Kerbonaut Program #2

Second installment of play of Kerbal Space Program.

At the fourth postflight report, Werner announced. “Another successful flight. Val, would you give your report? 

Valentine walked up to the podium. “I only reached 1051 meters altitude which is short of Jeb’s, as we expected.  But *I* got to FLY the beast, not just take an elevator ride.  I nudged the yaw to a little east, and landed on the causeway between the VAB and the launch pad. And didn’t get so flustered that I forgot my crew report or my EVA. It’s a magnificent view from up there. “

Wernher stood back up. “This is what it’s about, kerbs. Each flight advances a little on the success of the previous one. This gave us enough Science. to qualify for a research grants in Stability.  Now, we have an announcement from Mortimer Kerman, our Finance director. “

Mortimer announced “Although we are in a good cash position, We have an extensive program of research and flight testing which may not be very lucrative. Accordingly, we have initiated a PR program which will trade on our good publicity to generate a little more cash. I’m sure Wernher will agree; no disasters, please.  Now, Gene, for our next flight?”

Gene took his place. “Fifth mission. This one’s to Jeb, again. You’re getting ears, Jeb.”

This drew some laughter.

“There are several directions we could have gone but we elected to continue as we began. This vehicle, which we’ve called Jumping flea, is our first stock vehicle and we will be flying it over and over, with slight mods, trying for further height and horiztonal range, to get statistics on our performance  We’re giving you two  mystery goo containment modules, and 10% more fuel. ISP for this fuel is 140 s. This should give you 1.5 t dry weight and 1.8 loaded.  32.48 kn thrust. TWR 1.81, a 13 second burn., for a delta V of 249 m/s We want to take a goo reading on the ground and one in flight after you have deployed your parachute.  Straight up and down again if you please.

For the fifth post-mission report, Werner announced “Another success. First we’ll hear from Jeb.

Jeb took his turn. “Everything was as it should have been, except that someone gave me a full load of maneuvering fuel. I took a goo reading just before launch.  In spite of the extra weight,  the 13 second burn got me 890 meters at flameout and 1504 at apokerb, my highest point. At that point, the rocket started to tip over, so I deployed the parachute, although I suppose I might have tried attitude control.  I took a goo reading on the way down and landed on the causeway. I did a crew report and an EVA,  but I don’t think that added much to science.  Wernher again took the stand. “We got good reports on mystery goo; we’ll be doing more. Next mission, Gene”?

Gene stood up. “This will be our sixth mission. The contracts we’re being offered will be calling more for airplanes than spacecraft, so I’ll be arm wrestling with Wernher about what research grants to apply for. Although I would like to do a straight up repeat of that test without the added fuel, we need to move faster than that.  I’m adding a communications antenna to the vehicle in place of the fuel. This one will go to Val. I want you to bear north toward the runway, if you can. Take your goo readings in flight and on landing.  Same thrust and SRB fuel load.”  The TWR and delta V are just a little bit higher.

“Copy on the directions and goo readings” she replied.  Gene nodded. “Let’s fly, kerbs”.

At the sixth post-mission report. Werner did not look happy. After the usual introductory remarks, e asked, “Val?”

“I didn’t get readings at flameout or apokerb, alhough I did go above 1200 meters. I got the goo reading in flight and tried to radio it in, but ran out of battery power. I suppose that will be he subject of a research  grant at a some point. I landed just north of the runway.  I got the goo report Landed at Kerbin’s shores, the crew report same, and an EVA, the same. “

Werner stood up. “That’s still a success. That gave us enough science to apply for the stability research grants.   I still have that arm wrestle to do with Gene about whether to go for aerodynamics or rocketry. Gene?”

Gene took the podium. “Seventh mission. We’ve been putting off that test of the Swivel engine long enough, and we need the cash so we can expand mission control and get more contracts in the queue. Jeb, this one’s for you. We’re going to try to activate the engine with a bare pod and  no fuel, and see whether that will do. Let’s do a test, kerbs.”

Werner began the seventh mission report. “The test was a success. We got paid enough that Gene could upgrade mission control.  Over to you, Gene.“

Gene reported. “With the proceeds from this latest launch, I have been able to hire more staff and expand the mission control center.  This means that I can accept more contract offers and not miss any limited time offers, so that we can earn as we go. “I have three contracts in the queue, but nothing we can do right now.

