On board Duna Spaceport, the crew of Explorer 2 prepare for the very first Duna landing! Mitster will pilot the vehicle to the surface, with Dunwin providing the engineering expertise to deal with any unforeseen issues the lander might have. Once the craft has proven itself Kimmy will head down in the next landing. A lot of consideration was given to the first crew to head down, and the pilot/engineer combination was chosen in deference to safety, as the Duna lander hasn’t been tested “live” before!
Kimmy watches from the Observation Lounge as the lander moves away from the station…
“I can tell you now, we’re not setting down where Mission Control planned – we’re moving too fast, and if I don’t slow us down … well, it won’t be pretty!”
Mitster fires the landers engines, slowing the vehicle down enough to engage the parachute…
The parachute deploys!
“Oomph! That really took the wind out of me!”
The lander slowly descends to the surface…
At the last moment, the engines fire again, to set the lander down gently…
“Duna Lander to Kerbin – we have set down on Duna and all systems are go!”
Dunwin climbs out!
Followed by Mitster, who plants the first flag on Duna!
Cheers are heard throughout Mission Control – amazing!
“We still have some samples and exploration to do before we head back, so let’s get busy”
The lander overshot its landing at the anomaly by 17km – a distance much farther than walking would allow. Mission Control decides that while a small “hop” is conceivable however crew safety is paramount, so a future landing can be done to investigate the lowlands – there will be no hop!
“This lander handles much differently in an atmosphere than it did on Mun, I’m not even sure I could pilot us effectively over to the lowlands… the return to orbit will be tricky enough! ”
The lander will remain on the surface for a few days, then head back to Duna Spaceport!