A Kerbal Adventure

KSP_Sat_Replace (1)Since version 0.23 released, I have spent a lot more time with Kerbal Space Program. I am using quite a few mods and one, Remote Tech 2, requires a line of site from the Space Center to your ships for you to remotely control them. I built a relay system with 3 satellites to bounce the signals from the Space Center to any nearby ships, but over time due to bad geostationary placement by me, they started to decay and lost their site. I worked on a new rocket and using some attachment mods, set out to replace my satellite relay network.

Liftoff! We have our shuttle heading out to orbit assisted by a couple SRB’s, or Soild Rocket Boosters. On the upper right of the rocket, we have our arm which we will use to winch in the old satellite.

We have burned through the fuel in our main stage and have decoupled our fairings. Now we have exposed the replacement satellite in the middle of the rocket. We still have quite a distance to travel before we reach our docking orbit.

KSP_Sat_Replace (2)Skipping past the tedious task of matching orbits with our old relay sat, here Jedediah Kermin is carrying our winch cable over to the satellite we will be towing back to the atmosphere.

KSP_Sat_Replace (3)Prior to moving the tow cable, Jeb fastened an anchor point to connect the cable onto the old relay satellite. Aside from Jeb having to make a few extra orbits, everything has gone smoothly so far.

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The cable is now attached and we are towing it in!


KSP_Sat_Replace (4)Retracting the cable takes quite a while and so we take a chance for a photo op. Right now we are about 2, 880 km from Kerbin.

The next step is to get back into a proper geostationary orbit around Kerbin and launch our replacement satellite. Here is the satellite in orbit and fully operational. We have 2 dishes, one pointing back to mission control, the other to connect to the active ships we will launch later. KSP_Sat_Replace (14)There is also an omnidirectional antenna so when I replace the other 2 satellites, the 3 can communicate with each other.

KSP_Sat_Replace (7)We now begin our burn to head back to the planet Kerbin. Towing back our old satellite means less debris floating around and hopefully less problems with the new satellites. I didn’t plan how much the extra weight on only one side of the ship would effect my ship and the retro-grade burn to return back to Kerbin was quite a challenge. Next time I need to bring some sort of counter weight, or try to position the wench in the middle. We have set our course and no longer need to tow our “trash.”

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Since our trajectory is heading for the atmosphere, we can ditch the satellite now and it will burn up on re-entry.

KSP_Sat_Replace (11)Speaking of re-entry, here is Jeb making his way through Kerbin’s atmosphere. Such lovely fire. After such a long trip without any issues, all we have left to do is fall a while longer and hope our parachute does it’s job. It has been on quite a journey and hasn’t had anything to do for such a long distance and time, but now is its change to save the day, and Jeb.

KSP_Sat_Replace (13)SUCCESS! The parachute has opened and our mission is complete. One satellite has been towed back from orbit and replaced, two more to go.