[1951 August 10, Illyrien Space Center]
Today, in an anxious moment, for everyone else at least , Jeb took his place in the experimental flight cockpit atop a monster of metal and 17,9 tons of ethanol/oxygen fuel. The seconds passed, and and across the center, the countdown could he hard by us all. When it stopped, everyone held their breath and 3 seconds later, Jeb, and a modified Elegance V, called the Starchaser rose upwards in an roar of fire and explosions!
I was awed and cheerful. Also, I was really tired of hearing Jeb’s constant comments about how he, not a piece of electronics, really should go to space.
Minutes later, the fuel was all spent, and Jeb’s cockpit was released from the rocket, so as to minimize atmospheric drag
Many minutes later Jeb reached the apex of the journey and could look out across a curving sphere below and a speckled darkness above. To the south, all of Kuba could be seen. And a lot was seen, since Jeb had no control at all, and the cockpit continued its slow rotation throughout.
Many more minutes later, Jeb reached the atmosphere again… at about 2400 m/s and fire engulfed the plunging vessel. Furtunately, and to Jeb, and all the rest of us, the air cushioned the cockpit, slowing it down to below 800 m/s. This allowed for parachute deployment and Jeb could enjoy a slow soft splashdown
We where originally going to try to reach 1000km, just like the Kerbinians across the ocean have already done, but our designs for the upper stages just where not ready for it. They are suffering from incredible levels of spinning and instability, which spoils the attempts at going higher.
Wierd rumours had reached Bill and Bob, and shortly thereafter the rest of the four, that the Kerbinians where putting cockpits on their rockets! Jeb demaned that we should do the same, that since we already had a stabile platform in the Elegance V, we could just drop the probe core and put up a cockpit instead. So, well, we gave it a try while Valentina where off flying her planes, and it turned out, that it worked great!