Mission Designation: KK-Ke-0008
Mission Objective: Repeat of KK-Ke-0006. Additionally, this mission will be the inaugural flight of the newly updated Hercules IIb, and will test the potential for its upper stage to not only complete orbital insertion of the Andromeda II CSM, but also to perform the FRT burn.
Science Objective: Repeat of KK-Ke-0006.
Mission Plan: Repeat of KK-Ke-0006.
Crew: Bill Kerman
Status: Successfully completed.
Mid-Mission Update: The upper stage of the Hercules IIb lacked the ΔV to complete the orbital insertion. After initiating transfer to the Mun via FRT, Mission Control made the decision to modify the flight parameters and aimed for a sub-20 Km orbit, rather than sub-10 Km, because fuel was running a little lower than anticipated. Orbit around the Mun was achieved, however the mission now faces two potential issues: The LV-909 engine lacks an alternator, and as a result a crew report transmission has left the craft with dangerously little power left, and without power it will be very difficult if not impossible to maneuver the craft for burns; the second issue is that Andromeda’s SM may not have the fuel to return to Kerbin. Mission Control’s projections confirm that a direct return is not possible, however has not been able to run the numbers on a dual-burn return.
Bill is in no direct or immediate danger, however he may require rescue.
Report: Bill was able to escape Mun orbit in retrograde, which gave his craft an assist in slowing down for Kerbin return, however he ended up in a highly elliptical orbit with an apoapsis higher than Mun’s orbit; this proved fortuitous, as we was able to then use a Mun gravity assist to greatly increase his deceleration burn from his new apoapsis. This was still insufficient, however, and Mission Control’s fears that he would not have enough fuel to complete the return proved to be well-founded. However, his craft did still have the LES attached, and Bill was able to trigger that and return.
Safely home, Bill was able to provide the safe return of the experiments he brought out with him, as well as made numerous very valuable observations himself; KK scientists are greatly excited about what they have learned from Bill, and have declared this the most successful scientific endeavor yet undertaken!