Year 22, Day 240 (DSV-3 Horizon Departs Sarnus, Heading Home to Kerbin!)

“I can’t believe it’s time to go already! Let’s get all the science wrapped up!”

-Mitster

Chrisnic and Kimmy check that Horizon is prepared for the long trip back!

“Everything checks out! Reactor, fuel, we’re good to go!”

-Kimmy

Val throttles up the engine, and Horizon begins it’s long acceleration out of Sarnus orbit!

“The next time Kerbals are at Sarnus, we should have the Sarnus Space Station operational! Then we can really start exploring here!”

-Kimmy

Mitster, Chrisnic, and Kimmy all enter cryosleep, as Horizon heads home!

See you soon Horizon!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

Year 22, Day 220 (DSV-5 Intrepid Supply Mission & Departure to Moho!)

In Kerbin orbit, Jeb and Sean prepare DSV-5 Intrepid for it’s new crew! Instead of taking Crew Vehicle 6 back to the surface, the spacecraft is sent back to the surface – Jeb and Sean will take Crew Vehicle 1 back to Kerbin once it arrives! Meanwhile, Jeb pilots Intrepid to a higher orbit, 600k!

Crew Vehicle 6 sets down just west of the space center!

“Alright everybody, now’s the tricky part! Keep focused!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

For the first time, a Sarnus Va rocket will be used to launch a Nebula Crew Vehicle! The mission will carry Carson, Bob, and Sondo up to the Deep Space Vehicle Intrepid – as well as multiple mission payloads – a Modular-Payload Vehicle (MPV) loaded with Lithium and Monopropellant, a science satellite, and a new lander/rover combo!

“Engines are go!”

-Carson

Crew Vehicle 1 launches into space! The fairings eject once the spacecraft reaches a safe altitude and the engines fire, carrying the spacecraft to a higher than average orbit, 600k!

Carson rendezvouses with Intrepid, then separates to move clear from the stack!

At the last moment it was decided the fuel budget had room for a Modular Payload Vehicle loaded with Lithium Fuel and Monopropellant! It separates from the stack, and docks with Intrepid, topping off it’s fuel supplies!

After fuelling up Intrepid the crew will transfer over to Intrepid, swap places with Jeb and Sean! Then, the nose-science unit will attach to the front of the DSV. Finally, the most challenging task will be docking the new lander in the cargo bay!

With the Lithium fueling complete, Carson, Bob, and Sondo head to Intrepid!

“Ok – forward RCS thrust is active… systems are nominal…”

-Carson

“Oh wow – I saw Intrepid during assembly – to see it in space is quite a sight!”

-Sondo

Jeb and Sean shake hands with Sondo, Bob, and Carson! Then Jeb and Sondo head back to Kerbin!

“Good luck! Bring back some cool rocks from Moho!”

-Jeb

…setting down right by the Space Center!

With crew loading complete, it’s time to dock the nose science unit!

“This part will be easy, that lander’s going to be tricky though I just know it!”

-Carson

“I’m showing a good connection!”
-Bob

After a short maneuver, Carson docks the satellite with the docking port of Intrepid!

“Ok – the communications dish has been retracted! You’re good to go Carson!”

-Sondo

Next, the most difficult part… docking the new lander!

No problem guys – it’s just like docking the Crew Vehicles – only in an infinity smaller space with no margin for error! Hmm.”

-Carson

As the lander slowly moves into Intrepid‘s docking bay, there is a distinct metallic scratching noise as the landing gear scrape against the back of the cargo bay! The DSV-mockup at the Space Center isn’t perfect, and it turns out the lander fits much easier in the designs than actually docking!

“Tight fit… but we’re almost there! Nothing’s exploded yet!”

-Carson

Success! The lander fits snugly, but perfectly, into the cargo bay!

“Getting it out will be a lot easier once we’re at Moho!”

-Carson

Bob and Sondo check out the crew area of the Deep Space Vehicle, and make sure everything is ready to go!

“RCS fuel – check… extra snacks… check…”

-Bob

“The reactor is functioning normally – Sean did a great job starting it up – radiators, generator, it all checks out!”

-Sondo

“Looks good! Let’s get up front and get the mission to Moho started!”

-Carson

After prelaunch checks are complete, Intrepid fires it’s Colossus Engine!

“Fuel flow is good – temperatures are nominal!”

-Sondo

Intrepid speeds away from Kerbin!

