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It's The Wrong Red Moon... Adventures of an Alternate History!

Kimera Industries

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Wrong Red Moon

Greetings fellow Kerbonauts and Space Program directors! You all know the story of the space race as it happened on Earth (and maybe as it happened on Kerbin) but what if Earth's space race happened in the Kerbol system? This is the story of how America beat the USSR to the Mun- but not to Minmus!


July 20, 1969- Kerbals set foot on The Mun for the first time.

It would have been a crushing defeat for the Soviets, had Kerbin not had a second moon- a second chance for the Union. The advantages were immediately made obvious, along with the extra challenges- substantially less fuel was required, but it was a much longer, and harsher, journey. A new branch of the current space program was founded with one public goal in mind- exploring Minmus. Privately, however, the true goal was the complete and utter conquering and colonization of the small moon. The new branch was MISE- Minmus Soviet Exploration.

Several goals have been appointed to MISE:

  1. Send unmanned probes to explore and map Minmus.  Complete
  2. Land a kerbaled mission.  Complete
  3. Explore further and build permanent bases on and around Minmus. In development
  4. Establish control over Minmus airspace. Planned
  5. Explore further in the solar system. Planned

Mission Guide:

Chapter 1: Discovery

  1. Myatnee I (Inside OP)
  2. Korolev I
  3. Myatnee II
  4. Korolev II + III
  5. Pravda I
  6. Korolev IV
  7. Apollo 13, Accident Investigation (NASA Mission)
  8. Korolev V Crew Transport
  9. Korolev V

Chapter 2: Exploration

  1. Korolev VII
  2. Salyut I
  3. Progress I
  4. Korolev X


WoRM is on KerbalX! Check out the hangar for some sweet Soviet craft, more coming soon!



DISCLAIMER: This thread is not pro-/anti-communism or other ideologies. It's simply a fun exploration of an alternate history from a Soviet perspective.

Author's note on the timeline: (nonessential reading, for fun)


Similar to For All Mankind, the diverging point from our timeline is related to Sergei Korolev. In For All Mankind, Sergei survives his heart surgery in 1967, which he did not in reality. This key point lets the USSR pull themselves together and land on the Moon before the US. 

If you've read the book Space Race by Deborah Cadbury, which I highly recommend, you'll understand that even if Sergei had survived, Roscosmos might never have landed on the Moon. They were vastly underfunded and Korolev was under extreme stress managing most of the space program himself.  In WoRM's timeline, he survives his 1967 surgery. It serves as a wake-up call, and he organizes some help so he can focus on the struggling N-1 project. He doesn't survive a second surgery in 1968, but this extra year makes all the difference.

That, and the fact that in this timeline, all of human history and civilization has played out on Kerbin. Up until now, it has made no difference. History played out exactly the same, with changes in wording here and there. But Kerbin, as you know, has two moons. America largely neglected Minmus, sending a few unkerbaled probes, in favor of the Mun, the more popular of the two, and the one they had a goal to land on thanks to Kennedy. They are shocked when the USSR lands on Minmus and they struggle to adapt their technologies. Despite the Outer Space Treaty, the Mun will come to be regarded as America's, and Minmus, Russia's. In our world, the Cold War ground to a halt. But for WoRM, it's only just begun.



Chapter 1: Discovery

Examining the current resources of the space program, it was found step one could be completed with existing technology- a small probe/lander, originally designed for The Mun, the design had fallen short of the required fuel. It would be perfect for Minmus, however.

Enter Myatnee. 

Launched from a derivative of the R-7 rocket, it has more than enough fuel for a mission to Minmus. This freedom allowed for several landing sites to be chosen and visited in the same mission, saving valuable equipment and money.

August 7, 1969- Myatnee is launched. 



Tensions mount as the launch crew preps for the final moment. The new launchpad has never seen a full launch before, only static engine fires.


"3, 2, 1- liftoff! The first step in the exploration of our second moon!"



A beautifully performed cross.




Perfect separation. The mission is going very smoothly.



Orbital insertion at approx. T-12:14. Myatnee is ready for TMI, Trans Minmus Insertion.



Succesful reignition of the upper stage, a good step forward in technological advancement.


Ignoring the Mun, Myatnee will head strait for Minmus. Possible future techniques may include a slingshot to reduce fuel cost, but such a manuever was deemed too risky for a first-time mission.


