Hatsunese Space Program - HASDA (Japan-like) | 1989-03-12 | Saki-09, first Phobos/Deimos landings

Phase 3 - 04 - M-2, automated docking test (and some pop culture) (1979)
Phase 3 - 04

1979-04-07 - The engineering test satellite "Neginohana-5" was launched by an M-2-20. The mission would evaluate automated rendezvous and docking technology (Utahime dockings were conducted with partial autonomy but still required a person for final guidance) with a pair of identical subsatellites. They were nicknamed "Orihime" and "Hikoboshi" after the two separated lovers in the Hatsunese adaptation of the Chinese folk tale "The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl," who are celebrated in the Tanabata festival. They are also the Hatsunese names for the stars Vega and Altair, respectively. A similar feat was performed in the previous decade by the Kosmos 186 and 188 satellites of the Soviet space program. Once reaching space, Orihime boosted to a higher orbit to act as the target satellite, while the chaser satellite Hikoboshi waited two days in a lower orbit to catch up. Hikoboshi then performed a transfer burn and rendezvous with Orihime before docking. Navigation was assisted by geostationary satellites. At close range, internal radar systems within Orihime and Hikoboshi were used for telemetry and guidance.

On the same day of the launch, an animated series known as "Mobile Suit Zaku"[1] aired for the first time. The premise involved giant humanoid machines or "mecha" used for construction and combat in space, and the relations and conflicts between the democratic Federal Republic of Shion, living in large space colonies in the Earth-Moon Lagrange points where the gravitational fields of the two bodies cancel out [2], and the more corrupt and hegemonic Terran Sphere. The franchise would popularize the idea of millions of people working in space habitats like O'Neill cylinders [3], envisioned earlier in the decade, and the use of robots to construct even larger megastructures like Dyson swarms to surround and collect the Sun's energy, trillions of times more powerful than what the Earth alone could support.

The Orihime and Hikoboshi satellites were just the beginning of robotic space assembly.

[1] Yes, this is a Gundam mirror universe. Because of a number pun in which "Za-ku" = "3-9" = "Mi-ku." And since the Principality of Zeon is a literal Space Nazi faction, it has to be a mirror universe.
[2] which are not simulated in KSP unless you use the Principia mod, which is more processor-intensive and makes planning and doing missions much more complicated.
[3] The idea that a colony could be dropped on Sydney is not as emphasized. Because civilian applications of giant robots are shown more, there is more of an unironic "wow, cool robot" effect.

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Separation of Orihime

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Orihime in a higher orbit

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Hikoboshi transfer burn after two days of catching up

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Docked

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KSP 2, provided it’s not vaporware, will simulate Lagrange points. Small comfort now, but it’s clear you love the game as much as I do, so you might be interested to know.
 
KSP 2, provided it’s not vaporware, will simulate Lagrange points. Small comfort now, but it’s clear you love the game as much as I do, so you might be interested to know.
Where did you get that information? This says the physics simulation is "mostly unchanged."

The aspiring Kerbal astronaut's greatest foe is once again the physics simulation, which is "mostly unchanged". As before, each of the planets (Star Theory has yet to give a number) has a sphere of gravitational influence which determines the physics interactions within. This may disappoint seasoned players hoping for an upgrade to 'n-body' physics, in which all masses affect and are affected by their neighbours continuously, but Simpson says a degree of simplification is healthy.

"If you take the Kerbal system from the original game, and you apply n-body physics to that, that solar system disassembles and starts to fire moons at planets," he says. "In general, I think that's where we come up against this game being a game – if you bring in n-body physics, you do get some cool phenomena like Lagrange points, but you also sacrifice a lot of predictability. A real n-body system will evolve over time, and it might have dire consequences for your save game, if you're playing over thousands of years and building up an interstellar civilisation."

