Dec 09 2016

Operations Summary – Week of 12/5/16

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Progeny Mk2.1 Flight 1 Analysis and New Launch Dates

We’re still extremely pleased with the success of the Progeny Mk2.1 and have spent the last few days since the launch going over the telemetry data recovered from the TDU. Engineers report that everything went as expected for this flight, the first of three that we have planned for the Mk2.1. You can review all the data yourself online here at Google Sheets. We will continue to release telemetry data whenever possible. This launch of the Progeny Mk2.1 reached an apokee of 2.786km ASL, the highest-flying rocket to date. It also managed to set another record of 374.189m/s for speed during powered ascent and although it came up well short on the G record, the tumble taken by the payload after second stage separation was still pretty extreme at 16.6 Gs. The payload landed 954.9m downrange of the launch site after traveling 6km.

Something you may have noticed when watching the launch footage for the Mk2.1 is that the second stage was lit off prior to the first stage burnout, and there is a split second where, even though the decoupler has fired, the two boosters remain joined together. This was a deliberate action by the launch controllers and was done to test whether the lower stage would explode. It did not, which only further reinforces the theory that the rapid collapse of the engine shroud and the slamming together of the two booster stages is what caused the Progeny Mk2 lower booster to explode shortly after launch, not just the ignition of the second stage booster by the impact.

You can also see the payload tumbling in the launch footage after separation. We suspect this is due more to the close passing of the booster rather than an actual strike of the payload. Interestingly, after separation the loss of weight on the booster turns the fins into a propeller that carries it up and away at a faster rate than the payload itself. We’ve already made note of this for future Progeny designs.

The next two launches for the Mk2.1 will occur on 12/13 @ 16:50 UTC and 12/15 @ 17:00 UTC. No changes to the rocket will be made for either flight. The flight procedures will change however, with the second flight coasting until maximum TWR on the second stage before continuing the ascent. We will then use the data from the first two flights to see if we can determine an optimal time for lighting off the second stage booster.

We’d also like to mention the Kerbal Sounding Project, announced earlier this week, which came about as a bet between Drew and a business friend.

Civvie Rebuild Continues on Schedule

No problems have been reported by C7 as they continue to rebuild the Civvie to begin flight trials once again, this time with Captain Jeb rotating in for his turn at the controls after recovering from his injury. Right now they are aiming to do ground trials by the end of next week or possibly just rolling straight back into flight trials on the 19th of December. The C7 team is hoping to get in a full week’s worth of flight trials before going on break for the week of New Year celebrations.

Jeb says he’s very excited to get a chance to pilot the craft, and Val has given him a thorough debrief on the behaviors of the Civvie.

Report on the “Perfect Storm”

If you’d like to know more about the whopper of a storm that passed through the area last weekend and totally washed out our first launch attempt for the Progeny Mk2.1, you can read this report we released earlier this week. Meteorologists are pretty sure the conditions that produced this extreme weather don’t come around often, which is good news.

New Moonlet of Kerbin Confirmed

This week began with confirmation from the Kerbal Astronomical Society that they have spotted NHM-375(C) in orbit around Kerbin after it was captured by encounter with Mun. It was discovered last month to be on a possible capture trajectory and now that it is bound to Kerbin’s gravity astronomers will next attempt to project its travel out across the coming days and weeks to see where it will end up. The three possibilities are it will hit Kerbin, hit Mun or be flung back out into sun orbit. Whatever the eventual outcome, you can always find out more on its latest status via the Ops Tracker.

Asteroid Hit & Miss

There’s been a lot of Doomsday reports circulating about the asteroid the Asteroid Tracking Network announced back in October that was on a collision course for Kerbin, despite their efforts and ours to make the public aware that the asteroid was very small and likely posed no danger to the surface of Kerbin, let alone everyone living beneath it. Thankfully now all that can be laid to rest as the asteroid, designated OVD-128(A), behaved exactly as expected and completely burned up on entry into our atmosphere at the end of this past week. Yes, there are many deadly space rocks out there but this was not one of them. The ATN has still worked harder to clarify their public announcements to hopefully avoid any undue panic in the future.

However it turns out that Kerbin was indeed hit with an asteroid this past week – last weekend while we were dealing with flooding seismographs in Kravass City detected a very small quake-like signature from the opposite side of the planet, in a region not known for groundquakes. It took a few days for scientists to put together an expedition and travel to the location, but when they arrived they found a crater 1.65m wide and 2.3m deep and showing all indications that an asteroid had survived entry through the atmosphere and struck the surface. They are still out there scouring the area for debris to collect and study. Asteroids remain from the birth of our planetary system and could reveal a lot about our past. Right now they have no estimates for the size of the object that impacted, although they speculate it was probably a Class-C or -D rock, some of the largest out there.

Celestial Snapshot of the Week

Once more – with shadow! Val had already taken an earlier photo of Ike transiting Duna but the angle from Kerbin to Duna at the time prevented us from also seeing the shadow crossing the planet the same time Ike did. Now that we are near opposition (it occurred on 12/5) we can see Ike transit and its shadow together on Duna.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 11/9/16

This week was all about recovering from dropping KSP altogether to finally play through Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which was pretty great. Better in some ways than Human Revolution (boss fights) but also a bit worse (how your actions are interpreted by the main story). Still, it was Deus Ex and it was great, can’t wait for the next one.

Anyways it took me about 3 days to actually be able to run KSP again since I had to catch up on forum posts and updates (didn’t help it was the day v1.2.1 dropped) and just get back into the “mindset” of where the KSA was at, which also meant re-reading all the un-posted content so I could edit things and ensure that continuity was maintained between events (it’s really easy to forget something else is going on the the story and totally drop that thread if I don’t make careful notes in my text file).

In regards to operations this week, the KSC flood was a simple matter of adjusting the water height in the Scatterer settings, which you can change and apply quickly in-game. The Mk2.1 launch footage was captured with the help of a simple kOS script in order to get the timing of events just right since I couldn’t see the interface to time it manually (launches are still all done manually by me). The worst was the asteroid re-entry image, which took a lot of time because if I didn’t get the shot setup right before the asteroid burned up and was destroyed. CameraTools would cause the game to throw an NRE when I tried to revert back to an older save and I had to restart it. I finally managed to get the offset values right for the fly-by camera position and ended up with a view close to the ground that I used to take the final image. The long trail is thanks to Re-Entry Particle Effects.

Still not on KSP v1.2.1 and I won’t be until you see all the red items on this list get updated.

Ta Ta for now.