Category Archive: News

What's going on at the Kerbal Space Agency

Sep 13 2018

2nd Birthday Desk Note

Today we cap off our second year of operations! Sadly we’re not quite in as exciting a position as we were at this time last year. I said back then it was too early for any reflection but enough time has passed now that the goals we were aiming for from the beginning are finally starting to look a bit too optimistic. Such is the reality of any difficult endeavor however – you can only plan for the best and work with what you get. We certainly did aim to reach orbit by this point but delays to operations, such as the legal injunction earlier this year and the currently ongoing Monolith activity, did not give us the time we needed to accomplish such a difficult task.

Despite the hardships progress is being made, even if it is not as fast as we would have liked. The biggest scientific achievement this year would undoubtedly be the discovery of the radiation belt that exists above the planet. This was made possible mainly through direct observations taken by our Progeny Mk6 rocket on over half a dozen sub-orbital flights.

Although we have proven how beneficial going into space can be for the scientific community, staying in space to really begin to get kerbs excited for the future of our civilization is still very much a work in progress. While we remain focused on 2019 as the year the first astronaut will head for the heavens, we’ve all come to realize just how much work yet lies ahead of us. One major step will soon be taken though, as next week we will announce the final design of our first space capsule!

The immediate future is looking pretty shaky thanks to the activities of the Monolith but we don’t expect it to hold us back in the long term. This next year aims to hold as many exciting events and opportunities as the two years prior and lead to many more in the years to come. I continue to be inspired by all the hard work and dedication the Kerbal Space Agency employees have shown, as well as faith. Faith not in some unseen and unknown entity but in the steady progress of success over failure and the ultimate purpose of journeying among the stars for the betterment of all kerbalkind.

– Drew Kerman
Founder & Operations Director

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 9/7/18

It is the eve of my departure on an epic 4-week cross country road trip and I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to progress the KSA up to the point of my return in Oct, although just barely. How this will affect operations once I get back remains to be seen but it will definitely be a slow return as I put more effort into the Ops Tracker and pushing out my lead time than into active flight/rocket operations. It will all continue to move forward though and that’s the important thing.

The upgrade to 1.4.5 is complete and wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared it would be although it did take 3 whole days of installing and testing to ensure all my essential mods were compatible – at least with the current level of gameplay I was at. I can load all my current vessels and that’s what counts. I had also put time into installing and tweaking KS3P so that I could remove dependency on DX9 with the SweetFX post-effects I’ve been using since 0.25. Turns out though that KS3P doesn’t work with DX11+ and therefore I still can’t make use of Textures Unlimited. Dammit. Oh well, maybe the KS3P dev will return at some point or someone else will be able to upgrade it.

That new ‘roid NXP actually really did sneak up on me. I don’t know, I have a pretty rote process for managing my asteroids but lately I’ve been discovering that I’ve been screwing up a lot of the process involved somehow – it is extremely frustrating but probably a sign of how hard I’m pushing myself sometimes since I get to the point where I end up making mistakes. So yea, it ended up in orbit around Kerbin without me even witnessing it behind the scenes (as in, watching it happen as an ‘undiscovered’ asteroid not yet in the ATN catalog).

Right then, I need to finish getting ready to leave early tomorrow. Hope you all enjoy what little is in store for the coming month and hopefully things will begin to pick back up again soon((ish)(TM))

Sep 05 2018

Progeny Mk6 Block I Flight 7 Analysis

Ever since we began traveling to space we sent along scientific instruments to study the environment that exists outside our atmosphere. Much of these observations could be transmitted home as data during the flight, allowing for partial mission success if the rocket and any additional more detailed data stored on board could not be recovered afterwards. Sending living samples up into space however requires close examination of the samples after they have been returned to the surface which is why this most recent Progeny Mk6 Block I flight, after a series of successful recoveries, carried aloft our first living samples of micro-organisms known as “mystery goo“. Unfortunately, the rocket was not recovered successfully, leading to the first failed mission of the Progeny Mk6 series.