But I will need KSP 2 to handle higher-part-count craft, bases on other worlds, etc. (as well as a new PC)
 
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Where did you get that information? This says the physics simulation is "mostly unchanged."
Rask and Rusk use a modified n-body simulation to allow for different gravitational strength depending on where you are in relation to them, within their SOI. I remember reading that they wanted to apply that (hardcoded) simulation to Lagrange points for the rest of the on-rails bodies. Maybe they gave up.
 
Phase 3 - 05 - M-2, launch of Jupiter/Uranus/Neptune flyby (1979)
Phase 3 - 05

1979-11-05 - In the last major launch of the 1970s, HASDA took advantage of a rare opportunity (once every 175 years) to send a spacecraft to Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. After the M-2 rocket had been proven over two years, Watarimono-2 ("Wanderer-2") or PLANET-G was launched by an M-2-34 rocket early in the morning. From low Earth orbit, the kerolox second stage burned its remaining fuel for about 15 seconds, then the "Hakuba" hydrolox third stage burned for over 7 minutes, boosting the spacecraft's velocity by over 7200 m/s. This would put it on a course to visit Jupiter in May 1981 (concurrent with Watarimono visiting Saturn), Uranus in January 1986, and Neptune in August 1989. The Uranus and Neptune encounters would occur slightly before the arrivals of NASA's Voyager 2, which was launched two years earlier. Afterwards, it would continue into interstellar space. Watarimono-2 had a large 4-meter high-gain antenna transmitting in the X-band frequency (8-12 GHz) to be able to send lots of data from 4 to 5 billion kilometers from Earth, and was powered by two multi-hundred-watt radioisotope thermoelectric generators (MHW-RTGs).

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(A course correction would be needed later to reduce the distance to Neptune)

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Maneuver plan

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Phase 3 - 06 - M-2, Saki crewed spacecraft - minimum system (1980) [VIDEO]
Phase 3 - 06


1980-03-24 - An M-2-20 launched Saki-01, Hatsunia's next-generation crewed spacecraft, named after the tallest mountain in the country. This would be the final flight of the three "Rocket Women," Yuzuki Morita, Marumi Nabatame, and Akari Miura, who were now in their 30s and ready to pass the torch to the next generation of astronauts. Unlike NASA, which was going to launch a large reusable spaceplane (with expendable tank and boosters) known as the Space Shuttle next year, HASDA chose a smaller, disposable capsule design like Apollo to reduce development cost and time. During the launch, 2 out of 5 first stage engines and 1 out of 3 second stage engines were cut off later in the burn period to prevent the acceleration from exceeding 4 Gs [1] . Saki-01 was in the "minimum system" configuration, consisting only of a Core Module (flat capsule to reduce deceleration forces during reentry to 2.4 Gs) and a small Service Module (with fuel cells, RCS thrusters, and propellant for maneuvers). The life support systems were meant to support 3 people for 24 hours in orbit. The living room was larger than that of Utahime, but it was still a tight space. Re-entry and splashdown occurred in southwestern Hatsunia on the next day. The Saki "standard system," to be launched later in the decade, would add an additional Expansion Module and Propulsion Module for longer-term stays in orbit.

[1] Using kOS scripts (for the first time) to disable engines (and jettison the launch escape system) using action groups

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Phase 3 - 07 - M-2, 4th lunar lander probe, Earth observation satellite (1980)
Phase 3 - 07

1980-07-02 - An M-1B rocket launched Usagi-11, the fourth lunar lander probe. Its destination was the southern rim of Tycho crater, to analyze the composition of regolith just outside the main impact zone (similarly to the Surveyor 7 mission). It was at a higher latitude compared to previous missions (45 degrees south), so sunlight was hitting the vehicle at a lower angle and power had to be conserved more often. Anorthosites with high levels of aluminium were detected.