“The transit burn to Moho was perfect! “

-Bob

“Ok everyone – get on your mittens, it’s time to get in the cryobeds!”

-Carson

“Looks, uh, comfy!”

-Sondo

The cryobeds freeze over, and Mission Control takes full control of the spacecraft! Intrepid will arrive at Moho later this year, on Day 383!

Year 22, Day 184-186 (Spacedock Disaster Response Mission Launches!)

KSEA decides to send Carson, veteran astronaut Bill, and two (formerly!) ground engineers: Rozer and Sondo to investigate the wreckage of the Spacedock facility, and see what can be salvaged!

“Crew Vehicle 3 is away!”

-Carson

“CV3 – launch operations show all systems nominal. Good luck up there!”

-Gene

The Crew Vehicles have become a critical part of the Kerbal States mission in space! The latest iterations, capable of carrying 4 Kerbals and with integrated launch escape systems, along with the Nebula Rocket, a reusable booster, are now the most used method of getting Kerbals to space – although engineers are very eager to re-introduce the Crew Shuttles!

The Crew Vehicle separates, and the Nebula Rocket turns around, and returns to Kerbin – for a propulsive landing east of the Space Center!

“I thought it would be bumpier… but this isn’t so bad!”

-Sondo

“Yea! It’s just like the simulations!”

-Rozer

Crew Vehicle 3 reaches a 200k orbit!

“Ok – all systems are go. Let’s go find out how bad the damage is at Spacedock!”

-Carson

The scene at Spacedock is pretty grim!

“Uh oh. Looks like the lower fuel modules have broken away… those might be salvageable… the upper habitat section looks like it’s separated from the habitat ring though…”

-Rozer

Carson maneuvers past the various Lithium Fuel Tankers… only one looks like it can be saved!

“It looks like this is the module Sean was able to detach before he escaped the station! We should be able to remotely take control and stabilize it!”

-Sondo

After a few minutes, Rozer and Sondo are able to establish a connection!

“There we go! Attitude adjustment complete – communications are not perfect with the surface, but acceptable, and orbital communications look good enough. The fuel here should be good to use for future missions! Shame about the other modules though!”

-Rozer

Next, Crew Vehicle 3 drifts toward the command tower.

“The lower docking module is damaged… but the crew docking modules look functional! I’m going to do a close inspection though before we dock!”

-Rozer

“No problem… matching speeds… you’re good to head out!”

-Carson

Rozer does an orbit around the tower to check things out – determining a docking is safe!

“Docking complete! Good luck over there guys!”

-Carson

Bill, Sondo, and Rozer head over to the habitat section and check things out!

“It looks like the centrifugal habitat section is still spinning out there, I can barely see it from here. We could check it out.. but with all these maneuvers we’re pretty tight on fuel…

-Rozer

Carson does some calculations, and delivers the bad news…

“We’ll have to skip it this mission. We don’t have the fuel to head over there and be within safety margins. I don’t want to push our luck!

-Carson

“We should disconnect Crew Vehicle 2 and return it remotely to the surface… it looks pretty good, and if it survives the reentry we’ll know for sure, and ground crews can check it out!”

-Bill

Crew Vehicle 2 is disconnected… the abandoned Crew Vehicle 4, sheered off in the disaster, floats in the background!

“Done! Crew Vehicle 2 is away! Mission Control, do you still have connection?”

-Sondo

“We are tracking it, and have control… we’ll take care of rentry!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

While the crew checks out the destroyed Spacedock facility, Crew Vehicle 2 is returned successfully to the surface! Eventually, the crew departs…

…and rendevouses with Crew Vehicle 4!

Sondo goes on an EVA, to inspect the spacecraft!

“Moving in for a closer look…”

-Sondo

“Oh gosh.. .I’ve been so busy up here I haven’t noticed how pretty it is!”

-Sondo

“That never gets old!”

-Bill

“Hmm – the docking clamp looks good – given that it was ripped off the station though, I’d want to replace this on the ground! The protective cover is functional though… and the craft has good communications. I think we’re good to send this one down too!”

-Sondo

“I’m heading back! CV4 checks out!”

-Sondo

While Sondo returns to Crew Vehicle 3, ground control takes over and brings the vehicle back to the surface!

… where it’s recovered safely!

The next morning, the crew prepares for the return home! The lower half of the Crew Vehicle (the only disposable part of the Nebula Launch System, detaches…

… and the rentry engines fire!

