Triumphant Return to Kerbin!

After trading off crew and refueling a bit, it was time to decide how to salvage the mission. The original plan was to visit all 5 moons, but we didn't really have enough resources left for that. The Kerbals still wanted to try to hit them all.

A flyby of Bop was arranged. The Leonov2 separated and made a landing while the Spaceman Spiff continued to explore the Jool system.

Jenwin handled the "landing". Come on guys, how many times do we have to practice this?

At least it's fairly easy to right oneself on a low-gravity moon.

Passenger Kenney *really* wanted to be closer to the pole and convinced Jenwin to waste a lot of fuel on a hop. Then Kenney got off and walked a *long* time to the North-west. (Or more accurately, the heavy weight placed on the 'W' key walked a long time). Kenney got to some co-ordinates... but was disappointed nothing was there.

There was some confusion about how Longitude works, especially when negative. Suddenly Kenney felt a strange sensation, a lot like a minus sign being flipped in a quick-save file. He transported up to the other side of the moon and found himself near the dead baby Kraken:

Kenney decided he wanted to stay behind. Jenwin had no choice but to leave him behind:

An attempt was made to re-rendezvous with the mothership, but there really wasn't enough fuel. So the plan was to head back separately and meet back on Kerbin!

Here's the Spiff starting its trek back. Of course they are low on fuel and only managed to get in a really inconvenient Kerbol orbit. :(

The Leonov2 did a gravity assist around Tylo to get roughly back in the right orbital plane and boosted back to the inner system. Let's see how they manage with navigator Kenney left on Bop.

"I don't remember Kerbin being quite this purple." muses Jenwin.

Well, first Kerbal on Eve and all that. I'm not sure I'm up to rescuing anyone from Eve any time soon.

In the meantime I suppose we need to rescue Bob et al.

They've been gone so long that I had upgraded to KSP 0.25. So of course when I try to launch my refueling ship it was too heavy and destroyed the launchpad.

Then it kept blowing up (oooh pretty new graphics) because I accidentally duped an engine and the center of mass was off.

Finally a good launch! But I only had 3 nuclear rockets on the final stage and that would take forever to get out beyond Duna for rescue. So let's leave them in orbit while we re-think things. Also two of the Kerbonauts seem to be the ghosts of crew-members lost in the Jool system.

An improved upper stage was designed that had 15 nuclear rockets as well as only a single-crew capsule. This worked better, but I can never get fuel lines to work right and I wasted lots of time manually transferring fuel

The plan was to dock and transfer fuel over. This took forever. I'm horrible at docking, especially in low Kerbin orbit with fully loaded ships.

Eventually after much frustration this happend.

The refueler crew landed in the big desert! Matvey had never experienced ground-scatter before (turned on during the long Kraken hunt) so he was intrigued enough to walk over and take a look at the huge cacti growing here.

Anyway, time to rescue the ill-fated Jool mission:

Dropping the chemical rockets and going nuclear:

After a few orbital corrections and almost 2 years in transit we managed to link up:

A lot of fuel was transferred. It turns out we had too much! Lenburry wasn't going to risk trying to accelerate with both ships hooked up via a docking port, so he sadly ejected most of his ship. What wasted ΔV!

Finally, at long last, Kerbin!

Re-entering over the arctic:

I was worried the parachutes wouldn't hold, but they did. Think of poor Lenburry riding in his docked upside-down capsule.

Home! Assuming they don't freeze to death waiting for rescue.

And so ends the disastrous trip to Jool. Of the 13 brave Kerbonauts who went out, only 6 made it back (well, 7, if you count the rescuer):
Let's remember the brave ones who did not return:
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