The Flight

While the original launch date was delayed due to a high-pressure region sitting over the area around KSC for a few days and baking the surface with temperatures topping 100°F, on the rescheduled launch day of 7/31 there were no issues leading up to an on-time launch at 19:24:00.02 local time. The ascent of the rocket was nominal through all three stages, ending up on a sub-orbital trajectory with an apokee of 495.451km.

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Aug 23 2018

Scientists Report Radiation Belt(s?) Envelop Kerbin

The data gathered from Progeny rocket flights made over the past several months have allowed scientists to put forth strong theories on what kind of radiation environment exists up in space near the planet. It will take more missions, especially orbital ones, to prove these theories but observations strongly fit with the ideas being tested. The most conclusive evidence so far came from a mission launched last month, which had a Progeny Mk6 Block I fly over the night side of the planet. Before that, we have posted other reports on the missions sent up to gather data about the so-called hazardous radiation region, which you can start reading here if you need to recap.

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Aug 10 2018

KSA Operations Suspended Due to Monolith Interference

Earlier this week on Tuesday just after 13:53 local time the Monolith woke up. Everyone at KSC immediately knew this as a massive electromagnetic (EM) pulse surged through all active electronics on campus and the nearby Support Village and shorted them out – in some cases in a shower of sparks and electrical arcs. Minor fires were started in some areas and brought under control as personnel began to evacuate over the causeway bridge to prepare to head for Umbarg. This evacuation plan was set in place after the first time the Monolith sent out such a discharge. Several injuries were reported from burns but no deaths occurred.

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Aug 03 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 7/30/18

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Jul 27 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 7/23/18

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Jul 26 2018

Ascension Mk1 Block I Flight 2 Analysis

After failing to achieve orbit on our first flight of the Ascension Mk1 Block I lifter, changes were made so that the second flight covered here in this analysis would have a better chance at becoming the first spacecraft to circle the planet. As with the first mission, the goal was to place the craft in a decaying orbit so it would eventually return to Kerbin without us having to also install any cold gas thrusters or make the engine able to re-ignite and add further complexity. The mission also used a brand-new K2-X engine and a more aggressive ascent profile.

The Flight

Before the rocket even left the ground, once it was vertical and hooked up on the launch pad a 30-second hold-down firing was conducted. This allowed us to ensure the newly-built K2-X was functioning as intended and also enabled the launch team to set much better constraints for engine chamber pressures during ignition and run-up to launch thrust. This was a cause for abort during the first launch attempt when the constraints were set to expected values based on data from testing the engine, which changed enough over multiple tests to become invalid.

The following day brought mostly cloudy skies to the area and caused the weather team to put the countdown on hold at L-15 minutes until skies began to clear from the southwest. Besides the slight weather delay, which lasted about 48 minutes, no issues came up during pre-launch operations. Some minor troubles with the engine system and communications the previous day were resolved during the hold-down test and did not resurface.

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Jul 25 2018

Progeny Mk6 Block I Flight 6 Analysis

Another flight was put together to further explore the properties of the hazardous radiation region found above our planet. All previous launches had occurred sometime during the daylight hours while this flight was scheduled to occur during the middle of the night. Scientists had several theories regarding why the radiation data from this sub-orbital trajectory would be different, but we will address them in a later report once they have finished working through the new data as well as the old. Here we will focus solely on the performance of the rocket during the mission.

The Flight

No delays led up to an on time launch last Friday at precisely 16:51:00.04 local time when the lower 0.625m solid fuel booster lit off to push the rocket off the launch base. Ascent through to booster engine cutoff for the third stage liquid fuel engine was nominal compared to past launches, showing no significant deviation from event times or in the rocket’s angle of attack while spinning to stay stabilized. The rocket entered space 1m28s after launch, just 10ms after BECO. It maintained proper orientation throughout the 9 minute climb to 522.368km apokee and all the way back down to atmospheric interface at L+19m56s.

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Jul 20 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 7/16/18

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Jul 13 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 7/9/18

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