Mar 03 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 2/27/17

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KSA Operations Resume

It’s great to be back, and things went well this past half-week for getting everything back on track. All three programs made significant strides in returning to full swing with KerBalloon getting set for launches next week, Genesis taking stock of the current progress on Civvie construction and Progenitor announcing launch dates for the Progeny Mk3 rockets. In case you missed it, here they are:

Launch #1: 3/15 @ 18:45 UTC
Launch #2: 3/21 @ 19:05 UTC
Launch #3: 3/24 @ 19:20 UTC

We can’t wait to send these rockets up, they should make for the most spectacular launches yet! Also, if you missed the news release on the medical situation that incapacitated us for most of February, you can read up on it here.

C7 has their initial incident report released, which we included below, but they also say they expect the Civvie Prototype to be repaired and the Civvie Production model assembled both for flights by the end of the month.

Looking forward to a full week of operations starting next Monday!

C7 Initial Incident Report on Civvie Crash

Investigators have looked over the data from the crash that flipped the Civvie over to its back while under command of Captain Jeb during his last mission. The event took place around mid-day after second sunrise on Jan 31st, during the final approach to Runway 09. The approach was too low, causing the Civvie to impact with the ground short of the runway thanks to a rise in terrain just before reaching the flat plain surrounding the KSC property. Because it was already in a landing configuration, the sudden and unexpected impact was taken up on all three wheels at a speed of around 56m/s, well within tolerances. However this speed is too fast for a landing and so the Civvie bounced back into the air. Jeb’s attempts to hold the nose up resulted in a stall, which dropped the Civvie like a rock from as high as 5m to land on just its main gear, which pitched it forward so its prop dug into the ground. The remaining momentum flipped the aircraft over onto its back, with torque from the propeller rotating it over 90 degrees to rest facing south. Investigators estimate the initial landing produced a force of 3.5Gs with the final crash producing a force upwards of 6Gs. These momentary moments of high stress had no detrimental effect on the pilot other than to whip his head forward into the dash, the second time producing a moderate wound.

C7 will continue now with the next phase of its investigation, interviewing the pilot and support staff and analyzing various alternate outcomes based on the data collected. We expect them to release a final report later this month. Until then, they have recommended that the Runway 09 approach remain closed. We will follow this recommendation.

Astronomers Amazed by Eve Transit

We had a great second transit of 2017, with Eve taking its turn to move across the face of the sun as seen from Kerbin. You can see the full transit composite here. This is the rarest of transits since Eve does not orbit around the sun as much as Moho and so we don’t get as many chances to be in the right spot at the right time to see this happen thanks to its inclined orbit. A reason scientists love Eve transits so much is because it is a unique opportunity to study its thick atmosphere. We’re expecting to see several new papers published on the transit in the next few months. Anyone who missed the transit will now have to wait until 2024 before they can see it happen again. But before that there are several other transits scheduled to happen this year:

May 4th – Minmus
June 29th – Minmus
Oct 15th – Moho

So Long, Meeny?

After DGU-266(B) (formally named Remises after its discoverer last month) made its first pass through Mun’s SOI astronomers were once again forced to admit their astrodynamics modeling was still not up to the task of simulating the interaction of small bodies within Mun’s influence. They have since revised their models and given that Remises has yet to pass again through Mun’s SOI they decided to see how Meeny’s orbit was affected with the new calculations. Surprisingly, they discovered that not only is it on a path to encounter Mun again sooner than expected, the resulting pass will eject it from the system. We’re hoping they are wrong again, but we will see what happens after March 5th.

Noteworthy Links

Mortimer has recovered fully from being one of the more seriously ill and has finished up the accounting report for February, which thankfully wasn’t all that much to deal with.

The latest ATN database update would be from this past week and can be found here, sporting a total of 339 asteroids.

Celestial Snapshots of the Week

We can’t have just one when we’re catching up on more than a week of activity. These two both share the cake this week, and with good reason!

As Eve transits, Mun comes crashing in on the party for a partial eclipse as seen from above Umbarg

The shadows of (in order L to R) Vall, Laythe and Tylo fall together on the face of Jool as triple transit season enters full swing

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 2/4/17

I forgot to get this done yesterday, so although this is a day off from a month ahead I still had all of yesterday’s KSA ops done yesterday. I’m happy to be this caught up on things. Very nice to just bang out one day of KSA ops and spend the rest of my time contemplating future events, reviewing & editing what I’ve already written, working on complex new Flight Tracker features, etc.

Speaking of Flight Tracker features, I got the surface tracks up and running in just two days of coding. I had to copy and paste a lot of code because what I wanted to do I was doing elsewhere and forgot how I was doing it – just goes to show how messed up the Flight Tracker code base is. But I got it all sorted with no major issues – nothing happened that forced me to take a break because I couldn’t figure out the problem. The surface track system is pretty powerful beyond what is used so far. In addition to being able to load multiple tracks I have a parser that reads the description text and pulls any HTML links out to create dynamic links in the info box that can add pin markers to the map when they are clicked. And not just one pin marker, but a single link can add multiple pin markers, and there can be multiple links in the description. All this means that in order to create a database of the flight track I literally copy/paste elements from the mission post prior to the tweet stream and then import data from the CSV exported by the game and – well long story short after a flight is over I can have the surface track online in less than 5 minutes.

While the surface track feature is not real-time, the support for that feature is already baked into the existing implementation. I should only just have to look at the UT time for the events when the path is loaded and realize “hey, this thing is happening now” and then switch over to plotting the path using the 1sec update tick function that controls all the other real-time elements on the map rather than just displaying the entire plot. This isn’t a feature coming soon however since it doesn’t make sense to have a real-time tracking system when communications range is only within the area of KSC. Orbiting comm satellites will bring this feature to life in the future.

Full steam ahead to the Progeny Mk3 rocket launches! I literally haven’t launched a rocket in over two months and it’s killing me, but that’s kind of the idea of this whole thing, making me work for it.