1956 December 19, Illyrien Space Center, Press Lounge
Press briefing by the press secretary
So here we are again, it seems like I am standing here all the time telling about amazing new advances in the exploration of space. It also seems like only half a year ago that we could barely get rockets above our atmosphere. How far we have come in that time though. Well, here we are, and we are happy to announce that ISP probes have arrived at the Red Planet.
Just to catch up, we had 3 successful intercepts, out of 5 launches. One is a Kepler 4, one is a higher performance Kepler 6, and the final is the Mars Experimental Lander (MEL). The latter being a test of Mars atmosphere, an atmosphere which we knew very little about, hence the phrase “Experimental”. Prior to its arrival, we launched a copy of the MEL probe into LEO and tested that it could successfully land on Earth.
The Kepler 6 carries a high gain antenna, and is intended to function as a relay for Mars SOI, such that, no matter where Mars is relative to Earth (except behind the Sun), it will always be possible to send commands to local missions. In addition to the communication load, it carries the same scientific package as the Kepler 4’s. This setup is similar to the current setup at Venus. The Kepler 6 was successfully put into a polar orbit.
The Kepler 4, managed a very close flyby of Mars, and then continued onwards out of the Mars SOI. Unfortunately, the earlier tracjectory adjustments had costs too much fuel, and it had barely managed to limper into a close flyby using rcs fuel.
The MEL probe entered the Mars atmosphere at 5200 m/sec and slowly bleed off its speed, reaching a deacceleration rate of 3g for an extended period. The parachutes where successfully deployed and did slow down the probe, unfortunately, not sufficiently. It impacted the ground, at about 200 m/sec and was destroyed on impact.
This was ofcause unfortunate, but it was always assumed to be the likely outcome, but in its wake, more probes will follow, and they will succeed.
Though hardship, the stars!
– Gene Kerman
- For some reason KSP completely ignored surface altitude when reporting ALT:RADAR, then meant that the “panic” launch of all parachutes did not fire until 200m above the ground. Considering the remaining speed, its uncertain that it would have made much difference, so I have just accepted it. This kind of stuff happens in reality anyways 🙂 I will list it as a success in my interplanetary mission list though.