January 16th, 1961; Kerbinian Capital.
“Welcome everyone to the Kerbinian Ministry of Information and Truth. Today we have a rather grand announcement to make, and before I hand you over to Gene Kerman – who have flown in from Baikonur early this morning – I just want to express my admiration of the achievements of the Kerbinian Space Agency. Now, here’s a picture of the launch, unfortunately at night, while Gene comes on stage”.
With that Ali Kerman, the Minister of IT leaves the stage, and Gene Kerman comes up instead and walks to the microphone.
“Thank you Minister, and my apologies to everyone if I look and sound a bit tired – I have been up all night for the launch and start of the mission, as well as the launch of our latest Venus-5 probe to improve our knowledge of Venus further”.
“Now, what mission? Well before I explain that, let me just mention that it was launched upon our newest and most powerful series-produced launcher to date – the Kosmos-3 – capable of lifting a full 220 tonnes to low orbit”.
“The launch went quite fine, as you can see on the pictures taken by Jebediah when he did an external inspection of the Venutian Discoverer after getting into orbit”.
“As you can see, the more than 200 tonne ship looks quite advanced – but more than looking it, it is quite advanced. It has life support and recyclers to support the crew for more than a year in space – taking all our lessons learned on KSS into account, and even including back-up for all the critical life support equipment”.
“Now, the name of the ship and time in space capacity probably gives away the mission – and I may as well confirm it before you start speculating. Yes, Jebediah, Bill and Bob are currently on their way to Venus – not to stay, but to make a manned fly-by and return to Earth. They will return to us in a little over a year”.
“But that is not all, as you may have noticed, there are 5 large tanks, and only a single engine – that is the debut of a new way of propelling spacecraft that we have worked on for a while – the Venutian Discoverer is propelled by our mark 2 nuclear engine – and I have some pictures of the Earth ejection burn taken by a number of disposable camera probes launched”.
“The outer tanks are made to be detached once they’re empty – leaving the central tank, which is better insulated and cooled for the long trip, as the only one with propellant in it. While the mission is designed as a free return trajectory, the ship do have enough fuel that it could in theory make orbit around Mars if that was where it was going”.
“For that reason, the outer tanks weren’t emptied entirely, and will be used along with the central tank to further refine our knowledge of working with the most volatile cryogenic fuels during space travel”.
“Now, I will leave the answering of questions to the Minister, as I am rather tired, and we have a launch tonight of our newest Lunar scanner that I have to be awake for again – you are of course all welcome at the launch facilities at every launch, even one as mundane as a lunar probe later today”.
“With that, I will be taking my leave, with a picture of the Venutian Discoverer taken by Bill, when he went on an EVA to examine the nuclear engine after the initial burn”.
As the Minister comes on stage again, he smiles as he starts speaking into the microphone.
“Yes, Kerbinia is as always the pioneers in space travel – just as we were when landing on the Moon and countless other times. Now did I see some questions?”.