Nov 10 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 11/6/17

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Mk5 Block I Flight Analysis Released

The recently released report with the details of our last Progeny launch is the longest report we’ve published to date, including all the details on the flight itself and how we plan to address the numerous problems that became apparent during it. The most serious issue we discovered was the potential for a harsh radiation environment just over 350km from the surface of Kerbin, which brings about concern for missions further into space – especially ones with kerbals aboard. Check out the report for all the details but what everyone is most interested in would be that we don’t plan to launch another Block I until sometime in mid-December and the Block II has been delayed further into January 2018 at the earliest.

Genesis & KerBalloon Carry On

As usual both programs ran a mission this past week to help keep us afloat financially. On the Genesis side, Commander Valentina took a Civvie flight north of KSC to satisfy two contracts, conducting a routine flight in great weather conditions. Over with KerBalloon, Specialists Bill and Bob helped prepare two low-altitude payloads and then Bob took to sea aboard MSV Lymun to help launch and recover both balloons successfully. The first launch did see an uncharacteristic early end to the ascent – we did not find any obvious defects with what remains of the envelope we could recover and sent them off to KerBalloon the manufacturer for more analysis. Right now we are considering this to be an isolated incident.

Alaba to Slam into Mun in 2021?

The Kerbin Astronomical Society earlier this week announced the name for our newly-discovered moonlet to be Alaba, which is ancient Kerbskrit for “second child”. Technically this is the 5th captured moonlet on record so far but in relation to our current crop of moonlets it could be considered to be second to Chikelu. Astronomers spent several days locking down its orbit and then attempted to predict what would happen to it as it continued to be influence by close passes with Mun. The possibilities for an asteroid in an orbit like this are to either be ejected back into sun orbit, slam into Kerbin or slam into Mun. The current analysis points to Alaba slamming into Mun after 58 more encounters over the next 4 years. Astronomers released that plot immediately after finishing propagating out the orbits and are expected to release a more detailed look sometime next week.

Deep Space Network Update

Work continues to prepare for sending and receiving signals to future spacecraft far beyond Kerbin as well as allow us to observe more of the night sky with greater frequency. You can get the background information on our DSN plans via this initial report. Recent news on the project has announced the huge dish of the Arekibo Radio Observatory has begun to lay down its many hundreds of segments that will combine to form the reflective surface that will direct signals to the receiver floating high overhead. The next major DSN project, the Central Observatory, has also broken ground on construction for the building that will house the 10m optical telescope, which will be the largest on Kerbin when completed. 2 of its 6 mirror segments have already been completed with the 3rd currently being cast. Finally, the Maritime Service is nearly done laying the first section of sea cable that will connect Arekibo to the network spanning all 4 cities and the KSC.

ATN Database Update

The weekly update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 1,169 asteroids and 23 updated with new observation data.

Celestial Snapshot of the Week

Bob grabbed this pretty cool shot of a mostly-full Mun rising during sunset. We can tell Mun is not totally full because if it were – we wouldn’t see it! Well, we would but it would be a lot more reddish due to passing through Kerbin’s shadow.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 11/7/17

Had a very productive weekend, also helps that operations have calmed down a lot but there was still an hr+ Civvie flight and that monstrous analysis report, not to mention propagating out Alaba’s orbit… so still a lot of work that needed to be done but it’s done and it’s only Tuesday and this makes me happy. Ok, on to some details…

Arekibo retcon incoming

I am so stupid. I pretend to be a smart person, doing all this smart-looking stuff, but I am so fucking dumb sometimes it’s just hilarious. How in the hell I ever though the KerbinSide static for the Arekibo telescope was only 86m in diameter is just…. wat. I don’t even… *headdesk*

OK, so – the original plan was to have Arekibo be like 180m in diameter or something, I can’t really remember but what I do remember is measuring the size of the 3D static object in the game and finding it was only 86m in diameter and being like “fuck, I should have measured it before telling everyone how big it was going to be.” and that’s when I changed it to 86m.

Turns out I somehow completely missed the FUCKING ZERO after the six that came after the eight. Yea, that’s right – when I plug the coordinates of each end of the dish bowl into my distance calculator it tells me the distance between them is 860m. But beyond that mistake – just look at the size of the thing!!! I’ve measured other things in the game before but I just never thought to actually compare them in my head to realize there was no way that static was only 86m.

So yea, this retcon will be done very quietly at some point 😛 The awesome news tho is that I am in touch with Omega482 on the forums for the possibility of creating a custom Aerkibo static. He’s been making some awesome statics for use around KSC.

Still can’t keep track of crew

That’s a cool photo Bob took I posted above right? Yea, well actually if you believe what @KSA_MissionCtrl is tweeting then Bob is supposed to have stayed in Umbarg after returning from his mission that day and shouldn’t have been around KSC to take the photo. Grrrrr. I have a sheet in my Excel workbook dedicated to tracking what the various KSA crew members are doing but I don’t always remember to update or check it before posting about their activities. Will need to get better at this – there are only 4 right now for cripes sake.

Alaba name origin

The name is Western African, Yoruba for “second child after twins” – obviously the “after twins” part doesn’t apply here but it was close enough. I get pretty much all my names from Behind the Name, which has a name generator.

Mk5 AFCS error

I really haven’t been able to figure out what the hell happened to the AFCS during the last Mk5 flight. This is what the console spat out and it makes no sense. However I thought the cosmic ray reason was pretty cool, as that’s really a thing that can happen to electronics while in space.

Kerbol planetarium

So I spent some time this weekend implementing some time & date controls into the Ops Tracker but I realized this wasn’t really an ideal option for the Ops Tracker because the purpose here is to show what’s currently happening with KSA spacecraft and as such it needs to keep track of what things are currently doing – it can get confusing when people start messing around with time. So, once the Ops Tracker is complete I will build a secondary tracker that only uses the GeoGebra figure to let people play around with time, date and speed. It will also be able to take URL parameters or a link to a database file that lets anyone generate orbits to display, similar to how you can place pins on the Leaflet map.