Nov 29 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 11/25/19

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Progenitor Gears Up for 2nd KSP Launch Campaign

The flight analysis for last week’s mission was released this week and clears the way for the second launch campaign to proceed without any major changes needed to the rockets for the next two launches scheduled for December. The report details why the rocket was almost lost at the end of the mission when it slowed down to a safe landing speed just 58m over the water instead of the usual ~160m.

The next four experiments have all arrived in the VAB for final processing and will weigh 10kg less than the first four. While the experiments themselves are all different masses they need to be load-balanced to ensure the rocket remains stable during coast phases. So while their weight reduction may be greater than 10kg, they are brought up to just being 10kg less with some ballast to hit that balance point.

Genesis Program Continues Meteorology Studies

A flight carried out this past week saw Specialist Bill backseat driving, using a new console installed in the passenger cabin to analyze instrument data and instruct the flight crew (Captain Jebediah & Commander Valentina) on where they should be flying to gather the best data. This allows those in cockpit to focus solely on flying the aircraft, as they should. While Bill is not a trained meteorologist he was able to put his basic science knowledge to use and was mainly onboard to be able to diagnose any problems with the console during the mission. Everything worked great though and the next time the Deuce flies a storm chase mission there will indeed be an actual meteorologist at the console to help Jeb & Val gather that sweet, sweet science. CFO Mortimer is already hard at work with the Kerbin Weather Service to lock down details of an ongoing contract.

Ascension Increases Recovery Redundancy

Although the Mk1 capsule has never experienced a chute failure and although it was successfully tested to land safely with only 2 chutes deployed instead of 3, KSA upper management has recognized that crew safety should be of paramount importance, especially in the wake of recent events and even calls for greater oversight. So after R&D failed to engineer an upgraded Launch Escape Tower that could serve as a last-ditch retro-booster to allow for a hard but survivable landing in the event of a total chute failure, radial chutes have been added to the top sides of the capsule as emergency backup.

KerBalloon Closes Out Operations for November

The high-altitude crew took on a mission deep into the Great Desert that was done with a land traversal since the area is known for wicked sandstorms that would have been dangerous to airship operation. As luck would have it, they did indeed encounter one of these storms, delaying their return by two days while they sought shelter in the nearby mountains. Thankfully this was after they released and recovered the balloon payload.

The low-altitude crew returned from out near ATN Central, taking so long to get back after departing earlier this month mainly because KerBalloon program managers didn’t want to charter a maritime vessel just for the purpose of taking them there and back. Instead they waited to hop onto a supply ship already scheduled to take provisions to a surface expedition in the area. This greatly lowered mission costs & increased profit. It took more time, but contracts are not coming through frequently enough for that to matter.

OFU-009(A) Captured, Designated Zosimus

The Kerbal Astronomical Society and Asteroid Tracking Network announced this past weekend that OFU-009(A) was spotting coming back around in a captured orbit and has been assigned the name Zosimus, which was picked by the discoverers prior to the atmospheric graze as it is ancient Kerbskrit for “viable” or “likely to survive”. The name has held true, at least for this first pass. Whether the small asteroid will survive the next, or the several after that, remains to be seen. Regardless it will eventually not make it back out of the atmosphere and burn up or crash somewhere into the surface.

It’s already made its second pass over a remote region of the planet so it’s unknown still whether it remains intact. Its trajectory towards apokee takes it in the direction of the sun which means it won’t be spotted until its well on its way back down for another pass in a few days. All the latest updates can be found on the Ops Tracker.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 4,389 asteroids and 2 updated with new observation data. Here are the 27 asteroids that were discovered this past week.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 11/11/19

Mercury transit

After scrambling to get a solar filter for my spotting scope, I was able to look at the sun from my porch this morning and see the transit begin just as it cleared some tree branches. Since the edge of the sun is a clear demarcation it really makes the movement of the planet more apparent. Once it’s well onto the disk you need a very good scope that can bring out surface definition to easily see it moving. Given how you normally look up in the sky and see things static, watching a planet moving is pretty fucking cool IMO. This was the first transit I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. Makes me wish I had the equipment to view the Venus transit back in ’04 or ’12. But now I also have the ability to watch an ISS solar transit! I should have one coming up next month, found using this online tool.


Like all other named asteroids, I got the name from Random Name Generator – Behind the Name, which can not only be set to spit out a bunch of names at once it tells you what they actually mean. So Zosimus does actually mean “viable” or “likely to survive” in Greek/Latin. The asteroid name also starts with a letter that hasn’t been used yet.

When it came to figuring out when the asteroid would be visible again, I just used the Tracking Station to rotate the view so the western-most observatory at Ockr, which has a waypoint pin, would remain visible as well as the orbital location marker for the asteroid. So seeing them both told me they could also see each other. I think next time I’ll just Hyperedit Minmus into the trajectory since it’s easy to see that pop up over the horizon from with the flight scene.

Mk6 analysis

Well if you want more proof I’m an idiot I completely missed the fact that I was adding almost 40kg of mass to the rocket. The mass of the USI science instruments is 0.02t but the mass of the experiments that were usually carried by the Mk6-I, like the radiation detector, was just 0.003t. So perhaps I can be forgiven for looking quickly at the part properties in the VAB for the USI experiments and seeing 0.002t. Maybe if the trailing zero hadn’t been left off it would have been more obvious.

Anyways, it did take me a while to figure out why the rocket almost crash-landed after re-entry and I did have to go back and rewrite a few tweets to acknowledge the rockets were heavier because it’s not something that would be excusable to be missed for the actual story. And I also would have realized this problem on the first KSP mission if the rocket hadn’t returned so far off the normal way.

Deuce flight

So this time instead of the throttle it was the control stick (they both have their own USB cables). I was petting the dog, who brushed up against the cable plugged into the front of the computer and jiggled it loose. Despite plugging it back in and AFBW recognizing it was plugged back in I couldn’t get it to register any input at all.

Then too for some reason my CPU rate was dropping down to 50-60% so it was taking the game twice as long as normal to pass through a second of time. Closing and re-opening the PAWs for the engines somehow fixed it. Don’t know what that was all about.

Did anyone notice in the pre-flight image Val was wearing an orange flight suit instead of the one she’s usually seen in for other photos? Yea not much I could do about that since those suits don’t work in KSP v1.5.1 but the default orange suit is also not the texture I’ll be using moving into 1.8.x and beyond. So it’s not like it’s a huge continuity issue.

And now I have to wrap this up because I finally got my motorcycle fixed after a year and change, it’s 60°F and a friend and I are going riding. Whoooo!!