Jun 26 2020

Operations Summary – Week of 6/22/20

View post on imgur.com

Ascension Celebrates Successful Return to Rocket Flight

After suspending rocket operations back in March, this week saw its triumphant return with the Ascension Mk1’s 13th flight. The mission was designed to gather more information on the hazardous radiation environment that surrounds Kerbin, making up two large areas or “belts” of densely charged particles that were discovered thanks to missions flown by the Progenitor program in 2018 and 2019. Although the Mk1 could potentially reach halfway to Mun and thus fly through both belts and out of the magnetosphere, that was calculated with a payload that weighed only a fraction of what we actually wanted to lift. To get the heavier capsule (thanks to added shielding) and science equipment up into space meant we could only reach the inner belt, but that was still a worthy goal considering it holds the densest area of charged particles.

Lots of work still lies ahead of the Ascension team for this mission in post-flight analysis, expected sometime late in July.

Crewed Flight Prepares for July Mission

The main focus of the Ascension program will now turn to the upcoming kerbed mission to send Specialist Bob into space, finally. He was supposed to have been the first, but circumstances didn’t allow for it to happen that way thanks to interference from the Monolith. Details for the mission are now available up on our Ops Tracker as well as here on the website (apologies for being horrible with keeping the site program pages up to date lately!). Bob (or his backup Bill if anything else happens to befall poor Bob) will be launching with the newer full-actuating guidance fins that are cheaper and also much lighter than the previous static fins with aircraft control surfaces. This means the rocket will be able to fly higher, although not further as we want to keep within radio comms of Ockr Relay like past missions. This in turn means the re-entry will be steeper than previous ones with higher Gs but our astronauts have built up a higher G tolerance over the past few months thanks to the centrifuge. The mission is timed to coincide with a special event that’s never been viewed from space before, although if any delays occur during launch the mission will not be postponed for missing it.

MSV Aldeny has returned the recently-used unkerbed capsule and picked up the mock version, which will be used to prepare for the 2nd flight of the kerbed capsule with water recovery drills off the coast from KSC. While Bob and Bill are busy with those, Jeb and Val will be spending their time training with the Launch Team A controllers for their CapCom duties. These next two weeks leading up to the launch will be busy for all involved!

Progenitor Sees Hope with News of USI Purchase

While details remain scarce, with all parties saying more news will be available in early July, it has at least been confirmed that Umbra Space Industries have been bought up by a stealth aerospace startup that is aiming to achieve many of the same goals USI were working towards, including development of a 0.625m aerospike engine. This will be the first merger of two private aerospace companies, signaling growth in the sector. Hopefully the new company has the finances to settle the current lawsuit and free up the Progenitor program to resume launching and finally be able to get the Progeny Mk7-B off the ground – literally.

KAS Symposium Held at KSC for First Time

Ever since C7 Aerospace Division departed KSC for their own facilities at Kravass back in 2019 the Horizontal Assembly Building has sat unoccupied except for regular aircraft maintenance and needed repairs for our Civvie and Deuce. The huge 3,102m2 facility finally saw some real use over the past weekend when the Kerbal Astronomical Society held their annual symposium within it, with areas partitioned off for speaking and gathering. The expanded commercial aircraft facilities also helped with bringing attendees to the conference. It’s also the first time the gathering was held above ground, where attendees could also spend time during the night cycles gazing up at the stars. As usual Alaba was a hot topic, but of course the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Chikelu was discussed at length as well.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 5,325 asteroids and 1 updated with new observation data. Here are the 35 asteroids that were discovered this past week.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 6/22/20

I’ve been spending a lot of time hanging with friends in multiplayer lately – GTA:Online, Rocket League, No Man’s Sky, EVE… for the past two years or so one friend of mine and I have spent a good deal of hours together playing GTA:O and NMS but as I mentioned in previous Desk Notes recently two other old friends have become more available for gaming and so more opportunities arise for me to spend time with them, which is great in this day and age of quarantine. But it’s also knocked me back on the time spent doing KSA stuff which is why I only managed to finish up tomorrow’s launch yesterday and still only have a few days of lead time at this point. Well, partly why – mostly because running my first rocket mission in KSP v1.9.1 was a bit of a cluster fuck as is to be expected. But I’ll get to that.

Unfortunately with all this pandemic I did not expect to be called in for a Fourth of July fireworks show, but apparently Washington DC is pulling out all the stops (cause, you know, Trump) and last week Grucci called to say they needed me for two weeks starting this Wednesday. I was like – shit. Well first of all I’m sitting here collecting boku bucks from pandemic unemployment, so I don’t even need to work, but the fireworks gig would pay more than unemployment and they said they really needed me as I’m qualified to handle fire control on a multi-location shoot. So I managed to get them to put me off for a few days and now I don’t have to show up until Saturday the 27th. This is crucial as it will give me the time to push out my lead past the 7th, which is when I get back. After that it will be another mad scramble to complete Bob’s mission in time for launch on the 16th. Fun times! It remains to be seen how all this affects the Mk2 and Mk7-B missions. I might need another break after all this…

Update 6/25

Well I managed to get everything done, plotted out and scheduled through the next two weeks without having to sacrifice sleep or game time with friends. Not too shabby. It does however mean that all the behind-the-scenes details on the recent Mk1 mission will have to wait until the next Ops Summary, which will also be in two weeks cause cutting out next week’s is one way I managed to get this all done in time. Tomorrow is all about getting ready to head down to D.C. to begin working on the fireworks show.