Jan 15 2021

Operations Summary – Weeks of 1/4 & 1/11/21

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Dec 20 2020

KerBalloon Badlands Science Survey #2

Both high and low altitude crews are dispatched deep into the Badlands for multiple releases as part of a larger scientific expedition to investigate a suspected super volcano caldera at Site X02-V

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Dec 18 2020

Operations Summary – Weeks of 12/7 & 12/14/20

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Dec 17 2020

Kerbin II

Our second attempt at orbit went more as planned, with the satellite taking long-term science observations, proving orbits are stable above the atmosphere and teaching us new lessons on orbital recovery

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Dec 09 2020

Progeny Mk6 Block I Flight 17 (Kerbal Sounding Project 6)

Another KSP mission goes awry with a sub-optimal ascent that likely led to the break-up of the rocket during re-entry although its ultimate fate is unknown and will likely always remain that way

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Dec 04 2020

Operations Summary – Weeks of 11/23 & 11/30/20

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Nov 25 2020

Progeny Mk6 Block I Flight 16 (Kerbal Sounding Project 5)

KSP returns to close out the year, sending student projects up into space – or not? Unfortunately this mission did not go as planned when the second stage decided it didn’t want to go to space today

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Nov 20 2020

Operations Summary – Weeks of 11/9 & 11/16/20

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Nov 19 2020

Progeny Mk7-B Flight 4 Analysis

With all three previous missions failing for different reasons, the fourth and final planned mission for the Mk7-B received new objectives in the hope that this mission would be successful at last. The first change was to swap out the new booster for one that had been refurbished from a previous flight, which necessitated a launch delay that pushed the date back from 10/20 to 10/29. This booster was from the second Mk7-B flight back in late August and would be the first time we attempt to re-fly an engine. On the opposite end of the rocket we swapped out the parachute nose cone for a payload fairing that encapsulated a new Luciole smallsat prototype. This would be deployed onto the sub-orbital trajectory to test its systems and reaction wheels. Recovery would be of only the first stage booster and RTG casing from the payload, which did not contain any radioactive material for this mission. Other than the delay for booster integration, no problems occurred in the lead-up to launch.

The Flight

After good retraction of the support arms at T-5s the Boostertron II solid rocket motor successfully ignited for an on-time launch at 13:45 local, pushing the rocket upwards off the pad with an initial force of 3.3Gs while the fins actuated to begin rolling the rocket from 90° towards 34°. Less than 2 seconds after launch it had spun enough to allow pitch-over to begin as well, with the flight computer guiding it along a gradual and constant change rate throughout the ascent. By L+10s the rocket had locked onto its heading and thrust from the SRB had already begun to taper off from its max 74kN to reduce loads on the rocket as it approached Mach 1.

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Nov 12 2020

Progeny Mk7-B Flight 3 Analysis

A pause after the first two launches was required to not only build the final two rockets but also to launch the second Ascension Mk2, which required a pad reconfiguration. The pad was setup again afterwards to support Mk7-B launches and the third rocket was trucked out to the pad to perform its mission, which we hoped would finally see the rocket on a high sub-orbital trajectory with a successful hot staging to avoid losing speed on ascent. While the launch date did not change, the rocket’s new 0.625m SRB was swapped out for a refurbished SRB to test under flight conditions for the first time after making it through two static fires.

The Flight

No delays occurred during pre-launch preparations and everything was looking good for an on-time lift off when a hold was called from the weather desk just 8 seconds prior to T-0. The mountain wave sensors were tripped and due to the high instability of the rocket without its support arms a hold had to be called before they were retracted at T-5s. No gusts were recorded at KSC in the following minutes however and after some more checking on the weather data it was called as a false alarm and the countdown was reset to T-2min with a new launch time of 18:00 local. The hold was released 29 minutes after it was called. T-0 arrived without further incident, all four support arms retracted properly and the Boostertron II first stage was successfully ignited to begin the ascent.

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