A Manned Mission to Mun – From Ignorance to Enlightenment via Fear: Part Nine
Hello and welcome to the Kerbal Space Centre tour. Please ensure you’re wearing your complimentary Totally Fun Safety Helmet at all times. Why do you need a helmet? Don’t ask. Also, don’t look up.
This facility was once the cornerstone of the Kerbal Space Program, until the entire planet got distracted by something shiny and forgot all about it. Over there you can see the Jebediah Monument, dedicated to all the brave Kerbals who have died to conquer space, and the Vehicle Assembly Building which is that great big tall building with the mural of Jebediah Kerman on the side. Over there is the Jebediah Kerman Space Debris Tracking Centre, where the work experience interns track the increasingly-faint distress calls from the High Kerbinal Orbit Manned Research Facility.
Today you’re in for a treat! The Administration has found a bunch of money in the Space Budget, and we need to spend it quickly before the fiscal year ends! If you look inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, you’ll see the latest development in Kerbal rocketry: The majestic Confirmation Bias I, a desperate attempt to achieve success by repeating the same mistakes we made last time in the hope that somehow it turns out differently this time. Please do not take pictures of the wreckage on the Spaceplane runway. Moving swiftly along…
Over there is the Simulation building, with a full-scale mockup of the space ships we use. These days they’re mainly used for practical jokes on the new guys. We have a rocket out on the launch pad right now, because we were originally going to run a bunch of tests, have a test flight or two, maybe do some computer simulations, but our license for the simulation software ran out (Shareware! In this day and age!). We have yet to find a credit card that we haven’t maxed out yet. What’s that over by the rocket? It’s none other than Jebediah Kerman, legendary Kerbalnaut! Tour group, you’re in for a treat now! It looks like he’s climbed aboard the rocket. Is he – yes, he is mashing his fat green fist down on the “LAUNCH (DO NOT PRESS UNLESS YOU REALLY REALLY MEAN IT)” button. I bet you’re glad you’re not in the tour group which was admiring the launch gantry from below.
This is Mission Control. To the front you can see all sorts of diagrams and charts and TVs showing reruns of Star Trek. Over there, behind the engineer playing Doom, is the Mission Telemetry Feed. According to the feed, Confirmation Bias I left the launch pad exactly as designed, but there was a bit of a design flaw that became apparent immediately after launch: The assistant electrician who wired up the explosive bolt detonators had the plans upside-down and he wired the entire rocket to fire all the stage separators simultaneously.
The last message we received from the Mission Module was “Ooooh!”, just before the Stage III engines and the re-entry parachute deployed simultaneously. Jebediah vanished over the horizon in moments. We have called all of our friends who live in other countries, but the only thing we have got back so far is this picture:
Godspeed, Jebediah. Godspeed. Now please make sure you have all your belongings with you, and our next stop is the Cafeteria, followed by the Gift Shop.