Year 4, Day 271 (Resolute Launches Second Unity Space Station Module)

screenshot1077.pngThe upgraded Resolute takes off!   Val pilots rookie engineer Seely and Gillian up to orbit! This will be Resolute’s first flight using the upgraded Launcher, and with the new Cargo Bay arrangement!screenshot1079.png

The launch goes well – with the OAV carrying the shuttle to its desired orbit, leaving over 1000 d/v in fuel for orbital maneuvering.

“That’s sure was a bumpy ride!”

-Seely

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Val pilots Resolte to a close rendezvous with Unity Station!

Ok – we’re there.. but we better wait until we’re on the ‘day’ side of Kerbin before doing the install!

-Gilian

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Seeley heads out, and practices some basic space maneuvers!  screenshot1088.pngThe module goes into place, and Unity Space Station is ready to go!

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“Resolute’s coming in pretty hot!  I’m going to need to circle around before I can land!”

-Val

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Val sets down, but takes out one of the landing lights at the end of the runway!  Endeavor takes some minor damage, losing a few of its air brakes! Everyone agrees this was the most dangerous landing the Heavy Cargo Shuttles have ever done.  High speed, and performing the maneuver node too early is the general consensus.

“Maybe we can find a way to slow the shuttle more on reentry – that was scary!”

-Seeley

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 203 (Harmony Station First Landing)

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Mission Planners determine that the first landing site for the Harmony Science team will be at the Greater Flats, at a site designated HSS LS01. Due to the very low gravity of Minmus, there are several additional biomes the team will check out, marked A through D.  (Officially they are catalogued as HSS-LS01-A, etc.

This will be the first mission that makes use of the new telemetry data gathered by the Minmus Surveyor probe, that has been carefully mapping the surface of Minmus for future exploration!screenshot948.png

Samner and Robart board the Automated Lander, and head down!

screenshot954.pngThe lander sets the crew down perfectly at HSSLS01-A, the Greater Flats.  This is the first time a mission has been conducted entirely by a science team – some of the pilots look a bit nervous about this!screenshot961.png

Next, on to HSSLS01-B, a hill on the Lowlands of Minmus!screenshot963.png

“This is a pretty precarious landing site! I don’t think we should plant a flag… just in case!  We’ll gather all the science data though!”

-Samner

Thankfully, the lander sets down nicely… while the team conducts SCIENCE!  The mission needs to stay on a timetable… communications with Kerbin are necessary, due to the remote systems on the lander!

screenshot964.pngNext, on to HSSLS01-C – the Midlands! This landing goes much better… however not much science is gathered.  Hopefully site “D” will have better luck! This time, a more precise landing along the Slopes of Minmus will provide some interesting data.  Probably another tricky landing though!screenshot966

Unfortunately, the last landing site doesn’t yield much more data. However, interesting research was conducted on the Great Flats, the Lowlands, the Slopes, the Midlands, some of it already known, but nonetheless valuable to Kerbin!

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As the lander reaches orbit in the first leg of its rendevouse with Harmony Space Station, the crew gets a good look at the region they were just exploring.

“Wow – will you look at that!”

-Robart

screenshot973.pngThe lander docks with Harmony Space Station!  However, a small problem has become clear… the station is not equipped to handle refueling of the RCS thrusters that make docking possible!  A mission will have to be done soon to resupply the station… and Unity Space Station’s design has already been changed, swapping out two Life Support bays for RCS fuel. This will reduce the amount of time crews can inhabit the station, however it is doubtful a crew would be left without supplies for over a year!

 

 

Year 4, Day 178 (Harmony Station Arrives at Minmus)

screenshot892.pngHarmony Space Station finally reaches Minmus, and after another very long and akward burn, circularizes.

Relieved cheers and sighs can be heard all throughout Mission Control.  The mission was not a complete success however.  The amount of fuel required to get the Station into Minmus orbit has left it with less than half of the anticipated fuel reserves for it’s lander.

“I suppose we can send a fuel craft to refill the station. But a redesign for the next Space Station is clearly called for.”

-Robart

Meanwhile, Edan returns from Kerbin orbit – as engineers try to figure out the best way to deal with the situation on Minmus!

Year 3, Day 360 (MunBase Alpha Disaster!)

screenshot371MunBase Alpha launches!  The Sarnus V Heavy rocket easily carries the base into orbit! The night launch goes perfectly, and before long, the base is on its way to Mun… where Aurora 15 is waiting!

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The fairings eject… and the base sails off to Mun!  A slight modification was made after some pre-launch simulations… a RA-2 Relay antenna was installed to replace the secondary Communotron antenna.  (Engineers promise it won’t unbalance the craft…. too much…)

Uh oh!  As the base heads down for landing communications are lost.

“Um, I think I saw some explosions on the surface!  Might be time to make a new base! While we’re at it, a depot in orbit of Mun might be nice too!  This pod gets pretty stuffy… even with the extra space the lander has!”
-Edan

Engineers think that a power loss led to communications failure… work on a revised MunBase beins at once!    The crew of Aurora 15 graciously agrees to stay in orbit of Mun until the replacement is complete.

 

 

 

Year 3, Day 233 (Aurora 13 Returns!)

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It’s going to be a close one!  Food on Aurora 13 has run out!  Water and coffee will only keep the crew alive for so long!  Thankfully there was enough fuel to burn directly from Minmus here… so the crew needs to just hold on a little longer!

“So hungry!  We shouldn’t have had that feast to celebrate reaching solar space!  The hubris!”
-Orlas

screenshot229.pngAurora 13 comes in hot!

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The parachute deploys!  Almost homescreenshot231.pngMade it! The last time KSEA got this close to a  a loss of crew was Aurora 3, on Year 2, Day 242!  

Better care will be taken in the future for mission planning to avoid another close call! Mitster, Chrisnic, and Orlas are all rushed to the Space Center to check their well being!

 

 

Year 3, Day 225

screenshot225.pngAurora 13 arrives in at Minmus!  And not a moment too soon, supplies are getting a little tight on the spacecraft. At 45 days into the flight, the crew is defenitely feeling the strain.

“Uh oh… foods running a little tight.  I don’t think we should have bothered with checking out Minmus!  I’m ditching the lander… we need to do a direct burn toward Kerbin if we want our supplies to last!”

-Mitster

The Minmus landing is cancelled! It looks like the calculations for deltaV were slightly off, and the food supplies won’t last as long!  Mitster fires the Aurora Spacecraft’s rockets, and Aurora 13 heads toward Kerbin at high speed!   This will be the fastest any craft has attempted reentry to Kerbin!

Potential disaster aside, this will be a good test of the Aurora era hardware for interplanetary journeys!