Dec 16 2019

Progeny Mk6 Block I Flight 14 Analysis

Announced back in August, the Progeny Mk6 Block I was chosen to carry student-built experiments up into space two at a time. This will be the first time we are collaborating so directly with the various higher educational institutions around Kerbin and participation levels indicate the next generation of kerbs is eager to make their mark in space exploration! This mission was delayed from its original Dec 5th launch date due to the deadly attack on KSC in October, but all went well in the lead-up to launch with the rocket rolling out to the North Field launch site the day prior and tanked for a wet dress rehearsal. It was then left fueled for a condensed countdown on launch day. Structural panels are now attached underneath the launch base to prevent it from sinking into the softer ground and the launch base was also relocated a few meters as the entire surface around it was starting to be compressed since the first two launches.

The Flight

The command to ignite the lower 0.625m solid rocket motor and begin the ascent was triggered by the AFCS and sent the rocket flying upwards at precisely 13:20:00.08 local time after an issue-less preflight. The rocket flew a standard ascent, dropping the first stage at L+35s and coasting to second stage ignition after the nose dropped 1.5° by L+41s. The second stage was detached cleanly at L+55s to allow the 3rd stage to complete the burn up into space, reaching it just under 2 seconds after main engine cut-off @ L+1m28s.

The rocket coasted up to an apokee of 462.392km, higher than the previous two flights because the payload mass was balanced to 20kg lighter. During the coast the science experiments recorded their data to the onboard storage drives and thanks to its spin the rocket remained upright to orient its engine retrograde so it was pointing at the atmosphere when it began re-entry at L+18m3s.

As with previous flights contact was lost initially due to plasma heating but then shortly afterwards by the horizon. Our recovery ship MSV Aldeny was just over an hour from where we estimated the rocket to be parachuting down based on its re-entry location. It ended up coming down in shallow waters just 3km from shore and the recovery crews had no problem finding it and hauling it aboard. On the way back however the Aldeny suffered engine trouble that delayed its arrival back to port by a day.

Flight Telemetry Data

Flight Analysis

For once we don’t really have anything to say here! This flight was completely routine and did not suffer any anomalies or mishaps. Because the payload was lighter the rocket had no problems shedding velocity during re-entry and had a good chute deployment at a more normal 133m. At this point the greatest danger to the mission is a part failure as the design and flight of the rocket is sound. Lead Engineer Simon has been working his assembly crews hard to keep their build process quality at top-notch so we don’t foresee any serious problems there. What a pleasure to have such a boring mission for once.

Future Plans

The final rocket is undergoing its last stages of assembly and will be exactly the same mass as this one (yes the payload instrument masses are different but ballast is added to reach a balance point for the rocket). So, we don’t expect any problems and look forward to closing out 2019 this week with a final successful mission!