20 July 2013

Adventures in KSP: Coming Home

So let's finish this adventure in KSP so we can get to new horizons with new parts and all that. I had recently returned from the surface of Duna and docked with the mother craft, the Troy. Now the last two hurdles would be to get back to a Kerbin orbit and then get the crew down to the surface. Alive, if possible. Here's how things went.

I had done the necessary math. Or rather, a website had done it for me. All that was left was to hope that the ship would have enough fuel to get into a stable orbit around Kerbin, if necessary with the help of atmo-breaking. My trio of Kerbals could now only look back to Duna and hope that future generations of Kerbals would keep on exploring that strange desert planet.

Looking ba-hack over my shoulder...
The weeks of interplanetary flight passed. Then the Kerbin encounter happened...

Pictured top right: Kerbin!
Breaking velocity in order to achieve a stable orbit can be rather harrowing when you're almost out of fuel. As the nuclear drive is rather weak in its fuel-efficiency, long burn-times are normal with it and the game doesn't allow to speed those up. Yet, it was enough in the end. The ship was parked in a somewhat irregular but stable orbit around the home planet.
Almost home. Almost.
Now the Troy was never made to land or to get the crew back home to the surface. As I had planned it, the ship would be re-fueled and re-fitted in orbit to go explore further parts of the solar system. In theory, the ship had five docking-points where things like additional fuel tanks, probes and landers could be attached. I'd have to send a crew-transport to retrieve the crew and get them back down to the surface. So I did just that, synched the orbits and started docking in order to exchange the crews.
Docking has become routine by now.
Only half a dozen space-walks later, the crews of both ships were exchanged and the crew transport was ready to descent, bringing with it the first Kerbal to have walked on Duna and his two travelling companions. The descent of the capsule went without issues, the two parachutes getting it down safely. The Dunaflight mission was officially over, when Neilkin, Siglie and Bureny walked the surface of Kerbin again.
Mission accomplished!

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