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The Sky is Not the Limit: A Modded KSP1 Career Playthrough - Volume Two: Settling the Frontier


TwoCalories

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The Sky is Not the Limit:

A KSP1 Mission Report

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The Sky is Not the Limit will show the development of the Kerbal Aeronautics and Space Administration (KASA) from a small Kerbin space program from the country of Vankadia, striving to beat the Zolosten Union to the Mun, to (if all goes planned) a large organization, settling the final frontier and pushing the limits of Kerbalkind.

This save will be mostly normal difficulty, but with Kerbal G limits, plasma blackout, and no Kerbal respawn. I also have a bunch of mods, but the most important ones are Kerbalism, Outer Planets Mod and Exploration Plus.

The full modlist is here:

Spoiler

Last updated: 12-23-23

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And the full table of contents are here:

***

So, without further ado, let's get this started!

(EDIT: At over twenty chapters in, I decided to retcon the countries system in this report. Now, instead of having Earth countries in Kerbin, we now have unique countries and flags, however, this does mean that for all the chapters up to Chapter Twenty will feature American flags, and may have some occasional inconsistencies. I've tried to edit the "legacy" chapters as best I could, but there's no getting around the flags. So just try to maybe imagine that the American flag is this flag instead:

Spoiler

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Volume One: The Race for Space - The Kerbin country of the Socialist Union of Zolosten has started reaching out into space. Given the competitive nature of Kerbals, the Democratic States of Vankadia's space program won't stand for this and will attempt to land the first Kerbal on the Mun.

Chapter One: Big Things Start Small

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Note: These photos were made in a different save after the originals were lost. I've tried to be as consistent with the originals as possible, but there may be some errors. These missions were done 100% legitimately in the main save.

Spoiler

Kerbalkind is said to have begun gazing up to the stars since the earliest days. Even through harsh times on Kerbin, the shining cosmos always provided a source of hope. But for the past decades, space had never felt so far away.

In 1955, the first Kerbal space programs began to form. They established a small satellite network mostly for military purposes, but it was still a step forward. However, just when they were beginning to pick up speed, the unimaginable happened. A massive asteroid, named 1955CE04 "Perses" was on collision course with Kerbin. Despite the world's governments' best efforts to destroy or redirect it completely, it exploded in the atmosphere and its fragments made planetfall. The continent of Echolahn was hit hardest, resulting in the massive crater in southeastern Echolahn. While the 1.5-kilometer asteroid wasn't enough to destroy life as we knew it, it introduced global instability on a scale never seen before. In this chaos, space technology was near-completely forgotten as survival and defense took priority.

By 1961, Kerbin was picking up the pieces after not its first, but second global conflict. The Global War II, while eventually won by the Allied Powers of the war, left devastation around the globe. Millions of lives were lost on all sides. Entire empires, once ruling huge parts of Kerbin, were now utterly obliterated. There were sights that many would never forget; Vankadian Marines lifting the flag after a long, harsh, battle, and F-4 Phantoms flying formation above the continent of Echolahn.

In Global War I, Kerbin was mostly dominated by empires. By GWII, however, these empires had fallen, and had been replaced by independent countries. It was in these confusing times, as nations came out of their long colonization periods, that the two biggest powers on Kerbin, the Federated States of Vankadia and the Socialist Zolosten Union, entered a proxy war, as both sides feared the other's influence spreading to these newly liberated nations. In these two global superpowers desperate race to have the best technology, some Zolosteni engineers realized that the newly researched ICBM technology had other uses too. And in early 1966, the Zolosten Union did something unprecedented.

***

The Zolostenis put a Kerbal in space.

All around the world, countries and citizens were shocked. For centuries, Kerbalkind had only dreamed of reaching for the stars, a task that seemed impossible given the massive military conflicts of the time. Now, even in the midst of a heated Cold War, the Zolosten Union had done it. And Vankadia wasn't about to let them go without some competition.

And so, Vankadia's existing Kerbal Advisory Committee Aeronautics (KACA) was rebranded into the Kerbal Aeronautics and Space Administration (KASA). This Vankadia-led initiative was lead Kerbalkind's space exploration programs, to slip the surly bonds of gravity and reach for the stars. Oh, and also to beat the Zolostenis.

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With a healthy budget of 25,000 VF and a workforce of the best engineers, scientists, and pilots in the country, it was time to begin!

