Year 21, Day 194 (Aurora Base Launches to Mun!)

Aurora Base is finally ready to launch! This complicated mission will involve one very large payload launched to Mun Orbit, then 3 separate landings delivering all the components of the station. The first landing will carry the Habitat and Science Modules. The second will carry the Greenhouse and Life Support systems. The third module will carry the Command Module!

In the evening of Day 194, the Jool X rocket blasts off from the Space Center carrying Aurora Base!

The second stage carries the Aurora Base modules to orbit…

… then to Mun’s Orbit!

Once in Mun orbit the three landings commence.

“Let’s keep our fingers crossed everyone! These landings have to be timed precisely for the modules to arrive undamaged!”
-Gene

The Habitat and Science modules descend to Aurora Crater!

Then land just next to the Aurora Rover from the Aurora 27 mission from Mun Spaceport!

Then, the complicated part! One module breaks off, and is piloted away using RCS!

Eventually the next detaches, and rolls to nearby safety!

“That wasn’t so bad! Just two more to go!”
-Bob, at the Space Center

The Green House and Life Support modules land next…

.. landing just next to the other modules!

Aurora Crater is starting to fill up with some very expensive Kerbal hardware!

Next, the Command Module heads down!

“Telemetry is good. Speed is good. Command Module should be good to set down – fuel’s looking pretty tight though! “
-Bob, at the Space Center

At the last second, the Command Module detaches from the descent vehicle, and the upper mounted RCS system (the same that’s used to deploy rovers in Aurora Missions) takes the Command Module to the surface of Mun!

Looks like a good set of landings people! Let’s get some crew out there to get started!”
-Gene

A crew will be launching soon from Kerbin to construct the station on the next Aurora mission – Aurora 28!

Year 21, Day 180 (DSV-5 Intrepid, KSEA’s Next Deep Space Vehicle, Launches From The Space Center!)

The Next Deep Space Vehicle, DSV-5 Intrepid is ready to launch! Named after the retired crew shuttle CTS-3 Intrepid, DSV-5 is a Horizon Class DSV, identical to Endeavor and Horizon!

“Wow – that rocket looks big, even from way over at the Tracking Station!”

-Bob, on his way to watch the launch of DSV-5

Mission Command starts calling out rocket status summaries, until finally…

“Lights are green – DSV is go for launch!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

“Look at ‘er go!”

-Bob, at Mission Control

The Jool Heavy Rocket carries the spacecraft higher…

… and higher!

At a 200k orbit, the side stages eject, and Intrepid circularizes it’s orbit around Kerbin!

“Computers say we have a good orbit! Let’s remotely rendevous it with Spacedock and get a crew over there!”
-Gene

Intrepid is remotely piloted until it rendezvouses with Spacedock!

“Mission Control – this is Jeb at Spacedock Control – we have a visual on Intrepid!”
-Jeb

“Wow – I always forget how big these DSV’s are until you see them next to Spacedock!”

-Sean

While Mission Control can pilot the DSV’s remotely for the precision connections needed for docking pilots are always preferred – so Jeb EVA’s outside Spacedock and heads over to Intrepid!

“Mission Control, I have left Spacecdock and am en route to the DSV!”
-Jeb

Jeb sets his EVA rockets to “FULL SPEED DANGER!” and speeds toward the DSV!

“Radar shows you going 10 m/s, make sure you leave enough time to slow down!”
-Sean, on Spacedock

“Don’t worry, I’m a professional!”
-Jeb

Jeb slows down, just in time, and grabs the hand holds under the nose of DSV-5 Endeavor at the last second!

“Got it! Connection made, heading to the cockpit!”
-Jeb

“Eyes on the prize Jeb – let’s get this bird in the nest!”
-Gene

“Roger that.”
-Jeb

Jeb activates the RCS thrusters and matches speed with Spacedock, then orients the massive spacecraft with the docking ports!

“Starting final docking maneuvers…”
-Jeb

“Mission Control… Jeb here… I’m in the pipe, five by five…”
-Jeb

Intrepid slowly moves in to dock until finally, just as the sun sets…

“Intrepid – you show a solid lock – welcome back Jeb! I can’t wait to get over there and start up Intrepid‘s reactor!”
-Sean

Year 20, Day 283 (DSV-2 Discovery Crew Returns to Kerbin!)

