Year 22, Day 84 (DSV-3 Horizon Arrives at Sarnus!)

On board Horizon, Kimmy and the rest of the crew start waking up from their Cryo-sleep!

“Good morning everyone!”
-Kimmy, Mission Science Specialist

“Good morning! Let’s get the systems ready for the approach to Slate!”

-Chrisnic, Mission Engineer

The crew rushes to the bridge – when Mitster spots Sarnus!

“Get a picture Kimmy!”
-Mitster

“Wow! That’s the first picture Kerbals have ever taken of Sarnus!”
-Kimmy

“…and look how small the sun looks from out here – wow!”
-Kimmy

The crew starts powering up systems and verifies full communication with the Kerbin Deep Space Relay Network! After a time delay, a message comes back from Kerbin!

Horizon – this is Gene at Mission Control, back on Kerbin! We’re reading your transmissions loud and clear – good luck!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

The Horizon speeds toward Sarnus…

…and arrives at it’s close approach to Slate, the large moon of Sarnus!

“Main engine … firing! Reactor is showing full power!”
-Chrisnic

The capture burn into orbit lasts nearly 2 minutes!

Finally, the ship is captured into orbit of Slate!

“Looks like we’ve got orbit! Good work everyone! Time to disconnect the communications probe!”
-Mitster

“Comm dishes are… deployed – undocking probe!”
-Chrisnic

The probe drifts away from DSV-3 Horizon! The satellite arrays should provide full communication with Kerbin for missions!

As horizon orbits around Slate, the crew starts reviewing data from the orbital insertion, as well as collecting tons of new data from the Sarnusian moon!

Horizon’s cargo bay opens, and the science equipment on the lander starts collecting data! However, Kimmy is the first to crunch the numbers and has some bad news!

“Uh oh! It looks like Slate is much more massive than we thought… this data says that we’re dealing with a lot more gravity than the lander was designed for!”
-Kimmy

The crew discusses the situation with Mission Control, and a novel solution is found – change the mission parameters to land on the smaller Sarnusian moon of Eeloo!

“No problem – we can transit to Eeloo in 5 days! Plugging in the maneuver!”
-Mitster

Before departing, Horizon collects information over many biomes as it circles the moon – Kimmy even climbs out and conducts visual surveys for several full orbits!

5 days later, on Day 89, Horizon begins it’s maneuver to Eeloo!

The nuclear engine fires…

… and the Horizon is propelled away from Slate, toward Eeloo!

Another 5 days later on Day 94, Horizon circularizes it’s orbit around Eeloo!

“Looks like orbit has been achieved! Eeloo is pretty similar to Mun – just a bit bigger – our lander shouldn’t have an problems!”

-Chrisnic

“We just need to find a good landing site. Maybe we can repurpose one of the survey sattelites in orbit of Slate? They should have enough deltaV to make it here!”
-Kimmy

Mission Control agrees, and scientists begin working on maneuvers to bring the Slate Surveyor to Eeloo!

Year 22, Day 1 (Sarnus Station Launches!)

Sarnus Station is finally complete, and it’s rolled out just in time to launch on the first day of Year 22!

“What a fun way to start the new year!”
-Samner, Viewing the launch from Mission Control

The Nova Rocket, KSEA’s most powerful heavy lifter, carries the station into space!

Most Kerbals around the Space Center will typically stop what they’re working on, and gather to watch Nova launches – the massive rockets are quite the sight to see, and launch very rarely!

The second stage separates, as the first stage heads back to a fiery reentry into Kerbin’s oceans! At a 2000 km apogee, the station circularizes!

“We’re showing all systems nominal. Let’s send the signal to start up the reactor.”
-Gene, at Mission Control

The nuclear reactor starts up – and the boards all show green!

“Reactor at full output – I think we’re OK to go!”
-Glenica, at the Science Station at Mission Control

The DSV-class engine fires… and alarm bells go off!

