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?
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?”
“Not quite! Almost at target…. Almost… Deploy the chute!!”
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!”
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!”
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!
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 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!”
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!”
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…”
“I show you at .1 m/s … Alignment good…”
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!