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1980-10-12 - An M-2-20 rocket launched the Advanced Marine Investigation and Ground Observation Satellite (AMIGOS), which was nicknamed Aomidori (blue-green), to a sun-synchronous orbit almost 800 kilometers above Earth. It was used to take imagery and collect data of Earth for civilian purposes such as farming, land-use planning, fishing, environmental protection, and climate research, to make sure that Earth's natural resources were being used wisely. To do this, it used an near-infrared imaging spectrometer to measure differences in surface temperature, and a new type of small optical camera to take many high-resolution images of forests, urban areas, etc. all over the globe for public and private use.

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Phase 3 - 08 - M-2, Saki-02, 2nd Jupiter flyby, 1st Saturn flyby (1981)
Phase 3 - 08

1981-02-14 - After the retirement of the original three "Rocket Women," Saki-02 launched with the first of a new generation of Hatsunese astronauts: Hitomi Kuriyama, Haruyoshi Yasukawa, and Tomohiro Sasaki. The latter two were the first male astronauts in Hatsunia. They also spent 24 hours in orbit before returning east of Negishima.

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1981-05-28 - Watarimono-2 passed by Jupiter on its way to Uranus and Neptune, which would be reached in 1986 and 1989, respectively. It arrived in its massive sphere of influence on 1981-04-11. It could take pictures of Jupiter and its moons in greater detail compared to its predecessor, such as the swirling storm clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere, as well as the thin ring surrounding the planet. However, the trajectory and closest approach had to be farther away, passing as close as the orbit of Europa. Continuing observations made by Voyager 1 and 2 two years earlier, it saw the battered surface of Callisto, the grooved terrain Ganymede, the streaked icy surface of Europa, and volcanic activity on Io from far away.

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1981-05-30 - At around the same time as its successor's flyby of Jupiter, Watarimono flew by Saturn, having arrived in the sphere of influence on 1981-03-20. It observed Saturn, its prominent ring system of small particles, and its magnetic field, but was only able to do so with a resolution similar to the Pioneer 11 probe which reached Saturn two years ago. It also zoomed by the moon of Mimas for a few seconds. However, it was not able to see its most famous feature (discovered a year earlier by Voyager 1), Herschel Crater (which made it resemble the Death Star from Star Wars), from up close as it was on the night side.

Saturn would be the final planetary destination for Watarimono almost 6 years after launch, but it would not reach interstellar space because it passed in front of Saturn's path around the Sun, thus reducing its velocity. Instead, it would go into a highly-inclined (almost-polar) elliptical heliocentric orbit which would return to a distance between Earth and Venus in 1987. From there, it could measure the Sun's magnetic field from a new perspective.

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Mimas encounter

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Heliocentric orbit after Saturn flyby

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Phase 3 - 09 - M-2, launch of Mars lander and Jupiter orbiter (1981-1982)
Phase 3 - 09

1981-11-29 - An M-2-32 rocket launched the MELODI (Mars Exploration with Lander-Orbiter Data Interactions, a.k.a. PLANET-H) spacecraft. Similar to the Viking spacecraft, the vehicle consisted of a orbiter with solar panels and a lander component powered by RTGs. After entering an elliptical Mars orbit in September 1982, MELODI would observe potential landing sites and wait for the right conditions, then release the lander which would enter Mars's atmosphere in a protective aeroshell (similar to the fairing for the Saki crewed spacecraft) which would deploy parachutes and be jettisoned before a propulsive landing.

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1982-01-04 - The Jupiter orbiter "Mokume" (PLANET-I) was launched by an M-2-34 rocket. Its name meant "wood grain" in reference to Jupiter's Hatsunese name, Mokusei (木星 or "wood star," another one of the Chinese five elements), and the fact that Jupiter's swirling clouds as observed by the Watarimono probes coincidentally resembled a wood grain. Its literal meaning of "wood eye" (木目) also represented the probe's mission to observe Jupiter and its moons. Unlike the Galileo spacecraft which NASA would launch later, Mokume did not carry an atmospheric probe and was thus lighter, being able to launch directly to Jupiter using the M-2 rocket and its Hakuba hydrolox upper stage. Mokume would enter Jupiter orbit in July 1984. In some aspects, Hatsunia was starting to pull ahead in the space race.

