Mars again

August 5th, 1958; Baikonur Kosmodrone.

In a rare event, we have today a formally announced press conference held by the KSA. We now go live to the KSA, where Gene Kerman will be giving us an update on the space program.

“Greetings everyone. Last night we launched our second probe towards Mars, now with mapping hardware as well. I have no pictures of the launch to show you, because it was a night-time launch unfortunately. The design is identical to the recently arrived Venus-3 probe though”.

“Now some of you may have wondered why there have been no news for three months? Have we been doing nothing? No. We’ve had 5 successful launches – 3 two-week orbital missions, and two crews for the Kerlab launched – the latest not only a week ago, so they’re still up there”.

“We have also seen a number of successes in recovering our rockets, or at least part of them. No longer are we just recovering the final pod when it returns – we are now recovering around 40 % of the rockets, value-wise, and can re-use them for later launches”.

“This re-use also allows us to construct subsequent rockets faster, especially when it comes to our Orbiter-3 and Kerlab programmes, as they’re both using the Proton-3, of which we recover the boosters, first stage and crew pods – leaving only the second stage and orbital manoeuvring systems to be replaced each time. Combined with our added production lines here at the Kosmodrone we are really ramping things up”.

“Any questions?”, Gene ended his statement, turning to the assembled reporters.

Reporter: “Joel Kerman, Kerbinian Times. Isn’t re-using the parts risky? I mean, they’re used, and they might break then?”.

Gene Kerman: “Excellent question. Re-use is good because it’s cheap, and as an added bonus, we know the parts work, because we’ve used them before. Now of course, there are limits to how much stress things can take and we of course consider this. Today, the recovery team recovering the first stage of the Mars-2 first stage have discarded 5 of the chutes, declaring them no longer safe for use. We, of course, examine everything closely before re-using it, to make sure it will function adequately”.

Reporter: “Maria Kerman, Kerbinian Journal of Engineering. You mentioned added construction lines – are you making several rocket at the same time? And not just one here and one at Satish?”.

Gene Kerman: “Yes, we have multiple production lines. In total we have 5 production lines – not all of them of course as fast. Satish still has the biggest main line, but also has a substantial second line, and generally is focussing on larger things that need to go beyond Earth orbit. The Kosmodrone do not have as advanced lines, but have a full three parallel lines feeding our LEO missions of various types”.

Gene Kerman: “Right now, we have no less than 10 rockets queued up for various missions, working on 5 at a time. Now some of these are 6-12 months away queued so we’re certain they’re ready in time for the launch windows. Others, are for very soon – another launch in our Orbiter program and a return to the Moon in a few weeks”.

Reporter: “Cecil Kerman, The Kerbinian. Return to the Moon you say? You’ve kept that particular news quiet? Is it a resurgence of the Kerbinian Bear?”.

Gene Kerman: “No, the Bear isn’t returning, this is a more modern launcher, although many of the systems are similar. It’s still the F-1 engines on the first stage, but with new solid rocket boosters. And the variable thrust Lunar Descent engine is similarly the same, but with other improvements to the lander”.

Reporter: “Mortimer Kerman, Kerbinian Space News. Why go back to the Moon? We’ve been there already?”.

Gene Kerman: “Well, we’ve been to one part. In particular, this time we’re going to the area known as the Lunar Seas – and getting some samples. Ever since the astronomers of old named the areas for looking like a sea, people have been talking about water on the Moon. So part of the mission is to get samples for analysis. The other part is testing new technologies and showing that we still have what it takes”.

“I believe that’s all we have time for today. I will of course make sure to invite you all back when we launch for the Moon – if the launch window is during daytime, of course”.

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