Equatorial Orbit

Mission Designation: KK-Ke-0004
Mission Objective: Achieve circular, equatorial orbit around Kerbin

Science Objective: Crew observations and Mystery Goo experiments will be recorded during the mission, however these are secondary to the primary goal of establishing a proper equatorial orbit.

Mission Plan: The Prometheus is to be retired; this mission will for the first time call for separate lifter and CSM vehicles, which can be independently updated and modified to meet the demands of future missions. The CSM vehicle — to be designated Andromeda I — will consist of a separate command module (CM) and service module (SM), the latter to be dropped prior to or during re-entry so as to require fewer parachutes for a safe landing. The lifter — to be designated Hercules I — has no specific design requirements except to be capable of getting the Andromeda CSM into at least an 80 Km orbit while leaving behind no debris in LKO. Final circularization and plane adjustment of the orbit will be the responsibility of Andromeda’s SM, however if Hercules is capable of accomplishing that as well it would greatly extend the operational range of the Andromeda CSM.

De-orbit of the CSM will be planned so as to return the CM as close to the KSC as possible.

Crew: Jeb Kerman

Status: Successfully completed.

Report: After a smooth ascent, the Hercules I light lifter proved to be minimally effective: While it succeeded in delivering the Andromeda I to 80 Km above Kerbin, it failed to provide the necessary ΔV to complete orbital insertion. The Hercules I upper stage was jettisoned, and orbital insertion was completed using the engine on Andromeda I’s SM. Two additional correction burns resulted in a very nearly perfect equatorial orbit, at which time Andromeda orbited a few times.

Jeb asked for and received permission to go on EVA, and performed the first test of the Kerbal Maneuvering Unit (KMU), referred to by many as the “jetpack”. During this spacewalk, however, a malfunction in the KMU control input resulted in a brief uncontrolled acceleration from the vertical translation jets; Jeb was able to quickly correct the issue, but not before he was pushed nearly a full kilometer away from the Andromeda capsule. During the most intense period of the Kromey Kaerospace space program to date, Jeb carefully maneuvered himself and his dwindling supply of KMU fuel back to the Andromeda and successfully re-boarded the craft, much to the relief of everyone back on the ground. (Jeb claims he was never worried, however technicians reported the stark smell of urine in his suit after his return.)

While the original plan called for the Andromeda to continue orbiting for another day to verify the precision and accuracy of the orbital readings, Jeb’s mom wouldn’t shut up about her son’s “near death experience”, and to appease her Andromeda performed its re-entry burn and returned for a perfect splashdown just east of the KSC.

 

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