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Dec 06 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 12/2/19

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Zosimus Confirmed Still in Orbit

After its 3rd atmospheric pass, which was also too remote to be observed like the others, Zosimus would exit over the day side towards the sun and thus like last time it was expected to take several days to come back around the night side before optical scopes could search for it again. However this time astronomers had a plan to hunt for it right after exiting the atmosphere using the infrared scope at ATN Central. Despite radiating heat from the passage, the meters-wide asteroid would still be a tough target to spot and this wasn’t attempted earlier because of the observation time that would be taken up covering the large swath of sky that would have needed to be searched. Using data from the previous two passes astronomers were able to narrow down the predicted trajectory and thus win time on the telescope. After much searching they finally found the asteroid very close the end of their designated observations.

Unfortunately despite knowing its next atmospheric pass trajectory further ahead of time than previously, the area almost 570km southeast of ATN Central remains too remote to mount an expedition in time to setup any monitoring stations by next week.

KerBalloon Set to Investigate Outer Radiation Belt

Lead Scientist Cheranne’s Field Research Team got funding to join the high-altitude KerBalloon crew out in the Kongo region to head north of the 72nd parallel where higher levels of radiation reach the surface thanks to the outer radiation belt, which has since been confirmed to look like the diagram on the right. Performing this mission from the Kongo allows for easier access to the northern region as the entire trek can be taken via land vehicles over relatively flat terrain and also avoids the Tundra. While the radiation sensor suite being deployed by the balloon is new, it currently has no direct development with any new space-based radiation instrumentation and is focused on measuring the effect of radiation in the atmosphere.

Alaba Encounters Continue on Track

The last Mun encounter for Alaba in 2019 occurred this past week. ATN Central was able to watch the entire 1h3m22s SOI transit, during which the moonlet came as close as 1.4Mm to the Munar surface. The updated orbital data confirms the next encounter in January and remains true to the prediction made back at the beginning of October. Astronomers will of course keep checking its orbit regularly to ensure no encounters are missed between now and then, as they have in the past.

Progenitor on Schedule for Launch Next Week

No issues were uncovered with the latest Progeny Mk6 Block I rocket assembled for launch next week. It has been loaded up onto the carry vehicle and will be rolled out Monday for readiness checks ahead of launch attempt on Tuesday.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 4,408 asteroids and 0 updated with new observation data. Here are the 19 asteroids that were discovered this past week.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 11/15/19

Nothing noted down to report for this week. Pretty breezy week, not much going down on the operations side, mainly just space events with Alaba and Zosimus.

Maybe slipped or herniated a disk in my lower back? I dunno but after 20+ years of gymnastics and stunt work I’m not too surprised. I only mention it here since it makes sitting at the computer for long stretches a bit uncomfortable, so I’m taking breaks more. Not a bad thing, getting a bit more exercise to get my back strength up again, catching up on over a year’s worth of 12 magazine subscriptions when I’m lying down resting my back. But just saying I hope it doesn’t get worse and affect the amount of time I’m able to put into working on this.

Ops Tracker refactor was coming along very well but recently hit a nasty snag that I hadn’t considered when I decided earlier how I wanted to redo things. It makes the rewrite a bit more complicated than I originally planned but in the end I think it will work out better. I’m still thinking it over so that’s stalled out for the moment.

I’m still waiting on a few mods before I can try and get setup on KSP v1.8.x. Seems like there’s definitely going to be at least one more minor point release before the end of the year. (edit 12/6 – word is 1.9 will be the next update in spring 2020, so hopefully Kopernicus gets updated soon now)

Last thing I still have to get working on is planning for the website WordPress upgrade. That’s going to take at least a full day of my time so blocking that out is rough because it’s never fun spending a full day on just one thing. Even if you’re just planning to spend a full day on one thing. Hopefully it only takes an hour or two but planning for the worst is always for the best…

Once I get all the tweets I’ve already written for this week and this weekend actually scheduled (assigned the times they will be posted) I will have nearly a month of lead time. Boo yah

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