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Anyway, here is Pathfinder-0, a small capsule strapped onto a trash can filled with explosiv- I mean, high tech solid rocket booster. Someone with a keen eye will notice I have the Geiger Counter and Thermometer experiments already. That's because I did a quick launchpad science run but forgot to take a photo of it. Oops.

Our brave pilot is the one and only Jebediah Armstrong Kerman! Jeb was a captain in the Vankadia Maritime Defense Force and flew F/A-18s in the tailing end of GWII, before becoming a decorated test pilot in KACA. He helped in taking the victory for the Vankadian forces in several battles, but now he will work toward a much more noble goal, of exploring the cosmos.

Spoiler

In my headcanon, Kerbal middle names are like human last names. The Kerman part... well, sometimes in KSP lore, you just have to not think about it too hard :P.

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Here you can see Jeb launching on what is essentially a giant firework from the launchpad at the Kerbal Space Center. His trusty vessel won't get him quite to space, but it'll be a step forward into researching the effects of g-loading and be a shakedown test of the space capsule prototype.

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KASA Mission Transcript, October 14th, 1966 - Pathfinder-0:

KSC: Okay, Jeb, how are you feeling?

Jeb: Everything is nominal, G-loading is relatively low. Good thing we dialed down the thrust limiter on this!

Jeb: Fuel is almost out, preparing for burnout.

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Jeb: Fuel depleted! Preparing for chute deployment.

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KSC: Jeb, you just spiked at 10 G's. You alright?

Jeb: That was pretty tough, but it wasn't too bad, since it didn't last long.

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KSC: Spectacular work, Jeb! Once you're on the recovery ship, we have fresh coffee waiting.

***

While the successful flight of Pathfinder-0 was taken as a victory by KASA, the media was unimpressed. The public mocked KASA's tiny little rocket, while the Zolosteni Union were using their massive, repurposed missiles to reach space. KASA was now more motivated to prove them wrong. Plans were being made by the administration teams at the KSC... big plans.

But determined to show the world that they were capable of launching a Kerbal beyond the atmosphere, they did lots of research from what they learned from Pathfinder-0 and modified a two-stage ICBM to launch a small capsule to space. While the vehicle was smaller than the Zolosteni designs, it could perform more scientific research, and the technology was more flexible to modify for different missions.

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It would be pilot Valentina Ride Kerman, a lieutenant in the Vankadian Air Defense Force, who piloted the Pathfinder-1 to space. With only the orbital info in the lower left corner of the UI primitive instruments and a small flight computer, Val flew her vessel to space.

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Spoiler

I am aware that Val is based off of the real-life cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, so her middle name should not be Ride. But to me, it wouldn't make that much sense to have an astronaut based off a Soviet astronaut in a race against the Soviets, so I decided to make Val's middle name Ride, so Val Kerman would be a double-homage to two female trailblazers in spaceflight. Anyway, moving on!

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Spoiler

It was at this moment that I remembered that I forgor to turn on TUFX.

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KASA Mission Transcript, May 5th, 1966, Pathfinder-1:

Val: Control, we have an Apogee of 150 kilometers. A wild ride, that was!

KSC: Roger, Val. You're high up enough to open up the payload bay and deploy the antennae.

Val: Roger, I'm on it.

Val: It's beautiful up here, I'm just lost for words.

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At around 80 km up, Val closed up the payload bay and prepared for reentry.

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Reentry got a little toasty. Good thing we packed a heat shield! The other streak in the background is the spent booster stage. Farewell, booster. You did well...

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Val: Drogue chute is cut, and main chute is deployed.

KSC: Congratulations Val! Once you splash down the carrier teams will recover you and your craft.

Val: What about that KSC party to celebrate the mission?

KSC: Dang it, who told her? It was supposed to be a surprise!

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And so KASA celebrated their first space mission, and it was clear that their next step was a mission to orbit! But for a mission to orbit, they couldn't rely on eyeballing the orbital info. So they modified the Tracking Station at the KSC to support more advanced orbital info. They also modified the launchpad so that it could support heavier loads. KASA had gotten to space, and now they were ready to stay there, and send a Kerbal to orbit.

***

 The KSC Admin Team decided it was time to unveil their secret plan to the public. The Vankadian president, John F. Kerman stood before a crowd in a nearby university and gave a speech that would be remembered for ages. A speech that would change the world:

"We choose to go to the Mun in this decade and do the other things, not because it is easy, but because it is hard!"

