Explorer II follows in footsteps of Explorer I, first craft to escape Kerbin
A short while ago, Director Huo Jin Kerbal confirmed that the Explorer II satellite, launched atop the Strider I Launch Vehicle, had successfully reached Kerbin-escape velocity, propelling it beyond the orbit of the Mun and Minmus. This marks two very special landmarks - the first Kerbal-made craft to achieve Kerbin-escape and the first Kerbal-made craft to enter a heliocentric orbit.
A powerful lower stage, which some commentators have speculated could be adapted to reach high-Kerbin orbits, perhaps even the Mun, propelled Explorer II into a Low Kerbin Orbit. Though mission control reported that the periapsis of the orbit had degraded somewhat due to navigational malfunctions, this was rectified with some quick thinking, and ultimately added to the sling-shot effect that provided a great deal of speed required for Explorer II's radical new engines to propel its final stage beyond Kerbin's sphere of influence.
Featured on Explorer II's final stage, encompassing the satellite, is a brand new type of engine utilising nuclear technology, providing low-fuel thrust in deep space environments.
As Explorer II passed beyond the orbit of the Mun, approaching within 20,000 km of it, the Kerbal Space Centre reported that minor technical glitches in the orbit mapping software necessitated a further burn in order to ensure a true heliocentric orbit was obtained, preventing Explorer II from being caught in any way by the Mun, yet all was reported as having gone well.
The Explorer II mission also succeeded in leaving simple science satellites in orbit around Kerbin, many carrying small items from schools and national sites from across Kerbin.
A final burn from Explorer II has placed it within Eve's orbit, our closest planet. Scientists and officials at the Huojin Space Exploration Agency are unable to comment on how close this will bring Explorer II to an Eve flyby, but say that regardless of whether this intersection occurs or not, they will be able to gather valuable information about the planet, as well as, chiefly, the Sun.