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- Type: VAB
- Class: ship
- Part Count: 31
- Mods: 2
- ** Launch Escape System**
- Bluedog DB
In the late 1950s the civilian space program under NASA was still in its fledgling stages and it had a limited selection of dependable lifters. As of 1959 the Atlas-D was their heaviest lifter with many plans from manned spaceflight to space stations including using it as the launch vehicle.
However the lifter was only one half of the lifter equation and required development of a powerful upper-stage that could help carry considerable payloads into Earth’s orbit and beyond. This eventually developed into the Centaur but by 1959 it was still in early development and NASA scientists didn’t know if it’d be ready in time to begin to launch heavier payloads including manned space capsules.
A stop-gap measure was introduced known as the Vega upper stage which would potentially allow NASA to launch several types of payloads meant for the Centaur and not have to delay spaceflight plans until it was finished. However by late 1959 it was clear that the Centaur would be available in a couple of years and further development on the Vega was abandoned. Several prototypes of the Vega upper stage were built and launched and there were a number of ambitious plans for the stage including launching a small space habitat or an orbital telescope.
During planning for both Mercury and its eventual successor Gemini there were engineers who wanted to launch a small habitat or space station with a two-seat Mercury which would allow them a pair of astronauts to both conduct complex in-flight experiments and allow NASA to study the effects of free-floating astronauts in the type of environment necessary for extended journeys to the Moon. Most of these plans were eventually put on hold and had to wait for the Apollo program but could have also been realized in an extended Gemini program.
The Muo-Vejur is my approximation of a possible Atlas-Vega rocket with extended tanks that launches a small habitat attached to a Gemini capsule. The first stage-and-a-half functions like most Muo lifters but given the lower TWR (thrust-to-weight ratio) the initial staging should be done in the upper atmosphere instead of the upper mid-atmosphere. The Muo stage will get the payload into the upper atmosphere, but not quite the edge of space, after which the Vejur stage will take over for the rest of the ascent and circularization. The Vejur stage functions in a similar manner to a smaller Inon stage and is permanently attached to a small habitat module.
The mission profile for the habitat is rather limited compared to the MOL (Manned Orbital Laboratory) or other Gemini projects. It’s meant to be a test bed for extended orbital missions although it is effectively a tiny space station. There is a small dish antenna, more powerful than the Leo’s internal antenna, for transmitting potential research. A small solar panel has also been included so that small station can stay in orbit indefinitely. Once you have finished with your mission the station should be rotated retrograde using the last 400-500 dV of the Vejur engine to put the entire craft into re-entry.
Once you have begun to hit the atmosphere the Leo capsule should be decoupled with the remainder being destroyed during the descent. The Leo’s re-entry and landing is handled like any other Leo craft and should safely return your two Kerbonauts.
Built in the VAB in KSP version 1.3.0.
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