And all around the world, Kerbals from all nations knew things would never be the same.

 

Edited by TwoCalories
Added chapters, edited modlist, etc.
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1 hour ago, Vanamonde said:

I don't see your pictures. :( If you upload them to Imgur you can simply copy the BBCode they provide directly into your post without needing any formatting. Maybe try that? 

Weird, when I was writing chapter one, the BBcode didn't work for me. I followed this tutorial instead:

I use a guest account, if that means anything.

Edited by TwoCalories
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Chapter Two: The Science Must Flow

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Spoiler

 KASA's announcement of their plans to land a Kerbal on the Mun before the Zolosten Union received lots of mixed emotions. Were they actually serious? Would they be able to do it? Will the Zolostenis do it first?

But before we can find the answers to those questions, we still have a space program to run.

First, we did a second suborbital hop with the Pathfinder-2.

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That got us some science, put not enough to unlock the Science Jr., or the Terrier engine. But we still had good enough technology to reach orbit (praise Restock+'s "Pug" engine!) so we built Pathfinder-3, KASA's first orbital class vessel.

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Yep... no fancy-pants mobile launch pad this time. Even using the BDB fuel tanks to cut down part count we barely scraped past. But we did it!

Spoiler

I delayed this chapter by a day because I had to redo a the mission because I used the stock low-tech fuel tanks when I realized I could bring science if I used the BDB tanks.

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KASA Mission Transcript, February 20th, 1966, Pathfinder-3:

Jeb: *Whoops* Feel her go!

KSC: Pathfinder, this is Koaington. Prepare your gravity turn.

Jeb: Roger, Koaington! Executing gravity turn... now!

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KSC: Jeb! Tracking cams show an explosion! Do you read?

Jeb: That booster separation was hairy! The rocket's readouts look good, I don't think we need an abort.

KSC: Actually, there is no abort system other than bailing out with a parachute, which you're too high up to do.

Jeb: Koaington, I didn't hear that. Can you repeat?

KSC: Uhhh... nothing.

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Jeb: We have stage separation! Upper stage active!

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Jeb: Koaington, we have achieved a roughly circular orbit at about 100 KM.

KSC: Good work, Pathfinder! Initiate coast configuration, and then you can open a bag of dehydrated snacks to celebrate.

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Here we can see the Pathfinder's on-orbit configuration, with the science bay open and the single antenna deployed. Jeb will make one orbit of Kerbin due to the limited battery capacity of Pathfinder-3.

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After the deorbit burn, Jeb separates the Service Module and prepares for reentry.

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One last orbital sunrise. Beautiful!

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Reentry went without a hitch, and Pathfinder-3 safely splashed down in the oceans West of the KSC.

With the funds we received, we upgraded Mission Control and the Kerbonaut Complex, providing better flight planning and EVA simulators. With funds on hand, we built Pathfinder-4. It was similar to Pathfinder-3 in design, but with two less SRBs and a probe core to maintain SAS while the pilot EVAs. As a bonus, the probe core also has a science experiment built into it from Kerbalism. It also has small solar panels from Bluedog Design Bureau.

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Val was determined to not be outplayed by Jeb and his first orbital flight. You see, being the top two pilots at the KSC (and the only pilots at the KSC) Jeb and Val were in a bit of a rivalry to go faster, fly higher, and just do cooler stuff. But don't worry, it's just a friendly rivalry. All the OG Kerbonauts are very good friends.

Spoiler

This is more of my headcanon for KSP. You'll see a lot of my headcanoning in this Mission Report.

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I bet you've all seen a basic orbital launch before, so I skipped through this kind of fast.

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Here we can see Val burning for orbit. To maximize the science, Pathfinder-4 will burn into an elliptical orbit to get that juicy High Kerbin science.

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KASA Mission Transcript, May 24th, 1966, Pathfinder-4:

Val: Koaington, coast phase is initiated, and I'm stepping out of the hatch for EVA-1.

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Val: *Inhales* Beautiful.

The EVA lasted for two minutes before Val reboarded the spacecraft and the coast phase continued.

Spoiler

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Bonus shot of the UI while Pathfinder-4 is in the radiation belts. I can't wait to get my hands on Action Groups...

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A second EVA is performed.

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The deorbit burn was performed, but soon a problem was discovered.

