Category Archive: News

What's going on at the Kerbal Space Agency

Aug 18 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 8/14/17

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Aug 15 2017

Progeny Mk5 Set for September Debut

With the retirement of the Mk4 today, all focus is now being directed at its successor, the Mk5, which has been developed in parallel with the Mk4 over the last few months. Structurally similar to the Mk4, the Mk5’s main difference will be in how it is operated thanks to a new control unit that will be integrated more with the rocket to allow monitoring of and commands to be sent to internal systems. This unit is “inline”, meaning it will be a component of the rocket body rather than attached to one of the payload trusses, freeing up space which has been used to add additional battery power as this control unit requires more electric charge to run its operations (the amount of charge needed depends on the size of the instructions loaded). Slightly larger than the 0.35m width of the rocket, it has been placed below the payload near the fins to help with trans-sonic stability. The initial launch series will see five rockets head for space within 2 weeks on these dates:

Flight 1: 9/12 @ 23:23 UTC   Flight 4: 9/20 @ 17:49 UTC
Flight 2: 9/14 @ 17:29 UTC   Flight 5: 9/22 @ 17:56 UTC
Flight 3: 9/18 @ 23:43 UTC   Future launches on demand from clients within 2 weeks

These dates and times are subject to change of course in the event of any delays but they represent the best-case scenario for launching all five rockets.

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Aug 15 2017

Progeny Mk4 Program Review

Today marks the official retirement of the Mk4, the sixth design iteration of the Progenitor program. It launched five times, the most of any Progeny rocket to date, and although it suffered three failures it ultimately achieved the goal of being the first rocket to break out of the atmosphere and enter space for a brief period of time. The Mk4 represents the final iteration of the Progeny rocket design, building on previous single and multi-stage designs developed earlier in the program, and very little will be changed moving on to the Mk5, which will focus mainly on kOS scripting for automated flights. Program engineers have reviewed all the data from the five flights and have released numerous conclusions that will lay the foundation for flights of the Progeny Mk5.

Terminal Countdown

Although the Mk4 held no capability for automated flight, we were able to implement some automation on the ground side of things with the Automated Firing Control System (AFCS). This very basic system was designed to be manually triggered and then monitor the countdown timer to send the launch signal at precisely L-0:00:00.0, so down to the millisecond. Precise launch times will become important when looking to reach a specific orbital injection or even reach a certain area of space at apokee for a sub-orbital launch. Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 11 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 8/7/17

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Aug 04 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 7/31/17

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Jul 28 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 7/24/17

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Jul 27 2017

Progeny Mk4 Launch #3 Analysis

We did it. We made it. SPACE! At last! Of course our accomplishment was somewhat overshadowed by the Monolith Incident that occurred during the ascent but nonetheless we have finally achieved the #1 primary goal of the Progenitor Program after 16 launches – flying above the atmosphere of Kerbin. You can relive all the major moments in the flight by visiting its vessel page on our Flight Tracker and using the Prev dropdown list to look back. You can also view detailed telemetry data from the flight for a closer look at what the rocket was doing for the eight minutes and twenty-nine seconds of its journey up to 135km and back down to Kerbin. The ascent up to MECO can be watched via our YouTube channel.

Let’s dig into the flight analysis. The rocket launched with its lower booster dialed back to 81% thrust, which produced 106.6kN or 6.08Gs at the time of ignition, climbing to 110.4kN or 10.106Gs by the time the booster flamed out and was discarded at L+6 seconds while traveling at a velocity of 377m/s. All three fins were shredded a second later, fouling the booster’s aerodynamics. It impacted 1.3 km downrange. The second stage booster was lit off at L+14 seconds after the rocket’s pitch had dropped roughly 1.5° during the coast. At 52% thrust, it began the push with 22.2kN producing 0.944Gs and ended at L+19 seconds with 23kN pushing the rocket up to 4.97Gs, now traveling at a velocity of 426.3m/s. The second stage impacted only 847m east of the launch site after having its fins shredded as well, falling back nearly along its ascent trajectory as its spin kept it upright, engine pointing back towards the pad.

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Jul 14 2017

Reaching Space and the “Monolith Incident”

During the ascent of the third Progeny Mk4 earlier this week, the Progenitor program at last succeeded after months of operation when the rocket broke through 70km ASL at L+1m44s and officially entered into space above Kerbin, heading for an apokee of nearly 135km. Cheers and applause had barely gotten underway when all of the sudden arcs of electricity began to shoot from all the consoles in Launch Control and the Tracking Station. Kerbs still outside reported a huge ball of plasma around the Monolith. The scene inside quickly dissolved into barely-organized chaos as several severely-burned operators were tended to by emergency medical personnel that arrived shortly after the arcing had ceased after several seconds of crazy sparking. Elsewhere around the KSC campus similar reports were made, although at the time of launch no other building had as much electronics in operation as Launch Control and the Tracking Station. After nearly two hours of tending to injuries (no deaths, thankfully) and putting out small fires here and there, an overall assessment was finally begun – which is when all hell broke loose again. Thankfully with most active electronics destroyed during the first event there wasn’t as much widespread damage done, lots of melting components but no serious arcing or fires, however new equipment brought online to help determine the overall situation of the KSC was knocked offline. Repair work was begun again from a rapidly dwindling supply of spare parts when roughly two hours later a third event struck, and all recovery efforts were put on hold for 6 hours in case the events continued to repeat.

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Jul 07 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 7/3/17

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Jul 05 2017

Deuce Flight Trial 1 Accident Report

C7’s crash investigation team has closed its inquiry into the events that occurred during the first test flight of the Deuce aircraft. All the data that could possibly be collected was available to the team, meaning they could rule out any and all possibilities. Flight data recorders showed that all systems and controls were operating normally, and inspection of the engines after they were raised from the sea floor show they too were operating normally at the time of impact. Interviews with the ground crew and hangar crew turned up no issues that could have caused the accident. The conclusion reached by the team after talking with Captain Jeb is that there is a fundamental flaw in the aerodynamic design of the Deuce that needs to be found and corrected, and the engineers at C7 Aerospace Division are now working on figuring out what it is. Overall the flight trial was deemed a success – the Deuce made it off the ground and was able to maintain controlled flight, at least initially. Plans are already set to dampen down the controls – the Civvie also faced a similar problem in initial trials and engineers are still working to find a good common ground for first flight trials – they don’t want to initially dial back the controls so much the test pilot is unable to recover from adverse situations. While HAB workers continue to wait for all the new parts to come in, over the next week or two C7 engineers will hopefully find the problem that led to the crash.

Complete flight trial details »

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