Year 4, Day 48 (Explorer Arrives at Gilly)

screenshot633.pngThe Explorer spacecraft finishes its journey from Eve to Gilly, circularizing an orbit around the small planetoid.

“Fuel keeps getting lower and lower guys… let’s try to be careful!”


screenshot636.pngFor the first time all three crew of a spacecraft will abandon their vessel and head down in a lander.  It’s a bit risky… but no one wants to be left behind on such a momentous occasion!Chrisnic, Mitster, and Orlas climb into the LARC… and detach!screenshot644

The LARC slowly moves away from Explorer.. and heads down to Gilly!

“”I’m so excited! ”



The LARC sets down, and Chrisnic climbs out…


Once he lets go of the ladder, the slightest step sends him flying across the surface

“Whoa!  The low gravity here is… very low!  Be careful!”



Mitster is next… expertly piloting his rocket pack over to Chrisnic!

“You weren’t kidding!   It’s almost like we’re in space, and not even on a moon!



Orlas jumps out next!




After having a good deal of fun playing on Gilly, the crew of Explorer gathers to take a landing portrait…. when Orlas notices something…


“Wow!  What a sight to behold!”



The crew pose for their portrait… the first Kerbals to land on Gilly!  What a day!  The crew will spend about 4 days on the surface of Gilly collecting important data before returning to the Explorer, high above the small moon… empty… waiting for its crew!

Year 4, Day 33 (Explorer Arrives At Eve)

screenshot516.pngMitster and Chrisnic transfer to the command module, while Orlas looks out the windows excitedly – it’s Eve Day – the day Kerbals arrive at Eve for the first time… ever!!!

“It’s so… purple!”

screenshot526.pngThe NERV Nuclear Engines fire… and fire… and fire.. the long but very efficient burn lasts nearly 4 minutes, as Explorer’s orbit is slowly circularized around Eve.

“Hang in there everybody… this will be a long burn, but it’s going exactly as simulations said it would!”


Indeed – DSV-1 Explorer eventually does circularize it’s orbit… and becomes the first vessel carrying Kerbals to orbit Eve!  The orbit has an apoapsis of 14,831 km, and periapsis of 122 km.  The burn took so long that Explorer will need to swing around Eve once more before arriving at the Periapsis again… and that’s when the atmospheric probe will be launched!




Year 3, Day 380 (Explorer Update)

screenshot434.pngExplorer, still on its long journey to Eve, is 120 days into its mission!  Chrisnic, Mitster, and Orlas have gotten to know each other’s annoying habits really well – but have also grown to be very close friends.  Good thing too – their mission still has a long way to go!  They’re all very eager to be the first Kerbals to see Eve … close up! screenshot433.png

Year 3, Day 317 (Explorer Departs for Eve!)



This is the day!  Mitster triple checks the calculations, and Orlas does the same.

“Looks good!  Let’s light this candle!”

Explorer fires what’s left of the orbital stage to get a little extra ‘kick’ to Eve!  Then….


The protective fairings on the nuclear engines fire!


Explorer soars out of Kerbin’s orbit… screenshot320.png

and heads to Eve! If calculations are correct, and they better be, Explorer will arrive at Eve in 120 days… on Year 4, Day 33!

The engines stop firing, glowing red from the heat! Orlas activates the primary communication antenna as well!screenshot323.png

“Wow… those engines sure get hot!”


After the engines are done firing, the crew moves to the habitat section and get comfy… 120 days is the longest mission ever attempted by Kerbals!

Orlas and Mitster, goofing around in the Explorer’s Habitat Section!
Chrisnic.. waiting for something to break!




Year 3, Day 307 (Explorer Crew Announced… and launched!)


The crew for Explorer 1 is announced… the brave crew of Aurora 13 are chosen for the first interplanetary journey!  Mitster, Orlas, and Chrisnic excitedly put on their new Mission Patches, and head out to the waiting Crew Shuttle Adventure! screenshot283.png

Mitster pilots Adventure into orbit… the plan is to dock with Explorer, then the crew will be on their way!


Edan lines up with Explorer, in a 80k orbit of Kerbin…


Once in position, Endeavor undocks from its mission cargo (the atmospheric probe and LARC), and spins around, very slowly, until its lined up with the Crew Shuttle.


Edan then uses the RCS thrusters to dock with the huge space craft!


