After years of designing, preparation, and waiting, the day is finally here… the Discovery crew will leave the Spaceport and take their Spaceplane ‘Endurance‘ to land on Laythe!
Even the mission profile has been carefully planned, as no spaceplane has ever landed on another planet!
“OK – ‘Endurance’ is undocked from the Spaceport… using maneuvering thrusters to reach safe distance to activate engines!”
Endurance’s solar panels deploy to soak up as much energy as possible, while the orbital maneuvering engine fires to drop the craft out of orbit!
“So far so good!”
Airbrakes deploy to create more drag, slowing the re-entry of the spaceplane! From inside the cramped science bay, Bob is growing concerned:
“What’s going on!? It’s getting hot! I can’t see anything from this seat!!”
“Everything’s fine! We’re through the worst of the heat now – on course for a chain of islands near the equator!”
“Switching RAPIER engines to ‘air-breathing‘ – looks like a lot of flat desert down there, setting down shouldn’t be so bad!”
“Slowing our speed, deploying Air Brakes… starting landing procedures. Hold on everyone!”
Endurance needs to be going as slow as possible before it deploys it’s landing parachute. On Kerbin this parachute wouldn’t do a very good job of slowing an X-10, however on Laythe (combined with the VTOL engines) it should do the job just fine!
The Air Brakes retract, and the parachute deploys! The aircraft pulls up until it starts to even out…
“Hang on back there! We’re almost down!”
The VTOL bays open, and the aerospike rockets fire to slow the spacecraft! The housing of the chambers is thermally lined to protect the rest of the spacecraft, nonetheless, the rockets aren’t meant to be fired for anything but short bursts!
“Just about there! VTOL is slowing us down to about 5 m/s…. we’re in the pipe, five by five!”
“Why do all the pilots say that before they land!?!”
Endurance sets down on Laythe!
“Finally! What a rough ride! Opening science bays… deploying ladders… antennas and solar panels deploying!”
The crew will do tests for a short time before heading out to the surface!