Year 22, Day 155 (KSEA Construction and Research Update)

After the successful test of the Adventure crew shuttle, KSEA has begun construction of a brand new, duplicate Crew Shuttle… named CTS-2 Pioneer!

A larger variant of the crew shuttle is also under development, however no plans are ready to be released yet! The craft is tentatively called the Heavy Crew Shuttle!

Research and development is nearing completion for a new Duna lander as well. If KSEA is to have a permanent habitation on the surface of the red planet, a reusable lander is needed… The existing Advanced Duna Lander has not performed as well as hoped, providing barely enough DeltaV, and a landing process that has been described as “consistently unreliable” by pilots!

Finally, mission planners are almost ready to announce DSV-5 Intrepid’s first mission! Intrepid was launched in mid Year 21, and cleared orbital tests later that year. Mission planners keep insisting they didn’t just forget about it!

Year 21, Day 96 (DSV-2 Discovery Arrives at Duna Spaceport!)

After a remarkably fast voyage, DSV-2 Discovery arrives at Duna, using the planet’s moon, Ike, to assist in slowing down the approach! The Crew is automatically revived from Cryo-Sleep!

“Rise and shine everybody! We have some exploring to do!”
-Mirphe

“Reactor is powered up – we’re good for firing main engines!”
-Seely

The three mighty nuclear engines on Discovery fire, slowing the spacecraft down and entering orbit, slowly, of Duna!

“By my calculations, we’ll have 5200 d/v remaining after we reach the Spaceport… not bad!”
-Tamre

Discovery achieves high orbit! Mirphe begins to rendevous with Duna Spaceport!

“Just a few more maneuvers and we’ll be docked! I can see the Spaceport out the front window!”
-Mirphe

Discovery slows down, matching speeds with Duna Spaceport…

…then slowly reorients for the final docking maneuver!

“Alright – we’re in the pipe, five by five… approaching the docking port at 1 m/s…. nice and slow….”
-Mirphe

With a ‘thunk’ and the whir of motors, Discovery docks with Duna Spaceport! The mighty spacecraft is nearly twice as long as the station!

“Life support looks good on the station… it’ll take a little time to equalize between Discovery and the Spaceport… but I think we have a good connection!
-Tamre

The crew prepares to transfer over to the habitat sections of the station, and get ready for the next Duna Landing!

Year 20, Day 271 (Explorer 7 Departs Duna!)

After two successful Duna landings it’s time for the Explorer 7 crew to return home! Malcolm performs an EVA to give Duna Spaceport, the Advanced Duna Lander, and the Explorer spacecraft a final inspection before departing!

“Everything looks good out here! This view never gets boring!”
-Malcolm

After boarding Explorer 7, Malcolm detaches the spacecraft…

… and Explorer 7 slowly drifts away from Duna Spaceport!

“There’s only enough fuel reserves for one more landing from the Spaceport! The next mission will need to have a reserve fuel supply or KSEA needs to send another refueling mission out!”
-Dunwin

“Well if you ask me how we get here isn’t as important as getting here! The scientific data we’ve acquired this mission should keep us busy for years!”
-Shepely

As Explorer 7 drifts further and further the departure window is met, and Malcolm fires the spacecraft’s engine!

“All systems are nominal… engine burn to Kerbin nearly complete!”
-Malcolm

As Explorer 7 leaves the Duna system, the crew prepares for their EVA to the Cryonic section to hibernate for the trip home! At KSEA, mission planners are debating how to do the next mission – is it time to send the DSV’s to Duna, or continue with the Explorer program?

Year 20, Day 10 (Explorer 7 Second Duna Landing!)

Malcolm, Dunwin and Shepely head down for the second landing! Since this will be a landing at the Highlands, the Advanced Duna Lander has to expend a good deal of fuel to slow down before entering the atmosphere!

“We’re heading in! Approach looking good!”
-Malcolm

The landing parachute deploys, and the lander pitches up…. while the engine throttles up again to slow the descent!

Shepely and Dunwin head out to explore the surface!

“It’s so pretty!”
-Shepely

Next, Malcolm plants a flag….

…and the crew poses for their landing portrait!

“Mission Control has received your picture… lookin’ good!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

Shepley gets the scientific equipment set up, while Malcolm and Dunwin supervise!

Well, let’s get our little campsite going! We have a few weeks to work here on the surface!
-Shepely

Year 19, Day 214 (Explorer 7 Crew Return to Duna Spaceport!)

After 40 days on the surface of Duna, the Explorer 7 crew prepares to come home!

“All our surface experiments should be OK when we take off, as long as there isn’t too much dust kicked up!”
-Shepely

“Engines firing! All systems go!”
-Malcolm

“Looks like we’re still getting a signal from the surface… blast off must not have been too damaging! Lander systems all good too!”
-Dunwin

Malcolm pilots the Advanced Duna Lander to a rendezvous with the station…

…and docks with Duna Spaceport!

“Great work Explorer 7! Get some rest everyone!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

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 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!

Year 18, Day 274 (Explorer 7 Launches, Heading to Duna!)

Malcolm, Dunwin, and Shepley all board Explorer 7! Outside the rocket, the loudspeakers count down to launch!

“10… 9…8…7…6…ignition sequence start….5…4…3…2…1…IGNITION!”
-Gene

“We have liftoff!”
-Gene

The powerful Sarnus Va rocket lifts Explorer 7 higher and higher!

Until orbit is reached! Then, with just 3 minutes to spare until the transfer window, Malcolm fires the engines!

“Engines firing…. We’re on course!”

-Malcolm

Explorer 7 soars past Mun on its way out of Kerbin’s SOI!

Hours later, the Advanced Duna Lander departs for Duna! The two spacecraft will arrive at Duna in 208 days!

“Ok, we’re on our way! Mission Control, we’re handing over vehicle control to KSC!

-Malcolm

“That means it’s time to head over to the Cryo Section… And take a little nap!”

-Shepely

The 3 Kerbals prepare to head over to the Cryo Module to enter Cryo-Stasis! The mission schedule has them starting suspension tomorrow!