Year 4, Day 286 (RCS Refueling Mission for Harmony Space Station)

screenshot1113.pngEnterprise blasts off from Cape Kerman, carrying the RCS Refuelling Vehicle for Harmony Space Station!  screenshot1116.png

Edan releases the Refueling Vehicle – and Mission Control pilots it to Minmus! It should arrive there in a few days, then the crew rotation at Harmony Station can be complete!

screenshot1119.pngEdan takes Enterprise back to Kerbin. The last few shuttle landings have been a bit dicey, so this time everything will be done to slow the craft down before re-entering!

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It’s a successful landing!

“That went a lot better!  Pulsing the air brakes on descent appears to be the best way to use them to slow the spacecraft down!  It prevents overhearing and allows more control!”

-Edan

Edan’s advice is carefully noted by the other pilots in the KSC!

Year 4, Day 223

256x256-4Things are busy at the VAB!  Resolute and Enterprise are both being refurbished for their next missions, and the Crew Shuttles Endeavor and Adventure are both being outfitted with the second generation launchers!  (Intrepid is currently docked at the Kerbin Space Station – it will be outfitted with a new launcher once it returns!)

Meanwhile, construction has begun on the Duna Surveyor… based off the Mun and Minmus Surveyors, this advanced probe will scan the surface of Duna for future missions!

screenshot1058.pngIt’s now just days until Frontier 1 reaches the influence of Sarnus – Kerbin’s longest range probe has worked well so far… although scientists note that the signal strength  is only at 70 percent. Hopefully this won’t result in any lost scientific data!

Year 4, Day 217 (Enterprise’s First Mission!)

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The Heavy Cargo Shuttle Enterprise blasts off from Cape Kerman!

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The launcher disconnects, then guides itself back to the surface.  Meanwhile, the Orbital Assist Vehicle (OAV) fires, taking the shuttle to its desired 80k orbit!

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The OAV disconnects… and Edan pilots the craft to a rendezvous with the Unity Space Station!

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Mission Control – Enterprise is ready to begin installation maneuvers!

-Edan

screenshot1001.pngUh oh. There’s a small problem!  Looks like the Habitat Module wasn’t equipped with a communications device.  What a disaster! But… there might be hope.

“I’ll head up there and fix it!  Installing an antenna on that thing can’t be too hard!”

-Gilian

screenshot1010.pngKSEA decides to green light the mission – in fact, this will allow testing of a new cargo module for the Crew Shuttle program!  The small module will allow a small cargo payload to be carried behind the shuttle, and once emptied will still allow crew to move through the module!   It should also solve the problem of where to put solar panels on the crew shuttles. Endeavor is rolled out, and has some antennas put on it that can easily be detached in orbit. No one’s ever tried something quite like this!  Rookie engineer Gillian says she’s practiced just this kind of thing underwater, and assures it can’t be that much more difficult in orbit!screenshot1012.png

Endeavor blasts off, just a few hours after the Enterprise.  Val and Gilian take Endeavor into a high orbit….screenshot1015.png

“Looks like the engine exhaust isn’t heating up the payload beyond what it’s rated for… this might work! ”

-Val

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“Alright Edan – I’m pretty close – I see the Unity Station Module… moving in to let Gilian do her work!”

-Val

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Endeavor gets very close to the dead-in-space module!

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First Gilian connects the antenna… then the solar array!

“Well – that was easy!  Heading back to Endeavor!”

-Gilian

Everyone at the Space Center is impressed!  Once Module’s onboard systems are powered up, the module moves in to dock with Unity Space Station…

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Almost there… screenshot1035.png

Connection established!  Hopefully the next launch is less dramatic!

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Endeavor sets down!  Gilian and Val get some well deserved rest!

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Next, Enterprise heads down!

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Not a perfect first mission for Enterprise, but everything went well in the end!  Enterprise tested several new design features of the Heavy Cargo Shuttle – and after the successful flight, similar upgrades will be undertaken on Resolute – including outfitting it with the new Launcher!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year 4, Day 202 (Unity Space Station Announced!)

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KSEA excitedly announces the next Space Station – Unity Space Station, set for a launch to Mun later this year!

Much like the Harmony Space Station, Unity will allow a small science crew to live for a long period in Munar orbit, conducting multiple Mun landings.

Engineers believe that the symmetrical design of the station will help deal with the problems Harmony had during its delivery to Minmus orbit.

KSEA’s most powerful launcher, a Sarnus V Ultra Heavy will take the station core into orbit, and the station’s last stage will take it into orbit with Mun.

Two Heavy Cargo Shuttle launches will construct the station in Kerbin orbit, delivering the two Habitat Modules!  Construction Unity will be the Enterprise‘s first mission!

 

 

Year 4, Day 200 (Shuttle Enterprise Announced!) 

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KSEA announces the development of a new cargo shuttle, the Enterprise!

With multiple missions complete, Shuttle Resolute has proven itself a reliable space vehicle. The orbital construction of thr Harmony Space Station, despite some of the problems, also showed the promise of a reusable orbiter!

However, a KSEA cost study of the Heavy Cargo launches showed that it was not always more efficient than traditional rocket launches.

Enterprise will launch using an updated launch vehcile that consists of two parts – a modified launcher, and a new second stage orbital vehicle, the Orbital Assist Vehicle (OAV).

With enhanced focus on recoverability, this new launcher should make the Heavy Cargo Shuttles the most cost efficient vehicles for orbital launches!

The launcher wont be the only exciting innovation though! Enterprise itself has an improved array of solar panels and a modified docking port which increases cargo bay capacity by 20 percent!

Enterprise also has a new lighting system that engineers say will make the shuttle look  “Super Cool”!

The new Cargo Shuttle will carry one of the two modules for the upcoming Mun Space Station, tentatively named “Unity Space Station!”