Year 22, Day 347 (CTS-2 Pioneer Test Rendezvous, Return to Kerbin)

Mission Control decides to test Pioneer by having it dock and inspect the recently launched DSV-1A Explorer! This is also a training run for KSEA’s newest pilot, Edbert!

“I can’t wait to see the new Explorer! “

-Edbert

Pioneer maneuvers into a close rendevous with Explorer ….

“Lining up to the docking bay… alignment looks good…”

-Jeb

As soon as the connection is confirmed, Edbert volunteers for his first EVA – to investigate the new DSV and confirm safe detachment of the boost stage!

“Wow – this ship is big!

-Edbert

“The reactor looks good… sensors indicate no dangerous radiation levels.. I think we’re good to eject the boost stage Jeb!”

-Edbert

“OK – boost stage is ejected!”

-Jeb

The boost stage drifts away – and Edbert gets back into Pioneer!

“OK Edbert – this is your landing… take us home!”

-Jeb

Edbert fires the engines and Pioneer starts a rapid descent!

“Oh wow – that was a steep descent angle – this is gonna be a close one!!”

-Jeb

Pioneer survives the reentry – and Edbert angles the craft right at the base of the landing strip!

“Approach needs to be pretty steep or we’ll overshoot… if we don’t pull up at the last second…”

-Edbert

“If we don’t pull up at the last second it’ll be someone else’s problem – just focus on the landing!”

-Jeb

“Woooooohoooo!”

-Jeb

Edbert pilots right at the strip.. then pulls up at the last second…

…skittering off the runway, but landing Pioneer in one piece!

“Oh wow – what a landing!”

-Edbert

Teams head out to recover the shuttle and crew!

“That landing had a lotta moxie in it – nice work Edbert!”

-Gene

Year 22, Day 346 (DSV-1A Explorer Launches!)

A Jool Heavy Rocket is rolled out to the launchpad at KSC carrying the newest Deep Space Vehicle – DSV-1A Explorer!

Both the crafts number and name are tributes to the very first DSV!

“Blast off!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

The Jool Heavy Rocket lifts off the pad, and starts it’s gravity turn to orbit!

While the DSV itself is capable of carrying 3 Kerbals, they are launched un-crewed… Shuttles or CRVs will deliver crew for the upcoming mission!

The first stage, having fully expended it’s fuel, separates and will eventually fall into Kerbins oceans.

The second stage fairing breaks away …

And the engines blast Explorer into a 200k orbit!

“All systems nominal – let’s get a crew up there!”

Gene, at Mission Control

Year 22, Day 331 (DSV-1A Explorer Announced!)

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!

KSEA will have more details soon!