Jeb, Bill, and Bob transfer over to Crew Vehicle 1 and prepare to head back to Kerbin!

“I’ve loaded up all the science we collected from Laythe – everyone’s going to be so excited to see it!”
-Bob

“We are clear of Spacedock… firing engine for return burn!”
-Jeb

Crew Vehicle 1 heats up as it rockets through Kerbin’s atmosphere, heading toward White Mesa!

Success! The Crew Vehicle is collected and scientists begin pouring over the absolute treasure trove of data collected from Laythe!

Year 20, Day 281 (DSV-2 Discovery Returns From Historic Mission to Laythe!)

Discovery enters Kerbin’s sphere of gravitational influence!

“Discovery we’re tracking you as on course – what’s your situation?”

-Gene, at Mission Control

“Roger Mission Control… Situation nominal, Discovery reactor is at full, engines show green and ready to fire!”

-Jeb

As Discovery reaches a distance of 700km from Kerbin, the 3 nuclear engines fire!

It’s a nearly minute long burn to slow down!

Suddenly, alarm bells ring in the cockpit!

“Temperature on main engines reaching critical! They’re starting to heat up the tri-adapter engine housing!”

-Bob

“We’ve already been captured into orbit, so we can cut thrust safely… Let’s monitor it and cut thrust once it’s just about critical!”

-Jeb

Thankfully the engines don’t explode, and Discovery settles into a clean 700k circular orbit!

I can’t wait to see Spacedock! It’s supposed to be huge!”

-Bill

Discovery does several manuevers to rendezvous with Spacedock, and finally approaches the station!

“Discovery here! We’re going to coast past Spacedock, then start docking manuevers!”

-Jeb

“Roger that DSV-2… We show you at 150 meters and clear for RCS manuevers!”

-Sean, onboard Spacedock

Discovery slowly drifts past the station until it’s visible out the cockpit!

“Wow! Look at that! And look, Endeavor is docked at the top!”

-Bill

“Yep! We’ll be parking opposite Endeavor!”

-Jeb

Jeb uses RCS orbital thrusters only and slowly matches speed with Spacedock….

…then slowly accelerates toward the station, lining up with the docking port!

“Slowing down… We’re lined up and looking good!”

-Jeb

Discovery moves almost imperceptibly slow until…

With a dull “clunk” and the whir of motors, Discovery makes s connection to Spacedock!

“Welcome home Discovery!”

-Val

Jeb, Bill, and Bob head over to Spacedock to rest before returning to Kerbin with the mountains of data gathered from Jool’s moon Laythe! There is already talk of building a colony there!

Engineers are also finalizing plans for refits and repairs to Discovery!

Year 20, Day 271 (DSV-2 Discovery Crew Wakes From CryoSleep!)

Jeb, Bill, and Bob wake from their Cryo-Sleep on Discovery!

“Wake up everybody! Just 8 days and we’ll be entering Kerbin orbit!”
-Jeb

“I can’t wait to see this new Space Station they built while we were gone!”
-Bill

“It feels like we just left Laythe yesterday!”
-Bob

In Kerbin Orbit, the massive new Spacedock facility is ready for the returning DSV!

Refueling Discovery should be about the same procedure as Endeavor! They’re different classes of ships technically… but they both run on the same fuel!”
Sean, on Spacedock

Year 17, Day 357 (DSV-2 Discovery Leaves Laythe!)

Jeb and Bill transfer over to Discovery… while Bob makes sure that every bit of science is taken on board!

“That should be the last of it! Let’s head out!”
-Bob

“Moorings are clear… Discovery is clear of the Spaceport!
-Jeb

Discovery fires it’s three atomic engines, and the massive spacecraft rockets away from Jool!

The journey back to Kerbin will take a little over 2 years – longer than Discovery’s life support reserves will last – so Jeb, Bill, and Bob transfer over to the Cryonic chamber to survive the long trip!

