Mission Control launches the automated mission to Mun – carrying the new Mk3 Lander! The Aurora Rockets aren’t designed for very heavy payloads, so it will be a fairly complicated operation to get the new lander to the Aurora 18 crew!
Once in orbit of Kerbin, the Lander expends much of it’s fuel for the burn to Mun…
… and then circularizing!
Then – Mission Control remotely controls the Aurora 18 Crew Vehicle, with Sean inside, to a rendezvous with the Mk3 Lander!
Success! The Lander and the ACV Dock… now the docked craft rendezvous with the Mk2 lander carrying Mitster and Glenica!
The ACV remotely transfers it’s excess fuel to the Mk3 lander – and then the lander disconnects, and heads over!
The two landers dock! Mitster and Glenica carefully move all important science data to the new lander, and prepare to disconnect!
“Glad that’s over with! Let’s get back down to Mun and finish our work!” -Glenica
One issue with the Mun Rover is that it requires crews to EVA from the Crew Vehicle to the lander!
“Not a problem!” -Mitster
“Any chance to get out in space is great!” -Glenica
Mitster and Glenica board the lander and start checking systems…
“Looking good! I think we’re ‘go’ to disconnect from the ACV!” -Mitster
The lander disconnects and heads down to Mun’s surface!
“… and we’re down! That was a good landing! Now it’s time to eject the rover!” -Mitster
“hmmm – Mitster, nothing’s happening!” -Glenica
“I think thats’ because there’s no remote connection to the lander – drat! There’s only one thing to do!” -Mitster
“Get out there and fly it myself!” -Mitser
“Hmmm. This might be tricky. I think future missions are going to need a better way to deploy these!” -Mitster
Mitster fires the uni-direcitonal RCS thrsters and the Mun Rover lifts, unevenly, into the sky!
“Not good… not good! Ejecting the RCS Lifter!” -Mitster
Mitster ejects the RCS lifter as the Rover almost tips over! Thankfully, the rover lands on it’s wheels and Mitster is safe!
“That was a close one! Rover seems fine though… let’s get going!” -Mitster
“Let’s go!” -Glenica
The two Kerbals drive for a minute until they spot something in the distance… a strange rock!
“Look Glenica – a strange rock!” -Mitster
“That is a strange rock! Let’s see what the scanning arm makes of it!” -Glenica
The rover’s scanning arm deploys, and takes detailed readings of the rock. Initial finds are that the rock is indeed quite strange, but scientists on Kerbin will need to look the data over!
In the meantime, the two head back to the landing site, and Glenica works on getting all the scientific equipment for the mission set up!
“OK – it’s all set up! There seems to be one little problem though. More like lots of little problems… there’s only one power supply, and lots of equipment that needs power! What’re we going to do!?” -Glenica
“Don’t worry – we have lots of life support in the lander! We can radio Mission Control and see what they advise! In the meantime, let’s get back inside!” -Mitster
“Good thinking! At least the equipment all looks like it survived the landing! Maybe when new supplies get here we can see if we can reach any more Mun-biomes!” -Glenica
Back in the lander Mitster and Glenica radio for assistance!
“Hmm – I’m sure we can do something! We’ll get to work on the problem right away. Stay safe there until we come up with a plan!” -Gene
The Aurora Crew Vehicle docked at the Kerbin Spaceport undocks – this fully fueled vehicle has been at the station for quite a while, and was intended as an emergency lifeboat for the station crew in a crisis. Mission Control has decided the spacecraft will be remotely piloted and docked to the stranded Explorer 6 crew – marooned in an eccentric orbit around Kerbin!
The ACV activates it’s engine and blasts away from the station – changing it’s inclination to match Explorer 6!
After the rendezvous maneuver is complete, the ACV is within sight of Explorer 6!
“I see it! We’re saved!” -Sean
The Aurora Crew Vehicle docks with Explorer 6!
“Looks like a solid connection! Let’s get that hatch open and transfer over! Don’t forget all the science!” -Mitster
Glenica does a thorough search to make sure they haven’t left anything behind – then is the last one to head over to the Crew Vehicle!
The Crew Vehicle detaches from Explorer 6, and heads back to Kerbin!
“Explorer 6 was a good ship! Maybe someday we can refuel it for another adventure!” -Mitster
“I’m just eager to get back to train for the next Deep Space mission!” -Glenica
The Aurora Command Module heats up as it burns through Kerbin’s atmosphere!
Until it finally splashes down in the ocean – just east of the Space Center!
“Rescue boats are on the way! Just sit tight and we’ll get you home in no time!” -Gene
Explorer 6’s crew finally returns home! Not quite like they expected, but they proved KSEA’s equipment and crew were ready for the very long duration missions to Jool – and beyond!
The second attempt at launching a Laythe Spaceport is underway… this time on a Jool DS-2 Rocket! This absurd rocket straps several Jool Rockets together in an attempt to create a rocket with a lot of deltaV, and a lot of punch!
“I sure hope this works… we don’t have any more parts to build another one in time for the Jool transfer window!”
The launch stage exhausts it’s fuel and then ejects the protective fairing over the station!
With no time to spare, the transfer stage fires!
Laythe Spaceport flies away from Kerbin heading to a Jool/Laythe encounter!
Laythe Spaceport leaves Kerbin as planned… however the spacecraft seems to have some serious flaws.
“This thing just doesn’t have enough power to make the burn! We’re going to have to abort… it’s a good thing we were making a duplicate station for future missions… we’ll have to bring that thing out ASAP!”
Indeed – plans for a future station had (thankfully) already been in the works, utilizing an even bigger launcher. KSEA scrambles to save the Laythe Spaceport mission!
Little was known about Vall when Pathfinder 3 was launched, it is now obvious that the probe suite on Pathfinder 3 is somewhat ill equipped – Vall has no atmosphere so the parachute and heat shield are a waste of mass!
Pathfinder 3’s first probe also has insufficient fuel to slow down in time, and the probe crashes into the surface!
The probe transmits this haunting photo of Jool and the surface of Vall right before communications are lost!
KSEA regrets to inform the public that Pathfinder 4 and Pathfinder 5 have both overshot their targets, failing to achieve orbit. It would seem speed is the problem, as those probes were simply traveling too fast to be slowed down by single NERV engine – the future of the Pathfinder program however remains in doubt.
Of even greater concern is Explorer 5, already en route to Duna, built on the Pathfinder frame! Scientists think that Explorer’s much lower transfer speed will allow the craft to slow down in time – but time will tell.