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Kerbal Space Program chronicle — part two: the first Kerbal in space

I'm watching the whole business carefully when one of my flight engineers reminds me: “Here's the thing about altimeters,” he says, “they are filthy, filthy liars.” He's right: altimeters measure height above sea level, but mountains and flatlands at high elevation can be hundreds or thousands of meters above that.

It's bad luck, but we're headed for a landing right on top of a mountain range. Watching the altimeter is a sure way to end up with a greasy green smear on the side of a mountain, so I'll have to do this old-school: I spin the camera and watch the ground.

With jagged rocks filling my screens and my airspeed down to 200 meters per second, it's time to pop the parachute. Silk jumps into the sky above the craft and fills out, jerking our hero to a slow, gentle descent.

Wildo's capsule crashes down safely and rolls part way down the mountain. He climbs out, kisses sweet Kerbin dirt and becomes the first Kerbal to survive a trip to space. Government officials quickly begin plans to hold an elaborate parade in his honor.

The march of progress continues! Next week, I'll launch a space station into stable orbit to serve as a fueling depot for our eventual mission to put Kerbals on the Mün.