“See you soon Discovery!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

Year 17, Day 350 (Endurance Returns to Laythe Spaceport!)

With the transfer window back to Kerbin rapidly approaching, Jeb decides it’s time to take Endurance back to orbit!

“Pack up all the science and snacks! It’s time to take off!”
-Jeb

Endurance lifts higher and higher…

… eventually reaching orbit!

“That loud pop noise was Endurance running out of primary fuel! Just in time too, we should have enough monopropellant to slow down the final leg of the rendezvous with Laythe Spaceport!”
-Jeb

Thankfully, there’s enough monoprop for both slowing down, and maneuvering!

Jeb docks with Laythe Spaceport!

“You know… these missions have all been really close, let’s call it good and not try a water landing this time?”
-Bill

“I dunno, I’m down for it! What’s the worst that could happen!?”
-Jeb

“Hmmm… maybe Bill’s right – let’s get ready to head back to Kerbin… we can try a water landing next time!”
-Bob

Year 17, Day 331 (Exploring Laythe, Continued!)

“I’m going to check out that water!”
-Bob

Bob takes off in a run, heading toward Laythe’s Sagen Sea!

“Oh hey! A Laythe Stone! They’re looking for one of these back at the Science Center! I better get a big sample!”
-Bob

Bob keeps running, until he finally gets to the shore…

“I never thought I’d see an ocean on another world! Only one thing to do…”
-Bob

“Go for a swim!!”
-Bob

Bob jumps in the water, and tries to swim out a little bit…

“Oh boy! This is cold water! Salty too! Just like the shore… “
-Bob

“…brrrr! I’m heading back to Endurance to warm up!”
-Bob

Before going inside, a very chilly Bob plants a flag!

“These samples just aren’t enough.. to really get a good sample of the Sagen Sea I’m afraid we’re going to need to land in it!”
-Bob

“LAND in the SEA?”
-Bill

“This isn’t a boat… but it might be possible! Let’s see what KSEA says!”
-Jeb

Year 17, Day 331 (Discovery Crew Boards Laythe Spaceplane ‘Endurance’ – Then Lands on Laythe!

Jeb, Bill, and Bob board LCV-1 Endurance and head down for another landing! The discovery that Laythe has a breathable atmosphere has caused a bit of a commotion back on Kerbin – talk of a permanent colony on Laythe has begun!

“Ok – hold on! We’re setting down right by the coast so if we overshoot the landing site, we’ll need to be ready to blast off back into orbit… this plane isn’t rated for a water landing!”
-Jeb

It looks like the approach was spot on! Endurance activates it’s landing parachute, and the VTOL Aerospike bays open!

Endurance slowly sets down, aided by the VTOL system and the parachute!

“Endurance has landed! Let’s get out and see what’s out there!”
-Jeb

Jeb and Bill climb out and take in the sights, with Bob right behind them!

“Hey guys! What’re you standing there looking at!?”
-Bob

“Oh! The Sagen sea is so pretty! You’d almost think it’s Kerbin!”
-Bob

Year 17, Day 228 (Endurance Returns to Laythe Spaceport!)

Bob plants a flag and places the plaque for the second landing site! Bob insisted that they ‘suit up’ as the temperature was getting cold enough it might be dangerous!

Then, all three Kerbals climb back into Endurance. Bob is so captivated by all the new science data he doesn’t even complain about the tight science bay! Next, Jeb opens the VTOL bays, and fires Endurance’s aerospike VTOLs!

“Fuel flow is steady… we have good lift… brakes off, gear up… here we go!”
-Jeb

Endurance blasts off, it’s air-fueled engines taking it higher and higher!

Once high enough, the RAPIER engines switch over to full rocket mode!

“We’re almost to orbit!”

-Jeb

Endurance reaches the Spaceport and docks!

“We’re getting so much interesting data here! We have to go back down as soon as possible!”
-Bob

“We need to be more careful next time though, these missions keep using up almost all of Endurance’s fuel! We barely had enough to get back!”
-Jeb

KSEA engineers start running simulations to see if there’s an ideal flight profile to take to save fuel! Meanwhile, Bill oversees the refueling of Endurance!