“That thing isn’t getting enough cooling! Let’s power it down to 50 percent power… otherwise it might explode!”
-Glenica

The engine is cooled down, but engineers start scratching notes in their design books for the next Sarnus-bound rocket to use this design!

Sarnus Station speeds toward Sarnus… it will arrive in just over 3 years! Once in orbit, crews from visiting DSV’s will have a home to rest at when exploring around Sarnus!

“These nuclear engines have really opened up the solar system to exploration – a trip to Sarnus in just 3 years! Who would have thought it possible!”
-Edan

Year 21, Day 392 (KSEA Announces Sarnus Station Plans!)

Blueprints have been released for Sarnus Station, a new deep space research station to be placed in orbit of Sarnus! The station will be launched aboard one of the ultra-heavy Nova Rockets, and carried to Sarnus by a modified DSV class nuclear drive! Once at Sarnus the same nuclear reactor will provide the station with ongoing power. The new Life Support Cargo Modules add a significant amount of mass to the station, however they will hold up to 60 years of life support materials for a crew of 3!

“This is the first step to letting us conduct serious investigation of the Sarnus planetary system! Future expansions will eventually grow the station, and it may even be moved into a different orbit, depending on what we need in future years!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

Year 21, Day 327 (Sarnus/Slate Relay-Scanner Enters Slate Orbit!)

The new Sarnus/Slate Relay-Scanner probe arrives at the Sarnus system!

“We still have communication! All those communications dishes really do add up to create a better connection with Kerbin!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

The Slate Probe performs an orbital capture maneuver…

… then captures into a 65 degree inclination Slate Orbit!

“We have enough deltaV to maneuver the probe again if need be – but good work everybody! This is our first probe around Slate!

Indeed, previous probes to the Sarnus system have all failed – either not enough power, or not enough communications capacity. This time – it looks like a proper scan of Slate can be completed!

The lens protector on the surface telescope opens!

“We’re recieving signal! We should have a complete scan of the surface just in time for the Horizon to arrive!”
-Gene

The Relay-Scan probe continues it’s orbit around Slate! In 106 days it will be joined in the Sarnus system by DSV-3 Horizon!

Year 21, Day 194 (Aurora Base Launches to Mun!)

Aurora Base is finally ready to launch! This complicated mission will involve one very large payload launched to Mun Orbit, then 3 separate landings delivering all the components of the station. The first landing will carry the Habitat and Science Modules. The second will carry the Greenhouse and Life Support systems. The third module will carry the Command Module!

In the evening of Day 194, the Jool X rocket blasts off from the Space Center carrying Aurora Base!

The second stage carries the Aurora Base modules to orbit…

… then to Mun’s Orbit!

Once in Mun orbit the three landings commence.

“Let’s keep our fingers crossed everyone! These landings have to be timed precisely for the modules to arrive undamaged!”
-Gene

The Habitat and Science modules descend to Aurora Crater!

Then land just next to the Aurora Rover from the Aurora 27 mission from Mun Spaceport!

Then, the complicated part! One module breaks off, and is piloted away using RCS!

Eventually the next detaches, and rolls to nearby safety!

“That wasn’t so bad! Just two more to go!”
-Bob, at the Space Center

The Green House and Life Support modules land next…

.. landing just next to the other modules!

Aurora Crater is starting to fill up with some very expensive Kerbal hardware!

Next, the Command Module heads down!

“Telemetry is good. Speed is good. Command Module should be good to set down – fuel’s looking pretty tight though! “
-Bob, at the Space Center

At the last second, the Command Module detaches from the descent vehicle, and the upper mounted RCS system (the same that’s used to deploy rovers in Aurora Missions) takes the Command Module to the surface of Mun!

Looks like a good set of landings people! Let’s get some crew out there to get started!”
-Gene

A crew will be launching soon from Kerbin to construct the station on the next Aurora mission – Aurora 28!

