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- Type: VAB
- Class: ship
- Part Count: 23
- Mods: 2
- Bluedog DB
One of the chief goals of Project Gemini was to practice and refine rendezvous and docking procedures that would be necessary for the Apollo program. The Agena-D upper stage/satellite bus which served as the basis for many American spy satellites was chosen to be modified with a docking adapter to create the Agena Target Vehicle. The goals for ATV included spacecraft rendezvous, docking procedures, boosting the Gemini’s orbit beyond the capabilities of the Gemini’s on-board engines, and perform other experiments. The first ATV was launched on October 25th 1965 with the plan that Gemini VI would become the first spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with an unmanned spacecraft.
However the Atlas rocket carrying the ATV exploded in the upper atmosphere which forced Gemini VI’s mission to be scrubbed and launched later to become one of two manned spacecraft to perform a successful rendezvous. The first successful docking was finally performed six months later in March 1966 by Gemini 8 although it was short-lived due to problems with the thrusters. The ATV for Gemini 9 also failed to achieve orbit but led to an alternative docking target leading to the infamous
angry alligator incident. The final major goal for the ATV was achieved by Gemini 10 when it was used to boost Gemini 10’s apogee. It was also used to boost Gemini 11’s to a record apogee of 1,300km as well as demonstrate artifical gravity through tethering experiments which were expanded also performed on the Gemini 12 mission.
The Belle Target Vehicle (BTV) is Bluedog Design’s version of the Agena Target Vehicle again developed from the Belle series of upper stages much like the Agena’s history in real life. It can perform many of the same missions as the ATV including rendezvous, docking and altering the combined spacecraft’s orbital parameters. The BTV’s fuel supply should allow for boosts well past Medium Kerbal Orbit (MKO) and half-way to the Mun. I suggest using it to bring the Leo spacecraft back down to Low Kerbin Orbit (LKO) before decoupling since the Leo’s engine may have difficulty returning to Kerbal from a higher orbit. If you wish to emulate the Gemini missions then your highest apogee goal should be 900 to 1000km although higher orbits may be entirely possible but not recommended.
The launch vehicle uses a Muo rocket’s stage-and-a-half for the lower stage and should be handled in a similar fashion. It’s advised that you are closer with the rocket’s angle-of-attack (AoA) with an excessive angle possibly causing it to flip unexpectedly. The booster stage should be decoupled somewhere in the upper atmosphere with the main stage probably handling the rest of the ascent and orbital process. You may have to use some of the BTV’s engines depending on the apogee and inclination. However you should remember that the BTV is meant to be a docking target and shouldn’t be beyond the capabilities of the intended spacecraft.
Built in the VAB in KSP version 1.3.1.
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