Nov 03 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 10/30/17

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Progenitor Re-Focus Halts Launches

Earlier this week a successful launch of the new Progeny Mk5 Block I rocket reached a record height of 493km above the surface of Kerbin. The launch was so successful, in fact, that yesterday the Progenitor team announced future launches would be put on hold to reconsider how best to utilize the Block I and Block II rockets and also how to overcome some issues that were revealed during the launch, which will be covered in the flight analysis report expected sometime next week. The hope is that we can get in at least two more launches before the end of the operational year on Dec 15th, one being a Block I and another being a Block II. Check out some of the new records this recent launch set!

Genesis & KerBalloon Keep the Funds Rolling In

Although the Progenitor program made a noticeable contribution to our income this month, it still fell upon Genesis & KerBalloon to keep us out of the red. This past week each program carried out a contract mission.

Genesis flew a Civvie at the command of Captain Jebediah out over the Grasslands to the west of KSC to gather atmospheric samples from 1-3km ASL in order to get a new measurement of pollen counts since the recent outbreak in September. High amounts of pollen in the air led to health issues earlier this year and scientists are continuing to study the flora, many of which are new species since after the Sea Ring event. Jeb flew a very nice “flower pattern” that allowed him to sweep over a large area surrounding the target, then brought the Civvie back in for his first “high-speed” landing with throttle set to 55% during descent to remain off battery power until crossing the runway threshold.

KerBalloon dispatched Specialist Bob to let go a high-altitude balloon near a large storm system out at sea, which was so big it wasn’t even seen directly at first by mariners – everyone just noticed rougher seas and dark horizons. The storm appears to have been raging for 3 days now but thankfully only appears to be circling around well out to sea and not approaching land. Weather was so violent that it was determined ahead of time the balloon would not be recovered, so Reaction Systems Ltd covered the cost of our reusable parts that would be lost as well. Data returned from the balloon shows the storm has begun to weaken, but still recorded the lowest pressures ever seen on Kerbin.

Kerbin Gets a New Moonlet

Astronomers have been keeping a close watch on Mun for a while now in order to spot newly-captured asteroids that swing by and this week they spotted KUH-563(C) making a pass through Mun’s SOI. They then spent the next day and change studying its orbit and have realized that this moonlet has been a resident of our system for quite some time now, on the order of months! They’ve deduced this based on its orbit (red. Mun is green), which is very close to Kerbin, too close to have possibly been captured in just one or two passes so far. With a highly-inclined orbit it’s not too surprising that the asteroid has escaped detection until now but also reveals how much sky there is to cover that we can’t even see objects in our own backyard. Astronomers will continue to observe and nail down the exact orbit to attempt to determine how much longer it will be with us. We will have it added to the Operations Tracker in the next few days when better orbital data is posted. The Kerbin Astronomical Society has already assembled a group to work on a name.

Religious Pilgrims Welcomed to Monolith Site

For the first time since The Incident involving the Monolith religious kerbs have been allowed near the site. In the months since The Incident there has been a growing anger from Monolithic followers against the government for closing off access to their holy site and hopefully this move will help to ease tensions that at times appeared to be reaching levels of actual violence. Still, getting permission to spend time near the Monolith means going through a new government program of registration and background checks, which has not eased many kerbs minds over thoughts of government control and monitoring. Here at KSC, we are working to ensure that Monolith visitors are safe from any ongoing operations, and that our ongoing operations are safe from any interference.

ATN Database & KSA Financial Update

The weekly update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 1,145 asteroids and 14 updated with new observation data.

Our monthly financial report can be viewed here, featuring our narrowest profit margin to date. We’re very thankful that launch succeeded…

Celestial Snapshot of the Week

Although it was visible over KSC just on the horizon, Ockr Observatory further to the east had Jool higher in the sky for a clearer view of Pol and Tylo transiting their shadows across Jool. Pol (small dot in lower-left of image) is the smallest moon of Jool at just 88km in diameter while Tylo (just left of Jool) is the largest, matching Kerbin at 12,000km in diameter. This pairing occurs as we approach opposition with Jool, bringing the gas giant as close as possible to see the tiny shadow of Pol. Laythe and Vall are also visible.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 11/2/17

God dammit it’s Thursday again. BUT. But, I actually finished all of Friday yesterday – writing up this report is the only thing I’ve had to do today, so that’s something. Also it’s pretty smooth sailing these next two weeks or so with no rocket launches on the horizon – that wasn’t really intentional but it does work in my favor at this point. I’ve given up hoping for returning to a 3-week lead before the end of the year and am now just hoping to setup a week.

Mk5 Block I redeux

Holy hell that sumbitch went high. I honestly thought it would remain below 250km. Of course, this launch still didn’t go as planned with the second stage lighting off so soon – but I’ll get into that more via the official report next week. Suffice to say I did not expect it to reach anywhere close to the height it did. Stepping back to re-tool the Progenitor program is a logical step that also happens to take away time-intensive launches for the near future, which is a nice side-effect.

Overall the launch was a pretty big pain in the ass, but I got it done. Civvie fly-by was very cool, but don’t expect it every launch. I really had to throttle back & pitch up hard to kill speed to not overshoot – if I had missed I would not have tried again (this launch). Flying with the full set of visual mods needed to make it look like the photos dropped my game speed down to 50% so although the mission lasted roughly 15 minutes of in-game flying time, it took me about 30 minutes real-world time and I had to do it twice because the first time the parachute deployed at launch due to a kOS bug – here’s a video.

Also I mentioned via tweet how the “suspense” of the recovery was not me just trying to be suspenseful, it actually happened that way. Sometimes the game just makes it easy to write things out.

New old moonlet

The deduction that KUH-563(C) has been around for a while is a very logical one that really does work out based on its current orbit, but I also know for a fact that it’s been around a couple of months because I’ve been watching it and waiting for it to be officially discovered. It’s been in the ATN database of unknown asteroids ever since it was created but it was never selected during the periods of asteroid discovery. It’s actually passed through Mun’s SOI 18 times since capture but in all instances but the most recent one no observatory on Kerbin could see it happen. Well, the 4th pass maybe could have been visible but it happened the same time as Pilarani so I deemed everyone suitably distracted. Like I’ve said before, asteroids can come & go with no-one the wiser – I’m not going to force an asteroid to be discovered just because it’s been captured into orbit by Mun. Still, glad this one was finally found!

Slim profits

I don’t fiddle around with numbers in the finance sheets at the end of the month or anything when I see how it’s turned out. If the month goes into the red, it goes into the red and I deal with any consequences of that. Overall though I remain happy with how I’ve been balancing the money side of things and it feels like an integral aspect to what I’m doing rather than just a thing being done for the sake of realism.

Weather tweaks

I’ve given clouds a greater range of altitudes to be set to when generating the random numbers for weather. They can now exist from 1.5 to 8km rather than 2.5 to 6km. It just allows the RNG more room to play, I found it was spitting out medium ranges a lot around 3km. I’m liking the effects, like in this video I posted to twitter (which I couldn’t schedule, grrrrr) the offset to the clouds creates some nice movement to the particles.