Last night, I made the decision to go forward with the mission to Jool and Laythe. I figured I wouldn’t make it, but I’d see how far I’d get before DiamondDog I ran out of fuel. I also told myself that I wasn’t going to spend hours in the game, like I did before.
After an 18-minute burn on one side, and an 8-minute burn on the other side, DiamondDog I was in a stable, circular orbit 1,000 kilometers above the “surface” of Jool. (I don’t understand enough about orbital mechanics, yet, to explain why reducing the circular orbit required such different times on each side.) I’d originally wanted to get closer to the edge of Jool’s 200-kilometer-high atmosphere, but I decided last night that it was good enough, after all the work I’d done on it. I released Jool Orbiter I and crossed Jool off of my “land on everything” list.
Jool Orbiter I is now circling Jool in a 1,000-kilometer orbit. Its tiny xenon gas/electric engine hasn’t been used during this entire journey. It’s there if I decide, later, to adjust its orbit.
(I don’t know how gas giant planets work. At what point do you determine that the surface has ended and the atmosphere has begun? I suspect that it’s a matter of density.)
I exited out of Kerbal Space Program and played some The Sims 4.
DiamondDog I has a little bit of fuel left in its tanks. Is it enough for the trip to Laythe? That’s a question for another night.