashdown Date: Year 0 Day 8
Crew: Valentina Kerman, Tim C Kerman, Geofski Kerman
Status: Success

Final Project Notes
This new universe has proven to be very unstable in its current form. It has been suggested the "hardware" it exists in is insufficient for the task, despite no obvious performance issues. Unlike our various prior, Ur Universes, The Machine does not appear to have the ability to create and maintain separate "shards", that is, self-contained universes which behave by the same rules for the duration of their existence. This new universe is presumably an evolving and growing one, and is expected to undergo similar cyclical behaviour as the Ur Universes. As such, experimentation in this new universe must be conducted quickly, promptly, and in smaller and better-defined experiments, lest its own rules change during a test. It has not yet been determined if traditional methods of detecting cycles will work in this new universe. 

Kerbals removed from the new universe for evaluation show interesting evolutionary changes. Most noticeably, they have acquired a small layer of skin which moves over their eyes to clear debris or otherwise protect it from damage. Eye size disparity also seems somewhat different, a finding not consistent with our own consistently-inconsistent physiology. Hair coloration is thus far less varied than ours, though we do have a small sample set of non-core-four kerbals to compare. The kerbals themselves are not separated into castes and do not have inviolable assigned trades, which suggests these kerbals evolved from ancestors of ours prior to our own evolution of such organizational features. The personalities of recovered kerbals are, unfortunately, identical to their counterparts in our own universes.

A new, ring-like anomaly was observed on the surface of the Mün some distance north of Geofski's ascent. This is very likely another [redacted], and could perhaps be a threat to this facility. Careful and discrete experimentation is required. 

A temporal and gravitational anomaly was observed in the Duna / Ike system during this period of experimentation. Further analysis of this event is required, but sending a crew to observe it is strongly discouraged. Given the disproportionate amount of kraken activity in this new universe, there is a chance that particular problem will resolve itself without further intervention. 


Final Recommendation: Continued observation and experimentation must be conducted before we can declare this new universe as fit for migration.


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I really love the way this is written. The meta-ness of it all reminds of of an SCP article, with a lot of added dry humor. If that's what you were going for, congrats!

Love to see that Mun arches are still a thing, here's hoping some of the other anomalies are still out there too. And that some of these excessive kraken sightings get fixed in the next couple weeks...

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17 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

I really love the way this is written.


17 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

Love to see that Mun arches are still a thing, here's hoping some of the other anomalies are still out there too.

Time for a proper anomaly scouting mission, I think. I've only seen the two so far, including the old Mun arch and the new Mun ring thing. I think I spotted a couple others from low Mun orbit, but wasn't able to confirm at the time.

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