February 15th 1952, Satish Swahan launch site, Kerbinia.
This first report of significant events in 1952 should hopefully see us having kept our leads over the Illyriens, as well as beaten them in several other areas. Hopefully the Ministry will be pleased with this, even though some of the most momentous events were shadowed in secrecy, for obvious reasons.
Early in January, Valentina was able to conduct a test flight us a usable aircraft, able to actually land again upon the runway – although there are still some issues with the landing to work out, such as 3 attempts being needed and the final success being rather hair-raising, what with the entire craft almost doing an entire circle while braking on the runway. I’ll need to talk to Werner about some better brakes, although Valentina just thought we should stick parachutes on the back instead.
Our next generation of jet engines should allow us to make a plane we can use to spy upon the Illyriens, and with landing having been achieved (not to mention no wobble in the gear at all!) actual useful flights seems quite possible.
Asides the landing, a few other flights were made, both manned and unmanned, but only our latest Boomer 4 achieving 3200 km is worth mentioning before the main launch of the quarter.
The main news is the launch of the Red Herring 1, a rocket that have been purposefully shrouded in complete secret, to prevent the Illyriens getting any notion of its progress, but as of today, February 15th 1952, we have launched our first probe into orbit, thanks to the generous contract offered by the ministry.
Unfortunately due to the secrecy, no photo documentation exists and all the plans are locked in Werner’s safe. The photographer sent by the Ministry did also complain about launching at night, but insisted upon doing his job anyway.
We are hoping that our quick and secret efforts will prevent the Illyriens from beating us here, as they did with the first Kerbal in space.
The original plan was for a spy-satellite to spy on the Illyriens, but Werner removed the camera and sensors for being too heavy, and the battery didn’t last long enough to even get there on the first orbit and taunt them with incessant beeping – so we will have to launch a more advanced payload at a later date to do this, though we will need several upgrades done before we can do this – not to mention figure out the best orbit for spying, as the current semi-equatorial orbit of 2745 by 162 km.
Given the power of the Red Herring 1, nearly 40 % more than the Boomer 4, we are currently constructing another rocket to extend our lead in height, although as we are not rushing it, we do not expect it to complete until the third quarter.