The most far-flung mission ever attempted is ready to launch – the Far Horizons mission to Plock! While there is some debate about whether or not Plock is actually a planet or maybe an asteroid, most Kerbals do agree that it is quite interesting regardless!
The powerful Nova Rocket carries the probe off the launch pad!
“Wow – look at it go!”
-Edan, watching at Mission Control
The Nova Rocket’s first stage detaches, falling toward Kerbin…
… while the second stage lifts the probe to a very high orbit of 900k!
Mission Control will spend the next week testing subsystems and ensuring that Far Horizons is ready for it’s trip! Departure is expected by the end of the year!
The new Pioneer 2 Crew Shuttle is ready to launch! Jeb and rookie pilot Edbert will take the new shuttle up for it’s maiden flight! While Pioneer is a new spacecraft it has been designed to be as identical as possible to the refit Adventurecrew shuttle!
“Launch looks good – all systems nominal – what a ride!”
“Not too bumpy either! “
-Edbert, piloting in the front seat
As the spacecraft reaches it’s maximum dynamic pressure, or Max-Q, all systems continue as planned!
“The engineers must have screwed all the bolts in pretty well, this is where the parts would start falling off if they hadn’t!”
As Pioneer’s trajectory reaches a 200k periapsis, the aerodynamic-escape-system launches, and the shuttle detaches from the Nebula Rocket!
Turning around using its RCS, the Nebula Rocket fires it’s engines to perform a landing at KSC! Once recovered the rocket will be transported to White Mesa, where it will be refueled and refit to be launched again!
“We have achieved orbit! As exciting as this is, I can’t wait to land!“
The original Explorer was the first Deep Space Vehicle constructed by the KSEA. While it was ultimately a flawed design in many respects, it was the start of the Explorer program to explore the solar system! The next true DSV was DSV-2 Discovery, the test bed for a truly reusable interplanetary space ship. Most of Discovery’s systems were implemented in the Horizon Class Deep Space Vehicle, named after DSV-3 Horizon – Horizon Class ships have become the workhorses of the Kerbal Space Program and comprise the bulk of the DSV Fleet! The Kerbal States now has four Deep Space Vehicles and will soon be adding a fifth!
Honoring the legacy of the DSV program, the next DSV will be named Explorer, and retain the DSV-1 number, but with an “A” indicating it’s the second ship to bear the name! Construction has already begun – and the next mission has already been chosen – a journey to Sarnus!
Val and Robart climb into the cockpit of the Endurance, while Kerlorf squeezes into the small crew compartment at the back of the spaceplane!
“Everybody secure? Disconnecting docking clamps!”
Endurance slowly drifts away from Laythe Spaceport!
“Systems nominal – what a view!”
The Spaceport grows smaller and smaller, set against the impressive sight of the giant green planet of Jool!
Endurance is scouting a site for a future colony on Laythe! One promising (and scenic) site is Crater Island!
“Readings show we’re on the right course – cloud cover’s still too thick for visual confirmation!”
Endurance finally drops below the clouds, and Crater Island becomes visible!
“We’re lined up with a good flat landing spot – deploying chute! Horizontal engines are switched off – activating VTOL pods!”
The spaceplane’s parachute deploys, it’s air brakes lift, and the VTOL pod doors open – providing the final bit of thrust needed for a safe landing!
Endurance touches down! Robart is the first out!
“Incredible! You’d almost forget this was another world until you look up!”
Kerlorf plants the Kerbal States flag, and the crew sets up a camera to take the traditional “landing portrait!” The Endeavor crew will be busy for the next few days, setting up science equipment and experiments on the surface, as well as checking out the landing site!
“Ok – we have about 20 days to investigate this site – let’s get working!”
The challenge of exploring Laythe led to the most complicated engineering project that KSEA had ever done: the X-10 Laythe Spaceplane! This engineering marvel is capable of delivering three Kerbals from Laythe orbit to the surface and back!
There are actually two X-10 Laythe Spaceplanes now – the LCV-1 Endurance, which is currently docked at the Laythe Spaceport, and the LCV-2 Resolute, which is en-route to Laythe now!
Previous flights of the X-10 have followed the above flight plan, and the Endeavor crew will follow it for their upcoming mission! The only question for the Endeavor crew is… where to land! Thankfully mission planners have some ideas!