Year 21, Day 180 (DSV-5 Intrepid, KSEA’s Next Deep Space Vehicle, Launches From The Space Center!)

The Next Deep Space Vehicle, DSV-5 Intrepid is ready to launch! Named after the retired crew shuttle CTS-3 Intrepid, DSV-5 is a Horizon Class DSV, identical to Endeavor and Horizon!

“Wow – that rocket looks big, even from way over at the Tracking Station!”

-Bob, on his way to watch the launch of DSV-5

Mission Command starts calling out rocket status summaries, until finally…

“Lights are green – DSV is go for launch!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

“Look at ‘er go!”

-Bob, at Mission Control

The Jool Heavy Rocket carries the spacecraft higher…

… and higher!

At a 200k orbit, the side stages eject, and Intrepid circularizes it’s orbit around Kerbin!

“Computers say we have a good orbit! Let’s remotely rendevous it with Spacedock and get a crew over there!”
-Gene

Intrepid is remotely piloted until it rendezvouses with Spacedock!

“Mission Control – this is Jeb at Spacedock Control – we have a visual on Intrepid!”
-Jeb

“Wow – I always forget how big these DSV’s are until you see them next to Spacedock!”

-Sean

While Mission Control can pilot the DSV’s remotely for the precision connections needed for docking pilots are always preferred – so Jeb EVA’s outside Spacedock and heads over to Intrepid!

“Mission Control, I have left Spacecdock and am en route to the DSV!”
-Jeb

Jeb sets his EVA rockets to “FULL SPEED DANGER!” and speeds toward the DSV!

“Radar shows you going 10 m/s, make sure you leave enough time to slow down!”
-Sean, on Spacedock

“Don’t worry, I’m a professional!”
-Jeb

Jeb slows down, just in time, and grabs the hand holds under the nose of DSV-5 Endeavor at the last second!

“Got it! Connection made, heading to the cockpit!”
-Jeb

“Eyes on the prize Jeb – let’s get this bird in the nest!”
-Gene

“Roger that.”
-Jeb

Jeb activates the RCS thrusters and matches speed with Spacedock, then orients the massive spacecraft with the docking ports!

“Starting final docking maneuvers…”
-Jeb

“Mission Control… Jeb here… I’m in the pipe, five by five…”
-Jeb

Intrepid slowly moves in to dock until finally, just as the sun sets…

“Intrepid – you show a solid lock – welcome back Jeb! I can’t wait to get over there and start up Intrepid‘s reactor!”
-Sean

Year 21 Day 30 (Discovery Crew Mission to Duna Announced!)

With the disappointing missed time window of Explorer 8, the Astronauts sat around Mission Control scratching their heads trying to figure out a way to get a crew back to the red planet without waiting a whole year for the next launch window!

“What if we… you know… just go REALLY fast!”
-Jeb

“That’d never work – the Explorer spacecraft doesn’t have that kind of fuel supply!”
-Mirphe

“No… but one of the DSVs should! Can we take one!?”
-Tamre

After some debate (and a mission simulation or three) Gene gives the green light! Tamre will be the scientist, Seely the mission Engineer, and Mirphe will command the mission!

“We barely had time to get these Mission Patches sewn! Get on a Crew Vehicle asap and get up to Spacedock!”
-Gene

Year 21, Day 1 (Modular Payload Vehicle Launches from White Mesa on Nebula Heavy Rocket!)

The first day of Year 21 is going to be a big day at White Mesa! It’s a first for two new vehicles: The third revision of the Modular Payload Vehicle, or MPV, will be launching with a LFO (Liquid Fuel/Oxygen) payload! Even bigger news is the first launch of a new Launch Vehicle, the Nebula Heavy Rocket!

The launch goes well, and the Nebula Heavy rockets into the sky above the desert!

The Nebula Heavy is basically three Nebula Rockets bolted together with a larger second stage. While all 3 Nebula rockets return to Kerbin, the second stage is discarded.