Val: Koaington, the spacecraft is going to reenter faster than we thought. The heat shield won't be able to handle it!

In the few remaining minutes before reentry, Mission Control deemed that the only way to safely reenter was to do a breaking burn before entry.

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Reentry was very toasty, and I was too preoccupied with keeping Val alive that I forgot to take photos. But thankfully she survived.

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The mission brought over 90 science credits! I immediately researched the Science Jr. and some basic plane parts. Now KASA is figuring out our next steps. Plans are being made for a capsule that holds two, and is very versatile. A cargo bay will hold science equipment or small satellites. But we haven't reached that technology yet, so more research must be done.

 

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Chapter Three: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

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Spoiler

KASA was becoming a very well-oiled space program. With science earned from their previous two orbital missions, new technologies for planes and science equipment were developed. And so, Pathfinder-5 was quickly built and launched into an orbit similar to Pathfinder-4's, with the KASA lab coats eager to get the new data from the Science Jr. module. Maybe a little too quickly...

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But an engineering oversight was quickly revealed before Jebediah completed even one orbit.

KASA Mission Transcript, April 13, 1966, Pathfinder-5:

Jeb: Koaington, the Science Jr. is draining all the Electric Charge too fast for the ship to recharge! We should have added more solar panels!

KSC: We'll have to abort the mission. There is nothing we can do.

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There were a few scary moments where Electric Charge was depleted. Luckily, Jeb had a pressure suit on, but he couldn't reorient the ship so the solar panels got plenty of light. With some emergency burning of the engine for the gimbal, however, he was able to save the mission. His emergency maneuvers left too little fuel to do a braking burn from his elliptical orbit, however.

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From KSC mission control, the controllers watched with bated breath as Pathfinder-5 reentered the atmosphere.

"Flight, tracking cams showed an explosion and several streaks in the atmosphere," one of the controllers said.

"Reentry plasma should fade out soon," Flight Director Gene Kerman said, "we'll be able to communicate again."

Mission control was eerily silent for the next two minutes.

"Jeb, Koaington. Do you read?" the CAPCOM said.

No response.

"Jeb, Koaington. Do you read?" the CAPCOM repeated.

Suddenly, a crackle came through the radio.

"Koaington, Pathfinder-5. I'm alright."

Everyone in mission control cheered. Jeb was alive!

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After the capsule was recovered, it was found that the Science Jr. kit had melted from the intense heat. The ablative heat shield had been flung out by the explosion, but miraculously, Pathfinder-5's capsule survived the reentry. Immediately a crisis meeting was held and an investigation committee was formed. They found that the rushed development and flight planning oversights were the cause of this problem. Crewed spaceflights were put on hold as new modified designs were developed.

In the meantime, KSC engineers decided to utilize the SpacePlane Hangar for the first time and build a small plane from the new parts they researched.

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Alpha Mk0 was the result of this. It received its "0" designation because it was only a prototype.

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"Negative, Alpha, the pattern is ful-" "AGH! JEB!" "Not my coffee!"

As you can see, Jeb was still a bit annoyed at the mission controllers for sending him on a deathtrap spacecraft.

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With a little badass-ary, Jeb landed the Alpha Mk0 with the help of two drogue chutes. He helped gather some science from this flight, but it wasn't much.

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But KASA didn't forget that they were still in a race. The Zolosteni Space Program was launching satellites into space, so KASA decided to do so as well, and show the US space program's superiority of something. But mostly because a private company was paying us big bucks for these.

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The Scout series of satellites was built. it was launched on a second-generation Pathfinder booster.

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Scout-1 launches at dawn, its three SRBs and the Swivel engine kicking it off the pad.

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A clean booster sep. Huh.

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Three maneuvers later, Scout-1 was deployed into its highly elliptical orbit. This orbit will likely be disturbed by the Mun at some point, so why our contractors wanted this orbit so badly, we don't know. But hey, we got paid for it!

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Kerbin and it's two moons observe their new roommate. "The council will decide your fate."

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Scout-2 was launched.

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And another successful satellite mission! Sweet, sweet, payday.

The Scout series of satellites proved to be very versatile and efficient. To the honest surprise of me the engineers and scientists, these satellites could do flights with thousands of Delta-V remaining. We soon got more contracts from private companies for scientific data, and even to move Scout-2 into a lower inclination orbit! Satellite contracts started flowing in, which had proven to be very good for raising funding. KASA's head accountant Mortimer Kerman was very happy. Over the years, Kerbin orbit will become busier and busier.

