Campaign: Mun Race

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Probes and Rovers Campaigns Kerbollo 13


Robotic probes and a rover were on the Mun. Most of them Kerbiet. The public wondered if the first flag planted on the Mun would be Kerbiet. The final lap of the Mun Race was on! With the first launch of Kerbollo Program, Gene Kerbin and rest of the Kerbicans at the Kerbal Space Center were making a statement to the world. They figured the Kerbiets were taking too much time playing it safe with the Mun with their robotic missions. They wanted instead to meet the President's demands to get a Kerbal to the Mun before the end of the decade, and the decade was already half over! Thus began the most incredible engineering endeavor the world had ever seen, the Kerbollo Program.

This will present a mission manifest to allow you to plant a flag on the Mun before the week is out. Missions are based on the American Apollo Program, 4-12 (1967-69).


  • Length: 3-5 hrs (8-15 with optional missions)
  • Difficulty: 6/10 (Proficient)
  • Skills needed:
  1. Intermediate navigation via maneuver node
  2. Advanced orbiting
  3. Basic docking
  4. Intermediate landing
  5. Intermediate rocket design
  6. Basic mission planning
  • For version: Every version (tested on 0.20.2)

Recommended Mods

  • Bluedog Design Bureau - This is a mod we've mentioned twice prior, but this is where it shines, featuring the Apollo CSM, LM, and the Saturn I, Saturn IB, and Saturn V. There are also parts enabling you to make spacecraft and rockets that were either proposed but never made, or come from the popular alternate history project Eyes Turned Skywards. After the Mun landings, feel free to continue using the Kerbollo spacecraft as your main manned Kerbican spacecraft and nix the Space Shuttle entirely.
  • Tantares - We don't know why you'd want the Kerbiets to get to the Mun before the Kerbicans, but we're not going to question your morbid curiosity. Tantares has every part of the proposed Soviet lunar spacecraft, including the Soyuz 7K-LOK, LK lander, and N1 rocket.

Kerbollo Mission Plan

The Kerbicans design the Katurn V rocket and a plan for the Kerbollo Mun and Minmus landings. Stage I booster:

  • Extra-large size tank
  • Cluster of 5 engines (1 central, 4 radial)
  • Fins near the radial engines
  • delta-V: 1.0 - 2.0 km/s
  1. Fire until the craft reaches ~20km (outside of thicker atmosphere)

Stage II booster [Optional]:

  • Extra-large size tank, cluster of 5 engines
  • delta-V: 2.0 - 2.2 km/s
  1. Fire until the craft is in a large sub-orbital trajectory (almost in orbit)
  2. Jettison Escape Tower

Stage IVB stage:

  • Large size tank, single engine
  • delta-V: 0.9 - 1.0 km/s
  1. Fire at Apoapsis to reach a 75km parking orbit
  2. Orbit at least once so the Kerbonauts can run diagnostics
  3. Fire engines for the trans-munar injection

(try to intercept Mun, maybe including a burn at the ascending/descending node)

  1. [Optional] Use a free-return trajectory (aim ahead of Mun) in case engines fail [>1.0 km/s]

Upper Stages:

  • From bottom to top: Lunar Module (LM), Command Service Module (CSM), Escape Tower
  • CSM: service module (large-size tank, single rocket, standard or relay antenna to reach Kerbin), command module (Mk1-2 Command Pod, heat shield, docking port at nose, parachutes)
  • LM: descent stage (landing legs, ladder, engine, fuel), ascent stage [Optional] (engine, fuel), crew cabin (RCS, room for 1-2 Kerbals, docking port on top, communication antenna)
  1. Separate CSM and LM from the S-IVB stage after completing trans-munar injection
  2. Rotate CSM to dock with the LM
  3. Perform any needed correction burns
  4. At closest approach, perform Munar insertion burn to reach a 15 km circular parking orbit around Mun [delta-V: 320 - 380 m/s]
  5. Transfer Kerbal(s) to the LM, leaving one behind
  6. Undock LM to prepare for landing
  7. Use the descent stage to land [delta-V: 600 - 700 m/s]
  8. Celebrate!

