Year 14 Day 267 (Explorer 5 Reaches Duna… and Keeps Going!)

Critics of reusing Explorer 5 were correct! The spacecraft didn’t have enough deltaV to overcome the high speed approach of Duna. Perhaps KSEA should have known better!

“Hmmm. Well, we all make mistakes! Back to the drawing board! It would be nice to have a spacecraft that can reach Duna without being quite a DSV-class vehicle!”


To that end, KSEA begins work retooling what would have been Explorer 7 to use the Explorer design but with a more re-usable layout in mind!

Year 13, Day 402 (Explorer 5 Readied For Second Mission)

As an experiment, KSEA decides to test the capabilities of the Explorer 5 spacecraft. Having returned from Duna, is it capable of entering Duna orbit again, and returning safely to Kerbin orbit? If so it would provide a much more cost effective means of transporting Kerbals to and from the red planet.

Explorer 5 docked at Kerbin Spaceport. Discovery can be seen docked in the background.

The new Discovery-class spacecraft design is certainly capable of the trip, however it is overkill to the extreme – DSV-2 Discovery could travel to Duna, return to Kerbin, and repeat the trip without ever needing to refuel!

Gillian, Shepely, and Seely (the current crew on Kerbin Spaceport) start work refuelling Explorer 5 for it’s next mission!

Year 12, Day 286 (Adventure Returns Explorer 5 Crew to Kerbin From Kerbin Spaceport!)


Val, Bill, and Bob board Adventure!  Edan will pilot them back to the Space Center, since Val is still recovering from the long cryo-sleep!


Adventure streaks through the atmosphere!


“Trajectory seems good so far – hold on everyone!”



Edan performs a few manuevers to adjust the heading – Adventure‘s air brakes had to be used in pulses to slow the craft down – a few timed bursts of the engines accelerate the craft so it won’t land short of the Space Center!


“Ok. Adventure is in the pipe – five by five!”



Adventure lands, returning the Explorer 5 crew to Kerbin!  KSEA scientists begin collecing the data brought back, and Val, Bill, and Bob head to the Astronaut Complex to recover!  Meanwhile, the crew shuttle is recovered and begins repairs and refits for it’s next launch!



Year 12, Day 285 (Explorer 5 Returns from Duna, Orbits Kerbin, and Docks with Kerbin Spaceport!


Explorer 5 enters Kerbin’s sphere of gravitational influence, and automatic systems revive the crew!

“Mission Control, this is Val – Bob and Bill are in good shape, and so am I!  Explorer 5 is approaching Kerbin, and looking at our sensors I think we’re good for entering orbit!”


“Explorer 5 – this is Gene – that’s great!  Are you sure about skipping the splashdown/flyby procedure?”


“Roger that! Explorer 5 has enough fuel to enter orbit and even dock with Kerbin Spaceport!”


“Permission granted Explorer 5 – good luck!”



Explorer 5 fires it’s engine and enters Kerbin’s orbit!


Mission Control, Explorer 5 has achieved Kerbin Orbit! Proceeding to Kerbin Spaceport!



Cheers fill Mission Control over Val’s broadcast!  This is a big day for KSEA – NO interplanetary spacecraft has ever returned to Kerbin orbit before!


“Explorer 5, this is Edan on Kerbin Spaceport.  You are tracking good and cleared for approach!”



Val manuevers Explorer 5 closer and closer to the Spaceport…


“Almost there….”



Ka-Chunk! Whirrrrrrrr….Explorer 5 connects with Kerbin Spaceport!

“Welcome home!  Sorry about the mess, we weren’t expecting guests!”


Explorer 5’s crew will rest for a day, then return to Kerbin onboard the Crew Shuttle Adventure!



Year 11, Day 411 (Explorer 5 Departs Duna!)


The Explorer 5 crew packs up their scientific findings (and various uneaten snacks) from around Duna Spaceport, and heads over to the DSCRV, the Val undocks the spacecraft!

“I can’t wait to get back with all these new findings!”




“I sure hope those return calculations are correct!”


“They’re correct – don’t worry!  We’ll be home before you know it!  Now let’s get in those cryopods before we get hungry!”



Explorer 5 finishes it’s burn back to Kerbin, and the crew heads to Cryo-Sleep!  They’re expected back at Kerbin in just 271 days!


Year 11, Day 112 (Explorer 6 Crew Announced!)


With construction already underway on Explorer 6, KSEA announces the crew roster for what will be the most distant and ambitious crew mission yet – the first trip to Jool!

Mitster was the commander of the Explorer 2 mission to Duna and has a reputation as an acomplished pilot and mission commander. Glenica was the lead scientist on the Explorer 3 mission to Duna as well as several Aurora missions to Mun and Minmus.  Sean was also on Explorer 3, as the chief engineer. He was also the mission lead on MunBase One!

Many robotic probes have made the journey to Jool, laying the groundwork for the communication systems there – the mission itself is straight forward, reach Jool and return to Kerbin using the DSCCV (Deep Space Cryo-Stasis Crew Vehicle), almost identical in design to Explorer 5!

Year 10, Day 226 (Explorer 5 Crew Lands on Duna!)


KSEA announces that Explorer 5 will be setting down in the Eastern Canyon – a site that is thought to be a similar to the Western Canyon, only a great deal more easterly.


Bill, Bob, and Val board the Super Duna Lander and head down to the surface!


“OK, starting our descent. Hang on everyone!”



The Super Duna Lander speeds down to the surface! Right before landing the airbrakes are stowed and the gear is deployed, as the rockets fire one last burn to slow down before landing!


“Contact!  We’re on the surface! ”


The crew prepares to head out and explore the Eastern Canyon at Duna!


The crew waits until sunrise, and starts exploring!

Year 10, Day 202 (Explorer 5 Arrives At Duna Spaceport!)


Explorer 5 Arrives in Duna Orbit, and the on board systems automatically eject the Kerbin-Orbit docking adapter (The larger “senior” size docking port is required for docking to the Spaceport!)


Val thaws from cryogenic stasis first!

Alright – I’m moving Explorer in to dock with the Spaceport!



Bill and Bob thaw next!

The crew reports feeling fine, even after such a long cryo-sleep!  After a week the crew’s health will be evaluated and if all is well, the first landing will commence!