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-- Original version uploaded on March 23, 2009 --
An Orbiter addon based on the novel "Voyage" by Stephen Baxter. "Voyage" is an alternative-history narrative in which the US President Richard Nixon makes a fateful decision in 1972 - to abandon the Shuttle program and concentrate all efforts on a manned landing on Mars.
On March 21 1986, astronauts Phil Stone (commander), Natalie York (specialist) and Ralph Gershon (MEM pilot) launch on the Saturn VB - a Saturn upgraded with the addition of solid-rocket boosters which allows it to loft double the mass of the original Saturn V. After a Venus swingby on September 8, they complete a 368 day outward voyage to finally land on Mars on March 28, 1986.
MISSION ARES OPERATIONS
March 21, 1985. The Ares Mission Stack is launched on a Saturn VB.
The Mission Stack makes rendezvous with the Propulsion Stack and the two dock.
3: VENUS TRANSFER
The whole stack will begin the Venus transfer, but before the end of the burn, with two-thirds of fuel expended, the External Tanks will be jettisoned.
4: TRANSIT RECONFIGURATION
With the stack on the way to Venus, the Apollo CSM - christened "Discovery" by the Ares crew - is broken out and docked nose-first to the AAMM - christened "Endeavour".
5: VENUS FLYBY
september 8, 1985. The stack flies by Venus to receive a slingshot assist. The crew deploy an atmospheric probe to investigate the Venusian atmosphere.
6: MARS TRANSFER
Any necessary corrections are made before settling in for the six-month remaining voyage.
7. MARS ORBIT INJECTION
March 25, 1986. The stack brakes into the Martian orbit.
8. MARS ORBIT RECONFIGURATION
With the Apollo undocked, the AAMM is detached and turned around to dock nose-first with the stack. This frees the MEM, which is released from its fairings and docked to the AAMM.
9. MARS DESCENT AND LANDING
The crew occupy the MEM and descend for a landing at Mangala Valles. The MEM christened "Challenger" by the Ares crew.
10. MARS SURFACE OPS
For a month, the crew explore Mars in a series of EVAs. There is a three-day preparatory period to allow the crew to adjust to Mars gravity after a year in weightlessness.
11. ASCENT AND RENDEZVOUS
April 26, 1986. The MEM ascent stage lifts off from Mars and docks with the Ares stack in Mars orbit.
12. UNLOADING AND RECONFIGURATION
The crew unload the MEM and then jettison it. The stack is reassembled without the MEM.
13. EARTH RETURN TRANSFER
The stack begins the burn for Earth transfer, jettisoning the MS-II propulsion module to continue with the ERS stage. A 196-day return journey follows.
14. EARTH ORBIT INSERTION
November 6, 1986. The stack, now reduced to Apollo, AAMM and ERS, brakes into Earth orbit.
15. RE-ENTRY AND RECOVERY
The Apollo-CSM module detaches, deorbits and re-enters for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The crew is recovered.
Music: Montage #5 (Hans Zimmer - Modern Warfare 2 Videogame Score)