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Phantom's Copernicus base continues...

Posted 07-27-2010 at 07:58 PM by PhantomCruiser
Updated 11-26-2011 at 08:20 AM by PhantomCruiser

The first pictures available from Phantom Manufacturing's manned cargo ship Nightingale are finally available. The Nightingale is commanded by Cleveland Davis, a longtime friend of Phantom's CEO/CFO. Planned for this mission is a crew augmentation, cargo delivery and a rendezvous with the cargo ship Sally Oakley.

There was some drama involved with this flight; after the second stage was jettisoned, the solar panels failed to deploy when commanded. “We were watching the remote cameras and nothing happened, after conversing with the ground-side controllers we re-initiated the sequence with the same results” said Davis.

“All the software reported that the command had been sent, the feedback that the computer was getting told it that they were deployed, but that wasn't the case”, said Phantom's public affairs office. Working together the ground team, tech-reps and flight crew managed to “reboot” the computer that controlled the array and the panels unfurled as designed. While Davis was planning an emergency EVA to manually deploy the solar panels, the ground controllers managed to put together a software 'fix' that commanded a restart of the computer. After uploading the patch to the Nightingale, the computer rebooted normally and the panels deployed as they should. Unrelated computer systems continued to perform normally for the duration of the upload.

“We were suiting up when the patch came in, we all just kind of stared at the monitors for the duration of the upload. If it hadn't worked, we would have had to take a look outside”, Davis reported. “We thought if we mechanically agitated the mechanism, we could perhaps get it to come loose, or maybe deploy the panels manually. Luckily enough, we didn't need to go outside just yet.”

The mission proceeded further with no incidents, as Nightingale slid perfectly into lunar orbit along the same inclination as the previous supply missions. After two orbits the ship was lined-up to release the cargo module. “It doesn't look very special, kind of like a boxcar, but it's pretty vital to the success of the project”, said Gustav Schlough, “The bonus comes along with the lander. As much as t he rover helped us cover some territory, the lander will give a quantum leap in our ability to explore future mining sites.”

Once the lander was released, it was remotely piloted to dock with Nightingale, where fuel, oxygen, supplies and crew were transferred over. On Nightingale's third orbit, both the cargo 'boxcar' and the lander descended together. After a picture perfect landing, the crew disembarked the lander and Copernicus mission specialist Kevin Whittaker, using the rover, parked both the boxcar and lander closer to the main habitat.

Meanwhile, the Nightingale continued to rendezvous with the Oakley. “We had to get Sally to “wake-up' with a few commands, she did just that”, said Davis. Rendezvous went smoothly and the two ships came within 20 meters of each other. “We held station for the better part of the day, both autopilots working with each other. We commanded Sally to open and close her cargo bay. We also did a simulation of fuel transfer, all-in-all she performed quite well.”

Tomorrow the crew will install on the Sally some docking fixtures that will allow her to meet up with, and attach to, her sister ship Molly Malone. From the PAO of Phantom... “Once these two become one unit, we will have a fuel transfer capability for future use”, what future use has yet to be released from the normally tight-lipped group at Phantom Mfg.
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  1. Old Comment
    IronRain's Avatar
    Great story. I really like to read them
    Posted 07-27-2010 at 08:11 PM by IronRain IronRain is offline
  2. Old Comment
    PhantomCruiser's Avatar
    Thanks! I've been slowed down a bit by the "honey-do" list, but I seem to always be thinking about it.
    Posted 07-27-2010 at 08:19 PM by PhantomCruiser PhantomCruiser is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Izack's Avatar
    Really great stories, Phantom. They read just like news articles.

    Sorry if this is a FAQ, but which addons do you use? They look lovely.
    Posted 07-28-2010 at 01:09 AM by Izack Izack is offline
  4. Old Comment
    I believe he uses the HLV addon on mustards site (the base).
    Posted 07-28-2010 at 10:59 AM by Voyager Voyager is offline
  5. Old Comment
    PhantomCruiser's Avatar
    Yes, those are Momo and Jekka's HLV from Mustard's site. Also the Copenicus crater from avsim, it takes some tweaking to make it work, but it's worth it. And orulex... So far I'm still using Orbiter '06 for this, but am gradually moving everything over.
    Posted 07-28-2010 at 12:21 PM by PhantomCruiser PhantomCruiser is offline

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