The first landing site proposed is Crater Island – The second is the Crescent Bay/Crescent Sea area! The landing at the Crescent Bay may involve a water landing, however engineers aren’t sure the craft can survive that! During the design phase it was considered but not actually planned for. And with no other ships or crew nearby if anything went wrong there might be a very big problem! Some engineers want to try a water landing on Kerbin before authorizing one on Laythe!
Ultimately, it’s hoped that a good spot for a research base can be found!
In Kerbin orbit, Jeb and Sean prepare DSV-5 Intrepid for it’s new crew! Instead of taking Crew Vehicle 6 back to the surface, the spacecraft is sent back to the surface – Jeb and Sean will take Crew Vehicle 1 back to Kerbin once it arrives! Meanwhile, Jeb pilots Intrepid to a higher orbit, 600k!
Crew Vehicle 6 sets down just west of the space center!
“Alright everybody, now’s the tricky part! Keep focused!”
-Gene, at Mission Control
For the first time, a Sarnus Va rocket will be used to launch a Nebula Crew Vehicle! The mission will carry Carson, Bob, and Sondo up to the Deep Space Vehicle Intrepid– as well as multiple mission payloads – a Modular-Payload Vehicle (MPV) loaded with Lithium and Monopropellant, a science satellite, and a new lander/rover combo!
“Engines are go!”
Crew Vehicle 1 launches into space! The fairings eject once the spacecraft reaches a safe altitude and the engines fire, carrying the spacecraft to a higher than average orbit, 600k!
Carson rendezvouses with Intrepid, then separates to move clear from the stack!
At the last moment it was decided the fuel budget had room for a Modular Payload Vehicle loaded with Lithium Fuel and Monopropellant! It separates from the stack, and docks with Intrepid, topping off it’s fuel supplies!
After fuelling up Intrepid the crew will transfer over to Intrepid, swap places with Jeb and Sean! Then, the nose-science unit will attach to the front of the DSV. Finally, the most challenging task will be docking the new lander in the cargo bay!
With the Lithium fueling complete, Carson, Bob, and Sondo head to Intrepid!
“Ok – forward RCS thrust is active… systems are nominal…”
“Oh wow – I saw Intrepid during assembly – to see it in space is quite a sight!”
Jeb and Sean shake hands with Sondo, Bob, and Carson! Then Jeb and Sondo head back to Kerbin!
“Good luck! Bring back some cool rocks from Moho!”
…setting down right by the Space Center!
With crew loading complete, it’s time to dock the nose science unit!
“This part will be easy, that lander’s going to be tricky though I just know it!”
“I’m showing a good connection!” -Bob
After a short maneuver, Carson docks the satellite with the docking port of Intrepid!
“Ok – the communications dish has been retracted! You’re good to go Carson!”
Next, the most difficult part… docking the new lander!
“No problem guys – it’s just like docking the Crew Vehicles – only in an infinity smaller space with no margin for error! Hmm.”
As the lander slowly moves into Intrepid‘s docking bay, there is a distinct metallic scratching noise as the landing gear scrape against the back of the cargo bay! The DSV-mockup at the Space Center isn’t perfect, and it turns out the lander fits much easier in the designs than actually docking!
“Tight fit… but we’re almost there! Nothing’s exploded yet!”
Success! The lander fits snugly, but perfectly, into the cargo bay!
“Getting it out will be a lot easier once we’re at Moho!”
Bob and Sondo check out the crew area of the Deep Space Vehicle, and make sure everything is ready to go!
“RCS fuel – check… extra snacks… check…”
“The reactor is functioning normally – Sean did a great job starting it up – radiators, generator, it all checks out!”
“Looks good! Let’s get up front and get the mission to Moho started!”
After prelaunch checks are complete, Intrepid fires it’s Colossus Engine!
“Fuel flow is good – temperatures are nominal!”
Intrepid speeds away from Kerbin!
“The transit burn to Moho was perfect! “
“Ok everyone – get on your mittens, it’s time to get in the cryobeds!”
“Looks, uh, comfy!”
The cryobeds freeze over, and Mission Control takes full control of the spacecraft! Intrepid will arrive at Moho later this year, on Day 383!