Return Trip:

  1. Board the LM and launch (using the ascent stage if included), rendezvous with the CSM [delta-V: 600 - 700 m/s]
  2. Dock with the CSM, transfer all crew back to the CSM, undock LM
  3. Burn to make a return trajectory with Kerbin [delta-V: 300 - 350 m/s]
  4. Make corrections to make the periapsis just inside Kerbin's atmosphere, ~30km. Too shallow and you'll require 2 or more aerobreaks, too steep and you risk overheating and dangerous G-forces.
  5. Try to land in the ocean safely


KS Design and Unmanned Testing

(some of these are not based on real-world missions, just for practice in KSP)

KS-101: Command Pod Escape Tower Ejection Test

Design and test a new, updated escape tower for the Mk1-2 Command Pod using Probodobodyne OKTO2 or another small probe body as your unmanned control unit. Alternatively, you can refurbish a Kerbinai Program LES.
  • Alternatively, 0.23.5 adds a Launch Escape System, but making your own from scratch is a useful exercise. If using the modded approach, BDB has an Apollo LES all set to go.
  • In addition, the OKTO2 can be omitted using the Crew Requirement plugin (requires ModuleManager). This is required for the modded approach, as there's no place to put the OKTO2 on the CSM.
  1. Vehicle must be unmanned and therefore contain Probodobodyne OKTO2 with Mk1-2 Command Pod (now developed) attached.
  2. Escape tower must be able to eject itself from the Command Pod using a control group.
  3. Escape tower must fire and lift off Command Pod from the ground high enough to deploy parachutes. Abort control group must be used to initiate the Pod liftoff.
  4. Parachutes must successfully deploy and land Command Pod soft enough that it does not damage anything.
  5. If using the modded approach, a fun challenge is recreating the Little Joe II rocket used on the actual Apollo ascent abort tests.

KS-201 [Optional]: Command Service Module Flight 1 - Suborbital Reentry Test

Design a Command/Service Module using the Probodobodyne OKTO2 control unit and Mk1-2 Command Pod, and an accompanying rocket. Launch it into space on a suborbital trajectory, testing the Escape Tower ejection sequence once you've cleared the atmosphere.
  1. CSM must be unmanned.
  2. You must design a new launcher for the CSM's Mk 1-2 pod.
  3. CSM must reach 70 km.
  4. CSM Escape Tower must eject from the orbiter when above 70 km.
  5. Command Pod must separate from the CSM while above 70 km.
  6. Command Pod must land undamaged. This is a requirement for all future missions going forward.
  7. If using the modded approach, BDB has Saturn IB rocket parts. You may need to do some fine-tuning of the service module fuel levels to ensure the rocket can actually make orbit, as the Saturn 1B isn't powerful enough to launch a fully-fueled CSM. The mod also has a nosecone you can put on the Apollo command module to turn it into a Block I spacecraft, since the docking probe wasn't put on the spacecraft until Apollo 7. Do note, however, that this nosecone does not play nice with the BDB LES.

KS-203 [Optional]: Command Service Module Flight 2 - Orbital Maneuvers

Launch a CSM into 100 km orbit with the updated launcher from the suborbital mission, then circularize. Then move up to a 200 km circular orbit. Feel free to start using Advanced SAS and the Reaction Control System (now developed) on your vehicles going forward.
  1. CSM must be unmanned.
  2. You must include the launch Vehicle from the earlier launch; make sure it can go into orbit.
  3. CSM must reach a circularized LKO orbit of 100 km.
  4. CSM must test its RCS balance while in space. (Move it around with RCS and see how it handles)
  5. CSM must change its altitude to a 200 km circularized orbit.
(Tip: If you want to test out RCS balance in a test launch, do it by entering Debug mode from the launchpad by hitting your modbutton+F12, for Windows, your modbutton is Alt. Once entered, select Hack Gravity to float your vehicle around the launchpad. As we don't want to cheat, pretend you're as KSC engineer testing out your designs in a simulator. Hit modbutton+F12 again to get rid of the debug screen.)
  • After this mission, feel free to carry out KS-202, which should be a repeat of KS-201. If you seek completion, hold off on testing the CSM until Kerbollo 4 and make KS-203 a test of the upper stage's engine restart capabilities, as was done with the real AS-203. It may also be a good opportunity to practice changing inclination. For this, use the stock fairings to create a nosecone like the one the real AS-203 had on its S-IVB stage.

