Jul 28 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 7/24/17

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Progenitor Wraps Up Latest Mk4 Mission, Sets New Launch Dates

All the data from the last Mk4 mission is finally available, from the mission report to the flight timeline to the telemetry data to the launch video to the launch analysis report.

The Mk4 has two more launches scheduled:

After which we will transition over to the automated Progeny Mk5 to begin working on the software that will guide the rockets in our orbital program.

Kerballoon & Genesis Return to Missions

Both programs ran a single mission this past week, which is the most we could support while also working to rebuild the infrastructure here at KSC. KerBalloon launched a low-altitude payload that was recovered successfully. They used a new balloon-lofted radio antenna to communicate with KSC rather than using a relay airship. This is an effective cost-saving measure for missions relatively nearby where terrain blocks line of sight – going further over the horizon will still require a relay airship with more powerful communications equipment. Genesis flew a science mission that gathered atmospheric samples from two locations and coming home from that mission Captain Jebediah was able to give us our first aerial look at the giant burn scar left by the Monolith’s discharge. Speaking of which…

Monolith Investigations Continue

Scientists are being carefully guarded in terms of what information they are releasing regarding the ongoing close study of the Monolith. So far all we know is that they have been able to approach and setup instruments right next to the object for the first time. No one has yet been allowed to walk up and touch it or even place instruments on the surface itself but we hear that is what’s being worked up to. Everyone is being extremely cautious, not knowing if the object has served its purpose and expired or is simply awaiting another event to trigger it to do something else perhaps more devastating.

Keologists studying the crystal formations in the caverns of Kravass and Umbarg are still carefully excavating the rock around them in several sites that were chosen for their ease of accessibility – many more lie on the ceilings and high up on the walls of the caverns. They are also relying on eyewitness reports from kerbs to help identify crystal cluster pairs that arced current between them to see if there is any difference between the two. As with the scientists around the Monolith, they are taking every precaution that can be thought of to avoid triggering some other event.

A third team has been assembled as well this past week to see if they can use data from the other two teams as well as their own investigations to try and determine why Ockr and Sheltered Rock were not similarly affected.

ATN Database Update

The weekly update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 830 asteroids, 7 updates and no new alerts issued.

Celestial Snapshot of the Week

Here is how Duna appears with Ike at the same magnification during opposition, when it is closer & near conjunction, when it can be over 5.5x further away

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 7/9/17

Have already finished up Sat and Sun, so I am now officially back to a full 3-week lead time after losing a few days thanks to working a fireworks show over the 4th of July. This is great because tomorrow I can just bang out one day of ops and then finally finally get back to working on some Flight Tracker stuff. First up will be the new 3D orbital diagrams followed by a more accurate day/night terminator for the dynamic map. The author of the new Leaflet library says he may have free time again next month, so once those two Flight Tracker features are integrated I will be pre-gaming some map output data then diving into the Flight Tracker/Crew Roster rewrite.

Mk4 stuff

I fudged the telemetry data a little bit to cause the 3rd stage to impact at a higher speed. Of course, changing the velocity meant I also had to change the vertical speed, and the amount of altitude gone each second, and the fact that it would hit the water sooner… thankfully since everything is in an Excel spreadsheet fiddling with the numbers isn’t too hard.

Getting the launch video was relatively painless and only took two takes, now that I have a checklist to make sure I don’t forget to do anything when setting up. The first take was ruined because in editing the kOS script used to refly the rocket I forgot to leave in a timer to keep the script active during the entire 3rd stage burn – if the script ends after pushing the throttle to 100% it will end up being cut back to 0% (there is a way around this but I just put in a timer to make the script run longer).

Getting better at aircraft mission planning

The tweet the day prior to the Civvie mission that said an hour was allotted for the flight was not something I did after flying the mission. I knew how I wanted the mission to go and I estimated it would take about an hour to fly and I was pretty much spot on – it took just under an hour. Given that I don’t have anything like KSPTOT for planning aircraft flights, it’s good to know I’m getting better at determining what’s feasible to do and what is not given a set of constraints, like time.

Kerbal lifespans

So I will admit that July 27th is my real birthday, but I’m not actually 17 years old. If you must know, I’m now 35. I’ve always planned for kerbals to have shorter lifespans than humans because I wanted to have another excuse to rotate more characters throughout the story and have some actually retire. I haven’t decided on an exact age range yet but Jeb is already 43 and I don’t want them living past 60. The general idea is they mature quickly and stay active late in life, so even if I decide to cap lifespan at 50 years Jeb could still be an astronaut for 5 more years at best. Anyways, I don’t want Drew Kerman to die before I do, so I had to make him really young, which also fits with his backstory of already being rich thanks to his parents so he wouldn’t have had to have worked much to be wealthy enough to start KSA.

I am a GTA:O griefer

So, still playing GTA:Online with a friend of mine and having a good time, even when going solo. I have found that “griefing” other players is when you actually follow the instructions the game gives you when other players are running missions and it tells you to try and stop them. Everyone is so hell bent on making money that if you interfere in any way they completely lose their shit. Apparently the popular conspiracy theory is being able to only perform high-income missions in public lobbies where other players can mess you up is so that people get frustrated and buy Shark Cards with real money from Rockstar. That makes sense, but knowing that it’s amazing how bent out of shape people get when you actually do it 😛

I can still have fun even if everyone hates me.