Quarterly report of the Kerbinian Space Agency, third quarter, 1956.
The third quarter of the year has progressed somewhat routinely, although a temporary setback did crop up during the end of the quarter.Our space program is continuing on track though, and we’ve even managed to give the Ministry of Intelligence a bit of help along the way.
July started off with Bill and Bob taking another flight in the orbital trainer, remembering the lesson learned last time, the final engine was fired far earlier – allowing them to achieve actual orbit this time. We now have the first full 3-kerbal crew that have been in space. This is an important step, not just towards the Moon, but also towards our future presence in space in general – as crews of people who’s skills complement each other is a necessity in the long term, and having been in orbit to practice a bit before going on extended missions seems like a good idea.
By the end of July, our Lunar Mapper had completed its mission, and have measured and transmitted a complete elevation map of the Moon. This map will be a great boon to us, as it allows us to better choose suitable landing sites for future landing missions, be they unmanned or manned. Given the importance of the data, the map is of course classified – there is, of course, no reason to deliver such crucial information to other nations.
The day after receiving the final Lunar telemetry, a clone of the Lunar Mapper was launched on a basic Proton-1 launcher, into a polar Earth orbit. We expect it to have completed its task of mapping the elevation of the entire Earth within 2-3 weeks.
Mid-August our the last telemetry from the Earth Mapper is received. As the shape of the planet is generally somewhat known this map has not been classified completely, and a lower resolution map of the world has been published.
The same day, our next rocket were ready for launch – a Proton-1 carrying a “Docking target”-payload, intended for Jebediah to launch in a separate rocket and guide it to a successful docking.
The launch itself went perfectly well, and the docking target was placed into a good target orbit. Unfortunately it had no engines for maintaining orbit, and the next rocket was not ready. As a result, it re-entered the atmosphere before the “Dockee”-rocket was ready. This caused a delay in the test until the 4th quarter, as a new docking target had to be built.
We hope that by having both rockets ready at the same time, the docking targets orbit will only decay a little between the launches – and we will be able to complete the test.