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Phase 3 - 10 - M-2, Saki-03, 5th Moon lander, 1st Mars lander (1982) [VIDEO}
Phase 3 - 10


1982-04-26 - An M-2-20 rocket launched Saki-03 with Tomohiro Sasaki, Kosuke Kokubun, and Yayoi Mimura. The latter two were new astronauts.

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1982-08-07 - Usagi-12 was launched by an M-1B rocket to the bright lunar crater of Copernicus, which is thought to have formed relatively recently (800 million years ago) compared to the 4-billion-year age of the Moon.

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1982-09-17 - MELODI (Mars Exploration with Lander-Orbiter Data Interactions) performed an insertion burn to enter an elliptical polar orbit (approximately 300 km x 30000 km) around Mars. The orbiter observed Mars for over two weeks before making a small de-orbit maneuver on 1982-10-05, releasing the lander in its aeroshell, then returning back to orbit. The lander itself entered the atmosphere of Mars and was slowed down by the 4-meter-wide shield without excessive heating. At a speed of about 300 m/s, the aeroshell and lander separated from the heat shield using small retrorockets (slightly imbalanced to prevent the shield from coming back and colliding). Parachutes deployed 12 to 6 km above the surface, but it was still traveling at about 50 m/s.

After the landing legs (which had triple symmetry like the Viking landers) were deployed, the lander dropped from its aeroshell to peform a soft propulsive landing. The landing site was in Amazonis Planitia, a flat region northwest of Olympus Mons that formed with volcanic activity about 100 million years ago. The camera took high-quality images of the surface, while a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer and a sample digging apparatus measured the composition of the Martian regolith, mostly made of silicon, oxygen, and iron. No organic compounds were detected. Data was relayed to the orbiter, which could transmit back to Earth using its larger antenna.

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Mars orbit insertion

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De-orbit

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Phase 3 - 11 - M-2, Saki-04, 1st Venus lander (1983) [VIDEO}
(Sorry for the wait, I took a break to play other games like Project Wingman and the Halo MCC, and to take care of other stuff as well. I was thinking of waiting to get a new PC since it's sluggish when making videos, and I have to go through this lengthy process to have an okay framerate, but I decided to upgrade my PC's RAM instead as a stopgap measure since these mods use a lot of it.)


Phase 3 - 11

1983-01-28 - Saki-04, the final flight of the Saki minimum system (before the launch of the standard system next year), with Haruyoshi Yasukawa, Kikuo Kanezawa, and Motoko Katagami.

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1983-06-07 - Akatsuki-3 (PLANET-J) was launched by a M-2 32 rocket to orbit Venus and deploy a lander, similar to the Soviet Union's Venera program. It also had a similar mass and engine configuration to the MELODI Mars probe. On 1983-10-30, almost five months later, the spacecraft entered an inclined retrograde elliptical orbit around Venus (500 km x 20000 km), such that the periapsis (low point) was on the day side. At the apoapsis (high point) of the orbit, the spacecraft performed a de-orbit maneuver to lower the periapsis to 100 km before releasing the aeroshell containing the lander. Afterwards, the orbiter raised its periapsis to 3000 km to be able to act as a relay with line-of-sight communications with Earth as the lander descended.

Because of Venus's thick atmosphere, a more sturdy heat shield was needed to withstand entry. About 70 km above the surface, the lander was released from the aeroshell and fell at about 100 m/s through the increasingly thick atmosphere. Parachutes, made of kevlar to withstand the heat, deployed a few kilometers above the surface before the lander touched down in Themis Regio at around 4 m/s. The lander was spherical to reduce structural weak points in a place with high pressure differentials, and was surrounded by smaller spherical landing supports. It took images and samples of the volcanic regolith, and recorded the sounds of the wind as well. After approximately an hour, the lander succumbed to the harsh pressure, heat, and corrosion of the Venusian atmosphere [not simulated in KSP].