Bye-bye Kerbin...


Hello, Minmus.




Retroburn successful, for a total of 3 burns and 2 reignitions, proving a very reliable engine.



While in orbit, Myatnee I mapped a significant portion of the surface, 34.6%.


Having mapped the maximum area for its orbit, retroburn is initiated.


Decent is going smoothly.


Detach. The third stage will impact the surface.




Myatnee I is meters from the surface. Controllers in Moscow watch in anxiety as the computer hopefully makes the correct decisions to land on its own.



Engine shutdown, and...


Touchdown confirmed!


Payload deployed and scientific measurements taken.


The initial landing site was chosen because of its proximity to another distinct region of Minmus. Myatnee will now hop to another location of scientific interest.


The second touchdown is successful. We will now begin scans on the nearby boulder.


Still analyzing...


Still scanning...


Our scans are conclusive! It's a rock!


Our goals were well met in this mission. We mapped a portion of the surface and gathered data on the surface itself.

Coming up next: A test of a new Kerbaled vehicle for exploring Minmus!

Edited by Kimera Industries
Added Author's note. moderator edited: TOTM tag added.
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1 hour ago, Vanamonde said:

Nice little probe design. :) 

Thanks! Didn't put too much thought into it, though. Half the science can't be transmitted before it runs out of juice, and deploying the payload bay destroyed one of the solar panels on my first try... Looks neat, though. I wanted to use the Stayputnik probe core even just for decoration because real Soviet Moon probes had a pressurized compartment, (Sputnik too, and their moon rovers, and their Venus probes, although that last one makes a bit more sense) because making a compartment for electronics is easier than redesigning them to work in a vacuum, I guess.

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4 minutes ago, Vanamonde said:

Lessons learned for next time. :) 

True, true. Like how I didn't even need a payload bay since it was in a fairing on ascent...

But... I can worry about aesthetics since this is a sandbox save, anyway, and it only has to be able to land.:rolleyes:

Or how a craft this close to Kerbol doesn't *need* those big solar panels, and yet everyone puts the biggest ones on all their space stations, regardless of power consumption.

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In case anyone looked it up... 

"Myatnee" is a rough English spelling of the Russian word for "mint," or "minty." When I posted this, I decided to look it up on Google Translate to be sure, and Google said it was "myatnyy." It's pronounced the same, so it doesn't matter too much. Something like this is tricky, (if you even can have a "correct" English spelling,) since many languages use entirely unfamiliar alphabets. All the other ships on the save I am using for this story have conventional English names so far, or Russian names that have an official English translation (Like Sergei Korolev, who influenced the name of more than one ship of mine) Any cool ideas for names are welcome and would be much appreciated- it might even be better than what I have currently. Oh, and I almost forgot- it's pronounced mee-yaut-knee.

I will stick with the Myatnee spelling for consistency.

Edited by Kimera Industries
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Korolev 1

The recent accomplishments of MISE have garnered national recognition. The first landing on Minmus is a significant accomplishment, and while well short of the grandeur of Apollo, a huge step forward for the exploration of Minmus. The Americans, hearing about a kerbaled launch planned by the Soviets, rush development on a Saturn V and lander tailored for a Minmus descent. The launch isn't as bad as feared by American spies, however. While it won't take Kerbals to the surface of Minmus, it will validate crucial components required for a mission of such scale. The most notable of these is the new Korolev spacecraft. Named after the former head engineer of the Soviet space program, who died in 1968 due to a failed heart surgery, survived long enough to work out crucial errors and problems in the N-1 program even after a troublesome operation in 1967. His legacy lives on in the Korolev, a new rendition of the Soyuz spacecraft. Simplifying many systems, adding much more elbow room, (which caused a week-long party in the kosmonaut breakrooms), and removing the orbital module allow for more money and fuel saved.

Jebediah Kerman was selected for the mission, with Dmitri Kerman as backup. Only one crew member would be needed, but the Korolev system could carry up to 3 kerbals.

On September 19, 1969, Jeb climbs into Korolev 1. 




All systems are go.


Ignition, and liftoff! The first flight of Korolev is away!



Succesful booster separation. A neat Korolev's cross, as usual. Maybe we name too many things after this guy.


