Year 21, Day 352 (DSV-2 Crew Starts Exploring Duna Craters!)

Seely climbs out, and repacks the landing parachute!

“There we go – repacked! I’m heading down!”
-Seely

Soon, Tamre and Mirphe climb out!

“It’s so pretty here! We have a lot of time but we should start getting science data right away!”
-Tamre

“Flag’s planted! Let’s get the science kits set up so we can start exploring!”
-Mirphe

Tamre starts setting up the science equipment!

“That’s all of it! Weather station is up and running – the forecast looks cold and windy!”
-Tamre

Year 21, Day 341 (DSV-2 Crew Heads to Duna Surface!)

After a considerable time aboard Duna Spaceport, Mirphe, Tamre, and Seely head down to the surface!

“Hold on to something everybody… these landers are pretty rough on the way down!”
-Mirphe

The rear airbrakes deploy, and the lander heads nose-first into the Duna atmosphere!

“We’re going so fast! I hope we decelerate with enough time to deploy the chutes!”
-Seely

“Chutes deployed! And just in time too!”
-Mirphe

The lander sets down on the surface of Duna! Back on Kerbin, looking over the landing metrics, Gene frowns!

“That wasn’t just a close one – that was really close! The parachutes barely had enough time to deploy! I think we need to start looking at a next generation lander for Duna!”
-Gene

Engineers start looking at prototype designs… meanwhile the crew gets ready to explore the surface of Duna!

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 21, Day 35 (Mirphe, Seely and Tamre Rush to DSV-2 Discovery… and Leave for Duna!)

With no time to waste, Mirphe and Tamre fly to White Mesa and board Crew Vehicle 4, already waiting at the launch pad!

“Seely is already getting Discovery ready to go, as soon as we’re up there we’re taking off!”
-Mirphe

Crew Vehicle 4 blasts off on it’s Nebula Rocket!

Once the spacecraft reaches it’s 200k apogee, the Crew Vehicle detaches and uses it’s RCS thrusters to move clear of the first stage Nebula Rocket!

The Nebula Rocket uses it’s own RCS thrusters to invert itself, and fire it’s main engine, to perform a propulsive landing at KSC!

“We’re clear to rendevous to Spacedock!”
-Mirphe

The Crew Vehicle arrives at Spacedock!

“Welcome to Spacedock CV4! Discovery is fueled up and ready to go!”
-Val

The Crew Vehicle docks! Mirphe and Tamre rush to help Seely get the lander out!

“Hey – why are all the doors open on CV1!?”
-Tamre

“They got stuck open! It shouldn’t have any impact on the return, just annoying!”
-Val

Mirphe, Seely, and Tamre board Discovery… and undock!

“RCS thrusters firing in reverse… moving clear of Spacedock! Let’s get the reactor powered up to maximum!”
-Mirphe

Discovery turns from Spacedock as the entire spacecraft shudders from the engines and reactor powering up!

“Reactor showing 100%! We’re good to power up engines!”
-Seely

“Good luck Discovery!”
-Val

Discovery’s three nuclear engines fire, and it slowly builds up speed!

4 minutes into the burn, alarms sound!

“What’s that!?”
-Mirphe

“Looks like the rear engine housing is giving us trouble again! It’s heating up from the engines and not transferring enough heat to the Radiators!”
-Tamre

“If we reduce thrust to 50 percent we should be fine… the burn will just take longer!”
-Seely

With the overheating problem out of the way, Discovery completes it’s burn for Duna, and soars out of the system!

“Wow – we are moving fast! We should reach Duna in less than 70 days! Once we enter orbit and dock we’re not going to have much fuel left!”
-Tamre

“That’s the idea! The return to Kerbin from Duna using the correct launch window is much less demanding – we’ll be fine! Let’s get ready to enter Cryo-sleep!”
-Mirphe

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 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!