Kerbollo Test Flights

Kerbollo 4 [Optional]: Command Service Module Flight 3 - Heavy Launcher Test

Launch an unmanned CSM, with the new Katurn V, simulating a return from Mun.
  • CSM must be unmanned.
  • You must design a Mun capable rocket (without lander) to launch this.
  1. Launch to an elliptical orbit with a 500 km apoapsis, <70 km periapsis.
  2. Detatch CSM, reach apoapsis
  3. Burn into a trajectory that simulates returning from Mun.
  4. CSM must return to Kerbin's surface without damage.
If using the modded approach, BDB has everything you'll need. You may wish to use the craft files on KerbalX to aide you in construction. You may also wish to send the craft into a highly-elliptical orbit to practice reentry at the velocity expected for a Mun return, and even practice the skip reentry method used on the real Apollo lunar missions.
  • You may be wondering what happened to Kerbollos 1-3. The crew of Kerbollo 1 decided to have s'mores in their command module, but the shoddy construction job done by North Kerbican Aviation caused a fire that rapidly accelerated. The crew survived, but were fired for their stupidity, as the command module was now completely unusable. The accident, however, was a wake-up call, and Wernher von Kerman came down on NKA hard. The KSP was put through the wringer by Kongress, and an investigation found over 1,000 different construction defects (such as a socket wrench left in the control panel). NKA made all the necessary changes with Gene and Wernher breathing down their necks the whole time. Gene was even quoted saying "I asked for a spacecraft, not a fire hazard!" As a result, KS-101, KS-201, and KS-203 are now retroactively known as Kerbollo 1-3.

Kerbollo 5 [Optional]: "Fire in the Hole" Test

Design and test a 2-stage landing module (LM) that includes a descent module and ascent module.
  • Lander must be temporarily unmanned.
  • Descent Stage must have landing legs, an engine, and its own fuel.
  • Ascent Stage must have RCS, a capsule, an engine and its own fuel.
  • Stages must have thrust-to-weight sufficient to land and launch from the Munar surface.
  1. Launch into a 100 - 200 km circular orbit.
  2. Test the descent module engines.
  3. With engines off, decouple and fire the ascent module.
  4. Let the stages burn in atmosphere.
(Tip: Put RCS on both your Lander and CSM to ensure control.)
If seeking completion, defer the docking test to Kerbollo 9 and instead test the LM alone. Again, BDB has you covered with an LM and a Saturn IB fairing. Unfortunately, the LM Descent Stage landing legs cannot be removed, unlike the actual Apollo 5, which lacked landing legs of any sort (because they're weren't ready in time). The alternative, FASA, has the landing legs separate from the rest of the descent stage, but FASA hasn't been updated since 1.0.5, and many of its assets are now used in BDB.
If you're feeling up to it, the latest dev version of BDB on Github completely overhauls the Apollo and Saturn parts. One of these changes is the LM landing legs once again being separate. The legs can even be changed to how they looked on Apollo 5 (that is, vestigial struts).

Kerbollo 6 [Optional]: Trans Munar Injection and Free Return Abort Test

Launch the LM-CSM craft to the Mun and swing back without circularizing. Make sure your trajectory goes back to Kerbin's surface.
  • All spacecraft must be totally unmanned.
  • Launch the LM-CSM package on a Trans Munar Injection with periapsis 100 - 300 km.
  1. Make sure your trajectory allows a free return in case anything goes awry (approach Mun ahead of its orbit).
(Tip: a tutorial for Free Return Trajectories can be found on the wiki)
If using the modded approach, you may want to not use the LM on this flight. Also, feel free to put the CSM in a highly-elliptical orbit to simulate the issues that cropped up on the actual Apollo 6.

Kerbollo 7: Manned CSM and LM Docking Test Launch your CSM into LKO orbit with three Kerbals aboard and test the docking procedures.

