Year 18, Day 272 (Malcolm, Dunwin, and Shepely Selected for Explorer 7 Duna Mission!)

KSEA announces that Malcolm, Dunwin, and Shepely have been selected as the crew for Explorer 7! Explorer 7 itself is rolled out to the launchpad, and the crew will board tomorrow! In the meantime, everyone’s talking about how colorful the new patches are!

Malcolm and Shepely have never been to Duna, however Dunwin, the mission engineer, is a veteran!

The Advanced Duna Lander is already in orbit, and will leave a day after Explorer 7!

The Explorer 7 Duna Mission will make use of the Advanced Duna Lander’s capabilities to target landing sites that were out of range of previous missions. Additionally, many of the new surface experiments deployed and tested on Mun by the Aurora 18, 19, 20, and 21 crews will be deployed on Duna!

Year 18, Day 233 (Advanced Duna Lander Launches!)

Construction is complete on the Advanced Duna Lander! The spacecraft is rolled out… and launches!

Launched on the Sarnus Va, the rover will sit in orbit for 41 days until the ideal transfer window to Duna!

In orbit, the lander ejects it’s fairing… and waits! The probe will be entirely un-crewed during it’s flight, including (hopefully) docking with the Spaceport!

The Advanced Duna Lander also includes a cargo segment on the rear that will attach to Duna Spaceport, carrying enough surface science equipment for 4 seperate landings!

Year 18, Day 222 (Asteroid IIF-441 Enters Kerbin’s SOI – Retriever 1 Maneuvers to Intercept!)

Asteroid IIF-441, a class C Asteroid, enters Kerbin’s gravitational sphere of influence… and Retriever 1 burns to match planes!

Then, Retriever expands its orbit past that of the asteroid’s!

Then, with the Asteroid nearing it’s closest point with Kerbin, Retriever 1 burns it’s engine to intercept!

The maneuvers all require extreme precision! Once Retriever is close enough though, it’s fairly similar to docking with a ship in orbit!

Remarkably, Retriever 1 moves in closer to the Asteroid, having matched course!

Using RCS thrusters only, Retriever 1 moves in closer and closer…

…until it docks with the Asteroid!

“… it worked! It worked!”
-Orlas, onboard Kerbin Spaceport

Next, Retriever 1 uses what is left of it’s fuel to capture the asteroid into a circular orbit of Kerbin!

There isn’t enough fuel for a perfect orbit, but a highly elliptical orbit IS achieved, and the asteroid orbits Kerbin! Plans are immediately drawn to launch Retriever 2, to bring the Asteroid in to a closer location… and allow Kerbals to explore it!

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Year 18, Day 137 (KSEA Announces New Advanced Duna Lander!)

KSEA is excited to release plans for the next Duna Lander, the Advanced Duna Lander! Succeeding the Super Duna Lander, this new craft has greater deltaV, and additional life support and crew space – able to carry FOUR Kerbals!

The re-usable lander will launch on a Sarnus Va rocket, and travel a few days behind the Explorer 7 mission to Duna!

Year 18, Day 108 (Aurora 21 Returns to Kerbin!)

Having completed their mission at the Munar Arch, Tamre, Malcolm, and Dunwin take off!

They dock with the Aurora 21 Command Module, in orbit, and Malcolm returns the spacecraft to Kerbin orbit!

Mission Control wants us to do more precise landings near the space center to recycle parts! That means we need to use up the extra fuel for entering orbit, THEN doing our descent burn!”
-Malcolm

Success! Aurora 21 splashes down in the waters right next to the airstrip!