History of the Tristellar Space Exploration Commmand - Page 2


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Initial crewed spaceflight

A conical capsule descends towards the sea on parachutes
Horizon II ended up only testing the capability of the Horizon capsule to return from a suborbital lob...
So Horizon IIa featured a boosted launch vehicle...
And got stuck in orbit after successfully docking.
Horizon III tested the full Horizon-B vehicle, successfully this time.
Note that the subsatellite for Horizon III is a fully-functional observation system rather than the tester used on Horizon IIa.
Horizon III returned safely to the ground after successfully transmitting some of its images.
With Petrel II underway at time of launch, Horizon IV carried Triford Kerman into history.
She successfully docked the two halves of the mission together...
And returned safely home after two hours in Kerbmun orbit.
Horizon V was a successful test flight of the larger Horizon-C vehicle, and featured a considerably larger observation array- one integrated into the spacecraft, no docking needed.
Soon came the first crewed flight of Horizon-C, carrying Valentina Kerman- third in space.
That flight, Horizon VIII, docked with the previously-launched Horizon VII (itself carrying Kathbal Kerman, shown here performing the first space extra-vehicular activity).
The first full use of the Horizon-C system was Horizon IX, which carried Jebediah Kerman to polar orbit.
Horizon X and XI were relatively routine, launching Triford and Kathbal for their second flights- Horizon X lasting over three days in orbit.

Contemporaneous with Horizon IIa thru XI: The Petrel-A/B series

The new Petrel orbital spacecraft was designed for more in-depth deep space operations.
Petrel Ia successfully completed the mission of it and its predecessor...
And sped deep into space after passing as close to Mesbin's surface as any spacecraft has survived.
After practically a full Duoyear in deep space, Petrel Ia eventually returned for a "simulated interplanetary" flyby of Kerbmun... long after several true interplanetary missions had already flown.
The Martlet spacecraft, Petrel-B or PIPD-HLS (Petrel Interplanetary Probe Derived Hard Landing System), made its own ventures to the moons of Mesbin.
Martlet III smacked into one of Derbin's moons...
While one of its cousins, Petrel II flew by Derbin and continued on.
After a relatively short trip, Petrel II entered Tyepolbynar orbit...
And successfully flew by the marbled moon Imterril.
Then came perhaps the most important Petrel missions- Petrel IV and V, the Codename Ambition flights.
These twin launches, as would be revealed in the course of the flights, would not only flyby one planet each- but rather, they would use Tyepolbynar gravity assists to direct themselves on to further destinations.
The Tyepolbynar flybys were relatively distant, but crucial to the rest of the flights (and either way, Petrel II was about to come in-system for closer inspection).
First to reach its second destination was Petrel IV, headed towards Valyr. The moon Oshan is barely visible to the left, while dark gray Manonam is between the antennae of the spacecraft.
First it sped past Oshan...
The little white-red world silhouetted in an atmospheric halo.
Then... Valyr.

"With the first post-impact viewings of the skies, this planet quickly took on a mythological meaning that only barely outstripped its reputation in texts considering themselves more grounded: a cruel temptress of a world, as much of a lure as Kerbmun but without even the decency to provide a home for those wrecked upon its door. Nevermind that the World of Doom was the one that brought the hooked claw of fate to the neck of the USC Manifest Destiny- Valyr, the big blue anglerfish in the sky, was a more tolerable scapegoat. At least Valyr was a less oppressive eye than Mesbin."

Petrel IV's path was bent once more by Valyr, turning it towards a distant third target.

"For decades, even obstensibly scientific works about Kaywell System treated Valyr as detestable- barely even worth study, for all that seemingly inviting blue and what maybe-surely was land was simply a trap- not a rainforest paradise world, the archetype depictions of Kerbin rapidly took on, but at very best a cold high-gravity hell. All that awaited on Valyr was death, worse than old Eve: all that ocean would serve only to drown the curious.

Today we have stepped closer to Valyr than ever before, and these fears seem the angry superstition of a traumatized people. If Valyr is at all habitable, perhaps even so habitable as to be comparable to the similar-mass Derbin, that is in and of itself a blessing."

Petrel V would recieve a much more favorable view of Valyr, passing barely above the top of its short atmosphere.
Valyr, though huge, at this point began to seem much more accessible and livable than the thick-atmosphere ocean world Imterril was beginning to be considered as.
And a duoyear after launch, Petrel V returned to Tyepolbynar for one last pass-
This one bringing the probe's mission to a quick end.
And then, of course, months later, Petrel IV made its own last pass- one above distant Egad, second spacecraft to reach that world.

Egad- then named Adjar- recieved a relatively level reputation in post-impact works. Where Tyepolbynar was clearly the true home and Valyr a hell, Adjar was simply dead- not worth much attention, but not worth scorn either.

Petrel IV briefly touched the orange-white world's atmosphere, and survived none the worse for wear. By this point, though, it had practically zero fuel remaining and was shut down.
After the launches of the two (and a half) interplanetary flights, Martlet spacecraft flew closer to Mesbin than ever before- here Martlet IV smacks into Thresomin...
And Martlet V hits Statmun, the rusty innermost moon of Mesbin.
Petrel VI was the last Petrel-A spacecraft launched, and was bound for a considerably closer destination than the interplanetary flights.
Instead, the craft would speed towards Mesbin...
And peer at the northern pole and its odd properties.

This continent, in the old whimsical studies of the World of Doom (yes, that's what they called it), was known as the Lost Continent- the land of the elves, where all the life of old Kerbin still lived. A lot of the literature of that time is intensely mournful, escapist yet still drenched in the horror of the generation-old crash.

Martlet VI became effectively the first craft to reach neglected Dermun, impacting the moon.
And Martlet VIII... well, it did something extraordinary.
A baffling signal was recieved.
As the tiny spacecraft hurtled towards Mesbin's pole, it strained to transmit the signal.
Most of it got through.
Tomorrow the image will be printed across all of Kerbmun, and heralded as the biggest discovery of the space program yet. In a week trawling Petrel VI's own readings will confirm that this signal exists, and elucidate that crucial thirty percent more. But for now it is a secret- an earth-shaking one.

Contemporaneous with Horizon VI thru XII: early Tiara and Navis

Tiara V broke from the tradition of its sister ships in leaving the vicinity of Kerbmun...
And then returning safely to the surface of Kerbmun. This was then revealed to be a precursor to study missions for the second-most accessible world with atmosphere: Derbin.
Navis, on the other hand, is simply a still-ongoing program for study of near-Kerbmun space.
Even in its initial launches it featured several separate types of spacecraft.
While Tiara VI had failed in Derbin orbit, Tiara VII managed to touch Derbin's atmosphere...
But after piercing the mysterious clouds, it crashed on landing.
Navis V, billed as a "geodetic remote-sensing" satellite, was instead a nuclear power testbed.
Empusa VII became the first spacecraft to orbit Dermun.
Tiara IX was finally the first spacecraft to fully successfully reach Derbin's surface during the daytime.
After piercing two layers of clouds...
It successfully landed.

Continued Personal Main