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!”
“CV3 – launch operations show all systems nominal. Good luck up there!”
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!”
“Yea! It’s just like the simulations!”
Crew Vehicle 3 reaches a 200k orbit!
“Ok – all systems are go. Let’s go find out how bad the damage is at Spacedock!”
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…”
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!”
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!”
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!”
“No problem… matching speeds… you’re good to head out!”
Rozer does an orbit around the tower to check things out – determining a docking is safe!
“Docking complete! Good luck over there guys!”
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…
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!
“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!”
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?”
“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…”
“Oh gosh.. .I’ve been so busy up here I haven’t noticed how pretty it is!”
“That never gets old!”
“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!”
“I’m heading back! CV4 checks out!”
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!”
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!
“Almost! I was aiming for the runway! With enough practice we’ll get this down though!”
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!“
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!