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 18, Day 381 (Aurora 23 Launches, Carrying DSV-3 Horizon Crew to Orbit – then Horizon Leaves for Sarnus!)

Aurora 23 launches from Cape Kerman, carrying Mitster, Chrisnic, and Kimmy!

Once in out of the atmosphere, the protective fairing deploys, and the spacecraft starts burning to rendezvous with DSV-3 Horizon!

“There it is! Slowing us down to stationkeeping….”
-Mitster

Once Aurora 23 has matched speeds exactly with Horizon, Mitster heads over to the Slate Lander!

“I’m outside the lander… it looks in good shape! So does the relay satellite we’ll be leaving in a wide orbit of Slate!”
-Mitster

As the sun sets, Mitster climbs into the lander, detaches from Aurora 23, and moves closer to Horizon’s docking bay!

This is going to be almost entirely by instruments… it’s dark in space!”
-Mitster

Thankfully, Mitster is able to dock with Horizon… just as the sun comes up!

Shortly after that, Mission Control remotely pilots the Relay Satellite over to the nose of Horizon!

OK —- powering up the basic systems… things seem good over here! I think you guys can come over to Horizon now!”
-Mitster

First, Mitster EVA’s over…

…then Kimmy!

Oh wow! Horizon is looking good! I can’t wait to wake up and be in orbit of Sarnus!”
-Kimmy

Chrisnic does a full survey of Horizon to make sure every single component of the mission is ship-shape!

“OK – Horizon is OK to go! Powering up reactor…. Radiator systems are functioning… Main Engine is showing full power available! We’re good Mitster…. light that candle!”
-Chrisnic

With that, Horizon’s massive engine fires, in a burn that lasts for several minutes, propelling the crew to Sarnus in just three years!

“Hold on tight everyone… once the burn is done, we’ll head to the cryo-section for a little space nap… and before you know it, we’ll be at Sarnus!”
-Kimmy

Year 18, Day 371 (DSV-3 Crew, Mission Patch Announced!)

The mission patch for Horizon Crew Mission 1 is announced, and it looks like Mitster, Chrisnic, and Kimmy will be the lucky FIRST Kerbals to visit the Sarnus system!

Because of Horizon’s launch to high orbit (800k) – the next Aurora Rocket, Aurora 23) originally destined for Mun, will be used to launch the crew! This will also allow the delivery of a modified Mun Lander, with increased fuel and power systems, to land on Slate! The stack will also include a relay satellite that will be left in a high equatorial orbit of Slate, to assist the polar-orbit survey/relay satellite that is already at the moon.

The crew will be launching tomorrow!

Year 18, Day 370 (DSV-3 Horizon Launches!)

The massive Nova-1 Rocket is rolled out to the launchpad, carrying the most expensive, and most capable spacecraft KSEA has ever built – DSV-3 Horizon!

Horizon has been under construction for much longer than anticipated, as engineers and scientists kept adding new technologies and features to the spacecraft, slowing down it’s completion!

“Well – it’s finally done! Let’s see how it flies!”
-Gene

The plume from the rockets almost reach the space center!

Slowly, the Nova-1 carries Horizon higher and higher…

Eventually escaping Kerbin’s atmosphere!

Next, the 6 solid rockets eject!

“Solid rocket ejection is complete – rockets are clear of the spacecraft!”
-Sean, at Mission Control

The core of the Nova-1 carries Horizon to it’s 800k orbit, running out of fuel in the orbital stage just in time!

Finally, the fairing deploys, and Horizon is free!

“All instruments show Horizon is intact… systems slowly coming online… main antenna dish has deployed successfully!”
-Kimmy, at Mission Control

Horizon sits in orbit, waiting for it’s crew!

Good job everyone! Let’s get our crew together!”
-Gene

Year 18, Day 366 (KSEA Releases Blueprints for Deep Space Vehicle ‘Horizon’!)

KSEA is excited to announce the final design for Horizon! Building upon the successes of DSV-2 Discovery, the Horizon is the largest, most advanced spacecraft ever – and will be launched on a new rocket designed just for it, the Nova Rocket… The largest rocket ever launched!

The most striking new feature of Horizon is the massive cargo bay allowing a variety of payloads to travel with the spacecraft!

Construction will be completed soon, and even more exciting, should be done in time for the launch window to Sarnus!

The crew will be announced soon, as will the mission specifics!

Year 18, Day 300 (DSV-3 Horizon Construction Update!)

Construction of the next Deep Space Vehicle, Horizon, is nearly 90% complete! Progress has been slower than expected however, as new features and upgrades continue to be devised and then incorporated into the design.

These features keep creeping in, and slowing down development of the spacecraft!

“We’ve gotta stop adding stuff and get this thing built!

Gene

While Horizon shares the same basic construction of Discovery, the most notable new feature is a massive cargo bay, designed to allow Horizon to carry a Lander or other payloads to its destination!

KSEA promises that blueprints will be available soon!

There is no word yet on the destination of Horizon… With the window for Sarnus closing soon, many Kerbals speculate Moho will be the likely target!