Jun 19 2020

Operations Summary – Week of 6/15/20

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Ascension Flight Prep Completed

The VAB crew finished assembling the Mk1 this week, picking up from where they left off back in March with the rocket already near completion. Over the past 3 months there was some work done on it to ensure build quality was up to the newer standards of the reassessed program mandates, but nothing major came up which is why we were able to get this launch scheduled before the end of the month. The rocket may have been relatively simple to construct as it does not deviate much from previous missions but the actual mission design itself is one of the most complex we have undertaken to date. Operations Director Drew even took to twitter to explain some of the details that had to be considered. As always, we aim to break new ground and explore new techniques.

Bob’s mission in July also remains on schedule and we should be able to add his rocket to the Ops Tracker before the end of the month with launch timing and more details. MSV Aldeny has returned to port in Umbarg from its berth in Sheltered Rock, where it has remained since recovering Jeb in March. It will recover the capsule from this mission, which will only fall ~135km to the east, and then stick around to allow Bob and his backup Bill to perform water recovery drills. Jeb and Val will continue to train CapCom duties with Launch Team A.

Everyone is getting a break over the weekend though, and everyone is excited to be returning to launch operations next week!

Annual Pollen Survey Quarterly Collection

Ever since the allergy outbreak of 2017 scientists have worked to mitigate the problem of exposure to surface-dwelling kerbals. Drugs remain in development and are still largely ineffective, so the next best thing is awareness of how much pollen is in the air. The trees have a cycle for when they release their pollen but not all tree species share the same cycle and the locations of the trees are scattered across the grasslands to the west and plains to the north. Using the Atmospheric Fluid Spectro-Variometer attached to the Civvie, regular flights around the region have been able to measure pollen levels to give scientists a better idea of when to issue air hazard warnings so kerbs can take precautions (like wearing masks) when outside.

The latest quarterly flight was completed by Jeb this week.

Commercial Airport Expansion in Final Phase

Have a look at the gallery above to see the first completed section of the final phase in the commercial airport expansion project underway at KSC, with the goal of augmenting the space port with a commercial hub for aircraft cargo servicing the nearby cavern of Umbarg. The large hangars will allow craft as big or bigger than the Dhumla to stay under cover during loading/unloading operations in inclement weather. Following this section will be the maintenance/fuel farm complex, then another set of small hangars for aircraft owned by the KSA/KSC and finally the cargo warehouses. Another milestone event happened this past weekend when the first train arrived from Umbarg, carrying fuel and parts for our upcoming rocket launches.

Something that stands out for the large hangars is the fact that they are not enclosed like the small ones. This is because during the settlement from the fight between the airship Barons and the aircraft industry (mainly C7 Aerospace) the Barons won some petty privileges, including not allowing aircraft to be housed in large buildings above ground, only airships. The aircraft industry still managed to pull off a win of their own however in getting the Barons to agree to specific wording saying no propeller-driven aircraft larger than the Dhumla could be constructed. They did not even think or know about the potential for jet engines!

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 5,290 asteroids and 1 updated with new observation data. Here are the 24 asteroids that were discovered this past week.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 6/16/20

I’ve been pretty well-off during this whole pandemic thing so far and so it was surprising when I realized yesterday that last week’s Ops Summary was actually 3 weeks since the previous one, but I thought it was only 2 and even titled it as such. Time finally got away from me it seems. What month is it again?

I had planned to go back to weekly Ops Summaries next week but this week works too so whatever.

So yea I’ll of course have all the details on the Mk1 mission after it happens next week (and since I’m still working on actually flying it) but for the most part I’m finding things are working well with 1.9.1 and there doesn’t seem to be any features of 1.10 that would warrant an immediate update, even if a new Kopernicus was released.

Large hangars

So the large hangars are open and not enclosed, which is just the way the model designers opted to go. There are no closed large hangar models out there that I have found that aren’t built to replace the HAB. I felt this needed an explanation and the one I came up with was based off something I read in the Seal Team Seven series of books (great reads). Apparently the SEAL Underwater Delivery Vehicle had to be designed and built as a “wet sub” because the Navy reserved the right to only build “dry subs” for… I can’t fully recall actually, since SEALs are Navy. So I don’t think it was a military branch issue but It was some petty-sounding reason however. I couldn’t find any corroboration in the wikipedia page, so maybe it was something the author found in his own research or just came up with.

Civvie mission

First time flying the Civvie in 1.9.1 and immediately ran into wheel issues. I don’t know how the 2nd tail wheel didn’t bother me when I flew it earlier this year in 1.8.1. The mission was going fine after all that fiasco to get off the ground when I realized it was crawling along at nearly half-speed and looking at my resource monitor revealed no obvious reason why. I thought I had fixed this issue with the Deuce flight when I found VOID causing performance problems and removed it. Switching to the map view, which in the past has improved performance, made no difference either so this will be a time-consuming problem to hunt down even when removing batches of mods at a time. Fortunately though I’ve seen no issues so far while working through the Ascension Mk1 launch so it’s a problem I don’t need to immediately address since not much flying goes on anymore.

Alright well, almost a week ahead already – gotta keep plugging away!