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Venus orbit insertion

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De-orbit

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Lander aeroshell released

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Lander uncovered

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Only small parachutes were needed due to the dense atmosphere

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Landed

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The orbiter relaying data from the surface

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Phase 3 - 12 - M-2, 1st lunar rover (1984)
Phase 3 - 12

1984-03-15 - Usagi-13, Hatsunia's first lunar rover, launched on an M-2 30 rocket. The ~300 kg rover was equipped with similar instruments to previous Usagi landers, but with a more advanced camera, and on a six-wheeled vehicle with the same solar panels. It was carried to the surface by a lander (total mass of ~3 tonnes) with folding ramps (Infernal Robotics mod) and seven engines, with a flat and wide shape to reduce the slope of the deployed ramps. Landing occurred in 1984-03-19 (local time) in Sinus Medii, near the sites where Surveyor 4 crashed and Surveyor 6 landed, and where Earth can be seen directly overhead from the Moon's tidal lock. Final descent used two out of seven engines. The rover drove for over 4 kilometers to different sites of interest, taking images and analyzing lunar soil composition.

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Launch
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Entering lunar orbit

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De-orbit and landing

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Ramps deployed

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Driving away

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Phase 3 - 13 - M-2, 1st Jupiter orbiter (1984)
Phase 3 - 13

1984-07-16 - Mokume arrived at Jupiter, performing a 600 m/s orbital insertion burn 138000 km away, readying itself for long-term observations of the planet's atmosphere (the ammonia cloud tops resembling a wood grain), magnetic field, and many moons. The initial orbit was highly eccentric and approximately six months long. A inclination change maneuver would be performed at the highest point of said orbit (on 1984-10-14) to set up a rendezvous with Ganymede, the largest moon in the Solar System, on 1985-01-09. A gravitational assist from Ganymede would slow down the spacecraft relative to Jupiter, halving the orbital period to about 3 months. HASDA having a clear and undisputed first in planetary exploration pressured NASA to split the Galileo mission in two, launching an orbiter (shrunk down from the original plans) and an atmospheric entry probe in February and March of 1984, respectively.

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1984-04-23 - entered Jupiter's gravitational sphere of influence

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Less than a day away from orbital insertion

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Europa (top left) and Io (bottom left) can also be seen

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In orbit

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Trajectory and course corrections to Ganymede

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Phase 3 - 14 - M-2, Saki-05 - standard system (1984) [VIDEO]
Phase 3 - 14


1984-10-19 - Saki-05 launched on an M-2-24 rocket, with Hitomi Kuriyama, Momoka Oda, and Mitsuharu Haneda. This was the first use of the "standard system" configuration, which added a disposable Expansion Module and Propulsion Module to the relatively cramped Core Module, and had a total mass of approximately 11 tonnes. The Expansion Module added more living space (which didn't need to be protected for re-entry, thus saving mass) as well as a toilet, and enough food, water, and oxygen for crews to last a few weeks in space. The Propulsion Module was designed for almost 400 m/s of maneuvers in Low Earth Orbit, powered by a 13.9 kN hypergolic engine. The Core and Propulsion Modules launched on top of the Expansion Module, to reduce the mass of the emergency launch escape system. Once in orbit, the Core and Propulsion Modules detached, rotated, and docked with the Expansion Module, similarly to the transposition, docking, and extraction sequence of the Apollo missions. Afterwards, Saki-05 demonstrated its propulsive capabilities by raising its orbit from 200 km to 310 km, waiting two days, then going to an apogee of over 480 km. The mission would ultimately last 7 days before de-orbit, separation, re-entry, and splashdown of the Core Module.