The Nebula Heavy reaches it’s 200k apogee, and detaches!

Turning around using RCS thrusters (once clear of the MPV), the Nebula Heavy fires it’s engines to target a landing at KSC! Soon, the three rockets will disconnect and independently land on the surface!

Meanwhile, the MPV fires it’s engine until it’s in a safe 200k orbit of Kerbin!

Mission Control continues piloting the craft closer and closer to the rendevous with Spacedock!

“Mission Control – this is Station Commander … I’ve got a clear view of the MPV out of the Upper Cupola windows! Looks like it’s on course for docking with Endeavor! We’re clear to take over remote control from up here!”
-Val

With Val now piloting remotely, the MPV drifts past the station, and once behind Endeavor Val starts it’s docking maneuver!

“Alright… MPV is lined up…. moving in for final docking maneuvers…”
-Val

The MPV slowly moves in to Endeavor‘s docking bay…

… and connects!

“We’re showing a solid connection up here!”
-Val

“Hey – just what do we need a LFO fuel delivery to a DSV for anyway!?”
-Edan

“I thought you’d never ask! We’re sending another team to Laythe to survey sites for the colony! Congrats Val – you’re the Mission Commander for Endeavor’s Crew Mission 2!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

“Oh wow! Awesome! I can’t wait!”
-Val

Year 20, Day 199 (New Spaceport Fueling Port Launches!)

A massive Nova Rocket is chosen to launch the next section for the Spacedock upgrade project! Only a Nova could carry both the Modular Refueling Vehicle and the new 4-sided fuel port segment!

The solid rockets detach, and the Nova Rocket carries payload to orbit!

The protective aerodynamic fairing detaches, and the craft begins the slow and dreadfully dull rendevous maneuvers – made quite tiresome by the craft’s massive side and under-powered RCS thrusters!

“We’re gonna need more coffee at Mission Control… this is going to be a long one!”
-Gene

Finally, the segment arrives at Spacedock!

The old refueling vehicle drifts away, while the new section moves in slowly. Engineers plan to use a tug vehicle to bring the segment back to Spacedock… eventually!

The new section is aligned…

…and Spacedock itself is slowly oriented up as the docking maneuver continues… finally connecting!

“Connection seems solid! I think we’re good to start pumping fuel! Someone should probably go bring the Endeavor back!”
-Sean

“Mirphe and I can handle that!”
-Summer

Mirphe and Summer leave in Crew Vehicle 1…

… and dock with Endeavor!

“We’re connected! Summer, you should try piloting the Endeavor!
-Mirphe

“Oh wow, this thing handles surprisingly well for how big it is! Bringing Endeavor in to dock!”
-Summer

Mirphe detaches the Crew Vehicle and Summer brings the Endeavor in to dock!

Endeavor docks at the new docking segment!

“I’m heading home too!”
-Mirphe

With Endeavor and Crew Vehicle 1 docked, the Spacedock upgrades are (for now) complete! The only thing to add are more modular refueling vehicles to the base!

“Good work up there! Get some rest!”
-Gene, at Mission Control

Year 20, Day 178 (New Docking Section for Spaceport Launches and Docks!)

The new docking section for the Spaceport launches on a Jool V rocket!

This new section is quite similar to the segment it’s replacing, however it adds more docking ports and a viewing cupola at the top. The design follows the new idea to rotate the station vertically.

The second stage and fairing detach, and enter orbit!

The docking segment detaches and rendezvouses with the Spaceport! Engineers there have already detached the old docking port, using DSV-4 Endeavor as a tug to safely move it away from Spaceport!

“Mission Control – we show the docking segment on track to dock. Looking good!”
-Sean, on Kerbin Spacedock

Docking is complete! The first part of the Spaceport makeover is done!

“Now’s the hard part – the new quad-fueling port is going to be a pain to connect!”
-Gene, at Mission Control