Year 19, Day 177 (DSV-4 Endeavor Launches to Orbit!)

DSV-4 Endeavor is readied for launch at KSC! The Horizon-class Deep Space Vehicle will be the third re-usable deep space vehicle in KSEA’s fleet!

“Awesome, we have a fleet now!
-Jeb

The powerful Jool-7 Rocket blasts off, and slowly lifts Endeavor to orbit!

After the solid rockets eject, the 7 primary engines circularize the orbit, until Endeavor reaches a 100k orbit!

“We’ll call that another success ladies and gentlemen! Endeavor has reached orbit!”
-Gene

Rumors have it Moho will be the destination for Endeavor… although exact plans have not been announced!

Year 19, Day 174 (Explorer 7 Crew Explores Duna’s Southern Basin!)

Malcolm, Dunwin, and Shepely leave the lander and set foot on the dusty red surface of Duna!

“We made it!! The satellite scans show the anomaly is 800m away … Sorry we couldn’t land closer!”

-Malcolm

“It’s ok! I can walk that far, no problem! Should be plenty of life support and EVA fuel!

-Shepely

Shepely heads west, toward the anomalous reading the survey satellite detected…

After a long walk, and a few ‘EVA hops’, Shepely arrives at the anomaly!

“Wow! It’s huge! Looks like another mysterious Monolith! The dimensions look identical to the one by the space center and I’m Mun and Minmus… Fascinating!”

-Shepely

Next, Shepely explores the region around the Monolith!

Not too far from the Monolith is a large Duna Rock!

“Hmmm… Can’t get much of a sample with my tools… We’ll need a rover arm to really get a good sample!”

-Shepely

Next, Shepely heads over to an odd rock formation…

The strange blueish hued stones are quite odd!

“Weird! These look like big stone blueberries! I’ll get a good sample!

-Shepely

After gathering some Duna Blueberry samples, Shepely heads back to the lander!

Malcolm helps Shepely load his samples into the lander, then all 3 Kerbals begin unloading the surface science equipment for Shepely to set up!

“This looks like a good spot! Good thing we brought the RTG power supplies… Not enough solar power is available down here!”

-Shepely

“Lookin’ good!”

-Malcolm

“Yeah! The ground science equipment should be fully deployed… The relay satellites in orbit should be able to have ongoing communication with Kerbin!”

-Dunwin

Before heading back to the Spaceport there’s just one thing to do…

Pose for a landing portrait!

“Smile! This is for the history books!”

-Malcolm

Year 19, Day 173 (Malcolm, Dunwin, and Shepely Land on Duna!)

After taking a few days to recuperate and prepare, Malcolm, Dunwin and Shepely talk over their upcoming mission in the Crew Cupola of Duna Spaceport!

“Does it ever bother you that we’re sitting “up” but we’re flying “sideways”?
-Shepely

“Up, down, it’s all relative in space!  I just like going fast! “
-Malcolm

“Well, we’re not going anywhere fast sitting here!  Let’s get down to the surface!  I wanna see how this new lander performs!”
-Dunwin

After packing all their science gear (and some snacks) Dunwin, Shepeley, and Malcolm head over to the lander!

As the sun sets on the horizon, the lander sets out!

“Look at that sunset! So blue!”

-Dunwin

That’s from the dust in Duna’s atmosphere! It’s the right size to let blue light in more than other wavelengths… and scatters it!

-Shepely

Hmm – neat!”

-Dunwin

“Undocking! RCS reverse thrusters firing! Landing airbrakes deployed!”

-Malcolm

The lander fires it’s aerospike engine! This mission will be to investigate some anomalous readings detected from orbit!

Unlike previous Duna Landers that entered the atmosphere “engine first”, the Advanced Duna Lander enters “nose first” like a spaceplane!

The rear airbrakes provide just enough lift!

“Lander is on course for target… Atmosphere is slowing us down a bit more than expected… We’ll need a short engine burn to adjust our approach!”
-Malcolm

The engine fires, and the lander accelerates enough to stay on target!

“Oh wow! We’re really close to the surface! Speed is down to 200 m/s…. Is that enough to deploy the parachute?”

-Dunwin

Not quite! Almost at target…. Almost… Deploy the chute!!”

-Malcolm

The landing parachute deploys! The airbrakes retract and the landing gear deploys! 

This is one of the most dangerous phases of the mission, as the landing gear and airbrakes must retract with the parachute cords clear so nothing gets jammed or tangled! The chute then lifts the nose up, and orient’s the lander for landing!

“Chute is deployed, gear is down and locked! Starting slow burn to decelerate!”

-Malcolm

The lander slows to just 1 m/s as it gently sets down!

“Mission Control, this is Explorer 7 Lander .. we have set down on Duna! All systems are good!”

-Malcolm

On Kerbin, cheers fill Mission Control! The new lander performed perfectly!

“Nice work everyone!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

Malcolm, Dunwin, and Shepely will rest for a day, then suit up and head outside!

Year 19, Day 171 (Explorer 7 Arrives at Duna Spaceport!)

Explorer 7 performs a circularization manuever as it passes it’s closest point with Duna!

I’m showing a circular orbit – nice work!”
-Shepely

Next, Malcolm performs the rendezvous maneuver, and intercepts Duna Spaceport!

