April 23rd, 1960; Baikonur Kosmodrone.
Here follows an early report from the KSA, given that we have had more operations done in April, than we had in the entire first quarter.
We started out launching the last recycling modules early in the month, and the third crew shortly after. KSS is now fully fully crewed, and operational.
The day-time and night-time operation is of course not day and night, given how fast it orbits the Earth, but the appearance is very different. These new pictures also show all four crew pods docked.
The day after the third KSS Crew arrived, we launched a scientific payload, however a staging mishap* occurred when it began its approach to KSS. No damage to the station or crew, but the payload was lost.
After this, we turned to our Martian probe, which had come back into communication range. It actually did a while ago, but the various operations were postponed until KSS was completed.
Transmission of the scientific data went as planned, as did the initiation of the planetary survey. The lander was only a partly success though – but very educational.
The probe hit the surface at about 20 m/s, which was too fast for it – the main cause of this was a combination of factors.
- It was a copy of the Venus lander, as such it had a very heavy heat-shield.
- The heatshield didn’t burn up at all, leaving the full weight on the probe.
- The planned landing site meant landing out of communication range, so the heatshield could not be detached.
- 40 % of the chutes broke when the system attempted to expand them to full early.
As such, we have learned a lot, and it preparing a more advanced lander for the next window that we expect to be a success – this has also allowed us to add more instruments, such as water detectors. Plans for a rover that can drive around does not seem realistic for the coming launch window, as the required wheel systems are still in development.