Second stage separation. This launch is also using experimental fuel turbopumps to negate the need for hot staging. The lack of heavy shielding on top of the second stage allows for slightly larger payloads, but engineers were concerned that the benefits of a turbopump were outweighed by the complexity. The design worked well, but they see ways to improve it in future models.



The upper stage provided almost, but not quite enough of a kick to get into orbit. Korolev 1 will use its engine to make the final insertion, leaving no debris in space.



Succes! Korolev 1 and Jeb are officially in orbit!

Getting into orbit is not all that is planned for Korolev 1. To test the extended range and duration features, a Hohmann transfer is planned to boost K 1 into a circular orbit at 1,000 kilometers. 

Orbital Shenanigans:




The first part of the transfer is complete.



The transfer is complete! While not an altitude record by itself, Jeb will go on EVA, and set a record for highest altitude EVA, at 1000km. 



The EVA is not just for the prestige of such an accomplishment. Jeb is also reporting on the state of the engine, gathering important data for a long-duration, high-altitude mission to Minmus.


Jeb boards the K 1.


Deployables Retraction test. In certain scenarios, retraction of antennae and solar panels could be required. 



Test successful. 

A successful transfer and an EVA world record is impressive, too. With all mission objectives met, it's time for K 1 to come back to Kerbin.

Returning Home:



Deorbit burn. Trial and error to get close to the Baikerbanur Kosmodrome.


This bit was tricky. May need to add extra separation mechanics in the future,.Jeb reported, "The Kraken bumped us a bit there."



Drogues deployed. Jeb felt a little bump, as evidenced by his statement, "All systems-HOLY KRAKEN! Oh, it's just the drogues..."



Touchdown! Jeb is safe and the Korolev spacecraft is validated. Recovery antenna deployed.


Mission success! The Korolev spacecraft is ready for flight in future missions. 

Coming next- unkerbaled rover on Minmus, Myatnee II!

Edited by Kimera Industries
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2 hours ago, Duke MelTdoWn said:

Looks legit like a Soviet craft :)

Thanks! That's exactly what I wanted to hear, and also the goal behind this series. Good to know I got it right. I think as the story progresses (I have the 70s and 80s somewhat planned out) it will get harder to update the technology whilst keeping it vaguely "Soviet." Spaceplanes and Minmus bases- I think I could turn to some old concept art, even if it's not explicitly Russian some of them convey that impression. :D

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Good idea! One of the ships I have *already* built and is sitting around in my save folder is a spaceplane inspired by an old concept from von Braun's early days, called the "Ferry Rocket." The basic visual I captured is of a rocket that is basically the shape of a giant nose cone with wings on. With limited parts in KSP it looks ok. Capable of Minmus and back with no refueling, (I think, I haven't flown my updated version yet) it has 3 variants for passengers, cargo, and payload. The intent was to create a ship where I could easily pick what I needed and have a spacecraft tailored for the mission in no time. It actually worked very well! Another advantage of my particular design is that while it is a plane, it lands on its tail, allowing for easier takeoffs and landings on airless bodies.

I have a book about the history of the Space Shuttle (Ok, it's the library's, but still) and it has some great concept art because it goes through the entire history of spaceplanes until STS. It's given me loads of great ideas- maybe something better than my already-built spaceplane will come up!

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Myatnee II

Receiving more funding (and yet somehow not enough to make ends meet) MISE has put together a small rover out of surplus rocket parts and Joe's car. Don't tell him. Loading it onto a brand new R-7, the bright white of the fuel tanks gleams in the sunlight. Forgetting to paint the rocket saves time and money, so there might be white rockets on future missions. The goal of this mission would be to more accurately scan several rock formations spotted by Myatnee I in orbit. So, without further ado, Myatnee II:





"Liftoff! Myatnee II is away, along with Joe's car!"





Myatnee II is now in LKO. As MISE progresses, these launches become more and more routine.

Getting to Minmus:



Transfer burn. We launched when the pad was at an optimal location for a minimally inclined orbit to Minmus, saving much fuel.


Bye bye, Kerbin...


Hello, Minmus.


Retroburn above Minmus.


Low Minmus orbit confirmed. Ready for descent.

Success at arriving at Minmus safely!

Landing + Rover Mischief



Aiming for that salt flat past the plateau.


The transfer stage is ditched to impact the surface.





All wheels are planted firmly on the ground. Time to start exploring.


More fuel than we anticipated- let's use it to travel for now.


This formation is intriguing.



