Mar 27 2020

Operations Summary – Week of 3/23/20

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Progenitor & Ascension Programs Suspend Operations

Read all the details in the press release from earlier this week. In short, we have recognized that our momentum may have outpaced our management capabilities and time is needed to ensure we are conducting both safe and viable missions. Genesis and KerBalloon programs remain unaffected and will continue missions as they are available. Testing on our static stands will continue as well, along with the Research & Development division led by Wernher von Kerman. This is a pause, not a step backwards and will help to ensure that we can continue moving forwards with success.

Chikelu Confirmed Missing After Initial Denials

The scientific community was rocked this week when the Kerbal Astronomical Society was forced to admit that Chikelu could no longer be found in its last-known orbit. The KAS had spent the month denying allegations from amateur astronomers that the moonlet was unable to be seen and the Asteroid Tracking Network remained silent after failing to publish updated orbital information from the perikee pass that was supposed to have occurred after the Ascension Mk2 mission. Even the Arekibo Radio Observatory was in on the cover up, failing to respond to inquiries about why it hadn’t yet taken any radar images like it was scheduled to this month after a long wait.

So far all we know is that the government was for some reason attempting to suppress this information and that they did a rather poor job of it. We applaud the amateur astronomical community that stood up and sought the truth. The whole truth has yet to be exposed however and numerous questions remain. Did they capture images of the moonlet? Was it something they saw in them that caused the information blackout attempt? Did Chikelu escape from Kerbin’s SOI or has it simply moved onto a different trajectory? In either case – how did it move? Is it a spacecraft? Is there something about orbital motions we have yet to understand?

Of course the Monolithic followers are going crazy with the news, saying that it is proof “They” have been watching over us this entire time, pointing to us achieving an orbital space craft as yet another step on the path towards our ultimate destruction. The Monolith itself seems not to care, at least we have not noticed anything. It is difficult to tell for sure however since all scientific monitoring devices were removed last year when majority control of the edifice was ceded to the religious faction.

Only time will tell if any of the questions about Chikelu will be answered, but at least now we know that scientists are working to understand its disappearance. For now, it has been moved to the Inactive Vessels listing on the Ops Tracker.

Alaba Sticking Around Through 2020 Before Being Ejected

A new long-term prediction has been made for our remaining moonlet using all the orbital data collected so far along with the improvements made to the KSPTOT suite. The plan was to propagate the orbit out to the end of the year and it turns out December 1st is when Alaba will be ejected back into kerbolar orbit. Astronomers have a high level of confidence in this final prediction but as always they will be keeping a close eye on the moonlet for any unforeseen encounters with Mun. You can view the new trajectory plot in hi-res on flickr.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 4,911 asteroids and 2 updated with new observation data. Here are the 21 asteroids that were discovered this past week.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 3/23/20

Ending a week while starting a week. Get it?

Operational suspension

Still healthy, that’s not the reason for this to be happening. I was planning a 5-6 day road trip for April so I knew I needed a little bit of time off but then the whole Coronavirus epidemic really started to take on speed and despite my daily routine not really changing much it still had an affect on my motivation. So I pretty much ran out of lead time and had to take a bit more drastic measures than I originally planned to really give myself a break and also get a good head start on building the lead time back up.

It also has nothing to do with me finally buying a new game pad. Not at all. Nope.

But seriously, the Mk1 was indeed heavier than I had planned in Launch Vehicle Designer, no doubt the extra mass crept in while I was so overcome with getting the mission setup and running properly on KSP v1.8.1. So the whole idea is actually rooted in what’s really going on with my game play. I need to get a better handle on KSP v1.8.1 and especially all the new Kerbalism changes. I like how I was able to also use the shut down of the Genesis program. That was not planned, like I said I had a whole different plot idea originally for this point.

Anyways bottom line is that while I did hope to scare a few people with the initial tweet into thinking the KSA was shutting down, the project remains healthy and should I come down sick I have the excuse already in place to let things continue on as normal since background operations are easy for me to maintain versus active missions.

New science protocols

This was a reference made to the new Kerbalism science system. I completely wiped my science archives when porting over my KSP v1.5.1 save (or Kerbalism wiped it for not being compatible, I’m not entirely sure) so I can collect data again from all the original experiments I already ran over the past 3+ years. I originally planned to tweak down the value of science gained but since the new system requires time to collect the science making it harder to get it all in one go, I’ve kept the point values the same since they’ll be accrued over a longer period of time.


No comment here other than to say this is part of the long-arc story. I don’t make up everything as I go along, for the record 😝