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KASA scientists were also considering other uses for the Scout satellites. Calculations showed they could easily be sent to the Mun and Minmus, and maybe even orbit them! Hmmm...

 

Edited by TwoCalories
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A new chapter will come tomorrow. More contract grinding, and something special, if I do say so myself...

Sooo, yeah. It'll come next weekend instead of today. Sorry.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As alluded to by the above post...

Chapter Four: Back in the Race

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Spoiler

While KASA had a lot of success with their satellite program, we still have a race to win. A space race.

The Zolosteni Space Program had been launching probes to Kerbin's two moons, the Mun and Minmus. So KASA try it out for themselves.

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And so on October 11th, 1966, Scout-5 was launched, a modified Scout satellite. In the background, you can see the upgraded VAB, the reason we could get the fancy Mobile Launch Platform.

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After a flawless launch, Scout-5 relit its engine to burn to... drumroll please... the Mun!

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Farewell, Kerbin...

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...And hello, Mun! The Scout-5 immediately began activating its onboard experiments to get as much science as possible.

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With bated breath, the mission controllers at the KSC watched as Scout-5 slipped behind the far side of the Mun seconds before the capture burn. There would be no way to know if the probe captured successfully until they regain communication. After several tense minutes, the comms came alive with all the science data being transmitted.

"The probe's alive!" the SatCon controller yelled. "THE PROBE'S ALIVE!!!"

Mission control erupted with cheers and applause. KASA had put their first craft in orbit of the Mun! They were one step closer to their ultimate goal... a Kerballed Mun landing.

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The engineering cameras onboard the craft caught several stunning photos, despite being black-and-white.

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Here you can see one of the engineering cams placed on the service bay doors. The geiger counter, probe core, batteries, engine, and antenna are all visible if you look closely enough.

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A beautiful Kerbinrise! Unfortunately, Scout-5 and the surface of the Mun aren't very well illuminated.

In just a few weeks on November 8th, 1966, KASA was quick to follow up their historic mission with another historic mission; to Minmus!

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Small side note: In the time between these missions, I installed the amazing mod RSMP, which adds SRB waterfall effects, so that's why the plumes look much nicer.

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The minty little pebble looms ahead in complete shadow. If you look hard you can see a faint outline in the sunflare.

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One flawless capture later, Scout-6 was in an elliptical orbit to maximize science gathering. It soon sent back a small album of pictures from the engineering cams. I can't get enough of those black-and-white photos.

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Yes, I know there's a target box from the jettisoned transfer stage... shhh!

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Today, the Scout series satellites have proven themselves to be more than a cash cow. They are fully capable deep-space probes. The science earned from these two missions will be invaluable to researching new technologies for bigger and better crewed vessels. KSC engineers got their plan for modifying some Scout satellites to be capable of landing on the Mun or Minmus. With new technologies unlocked, an upgraded Mission Control Center, and an ever-motivated crew of engineers, scientists, and Kerbonauts, it was clear that KASA was back in the race.

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Unfortunately, no chapter today. I still haven't done enough missions to make a reasonably-length chapter. One will come sometime next week. On the bright side, I'll be more available over the summer so chapters can come out more often!

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Chapter Five: Keep the Science Flowing!

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Spoiler

Champagne was popped and fireworks lit the sky as all of Kerbin celebrated a new year, into 1967! KASA had been enjoying the increased funding and rewards from their new programs for the Mun and Minmus. The VAB was upgraded to allow bigger craft, and the Mission Control Center was given a much-needed makeover. But the engineers at KASA had bigger plans then just orbiters.

See, the Zolosteni Space Program had launched several Munar and Minmar (?) impactors, but not a soft-landing probe. Opportunity was knocking at KASA's door.

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And so on May 30th, 1967, KASA launched Scout-5, an ambitious lander designed to use a mixture of power descent, retrorockets, and lithobraking to safely land on the surface of the Mun.

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Mission Controllers held their breath as Scout-5 put itself on suborbital trajectory in preparation for landing...

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"Okay flight, we have a good sep of the transfer stage."

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"Separation in T - 3... 2... 1..."

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"Flight, we have separation!" "Retrorockets are firing!" "Shock absorbers are out!" "Touchdown in 3... 2... 1..."