Firing thrusters… just need to get lined up with the docking port!”
-Malcolm

Explorer 7 moves in to dock…

…and makes a solid connection with the spaceport!

“OK!  Time to get out there and reposition the Advanced Lander!”
-Malcolm

“Be careful out there!  There’s a lot of hardware operating very closely!”
-Dunwin

“It’s beautiful out here! The station and lander look to be in great shape! Hard to believe the Spaceport has been here for 13 years!

-Malcolm

Malcolm uses his EVA pack to maneuver over to the Advanced Lander…

…then grabs the handholds and climbs inside!

“It’s nice and roomy in here! Much cozier than the Mun Landers!”

-Malcolm

Using only RCS thrusters, Malcolm detaches from the Ground Science cargo payload that came with the lander (and will remain attached to the Spaceport, to be used on future missions) and moves away from the station!

“The lander is oriented away from the station, and momentum is carrying us away… ejecting¬†engine fairing!”

-Malcolm

The interstage fairing protecting the engine (which allowed the Ground Science payload to be carried inline with the lander) ejects! The momentum away from the Spaceport will carry the fairing out and away from the station!

The Advanced Lander drifts slowly over the spaceport!

“RCS thrusters firing… Forward momentum should be enough to dock…”

-Malcolm

“I show you at .1 m/s … Alignment good…”

-Dunwin

With a loud ‘CLUNK!’ and some mechanical ‘whirs’ Explorer 7 is docked and securely attached to Duna Spaceport! Malcolm climbs over and the Explorer 7 crew prepares for their landing!

Year 19, Day 160 (Aurora 24 Returns to Kerbin!)

Luly and Mirphe blast off from Mun’s surface!

Then dock with the Aurora 24 Crew Vehicle in orbit!

“That sure took a while! I almost ran out of snacks up here!”
-Seely

Mirphe burns the engines, and the Aurora 24 capsule detaches, and hurtles (safely!) to Kerbin’s surface…

Splashing down in the surface! Recovery teams are sent out at once, to recover the Kerbals and all the interesting science gathered on Mun!

Year 19, Day 155 (Explorer 7 Crew Thaw, Prepare For Duna Mission!)

Explorer 7 is just days away from reaching Duna’s sphere of influence! Mission Control sends the automated signal to thaw the crew from Cryo-Stasis!

Mission Control this is Malcolm on Explorer 7… we’re all thawed out and ready for our mission!”
-Malcolm

“… I could use something hot to drink though!”
-Shepely

Dunwin checks over the ship’s systems and makes sure everything is looking good!

“Explorer handled the transit just fine… all systems are good!”
-Dunwin

Year 19, Day 80 (KSEA Announces Construction of DSV-4 Endeavor!)

While actually under construction for quite some time, a name hadn’t been chosen yet! Endeavor will be a “Horizon Class” DSV, that is, almost identical to DSV-3 Horizon!

Endeavor’s name is from the Crew Shuttle Endeavor, which has been out of service for some time now!

I miss flying those Crew Shuttles… when are they going to be cleared for flights again!?”
-Edan

Unfortunately, it may be quite some time for them to get cleared again – the basic design of a spaceplane makes it difficult to create a design with multiple abort options throughout the flight. In fact, there are no launch aborts available right off the launch pad!

The engineers are working on it! No promises though!”
-Gene

Year 19, Day 77 (Aurora 24 Launches for Mun!)

Aurora 24 blasts off, heading for Mun! While some say that the Mun missions have become routine, the Kerbals who fly them know that space travel is never routine! In fact, even the simplest mission is quite dangerous and even deadly!

“Where’s the landing site this time? ”
-Mirphe

“The northeast basin! We’ve never been there before!”
-Luly

Mirphe and Luly transfer over to the lander…

… and head down to Mun’s surface!

We’re almost there…. contact!”
-Mirphe

OK… deploy the rover!”
-Luly

The rover detaches, and the RCS deployer lifts it up… and then gently sets it down next to the lander!

Next, Mirphe and Luly head out to explore!

Luly plants the flag at the Northern Basin, then salutes while the cameras on the lander take their portrait!

For all Kerbalkind!”
-Luly

Luly deploys the scientific instrumentation, while Mirphe supervises!

“Mmmhmmm. Looking very scientific – carry on!”
-Mirphe

Next, the RCS deployer detaches from the lander, and expends all it’s fuel to fly up and away from the landing site! The seismic sensor will get interesting results from the impact!

“I feel a little bad littering on Mun! But I guess it IS for science!”
-Luly

Luly and Mirphe explore the surface in the rover!

After scouting out the landing site, the two return to the lander to rest! Mun missions have been getting longer and longer, training the crew for the rigors of landings on very distant worlds!

Year 19, Day 66 (Advanced Duna Lander Arrives at Duna, Docks with Duna Spaceport!)

Mission Control remotely pilots the Advanced Duna Lander as it completes it’s final manuevers to dock with Duna Spaceport!

First, it circularizes it’s orbit…

…then rendezvouses with the Spaceport!

Next, it docks, backwards, with Duna Spaceport! This is so the crew of Explorer 7 can unload all the ground science experiment cargo that the lander carried with it!

Docking is a success! Duna Spaceport, and the new Advanced Duna Lander, wait for Explorer 7!