Category Archive: News

What's going on at the Kerbal Space Agency

Mar 09 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 3/5/18

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Mar 02 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 2/26/18

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Mar 01 2018

Radiation In Space – What We Know So Far

With further launches temporarily suspended due to the KSC shutdown scientists anticipating more radiation data from space have been left in the lurch. With no other option, they decided to see if any conclusions could be reached by the small data set they currently have. Unsurprisingly the answer is no, and the results have only increased their frustration.

To recap, up until the second flight of the Progeny Mk5 Block I in November of 2017 all previous rockets that had carried radiation sensors recorded a constant level of radiation while outside the atmosphere. The second Mk5 Block I flight, which you can read the details of in this report, flew higher than all previous flights and entered into a region of much higher radiation than previously encountered – measurements rose up to 10x before stabilizing again as the rocket coasted through apokee. Scientists were initially shocked to see such extreme radiation levels so close to the planet, as they expected the magnetic field of Kerbin to keep high levels of space radiation at bay out to much further distances. While it is still possible they could be wrong, after further analysis they have decided the much likelier answer is the magnetic field itself is somehow trapping charged particles within it, forming a region of intense radiation where the particles cluster together. Mapping the shape and size of this region is the current goal of the Progeny Mk6 Block I missions.

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Feb 28 2018

Phase 2 Plotting Begins for Extremis Program

Since Phase One wrapped up late last year mission planners for the Extremis program have been busy analyzing the 584 feasible trajectories that were found to visit multiple planets. The initial requirements for further study in Phase Two were a mission length of less than 10 years and a Δv requirement of less than 5km/s. The Δv requirement was lowered to just 3km/s after some additional development work from the Ascension program engineering team gave a clearer picture of how much the rocket could potentially lift into orbit. With these requirements, only 68 were picked for Phase Two trajectory plotting. Within all those possible missions is a visit to every single planet, but the pickings are unsurprisingly slim for Plock and Moho with one mission each that could potentially fly by them, thankfully not in the same year. Phase Two will potentially give us a better idea of the viability of most of these missions, and we will have to see afterwards if additional searching is needed to fill any fly by gaps. We expect to hear results by May or June.

Feb 23 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 2/19/18

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Feb 21 2018

KSC Operations Cease Indefinitely Due to Legal Injunction

Earlier today the KSC administrators were served a court order to cease operations immediately by lawyers tied to Monolithic interests. We won’t go deep into the legal mumbo jumbo but suffice to say they found a loophole in the various laws and ordinances that were pushed by us through Assembly when we first sought permission to build a surface facility. It would appear our own legal team was not fully competent in their job, although our legal council always maintained that we had rushed the process. Regardless, it is now illegal for any surface operations to be carried out within surface built structures. Of course we have immediately filed an appeal but this will only serve to get the wheels rolling on our eventual court case without rescinding the order to cease operations. We have no doubt that we will eventually prevail, especially since the move has also angered some powerful Assembly members who were getting behind plans for the first surface colony, but this new blocking tactic by Monolith worshipers is sending a clear message as well to us and the government.

While we are forced to cease operations at KSC this does not affect KSA HQ underground in Umbarg so we can continue to operate in a limited capacity. Extremis planning will remain ongoing, as well as keeping up on the Asteroid Tracking Network and any scientific news or astronomical events. Design work will continue on the new K-3X from C7 and the Genesis program while also getting set for the next Deuce build as we stockpile parts in our HQ warehouse. Thankfully the loophole only affects occupied and permanent structures so Arekibo and ATN Central will continue to undergo construction. Scientists studying the Monolith were planning to attempt another piercing of the outer surface with a more powerful cutting laser but this will have to be postponed. Of course the next Progenitor launch is now delayed as well.

Stay tuned to our twitter feed for updates on the legal battle, and know that we will be coming back strong once KSC operations are allowed to resume!

Feb 19 2018

Progeny Mk6 Block I Flight 1 Analysis

Given that the first flight of the Mk6 Block I contained only slight tweaks from the previous Mk5 Block I flight of the same design problems were not expected and none occurred. Sadly, the rocket failed to be recovered and deprived the engineering team of high-resolution data stored onboard but we still have the 1-second interval telemetry beamed back during flight available here for review. As usual we will detail the flight and then dive into some analysis and future planning.

The Flight

Great weather on launch day and no issues during pre-flight operations allowed the rocket to liftoff on schedule, with the Automated Flight Control System igniting the lower 0.625m solid rocket booster at precisely 16:01:00.04 local time. The booster pushed the rocket off the launch base with an initial thrust of 67.2kN for 4Gs of acceleration to keep the nose from rising more than 2° before the lower fins began to spin up the rocket. Launching from a heading of 105° the rocket began its trek east-southeast slightly out of alignment with the rotation of Kerbin. After 5 seconds the booster’s thrust profile began to reduce power as the rocket approached MaxQ, which it reached at 17.84s at a pressure of 79.139kPa – closest so far to the maximum 80kPa threshold to which we are trying to restrain the Progeny ascents. At 33.66s the booster had expended all its fuel and was cleanly decoupled one second later, with its fins shredding a second after that as the rest of the rocket continued its ascent in a coast phase, waiting for the nose to drop 1.5°.

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Feb 16 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 2/12/18

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Feb 09 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 2/5/18

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Feb 07 2018

Deuce Enters Service and Genesis Begins Work on K-X3 Project

The Deuce is set to begin regular service this week after completing a maintenance checkout and fitting of an external camera. Although it performed well throughout its flight trials and recent PR tour last month there are still two small issues that engineers would like to address with a minor design refresh – power and pitch control. The current engines in use for the Deuce are extremely well-used and proven airship engines to give the development team one less issue to worry about when considering the dangers of testing a new aircraft. However it was shown during high-G maneuvers that the fuel can be pulled back from the engines, causing them to stall. They are also powerful enough to fly the Deuce with just one engine active but still give a small margin for performance. A new propeller engine is being specially designed for use in aircraft and will be tested on the Deuce. The second problem, pitch control, will be addressed by trying to add some positive angle of incidence to the entire tail section to have a built-in increase in pitch without having to increase the deflection or sensitivity of the elevator controls. Whether this leads to a more stable craft will depend on simulations and actual testing but that is the plan. Otherwise, a fuel tank in the tail like the Civvie could allow pilots to better control the aircraft’s center of mass at the expense of some cargo capacity. These changes will be made for an entirely new Deuce that has been ordered and will be built over the next two months.

The next project for Genesis has also begun development, focusing on providing fast cargo delivery capabilities. The K-X3 will be a universal design that can be built to order at various sizes to suit the needs of the buyer and will be capable of flying in and out of all 4 airports currently on Kerbin. A deal is being worked out between C7 Aerospace and KSC to use this facility as an airport servicing Umbarg. We expect further news on the project towards the end of Q1 2018.

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