March 20th, 1958; Baikonur Kosmodrone.
Valentina launched yesterday, it’s been a while since she’s been in space, given our training of a full 20 crew complement, in a rocket to bring the emergency crew pod to the Kerlab station. The launch was as usual as success, although a first from Baikonur on a Proton-3.
A slight update have been made though, as as Wernher found some shape-able cones for the boosters, as well as some chutes to attempt to recover them (he did by the way, as well as the whole first stage).
The launch and intercept went perfectly – we’re quite getting the hang of this thing by now. It also helps that the Baikonur site is almost perfectly situated below the Kerlab orbit (46 degrees vs. 45 degrees).
As Valentina docked the mission engineer on Kerlab was out on an EVA to inspect the procedure.
As can be seen, the emergency pod has larger engines that regular pods – as it is also planned to be able to push Kerlab out of its stable orbit when we decommission the station – so we do not leave too much space junk.
We are also considering retro-rockets on our future circulation stages, to limit the amount of debris – or use re-ignitable engines on these. Eventually we may have to start actively cleaning up in space, especially from those blasted littering Illyriens. Good thing the Kerlab has an RCS system to make minor adjustments to avoid debris carelessly left in orbit by certain people.
All in all a success. We are currently preparing the second Kerlab mission – which will also bring a large toolbox with various useful spare parts and additions – as well as fuel to re-fuel the fuel cell system, of course. Also, contracts requiring our trusty Orbiter-3 for a few weeks in space are continuing to pour in.
We’re even contemplating a return to the Moon, as we’ve been asked to go and take a look at another part of it. This mission is in the planning stages, as we’re going to need something slightly less risky than the Bear-1 this time.
Safety first, after all.