Year 14: Fixing the Minmus Expansion

Or some Approximation Thereof

So the accountants said we couldn't get any insurance money on the failed Minmus Base expansion unless we made some sort of attempt to fix things. I'm beginning to suspect the accountants forgot to buy insurance in the first place.

So what does our mess in Minmus orbit need? Probe cores? Well let's send them some.

The first attempt did not work out, the rocket flipped and it turned out the two packages were placed too close and were stuck together.

Let's try things again:

Perfect, a giant tuning fork. Let's hope this works.

We made a flyby of the Mun. I'd like to say it was part of some clever gravity assist, but really it was the only way I could get a Minmus encounter to appear.

Well we've arrived, time to match orbits.

And the first scary claw-takeover-probe away!

Eventually we managed to connect it to the right part of the ship, although we destroyed a solar panel or two along the way.

Now that we know this plan actually has a small chance of working, let's separate the big ship into its three pieces: Hereley's ship, the space telescope, and the base expansion.

Of course the base expansion had been wildly shaking, and it turned out the problem was the separator was interacting poorly with the three claws designed to connect up with the rest of the base. There was an explosion and the claws floated off in a cloud of debris.

Well there goes the possibility of actually being able to do the base expansion. *sigh*.

We still have one more takeover-claw, let's hook up some brains to the space telescope. Success! Not very pretty, but now we can scan for ore once again.

Well the expansion can't attach anymore, but let's land it anyway. Despite the off-center load we managed to touch down on Minmus:

We landed a few kilometers away, but managed to drive across the surface to the rest of the base with a little bit of RCS (mostly used for steering) left over. Thankfully it was downhill the whole way.

So close yet so far. We're going to have to think about this a bit.

A pause as top Kerbal engineers consider options

OK, the engineers have come up with a crazy plan to land a universal docking adapter on Minmus and have the broken expansion pick it up and use it to dock with the rest of the station. Crazy, but it might just work. Here we go!

Made it to orbit! Didn't do much of a gravity turn as we appear to still be more or less directly above the space center:

Made it to Minmus, after yet another Mun flyby.

And a really nice landing despite it being pitch dark and forgetting to put any lights onboard. Minmus is really forgiving. We're only a few hundred meters from the base.

We eventually managed to drive the expansion over to pick it up. (We did manage to knock the flag out of the ground, which was doing some crazy things, hopefully we aren't taunting the Kraken with that). Maneuvering was tricky as we didn't have much RCS left, and getting the right angle to smash into a claw was a pain. We had to fiddle with landing legs and RCS on both crafts but eventually got it to latch on:

Let's activate the claw on the opposite side and see if this whole effort can be salvaged!

We did it! No idea why they need 5000+ units of fuel or room for 27, but a contract is a contract. We also brought along a huge amount of solar panels so the science lab should be able to run full speed finally.

Herely heads home

In the meantime Hereley has been more or less uselessly hanging out in orbit. He mostly came along to get a spacewalk contract as well as to level up his pilot skills. Time to head home!

But look at all that fuel you have! OK, change of plans, we're desperate for science, let's land this thing.

The highlands, nice new science. Nice landing too! We forgot to get a picture, but when Herely got out for a soil sample the SAS disengaged and the ship fell on his head, but apparently he is OK.

Back home for real this time!

Nice views re-entering into the sunrise (I think it's a sunrise not a sunset):

We made it!

Hopefully that keeps the team on Minmus happy for a while.

What to do next. We do have a mass of contracts queued up. I'd really like to unlock the mining techs, but that requires 500 science and 1.8 million funds (to upgrad the R&D facility), which would more or less bankrupt us. It's going to take some careful planning to manage this.
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