The Soviet space program noticed that the 11-tonne Saki standard system was larger and offered more living space than their 7-tonne Soyuz. Development of the Buran spaceplane and Energia super-heavy booster were thus accelerated to match the capabilities of the US Space Shuttle program.

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Launch

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Launch escape system and fairing separation

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Second stage

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Transposition, docking, and extraction

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Going to 309 km

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1984-10-21 - Orbit raise to ~480 x 310 km

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1984-10-26 - De-orbit, separation, re-entry, and splashdown

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Phase 3 - 15 - M-2, Ganymede/Europa/Callisto flybys at Jupiter, Stargazer space telescope (1985)
Phase 3 - 15

1985-01-09 - Mokume flew by Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter and the Solar System (and third Galilean moon by distance from Jupiter), being bigger than the planet Mercury. The surface was composed of darker, older cratered regions and lighter, relatively younger regions of grooves and ridges. It was the only moon that had its own magnetic field, inferring that it had an active iron core. A gravitational assist slowed the spacecraft, reducing its orbital period around Jupiter from approximately 6 months to 2.5 months.

[in our universe, Japan just launched its first spacecraft to interplanetary space]

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1985-03-02 - Stargazer, Hatsunia's large optical space telescope, was lifted to a 539 km orbit by an M-2-24 rocket. It has been theorized to be similar to technology used on the classified IGS-A reconnaissance satellite series, but aimed up at the sky and used for civilian astronomical purposes instead. The 3-meter diameter mirror, free from atmospheric disturbances, provided stunning views of planets, stars, nebulae, and distant galaxies, and helped gain insight into the 13.7-billion-year age and expansion of the universe.

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1985-06-11 - After a second (and more distant) flyby of Ganymede on 1985-03-29, Mokume flew past Europa, the smallest of the four Galilean moons (and second Galilean moon by distance). The icy surface was smooth and covered in many cracks but few craters, indicating that tidal forces from Jupiter and its other major moons were actively reshaping Europa's surface and heating up the interior to form a subsurface ocean, leading to speculation about whether life could exist there similarly to life near hydrothermal vents on Earth's ocean floor. Similar oceans have also been thought to exist inside Ganymede and Callisto.

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1985-08-18 - Mokume flew by Callisto, the farthest Galilean moon from Jupiter (and second largest). Its surface is composed of a mixture of rock and ice, heavily bombarded with craters that have mostly remained unchanged over its 4-billion-year history, as it is too far away to be affected by tidal heating. This time, the gravitational assist sped up and raised the spacecraft's orbit around Jupiter. It would encounter the remaining Galilean moon, Io, in a few months.

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Phase 3 - 16 - M-2/1B, Launch of Halley's Comet probe, Saki-06, Io flyby at Jupiter (1985)
Phase 3 - 16

1985-08-18 - As Mokume was visiting Callisto, an M-1B rocket was preparing to launch the "Houki" (PLANET-K) probe to Halley's Comet, which had a highly elliptical orbit that came into the inner Solar System once every 76 years. Major space agencies around the world took advantage of this rare opportunity by sending an armada of probes to the comet. Houki was named for the broom (帚)-like shape of comets as perceived in China and Hatsunia, but was also phonetically the same as the characters meaning "treasured device" (宝器). It would arrive at Halley's Comet in the spring of 1986.

(note: Halley's Comet is from the Real Expansion mod. The orbit is inaccurate by one month, so the probe should arrive in March, not April.)

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1985-09-04 - Saki-06 launched with Tomohiro Sasaki, Erika Ichihara, and Asao Nakamatsu to spend 14 days in a 339 km orbit, matching the duration record of the US Gemini program, except with more room for astronauts to eat, sleep, and do research on the effects of living in space.