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The mission controls sat in silence, wiping perspiration off their foreheads, and one by one they all stood up from their consoles and stared at the main screen in shock, disbelief, and relief. The probe was alive! And this time, for the first time in KASA's history, we were first! The first!

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...and with the help of the onboard gyroscopes, the little probe got up on its feet again.

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Shortly after, on April 17th, 1967, Scout-6 was launched, with lessons learned from the previous mission. A new retrorocket system was added that would allow a safer landing.

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Ignore the glitched plumes... ignore the weird target box...

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Scout-6 stands tall and proud on the Minmar planes. These missions earned KASA lots of mytes of data (yes, a science point is called a myte. Look it up), but it wasn't enough to research enough new parts for the next generation of crewed vessels. So KASA made the decision to outsource R&D, to crunch down every last myte of data, because we need all the mytes we can get our hands on.

Also at some point, Scout-9 was launched, to fulfill a contract for the first commercial satellite above the Mun. However, an intern had forgot to read the fine print and we found out too late that it required a prograde orbit instead of the retrograde orbits that KASA runs by... oops. Poor Scout-9 is still sitting in Retrograde Mun Orbit. Maybe another contract will call for a retrograde orbit sometime in the near future...

But the science problem was still on our hands. So we launched a daring mission... a rover!

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With the tech we could research, our engineers put together a rover small enough that it could fit in the small Scout cargo bay! It could travel around to different biomes, and grind science. Also, the Zolostenis had landed a rover a little after Scout-6, so this could be a neat opportunity to catch up again.

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If the MER rovers in real life could handle that "balloon bounce-fest", then surely our rover can handle this.

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And so Nomad-1 set its wheels on the surface. This will be a great step forward for scientific research of the Mun and pushing the limits of the Scout probes.

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The Nomad checks out the discarded engine stage, which miraculously survived the impact. This will provide good information on the impact tolerance of our parts.

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The Mun... so lonely... so desolate... so barren... but yet so magnificent- wait are those clouds?

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It's only a short drive to the Twin Craters from here... and a slightly longer one to a Crater biome.

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Nomad-1 stands proud on the edge of cliff overlooking the Twin Craters. Nomad's expeditions do not end here, an excursion will be attempted the nearby Craters biome as well. And Scout-9 may finally serve a purpose as a contract requested a retrograde orbit. Happy endings all around!

Spoiler

A longer chapter this week, as I've taken these photos over the course of a week. Hopefully next week we'll see some Kerbals again! I will be taking a hiatus for about a week, so hopefully the longer chapter this week should cover for it. I'll have more free time now, so expect a slight increase in the releasing of chapters.

 

Edited by TwoCalories
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  • 2 weeks later...

This Week at KASA: Unmanned Explorations

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Spoiler

Scout-9 has been placed successfully in a high elliptical orbit. This mission earned KASA valuable funds and science data.

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Scout-9 separates from its expended transfer stage.

Nomad-1 ventured to a new biome to grind science. The little rover's drives have become of increasing duration, to push the limits of its capabilities. It soon set off for its longest journey after transmitting the last of the gathered data.

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Munar night soon closed in on the Nomad-1 rover, but with its batteries still full from its last charge, Nomad continued on its long journey to a new biome where it gathered as much science as it could before succumbing to the bitter cold and lack of sunlight to power its photovoltaics. Rest in peace, Nomad. You have served us well.

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Spoiler

I must confess that for these long drives I do use VesselMover to skip over the drives, made treacherous by Parallax rocks. If there is any better way to automate the drives, or make them more tolerable, please let me know.

More news on the crewed spaceflight developments: KASA administration is considering cancelling the proposed two-seat vessel program. The program, named Gallant, was designed to pave the way for future, more advanced crewed missions to the Mun and Minmus, and maybe do flyby missions itself. However, it will take extra time to develop all the technologies, and KASA feels that the job can be done with its current Pathfinder vessels. Plans are being made to find ways to push the limits of the Pathfinder capsules, to pave the way for future technologies that will take KASA to the Mun, before the Zolosteni Space Program.

 

Edited by TwoCalories
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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Six:  Return to Flight

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Spoiler

With the Gallant program now cancelled, the KSC engineers had their work cut out for them as they now had to design a flyby craft using Pathfinder technology. Actually, it wasn't too hard. And soon, Pathfinder-6 was built and launched, with several improvements to the design based on lessons learned from previous missions, as well as utilizing new technologies.

