Nov 17 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 11/13/17

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Nov 15 2017

Low-Altitude Science Survey 29

Specialists Bob & Bill traverse overland to the West Shore Desert to gather temperature data from Zone DJSNM for use by Albert Kerman Industries

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Nov 14 2017

Alaba Orbital Propagation Report

Initial plot of orbital propagation

The Asteroid Tracking Network discovered a new companion of Kerbin last week as the asteroid originally designated KUH-563(C) flew through Mun’s SOI while scopes were keeping a close eye on it for just such a passage. A few days later after more observations to nail down its orbit the Kerbin Astronomical Society made the formal announcement of the new moonlet, dubbed Alaba, which is ancient Kerbskrit for “second child”. Technically this is the 5th detected moonlet of Kerbin but in relation to our only other current companion Chikelu, the name fits.

The observed orbit of Alaba showed that it had to have been a resident of the Kerbin system for several weeks to several months already. The eccentricity of its current orbit is 0.46, which is too small to be an original capture orbit. Over several encounters with Mun the asteroid has slowly developed a smaller and more circular orbit. How many? We don’t know and probably never will. The fact that it’s been around for a while though does make one wonder what else might be nearby we haven’t spotted yet!

After the initial orbit was locked down the data was plugged into the trajectory analysis tool we use here at the KSA to determine how Alaba would behave on future Mun encounters to try and predict its eventual fate. A captured object like this has three options: crash into Kerbin, crash into Mun or get ejected back out of the system. After 58 more encounters is looks as if Alaba will eventually smash into the southern hemisphere of Mun in early 2021.

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Nov 10 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 11/6/17

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Nov 09 2017

Progeny Mk5 Block I Flight 2 Analysis

Last week’s launch was the first complete flight to space and back of our new Block I design, which primarily features more powerful first and second stage solid-fuel booster engines. Despite the incredible record-setting apokee of 493km and being able to recover the payload afterwards (barely), many problems became apparent that have needed to be addressed. In this report we will first cover the details of the flight, then look into solutions for the problems that occurred and finally talk about how we plan to move forward.

The Flight

After delays and a scrub of the initial launch time due to weather issues, the rocket was finally launched off the pad at 01:58:00.03 UTC under command of the Automated Flight Control System. The first stage solid fuel booster kicked in at 67.226kN of thrust to propel the rocket at an initial rate of 4Gs off the pad in order to put enough aerodynamic force into effect to keep the rocket’s nose from lifting too high. Beginning at 85° the nose of the rocket reached a maximum pitch of 86.935° at 2 seconds after launch, well-within limits. Burning fuel at a rate of 39.089kg per second, the 0.625m booster propelled the rocket up to 788.124m/s over the course of its 20.42 second burn, topping out at 76.422kN of thrust. The dynamic pressure at flame-out was 139.299kPa, by far the highest sustained so far by a complete stack of the Mk5. The booster was decoupled as planned 1 second after flame-out was detected, which is when the first flight anomaly occurred.

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Nov 08 2017

Low-Altitude Science Surveys 27 & 28

Specialist Bob launches from sea aboard MSV Lymun to gather pressure data from Site JF-455 and temperature data from Zone TR-001, suffering a partial & uncharacteristic failure during one ascent

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Nov 06 2017

Civvie Science Flight 30

Commander Valentina is tasked with a routine mission of gathering atmospheric samples around Area C82JB followed but conducting an aerial survey over Sector Q-S5B4

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Nov 03 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 10/30/17

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Nov 03 2017

High-Altitude Science Survey 34

Specialist Bob travels 212km southwest of KSC to Zone 72R72X in order to launch a balloon into a large storm system & record data (but not recover the balloon) for Reaction Systems Ltd

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Nov 01 2017

Progeny Mk5 Block I & II Launches Halted for Program Review

Although the second flight of the Mk5 Block I was an incredible success, reaching nearly 500km up into space (more than twice what we hoped for), it has also brought to light numerous issues that will need to be resolved. We consider ourselves to be extremely lucky in being able to recover this rocket & until we feel confident we can do it again we won’t be launching any more. This also extends to the more-powerful Block II variant, which is directly dependent on the success of the Block I. In addition to any technical and engineering issues, the very nature of the Mk5 program will need to be rethought now that we have an idea of just how powerful the newer boosters are. We planned for the Block I to service LKO & have trouble pushing payloads beyond 250km. The Block II was therefore the heavy-lift variant that would allow science data to be gathered beyond this distance.

Today the recovered third stage was carefully dismantled, large sections were fused together due to the heat from re-entry, but the data onboard was accessed and confirmed mostly intact, which still marks this as a successful flight. These next few days will be spent analyzing the telemetry and science data to aid in determining what our next steps will be. As the launch video released earlier shows, there were some problems during ascent that will need to be addressed.

Until we release our full report on the flight, the next Block I launch that was scheduled for 11/7 has been pushed back to no earlier than 11/22, while the Block II launch has been pushed back to no earlier than December. We very much hope to get at least one Block II off before the operational year ends on 12/15!

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