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- Type: VAB
- Class: ship
- Part Count: 127
- Mods: 3
- Bluedog DB
- Squad (stock)
Apollo 8 stands out as one of the greatest achievements of not only the American space program but of the history of spaceflight in general. It is also one of the most rushed achievements in history and launched a mere two months after the successful tests of the Apollo CSM by Apollo 7. It became the first time that humans went beyond MEO (Medium Earth Orbit), the first time they flew by or orbited another body, and lastly the first Earthrise in human consciousness. This is an approximation of the setup for Apollo 8 including the massive Saturn V rocket, modifications to the CSM to simulate the full service bays (layout borrowed from the FASA craft files) and enough fuel to safely enter and leave munar orbit.
The Apollo CSM V8 differs from my earlier Apollo CSM V7 firstly by increasing fuel to make a successful orbit and return. However the additional fuel is also necessary to power the two fuel cells inside the service bays which is the only way to recharge during the relatively long trip to the Mun and back. It is highly recommended that you keep an eye on your electric charge and fuel consumption of your fuel cells as it is technically possible to strand yourself in munar orbit if too much is used. In addition it carries a number of things not included until much later Apollo missions such as the Apollo sub-satellite (deployed during Apollo 15 and 16) and a pair of boom antennae used for experiments during Apollo 15. However it shouldn’t have a sufficient impact on the craft’s performance if you used the service bay instruments with something else, provided there isn’t too much of a weight difference.
The massive Saturn V was one of the most powerful lifters in history and FASA’s version is no exception to that. I will warn people that it might have a significant impact on their FPS (frames per second) at least until you decouple the first stage. The first stage occupying half of the craft is a powerful lifter meant to bring the rest of the rocket into the upper atmosphere and can be an ungainly beast to fly at times. I recommend taking the pitch program slowly and gently and if you still have trouble keeping your AoA (angle-of-attack) to about 5 degrees as you pitch over. The second stage is much more forgiving and will handle the rest of the ascent along with part of the circularization. Lastly the all-important third stage, Saturn IV-B, will finish the circularization and provide your TMI (Trans Munar Injection) burn.
Once you have finished your TMI burn you should orient the craft to normal or anti-normal as you break away the fairings and decouple the CSM from its booster. I recommend either aiming for the third stage to impact on the Mun with a corrective burn by the CSM to a safer trajectory or using a free return trajectory so that the third stage returns to Kerbin and burns up in the atmosphere. You might want to begin turning on one of your fuel cells for the, hopefully uneventful, trip to the Mun although they can be turned on even if the CSM is out of electric charge. The CSM’s on-board engine will handle the MOI (Munar Orbital Insertion) burn with enough fuel to bring yourself to a low orbit if so desired. The Apollo sub-satellite can be deployed at any point during your orbit although it has no significant effect on your return journey if left on the service module.
The return burn should be fairly routine as long as you left enough fuel in the CSM to make it, otherwise you’ll be stranded in either a munar orbit or a very elliptical orbit around Kerbin. The CSM can withstand a pretty sharp re-entry but I recommend a perigee of about 20-30km when making your TKI (Trans Kerbin Injection) burn. The re-entry procedure begins with decoupling the service module which should burn up in the atmosphere and activating the command module’s RCS thrusters to stabilize your initial re-entry. The parachute cover acts as a secondary heat shield and should be decoupled around 25-30km although I haven’t had any serious problems with ejecting it much earlier. The triple parachutes should be deployed in the lower atmosphere and should take you to a comfortable splashdown.
Built in the VAB in KSP version 1.3.0.
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