Year 16, Day 233 (Pathfinder 6 Plock Fly-By!)

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!

Year 14, Day 400 (Last Pathfinder 7 Probe Lands!)

The third Pathfinder 7 probe heads down, after deploying from the Pathfinder 7 spacecraft. Since so many probes have missed their targets, a much larger landing zone, the northern polar region, is selected.

The heat shield glows bright as the probe decends through Eve’s thick atmosphere…

Finally, the parachute deploys and the heat shield seperates. The surface of Eve glows an eerie shade of green…

Finally – the little probe sets down on Eve! Sensors indicate a successful landing at the north pole of Eve!

“Finally a successful deployment of the mini-rover!Nice work everyone!”


While the final Pathfinder 7 probe was a success, the general agreement at KSEA is to rework the planetary probes – the mini-rovers are simply too fragile and have limited scientific and power abilities!

Year 13, Day 391 (Pathfinder 7’s Second Probe Deploys!)

Pathfinder 7’s second probe deploys! As the probes launch from Pathfinder 7 itself the vehicle’s center of balance changes. Thankfully, the reaction wheel works overtime to stabilize the spacecraft.

The probe’s RCS engines fire, and de-orbit!

The probe’s heatshield and re-entry shell protect the little rover inside!

Let’s open that chute the moment it’s safe… we’re going to need to slow this thing down as much as possible if we want those wheels to survive!


The parachute deploys… and the little rover slowly decends to the surface!

The landing is a success! The little probe sets down safely!

We’re a little off target… let’s get that rover to head east. To the… Western Sea. Hmm.


The probe sets off, toward the Western Sea.

We’ll be watching it drive forever! It’s a shame we can’t just set the rover to head that way, and come back and check on it later!”


“It sure is. It sure is.”


Year 13, Day 390 (Pathfinder 7’s First Probe Deploys!)

The first probe ejects from Pathfinder 7, and heads down through the atmosphere!

While the parachute deploys, Mission Control reports that the entry angle to reach the Impact Ejecta landing site was off… the probe will set down in the Highlands, west of the crater and completely off target!

Worse still, the landing was too fast, damaging the fragile little rover’s tiny, tiny wheels.

“Drat! It’s starting to look like the mini rovers aren’t a very solid design. We might have to go back to the drawing board for the Eve Mini-Landers! We still have two more to go… hopefully they do better!”


Year 13, Day 385 (Pathfinder 7 Orbits Eve!)

After its long journey, Pathfinder 7 arrives at Eve!

The engines fire to circularize the orbit…

…and the orbital transfer stage ejects! Then the spacecraft’s remaining fuel is used to change the inclination to provide a greater range of potential landing targets! An 80 degree inclination is finally reached.

It’s important to make sure the craft is in its final desired orbit before launching the probes… the downside to the radially mounted probes is that it makes the main engine quite unbalanced!

Despite having all this time to plan for where the three rovers will land, KSEA has only just begun picking out landing sites!

“I suppose we didn’t want to make all those maps until we were sure it would work! Now that we’re there… well, we’ll get right to work! The Wanderer Rover set down near the Explodium Sea and the Shallows… so probably not there!”

Year 13, Day 75 (Pathfinder 9 Announced)

KSEA announces a mission to the most distant world known: Plock! Pathfinder will be a slightly modified version of previous Pathfinder probes, instead of the 3-core probe design, one large lander will be used since Plock requires such a great amount of d/v.

Pathfinder 9 will be the second probe to Plock, Pathfinder 6 is already enroute… however there are concerns that Pathfinder 6 won’t have enough d/v to orbit.

Year 12, Day 103 (Pathfinder 1 Lands Last Probe on Laythe at De Grasse Sea!)


Pathfinder 1 launches it’s last probe!


The probe fires it’s retro rockets and starts to decend!


Hopefully the heat shield is sufficient to protect the fragile electronics and other components!


The probe survives the atmospheric heating and deploys it’s parachutes!


The solar panels deploy, and the probe transmits as much data as it can before the power runs out!  Sadly, the probe is only able to partially transmit it’s gravity data!

“Some data is better than none!  We’ll equip the next probe with more robust power systems! ”

-Robart, at Mission Control, Kerbin

Several important facts have been learned, such as power demands on Outer Planet missions and the importance of integrating the planetary scan with the mothership!

There were some concerns after the failure of Pathfinder 4 and Pathfinder 5 that the entire Pathfinder program might need to be scrapped, however this success guarantees a bright future for the Pathfinder Program!

As the probe transmits it’s last bit of data, it’s systems power down and the connection is lost.  This concludes the Pathfinder 1 mission, which despite a few bumps is considered a success by KSEA!