JAXA+ | What if Japan had an unlimited space budget? | 2060-02-18 - Massive crewed missions to Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and more! [VIDEO]

2057-12 - Raijin Callisto stay and return to orbit
2057-08-10 - After the main interplanetary ship performed its gravity assist and entered a circular orbit between Ganymede and Callisto on August 3, the Raijin crew (Hachirota Hoshino, Ken’ichi Obikawa, and Juri Araki) deployed the Callisto Cruiser rover to explore the surroundings of Jupiter's outermost Galilean moon. Callisto was known to have a rocky and icy surface covered in impact craters that are about as old as the Solar System itself. The lowlands tend to be darker while hills or pinnacles may be coated in a bright white frost. Callisto is also thought to have a subsurface liquid water ocean over 100 kilometers below the surface. After over four months living in the surface habitat, the crew lifted off in the Jovian Moons Landing Module on December 3 to re-dock with the Jupiter Orbital Vehicle 500 km above, where it was refueled by the spare tank/depot to prepare for a landing on Ganymede.

Disclaimer: I forgot that the Radial Attachment Point in the landing module does not allow fuel crossfeed. An External Fuel Duct can enable propellant transfer, but I forgot to put one in (I made the same mistake when doing an RSS Moon mission in 2016). Since it is too late to redo the mission starting from 2050, I had to manually edit the save file to refuel the lander (by carefully subtracting numbers from one propellant tank and adding them to the other).

Surface exploration on August 10


Returning to orbit on December 3


Docking with the Jupiter Orbital Vehicle


The Jupiter Piloted Vehicle (currently unpiloted) inserting into a circular orbit 1.4 million km above Jupiter (between Ganymede and Callisto)

Hachirota, Ken'ichi, and Juri boarding the rover



Ascent on December 3

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2057-12 - Raijin crewed Ganymede landing
2057-12-06 - Leaving the refueling tank behind, the Raijin Jupiter Orbital Vehicle departed Callisto on a Hohmann transfer to Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter and the Solar System as a whole, and the only moon with a significant magnetic field. The transfer took less than a week as the JOV inserted into a 500 km orbit on December 12. The Jovian Moons Lander undocked and performed the same descent and landing procedure as on Callisto, touching down in a location where Jupiter could be seen on the horizon. This was only meant to be a short "flags and footprints" operation that briefly studied the surface, composed of silicates and ice and dotted with various craters and grooves. Ganymede's surface may also hide an ocean underneath. Only 16 hours later (on December 13), they launched back into orbit and docked with the JOV.



Undocking the refueling tank


Callisto departure (Hohmann transfer)


Approaching Ganymede


Ganymede orbit insertion


The lander undocks and lowers its orbit from 500 to 100 km






Returning to orbit



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2060-02 - Raijin Earth return [VIDEO]

2057-12-13 - Leaving the lander behind, the Raijin Jupiter Orbital Vehicle raised its orbit from 500 to 1100 km to reduce exposure to radiation redirected by Ganymede's magnetic field. On December 15, the JOV departed Ganymede to return and dock with the main Jupiter Piloted Vehicle (which was currently orbiting Jupiter between the orbits of Ganymede and Callisto) on December 20. After going around Jupiter for one more time, the JPV performed its departure burn on January 1, 2058, making a distant flyby of Callisto over a day later.

The return to Earth took another 2 years. The JOV undocked to decelerate by 5000 m/s before releasing the crew return capsule, which splashed down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on February 18, 2060.

Leaving Ganymede


Jupiter Departure


Return to Earth


JOV rendezvous burn before docking with JPV



JPV Earth Return Stage



Passing by Callisto


Decelerating at Earth




Great stuff, as always. Unfortunately if you’re limited by engines outside of the Far Future Technologies mod, the exploration of the tail end of the system is going to wind up representing entire Kerbal lifetimes for their transits… As part of “unlimited budget,” it makes sense to claim that truly new kinds of engines get tested and implemented (for the first time in decades…). You could even artificially restrict yourself to not using any of the late-game engines from FFT (antimatter drives inside the solar system don’t make much sense anyway) and settle for things like Zubrin’s NSW and inertial confinement drives.