Nov 21 2017

Ascension Program to Take Rocketry to the Next Level

We’ve learned a lot over this past year with the Progenitor program, mostly that we still have much more to learn when it comes to building and flying rockets. The only way we’re going to get that additional knowledge is by trying and the time has come to try to establish a permanent presence in space. The Ascension program will aim for the goal of placing a probe into orbit next year!

What’s In a Name?

Rockets go up, and going upwards can also be referred to as ascending, which is probably the first thing that would come to someone’s mind when seeing a rocket program called Ascension. There’s a double-meaning here though, because the word ascension can mean more than simply going up, but also reaching a new level or higher position. We are indeed aiming above what has been achieved before and even though we can already send rockets higher than the altitudes we would initially aim to orbit at, staying up there is a whole new level of technology and knowledge. Speaking of technology…

Getting to Orbit

We already have the power to reach orbit. Based on the performance of the Progeny Mk5 Block I we’ve calculated the Block II has enough Δv to insert into a very eccentric orbit with a perikee 20-50km outside of the atmosphere. This would be horribly complex to achieve however because the Mk5 lacks the ability to control its flight path other than to coast between burns and let its nose fall to flatten out the trajectory. The timing would need to be very precise and well-calculated, especially since none of the engines can be lit more than once and only one can be throttled.

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Nov 20 2017

Civvie Science Flight 31

After multiple delays due to weather and sickness, Captain Jebediah finally gets to test some new camera equipment for aerial imaging supplied to us by CactEye Optics

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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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