Mun Fly-by

Mission Designation: KK-Ke-0005
Mission Objective: Free-return fly-by of Mun.

Science Objective: Crew observations and Mystery Goo™ experiments will be recorded during the mission; observations and experiments prior to reaching Mun will be transmitted back, while those gathered an Mun periapsis will be returned.

Mission Plan: The Andromeda I CSM will be used for this mission, and the Hercules II — which will be designed to provide additional power over the Hercules I — will serve as the lifter for this mission. After ascent a parking orbit around Kerbin will be established, and from there a burn for a free-return trajectory around Mun will be planned. Note: If the alignment happens to work out, the mission will also include a fly-by of Minmus, but only if a single burn can bring the craft to both moons.

Crew: Bob Kerman

Status: Successfully completed.

Report: The Hercules II rocket was successful in delivering the Andromeda I CSM into space, however did not quite have enough ΔV to complete orbital insertion; insertion was completed using Andromeda’s SM engine. After launch and insertion, a second burn was conducted to correct the orbit’s inclination to match Mun.

Mission Control experienced a lot of difficulty planning the burn to FRT around Mun, however after a lot of tinkering with projected burns a successful trajectory was found and Bob performed the burn admirably, resulting in a trajectory that brought him just over 70 Km from Mun’s surface before returning to Kerbin. While the SM could have been ejected at this time, for safety, and to better simulate future missions to Mun, it remained attached to the CM until the craft re-entered Kerbin’s atmosphere.

Power constraints resulted in fewer transmissions than originally planned, however the critical experiments performed at Mun periapsis were returned to Kerbin successfully.

On approach to Mun Mission Control asked Bob to exit the capsule and make additional observations; during this space walk he experienced the same faulty command sequence that Jeb had previously encountered. However, thanks to Jeb’s experience, recovery was much quicker and Bob was able to return to the capsule. Unfortunately, a second, unknown, fault caused him to begin tumbling rapidly away from his ship, and all attempts to regain control were fruitless until his system was fully reset, at which time he arrested his tumble and again returned to his ship, this time boarding successfully.

[Meta Note: Jeb’s and Bob’s initial jetpack fault is due to a “sticky Ctrl key” that happens any time I Ctrl-Alt-Arrow to a different desktop in my Ubuntu Unity environment: the game continues to see Ctrl being held down even though it is not, and this causes the KMU to translate the poor Kerbal down. The fix is to tap Ctrl. (This also happens when trying to do burns, with the craft automatically decelerating when Shift is released; the fix is the same.) Bob’s second fault appears to have been a Kraken Attack; he had just grabbed the capsule’s ladder and then suddenly went cartwheeling away at alarming speed. None of the jetpack controls responded. The “reset” mentioned was me returning to the Tracking Station and then switching to Bob again; this was doubly frightening because I didn’t know how much fuel he’d already used and wasn’t sure he’d make it back at all, and being on an FRT a rescue mission would have been extremely difficult if not impossible. Turns out those packs hold a heck of a lot of fuel, and he had better than 75% remaining when he finally re-boarded his ship.]

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