Oct 17 2017

High-Altitude Science Survey 33

Specialist Bob heads out to sea once again to satisfy a contract for Kerbodyne over Area H1S7 53km northwest of KSC, gathering temperature data from the upper atmosphere

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Oct 17 2017

Progeny Mk5 Flight #6 Analysis

The end of last week saw what we like to call the “final flight” of the Progeny Mk5. Although the Mk5 will continue to serve our sub-orbital needs the rocket has been redesigned into two new Block I and Block II variants that will be the only type of Mk5 flown going forward. This Mk5 was built from spare parts originally meant to replace any broken/damaged parts for the Mk5’s initial 5-launch campaign, which didn’t need them, and the boosters are less powerful than the newer Block variants. We’re happy to say the launch was a complete success and a great end to the initial run of Mk5 rockets, which only suffered one failure.

We made some changes to the flight profile of this launch, which was the first Mk5 to leave the pad at an 85° pitch angle rather than 87°. Instead of waiting for the nose to drop 1.5° of pitch before igniting the next booster, we only waited for 1° and when the 3rd stage liquid booster engine fired the Automated Flight Control System took control of the throttle to maintain a TWR of 2 until it detected dynamic pressure begin to fall, at which point it throttled up to full while ensuring pressure continued to drop. These changes were made to see how a faster vertical ascent would affect the flight when launched from a lower initial pitch.

Upon launch the nose raised about 1.1°, which is similar to the performance of the Progeny Mk4. The shorter coast periods had no ill-effect on the rocket due to the higher pressures encountered when given less time to slow down. The auto-throttle of the third stage booster worked great and the rocket coasted to an apokee of 107km while gathering data from both its scientific instruments. It fell back through the atmosphere with a 25s comm blackout due to re-entry heat and splashed down in the Kerblantic 67km downrange after a total flight time of 8m37s. You can view complete telemetry for the mission here.

View detailed telemetry analysis »

Oct 17 2017

Civvie Science Flight 27

Commander Valentina looks around Area BNX-4 on behalf of L-Tech for some large marine animals that were spotted by mariners while also testing new Atmospheric Fluid Spectro-Variometer sensors

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Oct 16 2017

Civvie Launch Footage Rehearsal

Captain Jebediah circles over KSC to see how he has to line up to bring the launchpad into the wing camera’s field of view in order to capture a rocket as it lifts off for future launches

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Oct 13 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 10/9/17

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Oct 13 2017

Progeny Mk5 Flight 6

Pieced together from spare parts meant to replace any faulty/failed parts for the original 5 planned launches, a 6th base-spec Mk5 heads back into space for one final hurrah before the new Block I comes into service

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Oct 12 2017

September Deuce Crash Report & Future Plans

The investigation of the Deuce crashing into the Kerblantic during its last test flight has been concluded. Investigators were once again able to do a complete study on the entire aircraft, with the engines dredged up from the seafloor and both flight recorders intact. Mechanical inspection of the aircraft turned up no signs of flaw, with systems all operating normally and two good engines running without issue up to the moment of impact.

Review of the flight recorders shows that Captain Jeb was initially making a good approach, as he had on two previous flights to land the Deuce safely on the runway, but coming out of base leg onto his final approach when he went to roll the aircraft level he did not apply enough rudder to keep the nose pointing in the direction the plane was headed. This sideslip caused his airspeed to drop, but not dangerously so, he was still traveling above 60m/s approach speed. Jeb applied rudder late, but was able to counteract the sideslip and return the plane to an almost nominal flight path.

Unfortunately the aircraft was still slipping enough that when he then went to lower the landing gear immediately afterwards, the bay doors dropped at an angle into the airstream enough to create a significant increase in drag. This keeled the aircraft over and caused it to plunge almost straight down into the water from a height of 380m, hitting with a speed of 83m/s and a momentary force of 24Gs, which was largely absorbed by the nose cone’s crush core. Still, Jeb suffered a minor concussion as his chair was partially ripped from the floor and his head flung into the instrument panel, knocking him out for a short period.

As the concept of retractable landing gear is still new, it is understandable that Jeb would not have considered the implications of lowering his gear while the plane was in a sideslip, however minor. C7 engineers in the Genesis program have been spending more time experimenting with deploying the landing gear in various flight regimes in the wind tunnel to determine the full range of effects the bay doors and the gear themselves have on the aircraft. Training will be updated accordingly.

View future plans & updated blueprint »

Oct 12 2017

Introducing the Progeny Mk5 Block II

The Mk5 Block II has been finalized! This bigger variant of the Mk5 adds power with 4 strap-on boosters and an extended liquid fuel tank. The strap-on boosters are an upgraded version of the Mk1-B booster, which can now output 21.795kN of thrust at sea level with greater efficiency as opposed to 18.75kn. Upon liftoff all 5 lower boosters will ignite for a total thrust-to-weight ratio of 5, which is 1G greater than the Mk5 Block I to help compensate for both the increased mass & length, which could cause the rocket to stand up a bit more as lift at the nose will have a greater torque effect with the nearly 1m extension. The strap-on boosters will burn for just over 6 seconds before being decoupled to leave the core booster firing with enough thrust to continue pushing at 3+Gs for another 15 seconds before it too is discarded. The third stage booster has been set to a TWR of 2 at 9km ASL and once ignited will burn for 15.5 seconds. The stage four liquid booster will be able to burn well over a minute or two depending on how its throttle is set during ascent.

The added power of the Block II should allow us to extend our reach into space beyond the boundaries of Low-Kerbin Orbit (LKO) which extends from 70km – 250km above Kerbin’s atmosphere. Although the rocket is almost 500kg heaver than the Block I it still manages to deliver almost 1km/s more deltaV, which when modeled with the highest Mk5 trajectory pushed our apokee out beyond 300km – and that was assuming a coast period up into the vacuum of space after the LF/O engine burnt out so with a continuous burn from the Block II’s double-capacity liquid fuel tanks we may even be able to get higher.

All this speculation will be put to the test when we launch our first Block II, which is currently scheduled to occur no earlier than November 15th. The launch date & time will be finalized later this month after we see how the Block I performs, as any defects found with it will also most likely affect the Block II. Despite the 4 added boosters Lead Engineer Simon reports that the VAB will only need two additional days to install them, giving us roughly a 2.5 week minimum turnaround between Block II launches as opposed to the 2 weeks needed for the Block I. Additional details can be viewed in the blueprint below.

Oct 10 2017

Civvie Science Flight 26

Commander Valentina gathers more air samples to help monitor pollen levels further west in the Grasslands over Zone 8KKZ then heads north to Sector IBL0TR over Mount Kermon for an aerial survey

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Oct 06 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 10/2/17

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