Some fine early morning before another summer has come, one Kerbal chosen from the calmly intent group will embark on the greatest adventure man has ever dared to take. Dressed in an all-covering suit to protect him from explosive changes in pressure, strapped into a form-fitting couch to cushion him against the crushing forces of acceleration, surrounded in his tiny chamber by all manner of instruments designed to bring him safely home, he will catapult upward at the head of a rocket high into the heavens and then plunge back down to the world below. If he survives, he will be come the heroic symbol of a historic triumph; he will be the first Kerbal to be rocketed into the dark stillness of space. If he does not survive, one of his remaining comrades will go next.
The Kerbonauts are all exemplary specimens, selected for their skills. One member of the board which chose them called the Kerbonauts “premium individuals picked for an unconventional task.” In less clinical terms they are the best of a very good lot, a not particularily stupid, balanced, splendidly conditioned first team, willing — eager, in fact — to undertake an assignment most would find unthinkable.
The process for selecting the Kerbal who will be the first to fly the Mark One mission was a stringent one. From a pool of hundreds of candidates, a rigourous process was employed to ensure that only the best would be selected. Once the original applicant pool had been narrowed down, a combination training and selection process was undertaken. The Kerbals who performed the best, excelled on the tests and exhibited lower than usual amounts of stupidity were placed on a short list for the first Mark flight.
In the end, four intreped Kerbals were selected as the primary class of Kerbonauts. Known by those working on the program as “The Original Four”, they consist of Bill Kerman (no relation), Bob Kerman (no relation), Jebediah Kerman (no relation) and Valentina Kerman (no relation). Just which of these brave souls will climb into the Mark One and fly is not yet known.
Bill Kerman is the Engineering specialist of the group, he is reported to always know when something’s gone wrong. Though rumored to be intensely reluctant to fly, his compatriots insist he is an intrepid explorer, eager, sentimental, but unlucky.
Bob Kerman is considered the least stupid of the Original Four, and therefore is the Science specialist of the group. He considers himself a support player, and does not appear to relish in the fame that his position grants him.
Jebediah Kerman is the Kerbal that the other Kerbonauts consider to be the Steely Eyed Kraken Killer of the Original Four. The origins of the phrase is unclear, but we are told it has to do with the ability to react well under unexpected and unusual circumstances.
Valentina Kerman is the only female in the Original Four, though her piloting skills are rumored to be only second to Jebediah’s.
It is clear that there will be many additional Kerbonauts, as the candidate ranks still remain full of courageous and stupid applicants. If the Mark project is successful, it is expected that there will be a considerable expansion of both the Kerbonaut core and the Kerbal Space Center.
We look forward to finding out which of these intrepid explorers will be chosen for the historic first Kerbal to ride a rocket.