Apr 15 2015

#061: Buzzing Minmus

The third and final ComSat to orbit Minmus was successfully launched into LKO, where it transferred without issue to Minmus and detached from its transfer stage in orbit around the moon, leaving it to drift until we re-activate it for use as an impactor. In order to slot the satellite into position between the two existing ones, an aggressive maneuver was plotted to send the craft whipping past Minmus as low as 15km, after which it would rise up to complete the constellation of communication satellites.

sun/planet rise behind an empty launch pad, but next week at this time it will have ComSat Minmus III upon it! we got ComSat Minmus III rolled out this morning, despite the weather, and readiness checks are underway weather is moving NE further out to sea, we will be checking in with the boat captains shortly to assess conditions we've entered first planned hold @ T-40min for 20min as we secure the launch pad. No issues being worked at this time view from Mission Control, sun rising as we approach final hold. Kadets & guests are also here to observe the launch coming up on Trans-Minmus Injection burn in less than 7 minutes, last sunset in orbit around Kerbin excellent maneuver, proof it's always best to take things nice and slow! Flight tracker updating in a few minutes

launch analysis: made it to LKO using just a bit more ?v (35m/s) compared to ComSat Minmus I. Big difference tho

When you are operating on a tight ?v budget, 32m/s can in fact mean a lot, especially around a low-gravity world like Minmus

prepping for ComSat Minmus III separation in about 10min, here's the view at 3x optical zoom at 1,177km 4°S visual confirmation of clear separation - we decoupled towards the normal vector, so ComSat is above looking down final checks underway for ComSat Minmus III maneuver to zero inclination at its ascending node in less than 10min still "upside down" to thrust anti-normal for its last maneuver, here's CSMinIII looking at Minmus, Mun & Kerbin Minmus mission team still at work, we're trying to setup an aggressive maneuver to get us into position by tomorrow getting closer - end of the graph plot is when CSMinIII reaches 1,150km. So, we want to arrive just a bit sooner... Minmus mission team is up early prepping for maneuver, which will bring us down close to the surface later today who's ready for some delicious-looking Minmus photos? We are coming about sun-side. Close approach ops begin in <1 hr here we go - just under 100km now, we'll be passing over the lowland flats first. Maybe see some kethane sublimation? sparkly!! Max optical zoom from 36km looking at the flats. Does it look foggy down there? Not really. Disappointing we're still working to see if maneuver was good or will need another correction later - for now enjoy this from 15km the hugely varied topography of Minmus is just incredible. Those plateaus! How high? We'll soon know very precisely one last shot of a large highlands area from 55km as ComSat Minmus III continues to sail away & up towards 1,150km ok we're minimizing power & are good for final placement tomorrow, just 5km off ideal 2095.7km approx 55s thrust for 25m/s ?v and there you have it! Minmus relay network is now complete :) another look at a full Minmus, with a nearly full Mun, at sunset from the KSC observatory. Both w/ full comm coverage here's a look at the 84,516km long journey ComSat Minmus took to complete the Minmus relay network this morning

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