Year 4, Day 396 (KSS Crew Rotation!)

screenshot1396.pngEndeavor completes a minor refit to its orbital maneuvering system.  Ever since the rear cargo addition was added to the Crew Shuttles orbital handling has been off, it’s hoped that this update will make the craft easier to control during docking!   In addition, air brakes developed during the Heavy Cargo Shuttle Program have been scaled down, and installed on Endeavor.  Hopefully they assist in landing safety! screenshot1397.png

Today, Val pilots Endeavor to orbit, taking Robart and Orlas up to the KSS for a crew rotation!  This might be the last launch to make use of the lower docking ports on the KSS, as engineers are designing a new Observation Lounge for the station, based on designs developed for Explorer 3!   Getting the huge addition into space will help test how practical it will be for the Explorer crew!screenshot1399.png

Endeavor arrives at the KSS!

“This new orbital maneuvering system works a LOT better than the old design.  We should refit the rest of the Crew Shuttles ASAP!”

-Val

screenshot1402.pngShepley, Jeb, Bob depart in the Intrepid, which is due for its own upgrades once it returns to Kerbin! screenshot1403.png

Jeb soars Intrepid down to the runway… screenshot1404.png

…for a perfect landing!

“Let’s get this thing refitted… I can’t wait to try out the new design!”

-Jeb

Year 4, Day 296 (Harmony Space Station Upgraded, Harmony Crew Rotation)

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The RCS Refuelling Mission to Harmony Station above Minmus arrives!

screenshot1162.png…and docking goes surprisingly uneventfully!

Looks like a good seal!   This will give Harmony plenty of monopropellant fuel for future missions – good work everybody!

-Gilian

screenshot1163.pngSamner and Robart prepare to head home… (Robart takes the long way, enjoying an EVA before heading home) while Gilian and Kimmy prepare for the next Harmony Space Station landing!  Scientists are still figuring out the best location for HSSLS02!

screenshot1164.pngSamner, Val, and Robart head home!

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 3, Day 379 (KSS Crew Rotation)

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While work starts on Aurora 16, which will deliver the crew to MunBase One, CTS-1 Adventure blasts off from Cape Kerman, to rotate crew on the KSS! Val, Robart, and Kimmy are eager to get more training time on the KSS!  Equally eager to get back to Kerbin are Val, Samner, and Sean! screenshot406.png

Adventure docks with the KSS!  Everyone says their ‘hi’s’ and ‘bye’s’, then Jeb detaches Intrepid, and heads back to Kerbin! screenshot411.png

Jeb misses the Space Center… by a LOT!  Thankfully, the leftover fuel in Intrepid is enough to get back to the landing strip!

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“In the pipe… five by five!”
-Jeb

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Intrepid makes a good night landing, even if it was a bit bumpy!