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The new technologies, RCS blocks, a Science Jr. (not attached to re-entry section), extra batteries, and separation SRBs, can be seen in this shot.

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Ullage thrusters and a "Terrier" engine can be seen in this separation.

One orbit later, Bob Kerman entered the pre-calculated burn into his navigation computer (primitive technology) and began his Trans-Mun Injection burn. His mission would be to flyby the Mun to bring back valuable science for researching a more advanced spacecraft.

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"Bob to Koaington, I can see the whole world up here!"

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And Bob continued to make history, now not only as the furthest a Kerbal has ever gone from Kerbin, but now as the first Kerbal to flyby the Mun!

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Please ignore the glitched spacesuit.

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Kerbinrise!

And now it is time for Bob to get back home. They're serving fried chicken for dinner at the KSC canteen when Bob gets back, and he doesn't want to miss it.

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This wouldn't exactly be a free-return trajectory, so Bob had to do two correctional burns to get a good Perigee of Kerbin.

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KASA Mission Log, May 18th, 1967, Pathfinder-6:

Bob: Alright, Koaington, I've separated the SM, stowed the cargo bay and science, and I'm ready for reentry.

KSC: Roger, Bob. Uh...

Bob: KSC I couldn't read that. Say again?

KSC: Uh, we regret to inform you that an intern measured how much ablator to put in the heat shield.

Bob: Wait- are you saying they screwed up and put too little?

KSC: Err, sorry Bob, the plasma is cutting out the comms and I can't hear you.

Bob: I cannot believe this absolut- [TRANSMISSION CUT BY ATMOSPHERIC PLASMA]

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Fortunately, the heat shield held up, and Bob safely descended through the atmosphere until drogue chute deployment.

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Much to the disappointment of the carrier group waiting in the planned landing zone in the ocean, an error in the landing calculations resulted in Bob landing just short of the mountain ranges of the KSC, a hairy way to end such a historic mission.

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Bob was slightly bruised up by the rough landing, but alive. The ablator-less heat shield held up surprisingly well against reentry, but KASA decided against further experiments (for obvious reasons), and a certain intern was fired. But the mission was a success and returned a whopping 100+ Mits. And if you're wondering, Bob did get his fried chicken at the KSC canteen. Happy endings all around! Well, not for the intern I guess. Maybe he'll intern for something more his speed next time.

Spoiler

Hello whoever-reads-this! I know it's been awhile since I posted a chapter or update, but this is still going, I've just been playing other games, like Minecraft and Among Us (yes, the dead, cringe, meme game. But it is still fun). I hope you enjoyed the reappearance of Kerbonauts!

 

 

Edited by TwoCalories
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Chapter Seven: Pushing the Limits

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While KASA had racked up over 100 mits of science from Pathfinder-6, it would not be enough to research parts for the Mun landing program. So on August 27th, 1967, Bob Kerman was sent on another mission: Minmus flyby. And as you can see, Pathfinder-7 has launched and was now well on its way for a flyby course.

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Glitched suit again. I don't know...

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Pathfinder-7's trajectory only allowed for a short window to grab Low-Space science. Despite Bob's best efforts, he couldn't grab all the science, but he got some.

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Bob was disappointed that he only did a flyby, stating he could nearly "taste" the mint ice cream.

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A small correction burn to get the Perigee just right...

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...and we're homebound!

By now, Bob had spent over a week in the small, cramped Mk-1 Capsule, and it was starting to get a little, let's just say, stressful for him. He managed to barely hold onto his sanity, but KASA mission planners say that this strategy is not recommended. As you have seen through the course of this mission report, the Pathfinder program has been very experimental.

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Once again, Bob had issues with re-entry, this time attributed to his dangerous amount of stress after spending so much time in the cramped capsule.

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Landing was... uh... interesting.

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After that totally-not-dangerous-and-precarious landing, a nearby Vankadian army base immediately dispatched a recovery helicopter. Bob was recovered, shaken, but mostly unharmed. The mission had brought home and transmitted over 150 mits of science. Bob was also permitted some vacation time.

Spoiler

This Week at KASA: It Has a Name!

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While KASA had publicized their Mun landing program for some time, it never had a name. Now it does. Introducing...

Project Trinity!!!

The name Trinity was chosen for two main reasons: A) the capsule fits three crew members, and B) Kerbin and its two moons make three celestial bodies in the Kerbin System. Pretty cool, eh?