Oh... oh dear. It's made out of what, again? This information must never reach the public, you understand? Good.


Maybe this other rock has valuable data.



Nope. It's a rock.


We placed a rover for the first time on Minmus! The Americans must be pale with jealousy by now. Special thanks to Joe's car for contributing.


Edited by Kimera Industries
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Korolev 2 and 3

After such wonderful missions to Minmus, MISE decided to practice something more routine. Determining the docking capabilities of the Korolev system would be required for a Minmus mission, as the lander will rendezvous and dock with the main craft after landing, what an annoying amount of our engineers are calling "Apollo-style." It will also test new equipment and crew transfer. 

K 2 Launch:



The camerakerbal hides behind a water tower.







"What do you mean, we forgot the snacks? Send up another mission this instant to deliver them!"


K 2 is in LKO, waiting for delivery of snacks, and another crew member.

K 3 Launch. Skip if you want, it's nearly the same as K 2:



The camerakerbal is now hiding behind a warehouse. Attempts to bribe him closer to the launch with pizza failed.





K 3 is in orbit, with a maneuver to rendezvous with K 2 ready.

Docking and returning home:



Simple maneuver for K 3 to meet up with K 2.


"I bring you great tidings of snacks!"


The crew tries the Docking Port Alignment Indicator, a simple tool to make docking easier, as opposed to the Apollo mission's supposed method of "Lazy Lowne" docking, an option not really viable for stations or uncontrolled targets.


"You may now kiss the spacecraft." -Anonymous kosmonaut, ca 1968


After a week-long stay in LKO, enjoying the snacks, the entire crew transfers over to the K 2 module. Because we are responsible here at MISE, the K 3 craft will be pulled out of orbit as well.



Plasma blackout.



Safe touchdown and recovery antenna deployed.


Due south of the landing site, an ancient temple is discovered. Curious.

While missions to exotic places are fun and exciting, missions to build up our skills for a kerbaled mission are more important.

Coming next: an orbital surveyor, Pravda!

(But for now, I've earned myself a break. I wanna try a Duna mission on a science save for the first time)

Edited by Kimera Industries
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  • 2 weeks later...

Update: that Duna mission went well. Lotta science points from the research. Speaking of research, up next is a Minmus orbital surveyor, followed by a MISE equivalent of Apollo 8: putting a Korolev craft around Minmus and back.

If you think seeing the kerbaled mission first would be better or more fun, lemme know. I'll gladly change the schedule.

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Hang in there, guys! I wanted to do the Pravda mission, (yeah, that's the name of the orbital surveyor;)) I really did, but then, well, Mars rovers happened, and I wanted to make Pathfinder, so I worked on Sojourner, and long story short I discovered several glitches, such as

1. Suddenly load times are several minutes

2. KSC is entirely underwater and the craft is only visible from certain angles, and it shows the inside of parts rather than the outside

3. VAB/SPH appears black except for UI.

Usually reverting the flight/ PC restart fixes the problem but not always. I looked up some fixes today and will try them.

Pradva I (P1) hopefully coming tomorrow.

Oh yeah, and 

4. Making Sojourner is VERY hard but I will do my best for the cutest rover of all time.

On 9/26/2023 at 12:29 PM, Kerbalsaurus said:

Poor Joe…

Rest assured, Joe was duly compensated for his sacrifice.


We gave him a donut and he forgot all about it. :) (Along with a poster of various rockets, which would make me happy for several months at least)


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I got the Pravda I mission complete- coming soon.

Turning off anti-aliasing fixed the problems I was having before, thankfully.

(Stuff looks janky now but I'll get used to it)


Hey, this is actually a spoiler, so don't click on it if you don't want a spoiler. Kinda funny, everyone uses these to shorten a potentially lengthy post instead of their actual purpose. Not that KSP really has "spoilers," but you might not want to know, so I'll keep it hidden.


Minmus only has 2 anomalies, a black and a green monolith. Lame. Give us like, a giant ice cream cone upside-down on the surface or something.

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Pravda I

Only a few steps are left until MISE can complete its major goal- landing a kerbal on Minmus. One of these steps is to map out the planet and survey it from above. To accomplish this, MISE repurposes an old Kerbin surveyor satellite and renames it to something more fitting: Pravda.

Pravda I will follow the standard protocol for a mission to Minmus, with one major difference: Pravda will orbit in a polar orbit, to map the entire surface of the moon.










