In addition to development of the X-9 crew vehicle KSEA has also been developing the next generation of Aurora Crew Vehicles, the Mk7!
The Mk7 Aurora Crew Vehicle, or ACV, has been developed to provide a 30 day life support system that can safely reach not only Kerbin orbit but Mun and Minmus as well. The Aurora Command Module has been a critical component in KSEA’s crewed spaceflight program, and this latest development makes little changes to the pod itself.
Instead, advances have been made in fuel storage and design of both the Aurora Rocket and the ACV itself – one striking feature is the Service Bay, which protects Life Support System and the fragile solar panels during launch but opens in space. The craft also has a newly balanced RCS system that improves docking performance.
The main limitation of the X-9 has been its range – while the craft has a maximum orbit rated at 100k, in reality the craft can only reach an orbit of 80k when the mission profile calls for rendezvous with another spacecraft (which was the main goal of the X-9 program.)
The ACV is a superior spacecraft with only one problem – cost. The X-9 has trivial costs to refuel and refurbish the vehicle, whereas the ACV costs just under 50,000 each launch.
NOTE: reaches 178k orbit to rendevous.