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1985-11-18 - Mokume flew by Io, the innermost of Jupiter's Galilean moons. Due to tidal heating and flexing from Jupiter and its other moons, Io's surface is filled with constant volcanic activity, and a coating of sulfur and sulfur dioxide. Io's orbit was located at the same distance as an intense toroidal radiation belt around Jupiter, so there was a risk of the electronics being damaged, but Mokume's orbit crossed it in such a way as to pass over, go through the hole, and under the toroidal region as it met Io. Mokume would continue to orbit around Jupiter, with the occasional encounter with one of its moons.

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Phase 3 - 17 - M-2/1B, Uranus and Halley's Comet flybys (1986)
Phase 3 - 17

1986-01-06 - Watarimono-2 made its closest approach to Uranus (after having entered its sphere of influence on 1985-11-26), beating Voyager 2 by a few weeks even though this probe launched 2 years later. Uranus rotates on an axis tilted 97.8 degrees from its orbital plane, meaning that while the planet rotates every 17 hours, only one side of the planet faces the Sun for half of its 84-year orbital period. This also suggested that the planet was impacted by a large planetoid a long time ago. The featureless atmosphere was observed to have methane in addition to hydrogen and helium, and water, ammonia, and methane ices deeper within. Uranus had its own magnetic field and faint ring system. After the Uranus encounter, Watarimono-2 would continue onward to arrive at Neptune and its moon Triton in August 1989.

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1986-04-06* - Houki encountered Halley's Comet, first observing the long tails of ionized gas and dust being blown away by the solar wind and photons, then passing as close as 540 km from the comet's rocky and icy nucleus. Targeting of the nucleus, which is surrounded by a fuzzy cloud known as the coma, was achieved by the Soviet Vega probes, which flew about 10000 km away. Data was shared with HASDA in an example of scientific cooperation between Cold War rivals. Houki was equipped with a Whipple shield to protect the spacecraft from dust as it flew by the nucleus at 65 km/s. The spacecraft was still struck by particles that sent it into a spin; some instruments were damaged, but the probe mostly survived. The European Giotto spacecraft would accomplish the same feat several days later.

[*Halley's Comet from the Real Expansion mod has a slightly inaccurate orbit, and the probe should have arrived on a day like 1986-03-09. This image has also been edited to add the coma.]

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Phase 3 - 18 - M-2, 2nd lunar rover, Saki-07, 2nd Mars lander (1986)
Phase 3 - 18

1986-04-27 - An M-2-34 rocket launched MELODI-2 (Mars Exploration with Lander-Orbiter Data Interactions), Hatsunia's second Mars lander. The orbiter also had enhanced instruments for observing the surface and atmosphere of Mars. This used the four-LRB variant of the M-2 as the launch window required an orbital inclination of 54.4 degrees instead of 26.6 degrees with an easterly launch from Negishima Space Center. The trip to Mars would take about 7 months.

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1986-06-19 - Usagi-14, the second lunar rover of HASDA, launched on an M-2-30 rocket and landed in the sloped terrain of Maskelyne A (crater). southeast of the Sea of Tranquility, on June 22.

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1986-09-20 - Saki-07 launched with Mizuko Rokuda, Tsunekazu Hosokawa, and Yayoi Mimura. They spent 21 days in low Earth orbit (until October 11), surpassing the Space Shuttle's capabilities to remain in orbit on its own. as HASDA prepared for even longer-term crewed missions supported by a small prepositioned space station derived from the Saki Expansion Module.

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1986-12-01 - MELODI-2 inserted into an elliptical Martian orbit, before deploying the lander on the next day. It landed in Lycus Sulci, a ridged region northwest of Olympus Mons, the largest and tallest volcano in the Solar System.

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Phase 4 - 01 - M-2A rocket, larger geostationary satellite (1987)
Phase 4 - 01

Compared to its predecessor, the M-2A rocket featured stretched core stages and improved thrust (about 33%) and specific impulse for the upgraded LE-04A kerolox and LE-05A hydrolox engines. A fourth LE-02B kerolox engine was added to the second stage. This increased the maximum lift capacity to low Earth orbit to a range between 11 and 18 tonnes. The two-stage all-kerolox configuration could also launch sizeable satellites to geostationary transfer orbit with less need for the high-efficiency but expensive hydrolox third stage, which would be reserved for missions that needed the extra performance, such as space probes going beyond Earth orbit.

