The most far-flung mission ever attempted is ready to launch – the Far Horizons mission to Plock! While there is some debate about whether or not Plock is actually a planet or maybe an asteroid, most Kerbals do agree that it is quite interesting regardless!
The powerful Nova Rocket carries the probe off the launch pad!
“Wow – look at it go!”
-Edan, watching at Mission Control
The Nova Rocket’s first stage detaches, falling toward Kerbin…
… while the second stage lifts the probe to a very high orbit of 900k!
Mission Control will spend the next week testing subsystems and ensuring that Far Horizons is ready for it’s trip! Departure is expected by the end of the year!
Undeterred by recent setbacks, KSEA is excited to announce a new mission – Far Horizons – the first orbital mission to Plock and Karen! Set to launch on a massive Nova Rockets, the mission represents both the most distant and most difficult challenge to date!
Plock and it’s moon Karen are so distant that the KSEA’s Deep Space Relay Network couldn’t reach it on it’s own – so Far Horizons will be equipped with an unprecedented 11 RA-100 Relay Antennas!
The design utilizes multiple subsystems from the Deep Space Vehicle Program – notably the Discovery Class Nuclear Reactor that has been powering the DSV fleet since DSV-2 Discovery! The reactor is required both for the massive amounts of energy required for the Magenetoplasmadynamic engine (aka the Colossus, first used on DSV-3 Horizon) as well as the long term power needs of the communication relay systems.
Far Horizons will consist of 3 distinct phases:
Orbit Plock: Far Horizons will first orbit Plock, deploying it’s micro lander. While in orbit Far Horizons will use onboard systems to scan and image the surface! If the lander is successful, crews will then determine if another probe should land on Plock, or if phase two should commence!
Orbit Karen: If it is determined the second lander should be deployed at Karen, Far Horizons will transit to Karen orbit, deploying it’s second micro-lander to the surface. Orbital science and surface imagine will also be conducted!
Once both Plock and Karen have been scanned and imaged to the extent that mission coordinators are satisfied, the spacecraft will transition to it’s final phase, serving as an ultra-deep space extension to the Deep Space Relay Network, allowing ongoing communications to Kerbin with all hardware deployed in the Plock system!
Construction has begun on both the rocket and the payload at the VAB – construction will take 92 days and should be complete by the end of Year 22!
KSEA had initially been hoped that Pathfinder 6 would have enough deltaV to orbit Plock – however the craft was simply going too fast for the nuclear engine to slow it down! Additionally, the Kerbin Deep Space Network is barely able to communicate with Pathfinder 6… upgrades to the network are clearly needed!
Pathfinder 6 still transmits some amazing images of Plock and its moon Karen! Gravitational, pressure, and temperature readings are all taken and the science is beamed back to KSC!
Engineers are already at work on the next generation of probe that will be able to reach Plock and Karen!