The Heavy Cargo Shuttle Enterprise blasts off from Cape Kerman!
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!
The OAV disconnects… and Edan pilots the craft to a rendezvous with the Unity Space Station!
Mission Control – Enterprise is ready to begin installation maneuvers!
Uh 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!”
KSEA 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!
Endeavor blasts off, just a few hours after the Enterprise. Val and Gilian take Endeavor into a high orbit….
“Looks like the engine exhaust isn’t heating up the payload beyond what it’s rated for… this might work! ”
“Alright Edan – I’m pretty close – I see the Unity Station Module… moving in to let Gilian do her work!”
Endeavor gets very close to the dead-in-space module!
First Gilian connects the antenna… then the solar array!
“Well – that was easy! Heading back to Endeavor!”
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…
Connection established! Hopefully the next launch is less dramatic!
Endeavor sets down! Gilian and Val get some well deserved rest!
Next, Enterprise heads down!
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!