Where did 1952 go?

December 30th, 1952, Baikonur Kosmodrone, Kerbinia.

Where did the entire year go? Sure, we had six rocket launches (and a full 5 were a success), and we have a design or a viable short term “Earth Observation” satellite being finalized and produced, not to mention a highly successful design of “Vals Looker”.

I think it’s Werners guys thinking up new technology that’s keeping us back, they just haven’t focussed on the things we need yet – though I am confident that they are on the right track, but we will see.

The Ministry of Health wanted a few manned tests which Jebediah performer, one of them he even stuck the landing quite well, with the new symmetrical parachute variant.

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Jebediah literally sticking the landing – right into the ground.

As can be seen, the parachutes were so well balanced that he stuck the cockpit right into the ground! He even thought it was so hilarious that he didn’t move an inch before the recovery team showed up, just so they could see it as well.

On top of the contracted tests, he also conducted initial tests with vehicle mounted cameras.

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Jebediah thought it funny to take a picture of his cockpit screen showing a video feed as well.

Aside from Jebediah’s many antics, we also launched several contracted unmanned probes. The results varied a bit though, but two were a usual success and our non-contracted attempt at expanding our height record were successful, although not as much as we thought.

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RH-2 launching from the Kosmodrone pad.

It beat Boomer 4 by a measly 400 km, which everyone thought odd, as it was 40 % as powerful? Werner is speculating that orbit may not be that difficult, if a rocket that can achieve that can’t even get to 4000 km. I believe he’s instituting a new design policy in this regard.

The last unmanned launch flew today, at least in part. It apparently nicked one of the clamps holding it and started going sideways – luckily away from the Satish Dhawan centre, towards the ocean where it crashed. We should still be able to build another and meet the contract on time though.

We’re also making progress towards spying on the Illyriens. While the RH mk. 2 is well under way, Valentina tested the aircraft designed for this. The plane was a remarkable success except for one thing – the range. She launched from Plesetsk, but by the time her tank was half empty, she was only about to reach Kermany. We suspect we’d have to find a landing strip on Kuba or similar, to be able to use it.

Aside from that, it was a perfect plane. Taking off and landing at night, stable and able to maintain supersonic speeds at 12-15 km. Werners new light enhancing Kamera even took some nice pictures, although they seem to have been mounted sideways, as can bee seen from the picture of a lake.

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Picture of a Lake near Kermany, taken by Valentina.

We also started upgrading our second launch pad this year, which should be dome sometime next year. Asides from that, a successful view of the Illyrien space centre is expected from orbit, and if Werner can finally cook up the right things, perhaps even some of those Lunar Kontracts that the Ministry of Information is badgering us about can be achieved.

 

–Gene Kerman

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To space, and staying there!

February 15th 1952, Satish Swahan launch site, Kerbinia.

This first report of significant events in 1952 should hopefully see us having kept our leads over the Illyriens, as well as beaten them in several other areas. Hopefully the Ministry will be pleased with this, even though some of the most momentous events were shadowed in secrecy, for obvious reasons.

Early in January, Valentina was able to conduct a test flight us a usable aircraft, able to actually land again upon the runway – although there are still some issues with the landing to work out, such as 3 attempts being needed and the final success being rather hair-raising, what with the entire craft almost doing an entire circle while braking on the runway. I’ll need to talk to Werner about some better brakes, although Valentina just thought we should stick parachutes on the back instead.

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Vals Jet on the runway after landing. It spun clockwise around, about 5/6ths, at about 80 m/s – but at least it stopped without tipping over.

Our next generation of jet engines should allow us to make a plane we can use to spy upon the Illyriens, and with landing having been achieved (not to mention no wobble in the gear at all!) actual useful flights seems quite possible.

 

Asides the landing, a few other flights were made, both manned and unmanned, but only our latest Boomer 4 achieving 3200 km is worth mentioning before the main launch of the quarter.

 

The main news is the launch of the Red Herring 1, a rocket that have been purposefully shrouded in complete secret, to prevent the Illyriens getting any notion of its progress, but as of today, February 15th 1952, we have launched our first probe into orbit, thanks to the generous contract offered by the ministry.

Unfortunately due to the secrecy, no photo documentation exists and all the plans are locked in Werner’s safe. The photographer sent by the Ministry did also complain about launching at night, but insisted upon doing his job anyway.

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The Red Herring 1, launching at night to maintain secrecy.

We are hoping that our quick and secret efforts will prevent the Illyriens from beating us here, as they did with the first Kerbal in space.

The original plan was for a spy-satellite to spy on the Illyriens, but Werner removed the camera and sensors for being too heavy, and the battery didn’t last long enough to even get there on the first orbit and taunt them with incessant beeping – so we will have to launch a more advanced payload at a later date to do this, though we will need several upgrades done before we can do this – not to mention figure out the best orbit for spying, as the current semi-equatorial orbit of 2745 by 162 km.

 

Given the power of the Red Herring 1, nearly 40 % more than the Boomer 4, we are currently constructing another rocket to extend our lead in height, although as we are not rushing it, we do not expect it to complete until the third quarter.

 

–Gene Kerman