The mission patch for Horizon Crew Mission 1 is announced, and it looks like Mitster, Chrisnic, and Kimmy will be the lucky FIRST Kerbals to visit the Sarnus system!
Because of Horizon’s launch to high orbit (800k) – the next Aurora Rocket, Aurora 23) originally destined for Mun, will be used to launch the crew! This will also allow the delivery of a modified Mun Lander, with increased fuel and power systems, to land on Slate! The stack will also include a relay satellite that will be left in a high equatorial orbit of Slate, to assist the polar-orbit survey/relay satellite that is already at the moon.
After the unsatisfactory performance of the lander probe designed for Pathfinder, KSEA wanted to test the upgraded lander as soon as possible. However even with Resolute on stand-by using a Heavy Cargo Shuttle to launch such a small payload seems like a waste.
Engineers have been looking for a payload to test the new aerospike based Moho Rocket however, and this is as good a time as any!
The Aerospike rocket is a revolutionary design in rockets, or so the team that designed it claim!
The Moho Rocket blasts off!
So far so good – the aerospike engine is performing extremely well at all altitudes!
The lander ejects from its fairing and goes soaring away from the Moho Rocket!
The heat shield holds as the probe flies through the atmosphere!
The parachute deploys and the lander slowly heads down to the highlands below!
A picture perfect landing. Unfortunately, the test-send of the probe’s sensors showed that power was still insufficient!
“I think we should be able to cram a few more batteries on that thing!”
Enterprise launches the last Pathfinder payload – the Mk8 Atmospheric Scanner.
Equipped with a multspectral scanner and enough deltaV to allow a wide range of deployments, the Mk8 will be the first Pathfinder probe launched to survey the surface for the two remote landers.
The scanner and probe perform perfectly, and the green light is given to include this design on Pathfinder!
Alright, time to take Enterprise home!
Enterprise streaks through the clouds toward the Space Center!
Ok – got the Center on visual… Enterprise is handling a little strange today – that or it’s been a while since I’ve landed a Heavy Cargo Shuttle!!
Thankfully Mirphe and Chrisnic set down safely! Enterprise is taken to prepare for it’s next launch, but not before Chrisnic and the rest of the engineering team see if there’s any mechanical explanation for the shuttles odd handling!
Enterprise launches the next Pathfinder test payload, the Mk7 Atmospheric Probe – designed for landing on terrestrial targets, the lander has the typical 4 leg design of a lander, but with additional fuel for precise landings and in some cases, jumps on planet surfaces!
The burn to fall out of orbit goes well, however engineers already see a problem – power levels are fairly low, additional batteries or perhaps even a solar array might be called for! Additionally, communications systems on the craft seem insufficient – a more powerful antenna is needed!
In all the test is mostly successful, engineers start work right away on an upgraded design for the Mk7 probe!
As part of the upcoming Pathfinder missions, several probe designs need real-world testing, beyond what a simple simulation can provide.
To help facilitate this, Enterprise is loaded with 3 of the new probes and heads to the launchpad! Mirphe will be piloting the shuttle, and Chrisnic will be onboard to supervise the launches!
So far so good! Launcher is away, circularizing Enterprise’s orbit!
Once Enterprise is in a stable orbit, the cargo bay doors open – time to test some probes! The first launch is the Mk 6 Atmospheric Probe – designed for water landings on Laythe, Jool’s closest moon and Kerbin-look-a-like!
Probe is away! Remote systems responding… sending it for a water landing!
The probe drifts away from Enterprise until it’s time to fire the retro rockets that will take it to the surface…
Probe is on course – all systems nominal!
The parachute deploys, and the probe drifts slowly to the ocean surface!
Splashdown! The probe lands safely and the solar panels deploy – all systems seem to be working perfectly!
“I’d call that a success!”
KSEA Search and Rescue heads out to recover the probe, and the Enterprise crew rests for a day before the next launch!