 

Edited by TwoCalories
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This Week at KASA: Standing Proud

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The year 1968 is upon us, and KASA has just wrapped up Scout-10, a mission to gather science from high solar orbit.

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The sight of a Scout probe launching from the KSC was a very nostalgic one, with craft originating all the way back in 1966! The satellite and booster is quite old, and it lacks lots of newly researched technologies that greatly improved KASA's rockets, but it was still a reliable design, despite the expended SRBs always colliding after separation. Unfortunately, the iconic spacecraft's days are numbered, as the aging design will only fly a few more missions before being phased out, bringing the end of an era at the KSC.

On the bright side, a new era begins! Trinity-1 has finally finished construction, with the booster being the biggest, heaviest, and most capable ever made! So heavy, that the launchpad had to be rebuilt and reinforced prior to the launch. The plan is to send Trinity-1 to a low Munar orbit, and they'll be arriving just in time for Christmas! KASA needs to pick up the pace, however, because the Zolosteni Space Program has also developed a Lunar rocket. Not much is known about it, but the point is that we still have a race to win.

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The Trinity CSM and its goliath Jovian-1B boosters stands tall in the VAB's high bay. As new technology is researched, the Trinity CSM and the Jovian-1b will evolve.

 

Also: Thank you so much for the 1K views! :happy::valhappy:I never thought that this mission report would even get... well, a small amount. I'm so glad that you guys that read this enjoy my writing style and missions. I've lurked around the Forums as a guest for over a year before joining, and writing a mission report is something I've always wanted to do. I'm super happy you guys like it. With the Trinity program moving forward fast, I'll start posting updates back-to-back, day-to-day to make it for a very special date...

Cheers!

-TwoCal

Edited by TwoCalories
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Chapter Eight: Christmas from the Mun

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Spoiler

The year was 1968. The day December 23. And on that day, while most Kerbals would be wrapping presents and hosting parties, three Kerbals were getting ready for a historic flight to the Mun: Trinity-1.

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 The brave crew would be veteran Kerbonauts Jebediah (pilot), Bob (scientist) and a newer Kerbonaut, Bill (engineer). The three of them would orbit the Mun for the first time, ever! Even beating the Zolosten Union, who was usually first at things. There was no activity from their own Mun landing program in the last few days, so KASA seized the launch opportunity for Trinity-1.

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Soon after circularizing the orbit, the Trans-Lunar Injection burn began. The CSM finished off the maneuver. This mission was designed be a shakedown test for the Trinity CSM.

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And so, on that Christmas Eve, Trinity-1 arrived in Munar SOI.

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In the KSC, mission controllers gathered to listen to the Kerbonauts orbiting the Mun, as they were going to make a special announcement, almost 12,000 kilometers from home.

"We are now approaching Munar sunrise," Jeb (the mission commander) announced, "and for all the people back on Kerbin, the crew of Trinity-1 has a message that we would like to send to you."

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Kerban. And the Kerban was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light.' And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness."

The Bill continued, "and God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

And then Bob went on, "and God said, 'let the waters under the Heaven be gathered unto one place. And let the dry land appear.' And it was so. And God called the dry land Kerbin. And the gathering together of the the waters He called seas. And God saw that it was good."

There was silence.

Then Jeb spoke, "and from the crew of Trinity-1, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you- all of you on the good Kerban."

The TV broadcasts went silent. And all around the world, viewers silently began to cry. Millions of Kerbals looked up to the night sky, where the beautiful Mun hung above them, and where three Kerbals were, far from their home.

And I think that we'll just leave it there, and let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Edited by TwoCalories
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This Week at KASA: Preparations Continue

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Trinity-2 launched on a mission to orbit Minmus as a second shakedown test of the Trinity CSM, as well as to gather more science.

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The brave crew of this mission would be Valentina Kerman (commander), Jeb, and Bob. Jeb was taken along to get more flight hours to become more experienced with flight in preparation for the Mun landing mission, Trinity-3.

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The historic mission brought home loads of science that was missed on Pathfinder-7, and it would contribute greatly to research for new spacecraft technologies. From the past two Trinity missions, we have learned several lessons on how to improve the design of the Trinity booster and CSM, with a beefier upper stage, minor tweaks to the parachutes, and a stronger capsule decoupler. All of this will fly on Trinity-3, the next mission.

 

Edited by TwoCalories
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