Mitster, Chrisnic, and Orlas all rush over to Endeavor.  Orlas gets serious, and starts going over all the mission parameters and scientific systems.  Mitster runs through the piloting systems, while Chrisnic does a survey of the ship (and checks out the great new Habitat section, that will make the journey to Eve much more comfortable!

“Good luck guys!

The crew get comfortable and begin getting Explorer’s systems running!  It’s a long mission to Eve… so its important to make sure that everything on the new ship is in good working order before departure!


Meanwhile, Edan takes Adventure back to the surface!


Mitster dives Adventure, toward the Space Center, after cooling off from reentry!


Uh oh!  A little too much speed… Adventure flies by the Space Center….


Thankfully all Crew Shuttles have enough fuel for manuevering in just this kind of situtation… Edan pilots the Shuttle around, and heads back for a good approach!


Ok… I’m in the pipe, five by five…



Perfect landing!  Good job Edan!



Year 3, Day 272 (Aurora 14 Launches!)

screenshot248.pngAurora 14’s crew is selected!  Val, Kimmy, and Bill will take the next Aurora Spacecraft to Mun!  This completes the “Explorer Six”, the pool of 6 astronauts that are in training to crew “Explorer” and the mission to Eve!screenshot252.png

The Aurora Spacecraft has had a slight adjustment made to its cargo bay, allowing more food and supplies to prevent a repeat of the near disaster that Aurora 13 very nearly became!

KSEA has decided to remove the on board power generator, and replace it with more supplies, as the solar panels have proven themselves for many missions as being a reliable source of energy for missions in the Kerbin sphere of influence. screenshot253.png

The first priority is to take the crew beyond Kerbin’s sphere of influence, and into ‘solar space.’ The mission will also be slightly less fuel efficient, demanding greater speeds of the spacecraft in order to maximize onboard crew resources. After reaching solar space, Aurora 14 will return to Kerbin’s SOI, and attempt a landing on Minmus, before returning to Kerbin.  It will be the most complicated mission attempted since Aurora 13! screenshot257.png

Val performs the docking and transposition maneuver, then ejects the orbital/insertion stage.  The protective cover over the Aurora Spacecraft’s engine is also ejected, and Aurora 14 rides the momentum out of Kerbin’s SOI!



Year 3, Day 267 (Explorer Launches!)


Explorer launches! The mighty Sarnus V Ultra Heavy launcher makes a deafening BOOM! as the solid rockets ignite!


The launch goes well! The solids eventually eject, and Explorer is taken into orbit, still protected by it’s launch fairing.


The fairing ejects! Explorer and it’s cargo wait in orbit for a crew… All of Kerbin is excited to find out who will crew the first mission to another world!! Scientists estimate that Explorer should be ready to go in about 14 days!screenshot246.png

Explorer’s solar panels deploy, and the craft waits for its crew!

Year 3, Day 244 (Explorer Lander Changed)


At the last moment, due to concerns about the fuel budget, a change is made to Explorer’s mission profile.

The atmospheric probe will remain unchanged, but a new vehicle will replace the Low Gravity Lander: the Lander and Return Craft (LARC).

This new design adds a Aurora command module to Explorer, combined with a lander capable of exploring Gilly!  The original Atmospheric Probe for Eve will not be altered.

The mission profile still calls for returning Explorer to Kerbin orbit… But now there is a backup plan if fuel budgets get too tight! In that case the crew will board the LARC as it enters Kerbin’s SOI. Then the LARC will detach, and reenter Kerbin’s atmosphere. Explorer will be remotely piloted to an escape course that will eventually leave it in a solar orbit, safely distant from Kerbin!  Construction begins at once on the updated Explorer rocket!

Year 3, Day 240 (Explorer Design Announced)



After a long wait, KSEA administrators finally release designs for the first interplanetary vessel: Explorer!

Utilizing many lessons learned from the KSS, the vessel will be the largest crewed vehicle and also the most comfortable: astronauts will get beds to sleep in, proper facilities, and much, much more room.

The Deep Space Vehicle, or DSV, may leave Kerbin orbit with a docked payload consisting of an Atmospheric Probe to land on Eve, and a low gravity lander meant for exploring Gilly. There is also consideration being given to sending  a the payload as a separate launch, to conserve deltaV!

All told, Explorer’s first mission will be quite the undertaking… once it is finally done!

The risk is high… Some KSEA staff want to launch unkerballed to test Explorer’s capabilities. This would set the program back a few years, and is somewhat controversial!