Pravda I in orbit.

Heading to Minmus:



Bye-bye, Kerbin...


Mid-course correction. This will crash the third stage into Minmus, removing the risk of debris impacting another vessel.


The spent stage's trajectory.


P 1 will now change its course subtly to avoid the same fate.


P 1's course.


Hello, Minmus.


Retroburn complete- Minmus has its first polar satellite!


Stable orbit.

At Minmus:



Scanning equipment deployed, beginning long-term analysis.


This ore data will be invaluable in selecting the site for a future surface base.


Beginning surface mapping.


Something is showing up on our scanners! What could it be?


P 1 has completed a Hohmann transfer to a higher orbit for more complete scans of the surface.


Filtering our results to areas only at 80% ore or above, we have found an ideal spot. East of our M 2 rover, in the plains for easy landing.


P 1's main mission is complete. It will serve as a relay for future missions.

Mission success- we have discovered 2 anomalies on the surface with our advanced scanning tech, proving that Minmus holds some secrets just like The Mun. We also found the best location for a surface base- in a previously explored area, with ore levels above 80%, and in the plains, too! Our science team will think up an ideal name for this location soon. Update: It's the Lunara Plains!

Edited by Kimera Industries
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Korolev 4

Big news, comrade! 

Our latest mission has been an enormous success, establishing the USSR as an equal country in space dominance!

The Korolev 4 mission was the first kerbaled flight to orbit Minmus- similar to Apollo 8- and we have made a huge step forward for the first kerbaled landing on Minmus!

The flight crew was Jebediah, Dmitri, and Valentina Kerman- excellent cosmonauts with wonderful flight records. Lifting off at an optimal window to match Minmus's inclination, the flight was practically perfect in every way!







A Korolev's Cross on the fourth Korolev mission. The humor in that is long gone at this point.





The Korolev 4 will remain attached to the upper stage, and it will put K 4 on a path toward Minmus.

Probably our best launch yet! Well, you can't tell from the screenshots, but it was a good launch.

Journey to Minmus:




K 4 will finish the burn with its main engine.



Bye bye Kerbin...


(Course correction)


Hello, Minmus.


Insertion into orbit.


The first kerbals to orbit Minmus are Soviet! A resounding sucess by our standards!

We have made history! The crew will perform a TV transmission during orbit and then return home.

At Minmus/ returning home:



The Myatnee II rover is directly beneath, the crew is remotely driving it around for some fun.


"Greetings from the minty moon! We hope you have a good day!" -Dmitri Kerman, Korolev 4 TV transmission.



"It looks bluer up close." -Jebediah Kerman


Engine burn home.


"See you later, Minmus! And trust me, we'll be back! Oh, will we be back!" -Valentina Kerman.



Ready for reentry.






Thanks to our sophisticated calculations (the mod Trajectories) we have landed close to the space center.


The recovery antennas are deployed, though I doubt they'll need it.

This was our Apollo 8 moment! The whole world is celebrating our achievements! The Americans are even happy, though that's because they have something up their sleeve, but so do we... and we have thick sleeves. The winters are cold in Siberia.

Up next: Can America catch up? Are both sides pushing too hard? Tune in next time to- Wrong Red Moon!

Edited by Kimera Industries
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8 minutes ago, TwoCalories said:

I like the concept of this thread! Followed.

Thanks! I hope the content can be good enough to make up for my less-than-optimal graphics. I don't have a very good PC, but I do my best!

To be honest, I can't remember where I got the idea from, but it definitely started when I learned more about the Russian side of the space race. RIP Sergei Korolev, such a cool guy. :cool:

Edited by Kimera Industries
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  • 3 weeks later...
3 hours ago, TwoCalories said:

Anything yet?

Currently, I have the rocket for Korolev 5 (the you've-guessed-it upcoming Minmus mission) built and it works well. I want to do a preceding mission about the crew transport to the launchpad, and that's about half done. I also have a little surprise from America planned. On top of that, though, I am approaching my final tests for the semester and need to study for them. I will work on WoRM tonight, hopefully.

Sorry, normally I'm more active than this. I'm just at this weird spot where it's easy to be on the KSP forums but hard to post stuff from KSP with screenshots since my KSP computer is separate from my computer with internet, it makes it a bit of a pain to set everything up.

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