“We have a good burn! All systems are good… we’re in the pipe, five by five for a landing at the Space Center! Hold on everybody!”

-Carson

Sondo and Rozer hold on to their chair grips tightly, while Bill enjoys his orange-colored space drink!

After a fiery rentry, Carson fires the engines one last time before activating the parachute, to ensure getting as close as possible to the Space Center!

“Perfect landing!”

-Bill

“Almost! I was aiming for the runway! With enough practice we’ll get this down though!”

-Carson

Launched in Year 19, Kerbin Spacedock was meant to last at least 10 years! While everyone is relieved that no one was hurt in the accident, a full review has determined that the station itself is not salvageable – and will be officially decommissioned!

“After a thorough analysis, we determined the station was impacted by an unexpected gravitational anomaly that caused physics near the station to “glitch!” This resulted in the heavier parts of the station, the fuel tankers, oscillating wildly, and eventually tearing the station apart! We think that the massive quantity of fuel and thus mass may have contributed to this mysterious phenomenon… so we’re going to make sure future stations have a smaller amount of fuel on board – perhaps only one of the Lithium Tankers at a time! In the end our proper procedures and well trained crew made sure that the only loss was hardware – I’m really proud of all you guys!

-Gene

The replacement for Spacedock, tentatively titled “Spacedock 2” is still under design, but until then fueling at the remaining Lithium Tanker should keep the DSV fleet’s needs met for the next few years!

Year 22, Day 183(New Spaceplane Transported to White Mesa Facility!)

The new crew shuttle Pioneer is complete, and ready to transport west to White Mesa!

“I’m glad we finished revamping the Crew Shuttles when we did… with the disaster at Spacedock we’re going to need extra vehicles on hand!”

-Gene

The crew shuttle is un-fueled, and protective covers have been put over the front heat shield as well as the rear engines! Carson will be flying the mission solo to White Mesa, where the crew program is based!

“The X-5 is airborne! That Crew Shuttle really makes this plane perform sluggish!”

-Carson

Carson slowly brings the X-5 around and heads west, flying past the space center!

“Pretty view from up here!”

-Carson

“X-5 checking in – aircraft performance…. nominal… crew shuttle seems to be holding up well!”

-Carson

The X-5 reaches its maximum altitude, and begins the descent toward White Mesa!

“I’ve passed the terminator into night… switching on internal lighting!”

-Carson

Carson brings the aircraft around and lines up with the White Mesa runway… about 11km from the facility!

“I’m in the pipe, five by five! Setting her down!”

-Carson

The X-5 touches down and comes to a full stop! Soon the aircraft will taxi to a hangar, where the Crew Shuttle Pioneer will be separated, inspected and prepared to launch on a Nebula Rocket! Pioneer‘s twin, the original Adventure, is already stacked on a Nebula Rocket, and is being prepared for a launch!

Year 22, Day 181 (Disaster at Kerbin Spaecdock!)

What started out as mild vibrations on the station have grown and grown over the last half – the station crew, mid rotation with just Sean and Jeb on board, have been working on troubleshooting the strange shaking with Mission Control!

“We verified that RCS isn’t firing from any thruster, station or docked…and our SAS systems all show normal… Jeb and I can’t figure out what’s causing it… wait, just a second… the station is shaking even worse now! I think the vibration is increasing exponentially…”

*loud cracking noise, alarm klaxons*
“..There’s… been a breach! Jeb! Launch the Intrepid quick!”

-Sean

Back at KSEA, sensors report what can’t be correct – loss of direct connection between the Lithium tanks and the upper docking and habitat section! Immediately ground crews start making calls and Gene assumes the worst … and gives the evacuation order!

“Start emergency evacuations! Intrepid get that ship out of there! Sean get to the nearest Crew Vehicle and undock now! Look alive people this is an emergency! What crew shuttle is ready to go up there? Get it up there….!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

Thankfully Jeb was quick with his reflexes and activated the emergency decoupling process – detaching the massive Deep Space Vehicle Intrepid from the station and reverse firing the orbital thrusters to push away from the station!

“This is Jeb on Intrepid – the DSV is clear of the station! I’m fine… it was a close call, the station was spinning out of control! Sean are you OK?”
-Jeb, on DSV Intrepid

Sean didn’t wait a second, and pushed himself to the nearest crew vehicle, hopping in Crew Vehicle 6, and decoupling! The whole time the station is violently rotating, and as the Crew Vehicle departs, it impacts the the spinning orbital ring!

