Year 4, Day 71 (LARC returns to Explorer, Return to Kerbin)

screenshot696Orlas, Mitster, and Chrisnic finish their research on Gilly, and head back up to dock with Explorer!

They were able to visit every biome on Gilly, and gathered a phenomenal amount of data on the seismic properties, atmospheric properties, and temperature of this small moon. After all the excitement, the heads back to Kerbin.  The burn trip home will take roughly 200 days, and require just under 1700 d/v of fuel… sadly Mitster’s conclusion was correct, the Explorer will not have enough fuel to be saved.  The LARC will eject from Explorer and head home, while Explorer goes into a solar orbit!

Meanwhile on Kerbin, three more Kerbin Surveyor vehicles are built.

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Year 4, Day 48 (Explorer Arrives at Gilly)

screenshot633.pngThe Explorer spacecraft finishes its journey from Eve to Gilly, circularizing an orbit around the small planetoid.

“Fuel keeps getting lower and lower guys… let’s try to be careful!”

-Mitster

screenshot636.pngFor the first time all three crew of a spacecraft will abandon their vessel and head down in a lander.  It’s a bit risky… but no one wants to be left behind on such a momentous occasion!Chrisnic, Mitster, and Orlas climb into the LARC… and detach!screenshot644

The LARC slowly moves away from Explorer.. and heads down to Gilly!

“”I’m so excited! ”

-Orlas

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The LARC sets down, and Chrisnic climbs out…

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Once he lets go of the ladder, the slightest step sends him flying across the surface

“Whoa!  The low gravity here is… very low!  Be careful!”

-Chrisnic

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Mitster is next… expertly piloting his rocket pack over to Chrisnic!

“You weren’t kidding!   It’s almost like we’re in space, and not even on a moon!

-Mitster

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Orlas jumps out next!

“Wheeeeee!”

-Orlas

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After having a good deal of fun playing on Gilly, the crew of Explorer gathers to take a landing portrait…. when Orlas notices something…

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“Wow!  What a sight to behold!”

-Orlas

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The crew pose for their portrait… the first Kerbals to land on Gilly!  What a day!  The crew will spend about 4 days on the surface of Gilly collecting important data before returning to the Explorer, high above the small moon… empty… waiting for its crew!

Year 3, Day 244 (Explorer Lander Changed)

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At the last moment, due to concerns about the fuel budget, a change is made to Explorer’s mission profile.

The atmospheric probe will remain unchanged, but a new vehicle will replace the Low Gravity Lander: the Lander and Return Craft (LARC).

This new design adds a Aurora command module to Explorer, combined with a lander capable of exploring Gilly!  The original Atmospheric Probe for Eve will not be altered.

The mission profile still calls for returning Explorer to Kerbin orbit… But now there is a backup plan if fuel budgets get too tight! In that case the crew will board the LARC as it enters Kerbin’s SOI. Then the LARC will detach, and reenter Kerbin’s atmosphere. Explorer will be remotely piloted to an escape course that will eventually leave it in a solar orbit, safely distant from Kerbin!  Construction begins at once on the updated Explorer rocket!