  • Include the Command Service Module and a docking port on the last rocket stage as a fake LM target.
  • Man the CSM with 3 Kerbals.
  1. Reach a 100 km circularized orbit.
  2. Detach the CSM.
  3. Dock with the target, undock.
  4. Test the engines.
  5. Orbit for 10 days.
  6. Command Pod with all three Kerbals must land in water safely. And no, you can't put them down in a typhoon, no matter how snappy the crew becomes from 10.5 days in space. Just never put them on another mission again.
If using the modded approach, save this mission for Kerbollo 9 and instead launch a manned CSM test on the Saturn IB. Again, you can't put them down in a typhoon.

Kerbollo 8: Korman, Anders, and Lovell Kerman - Far Side Explorers

Send three Kerbals to orbit the far side of the Mun and return.
  • Do not include a LM.
  1. Go into a kerbin parking orbit of 75km.
  2. Have a free-return trajectory in case disaster strikes.
  3. Complete 10 orbits around Mun at 12km-20km altitude.
  4. Take a picture of Kerbin-rise for the papers from within the windows of the spacecraft.
  5. Splash down safely on Kerbin.

Kerbollo 9 [Optional]: Manned LM Test

Launch the CSM and LM atop the Saturn V for testing in low Kerbin orbit.
  • Man the CSM with 3 Kerbals.
  1. In LKO, separate and dock the CSM to the LM.
  2. Test the rockets on each.
  3. Transfer 2 Kerbals to the LM.
  4. Undock, test engines, and simulate a post-landing docking.
  5. Transfer crew back to the CSM, jettison LM, and return to Kerbin.
  • Kerbollo 10 [Optional]: The Dress Rehearsal
Send the full CSM-LM to the Mun for a dress rehearsal of the Kerbollo 11 landing.
  1. Perform the full Kerbollo Mission Plan above, excluding the landing.
  2. Instead of landing, burn into an orbit with periapsis ~8km.

Mun Landings

Kerbollo 11: The First Manned Mun Landing

Update your Mun lander design to contain 2 packages of scientific instruments and land on the Mun
  1. Must consist of a computer core each.
  2. At least one must contain retractable solar panels.
  3. At least one must contain a dish antenna.
  4. At least one must contain a Communotron antenna.
  5. They all must have each at least 2 science instruments.
Finish the design of the Katurn V rocket to carry out the Kerbollo flight plan:
  1. Must plant a flag on the Mun.
  2. Must setup at least 2 self-sustaining experimental packages on the Mun.
  3. All Kerbals that participate in the mission must return safely to Kerbin together. Splash down for max accuracy. Don't forget to quarantine them in case they brought back any Munbugs.

Kerbollo 12: The First Pinpoint Mun Landing & Rover

Build and test on Kerbin a small rover with two command seats. Send it to the Mun, and land it near the Keveryor 3
  1. Must have a battery to last it through the night.
  2. Must have a communtron 16.
  3. At least one Mun rover and science instrument must be carried on the Lander.
Land a Kerbal on the Mun and repair the Kerveyor 3 lander by extracting its stuck solar panel.
  1. Must land within 10 km of Kerveyor 3.
  2. Ride the rover to Kerveyor 3 with one or more Kerbals.
  3. Must extend solar panel of Kerveyor 3 via EVA.
  4. Splash down safely with all Kerbals.
  • If using the modded approach, or seek completion, don't bring a rover on this mission and instead save it for Kerbollo 15.
    • Note that using the modded approach can be tricky, as one may have to get creative to actually get a rover to the Mun. As of September 4, 2022, however, the current dev build of BDB has parts to build a lunar rover, and the means to fold it up on the side of the descent stage.

Kerbollo 12-B: First Manned Minmus Landing

Repeat Kerbollo 12 for a Minmus mission.
  1. Make necessary changes for larger and smaller maneuvers, changing payload and lower surface gravity. For the modded approach, the BDB Saturn V and Apollo CSM/LM will be more than sufficient in a stock-sized system.
  2. If needed, perform missions similar to Kerbollo 8 and/or 10

Final Word

Mun travel became routine after Kerbollo 12. The world went back to watching grass grow, that is, until Kerbollo 13 radioed back to the world "Kerbin, amelborp nu somenet!" which roughly translated means, "Kerbin, we have a problem."