“For our eight mission, Val, it’s your turn.  We’re going to install a thermometer as well as the Commutron 16 antenna, and see if you can radio that in.  We’re going to give you more fuel to see if you can break 2 km, and we’d like you to bear westward toward the ocean. “ copy. Theromometer, try to radio it in, and bear westward toward the ocean.

Werner began, as usual.  “This is our eighth mission report. Let’s hear from Val. “

“I goofed, chief.   I did a goo reading on the launch pad, so that should be about all thee science we can get there. I steered west too early and almost lost control, and went further out over the ocean than I wanted.  With the bad angle, I missed the 2km height target by a measly two meters.  We really need the SAS assist. I forgot the temperature reading in flight, and didn’t keep the goo trial. I splashed down in the ocean, got a temperature reading, and radioed it in. I got a crew report and an EVA, but in the excitement forgot the goo again. Sorry, chief, everyone.“

Werner stood up. “We’re going to make mistakes, kerbs. We aren’t going to fire you, Val, but do better next time.  Gene, over to you.”

Gene took his turn.“Ninth mission. Those first few flights spoiled us for science readings. From here on out, we’re going to have to scramble. We have a barometer to test but first, another piece of hardware.  Jeb. It’s your turn. We’re going to add a TD-12 stack decoupler between the command module and the Flea booster. Same instrument profiles. Go straight up and see if you can get to 2k. Eject the booster, get your temp and goo readings, and bear south if you can. You’ll be busy up there. “

“Got it.”

“Let’s fly, kerbs”

At the ninth mission report Wernher looked seriously displeased.  “Jeb, give us the news”

“Something went wrong. The stack decoupler wasn’t staged properly and activated at launch. I nearly lost control.  I did get the goo readings and temperature readings in flight, and landed next to the SPH, the Space plane hangar, and got crew report, EVA, goo, and temperature reports from there. “

Wernher scowled. “Not your fault, Jeb. This happened at the VAB, which is my department. We got lucky. We fix it and keep flying. We have enough science that we could go for general rocketry research grants, but Gene won the arm wrestle and we’re going for aviation first.”

Gene took his turn. “Tenth mission. Val, you’re up.  Try the profile we assigned to Jeb last time. We’re going to go ahead and got that barometer, and to compensate, giving you 10% more fuel.”

At the report, Wernher began “Congratulations, kerbs. We have completed ten missions. Val, your report.”

She stood up. “I got the temperature readings and a pressure reading in flight, and landed next on the launch pad close to the crawlerway. Also the height record at 2.95 km. Other than that, nothing exceptional.

Gene took his turn. “Eleventh mission! We’re so close to those aviation grants! I’m going to cut fuel back to 40%, Jeb, without the stack separator, and have you bear south. Don’t forget the pressure reading at launch, and see if you can radio it in. We also need goo readings at the shore when you land, ”

At the eleventh post mission report, Wernher stood up. “We have some news. But first, Jeb, your flight report.

“That Jumping Flea is a clumsy beast to handle. I couldn’t get it to bear south.  I did get your pre-launch pressure reading, and squeezed out a goo trial in flight. I landed just south of the launch pad, got another goo reading, and a temperature.  Perfect for a swim, if we were any closer to the water. Nothing exceptional”.

Gene stood up. “Still a success. We got just enough science from that one to qualify for Aviation grants. We’re going to use the next several missions for aviation purposes.  Yes, this is a space program, but we have to get through the atmosphere to get to space. We are negotiating several contracts lined up to research high altitude and long distance locations, and our control for suborbital launches isn’t that good, as Jeb just informed us. Our research into basic rocketry will let us start testing liquid fueled engines, but I’ve managed to arm-wrestle Wernher into working on airplanes first.

For our next mission, Jab, you’re going to be testing something I call the Slugbeast. It’s a ground vehicle. Some version of this is going to be our go-to vehicle for gathering science reports from around the Launch facility. Later we will be modifying this to get an airplane. It has a Mark1 cockpit, and mark 1 fuel fuselage, from C-7 aerospace. It’s powered by an engine pod which has an air scoop, a  mark 0 fuel fuselage, and a J-20 Juno jet engine, also all from C-7 aerospace. There are two pair of LY-B1 fixed landing gear from LightYear corporation, so it’s a our wheeler.  In general, I don’t like testing vehicles more than one part at a time, but this was the best I could get. The main fuel fuselage will be empty and the small one at 10%, and thrust linited to 10%. I want you to try to get a crew report from the runway and do an EVA to see if you can get back in. See how fast it goes, and steers, and check the brakes. Easy does it. Drive safe.  

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