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Hatsunese Rockets 1952-1987

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1987-02-02 - The first launch of the M-2A carried the Neginohana-6 Engineering Test Satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit, which tested a large 4.2 tonne satellite bus with advanced communications arrays. The satellite inserted into geostationary orbit using the same engine used in the Saki Propulsion Module.

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Liquid rocket booster separation with small solid motors
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Four-engine second stage (the GTO burn used two engines)

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Geostationary orbit insertion

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(Infernal Robotics hinge used with folding antenna)

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Phase 4 - 02 - M-2/2A, data relay, first space station, Saki-08 (1987) [VIDEO]
Phase 4 - 02


1987-03-27 - An M-2A-20 rocket launched Kodama-1 (meaning "echo"), the first in the next-generation Data Relay and Tracking Satellite (DRTS) network, which was designed for communcations during long-duration crewed missions and other satellites needing high-data rate relays. Kodama-1 used a similar bus to the Neginohana-6 satellite, but with one larger X-band antenna (8-12 GHz) mounted on a deployable rotating arm, and one smaller S-band antenna (2-4 GHz). Two more satellites were planned for the upcoming years.

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1987-06-30 - "Yume," Hatsunia's first space station, was launched on an M-2A-24 rocket with a widened 5.39-m diameter fairing. The name meant "a dream" or "a wish for the future." It was meant to be a prototype space station with an expected lifespan of a few years, similar in role to the Soviet Salyut program. Yume resembled two Saki Expansion Modules jammed together, with two pairs of solar arrays, several RCS propellant tanks, and two axial docking ports. With a mass of almost 16 tonnes, it was packed to the brim with experimental scientific and testing equipment as well as about two months worth of food, water, and oxygen. Unlike previous crewed missions which launched to a 26.6-degree orbit (the latitude of Negishima Space Center), Yume launched to a 39-degree orbit, 390 km above Earth. This orbit provided more visibility for Earth observations, and allowed for two launch windows each day: one launching southeast to the Pacific Ocean, and the other launching northeast tangentially to Hatsunia's eastern coasts, the most northerly trajectory without flying over populated areas.

[out-of-universe context: inspired by @TimothyC and Space Station Enterprise]

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1987-09-30 - Saki-08 launched to Yume station on a M-2-24 rocket, with Mahiro Morimoto, Kikuo Kanezawa, and Reina Himekawa. The transit to the station took over a day as the spacecraft waited to catch up in a faster, lower orbit before making the transfer and rendezvous maneuvers. Once within proximity of the station, Saki-08 was carefully positioned in front of one of Yume's docking ports using the RCS thrusters of the Saki Propulsion Module before initiating the final docking sequence. After Saki-08 and Yume were connected, the three astronauts would spend 39 days (the first crewed mission over 1 month long) studying experiments in materials sciences (including electronics, metals, and fluids) and and life sciences, with samples such as koi fish and frog eggs being brought on-board, and the health of the crew being regularly monitored. The crew also made repeated observations of the entire Hatsunese archipelago and other locations on Earth up to over 60 degrees north or south of the equator. On 1987-11-09 (11-10 Hatsunia local time), Saki-08 undocked from Yume station to splash down in the Hatsune Sea several hours later, but left the Expansion Module attached to test orbital assembly capabilities similar to the Soviet Mir station launched in the previous year. As a prototype, Yume was planned to be succeeded in the 1990s by a larger modular space station. Since crewed stays at the station doubled as assembly flights, and due to the repeated production of the Saki Expansion Module, HASDA would be able to construct such a station at a relatively low cost.

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Rendezvous

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After docking

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Undocking while leaving Expansion Module attached

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