February 3rd, 1958; Satish Dwahan launch site.
Our test a month ago with a fuel cell that was aborted due to the original fuel cells not working in space have now been corrected, and besides a mission to re-do this contract in the works, we have both a new rescue pod under way, as well as launching the first official Kerlab mission yesterday, on the modified Proton-4 launcher.
The first Kerlab mission brings with it a solution to the power issues – two tanks with liquid Hydrogen and Oxygen, as well as 4 fuel cells. The tanks are designed to interface with the existing cooling systems on Kerlab, and has enough for just over a full month of running. We expect to integrate refuelling tanks into a future standardized crew transport.
The launch went well, although there do still seem to be a few kinks to work out in the Proton-4 launcher – although the pilots will likely have to cope until we get the A-variant made. that one will likely also use Hydrolox engines on the upper stages, further integrating the refuelling of the stations fuel cells.
Arriving today at the Kerlab station, the crew consisting of a scientist and an engineer attached the power-module and then proceeded to dock the crew transport.
While the scientist began setting up the planned orbital experiments for later return, the engineer went on a brief EVA to make sure everything looked good from the outside. While there, he snapped a pictures that we’ll be releasing to the press later today.
The mission have been a success so far, although the recycler will mostly be running automated when the station is not manned due to the massive power requirements.
Asides from the crew transport and recycled – the station has a roomy 4-kerbal habitation module as well as a full suite of experiments – including a new orbital experiment that will be running continuously over several missions.
The station also have ample supplies to keep the recycler running as well as snacks for our hard working kerbonauts. Lights for docking (and taking pictures), as well as RCS thrusters to keep the orbit, or make slight changes are also on hand. Future missions will be planned with a slightly larger margin on fuel reserves, to keep the station topped up.
We expect the new emergency life pod to be ready in about a month – at which time a pilot will take it up, and return with the station crew in their regular crew transport.