“That was a bumpy ride … but I got out! The Crew Vehicle impacted the station on the way out but … I’m not seeing any indication of leaks… what’s the plan?”

-Sean

“OK – Sean, Jeb – let’s get your two vehicles docked – then do a full diagnostic of Intrepid. We’ll figure out what to do from there! We’re all relieved you’re safe up there!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

Sean maneuvers Crew Vehicle 6 to a rendevous with Intrepid!

“I see you Sean! The Crew Vehicle looks good, just some scuffs! You’re good for docking!”

-Jeb

Intrepid and DSV 6 dock! Jeb and Sean give each other quick hugs, relieved!

“That was a close one!”

-Sean

“Yea! I like some excitement on my missions… but not like that!”

-Jeb

As the situation normalizes, everyone catches their breath! While Sean and Jeb do a full diagnostic of both Intrepid and the Crew Vehicle, Mission Control starts working on disaster planning to see how bad the damage is at the Spaceport!

“Ground radar and space assets show Intrepid should be safe – I want to get some Kerbals up there to get a closer look but I don’t think Sean or Jeb should do it, they’re both pretty shaken up and need to get down to the surface to be checked out! A Crew Shuttle can check out the station, then return Sean and Jeb!

-Gene, at Mission Control

As the day goes on, KSEA decides to send up the revamped (and recently tested) Crew Shuttle Adventure! A large crew is needed for the mission as it’s not just a rescue, but crisis/damage assessment, and recrew of Intrepid!

Year 22, Day 152 (Refit Crew Shuttle Launches from White Mesa!)

At the White Mesa launch facility the refit Crew Shuttle Adventure is rolled out and fully fueled!

Carson and Edan board the shuttle and start flight checks!

“All systems nominal … Fuel lights are green…. “

-Carson

“All gauges OK… Adventure is ready!”

-Edan

“This is White Mesa Control Tower – you are clear to launch when ready!”

“We are go!”

-Edan

The newly refit Crew Shuttle blasts off – lifted by a Nebula Rocket!

“Woohoo!

-Carson

At the vehicle reaches it’s 100km apogee, the Nebula Rocket powers down, and the protective aerodynamic nose shield ejects!

“Decoupling from Nebula….”

-Edan

“Decoupling complete, powering RCS thrusters to move clear for Nebula de-orbit…”

-Carson

The Nebula Rocket drifts away using its own RCS system to preform a powered de-orbit propulsive landing!

Adventure then fires its LV909 engines to finish propelling itself to a 200km orbit!

“So far so good!

-Edan

Carson suits up, and performs a spacewalk to inspect the shuttle!

“Looks good from the outside! Just normal thermal wear… Looks like it’s within tolerances!”

-Carson

After a full orbital systems check, Edan and Carson start the de-orbit burn back to Kerbin!

“I think I see White Mesa down there!”

-Edan

“Good! Hold on! These White Mesa landings are always a little tricky!”

-Carson

Carson burns fires the engines for a little extra thrust, and glides the shuttle to line up with the landing strip!

“We’re five by five… Touching down!”

-Carson

With the screech of its tires Adventure sets down at White Mesa!

“We’re back!”

-Edan

With a generally successful first flight everyone at KSEA is delighted!

“Good work everyone! If everything checks out Adventure will be back in service soon, and we can build a few new Crew Shuttles to supplement our orbital crew vehicles!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

Year 22, Day 148 (Crew Transport Shuttle Refit Revealed!)

KSEA engineers are excited to reveal the refit of the Crew Shuttle Adventure! The entire Crew Shuttle Program was shut down in Year 17 after the CTS-3 Intrepid suffered a major catastrophe – major nose cone damage from re-entry heat that nearly destroyed the spacecraft! Val is widely credited with saving the entire crew with her calm handling of the disaster!

Since then, engineers have been working on a way to make a safer Crew Shuttle – the result is the refit of the only surviving Crew Transport Shuttle – Adventure! (Intrepid was badly damaged, and Endeavor was dismantled!)

The new Crew Transport Shuttle launches using the Nebula Rocket as a re-usable lifter, which should make the entire Crew Shuttle mission reusable! The vehicle is en route to the White Mesa desert launch facility for initial testing.

“If everything works out with Adventure we’ll see about adding a few new space-planes to our roster! We’ll need some new names though – the DSV fleet took ‘Endeavor’ and ‘Intrepid’ for their latest vehicles!”

-Gene, at Mission Control

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