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Nov 17 2017

Operations Summary – Week of 11/13/17

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Progenitor and Ascension Move Forward

This week senior KSA staff finalized plans for our orbital program, dubbed Ascension. The final steps are now underway to get everything together for the public reveal sometime next week, no later than Wednesday.

Work continues on getting our next Progeny launch in before the year’s end, with the VAB starting to work on the 3rd stage from available parts and Umbra Space Industries getting close to final design of our new booster core. We hope to test the booster no later than the end of the month in order to give USI time to make another that we will use for launch ~2wks later if all goes well with the test.

KerBalloon Delivers, Genesis Stalls

Only KerBalloon was able to pull off a mission this week, launching and recovering a low-altitude balloon from the West Shore Desert. Genesis had a mission scheduled but first weather and then health issues caused multiple delays. Commander Val is off duty to attend to familial duties back home until next week and Captain Jebediah is currently recovering from gut inflammation. They hope to carry out the mission on Monday but have already lost one of the two contracts attached to the mission due to time constraints.

Alaba Observed in New Orbit

New orbital data has been posted for Alaba after its first predicted encounter with Mun earlier today, which astronomers were able to observe in full. Alaba exited Mun’s SOI just 0.342 seconds sooner than predicted and all other orbital parameters are within acceptable margins of error. Although eager to see how the tiny differences in planned versus actual observations would affect the years-long propagation detailed in a report earlier this week, unfortunately that will have to wait as a possible error in the trajectory software has been identified when progressing mission states. Until it is resolved, the best anyone can do is keep an eye out for the next predicted encounter to occur on November 25th.

Increased Asteroid Awareness Sparks Concern from Public

The Asteroid Tracking Network has been addressing increasing concern from the public about the high number of asteroids that have been discovered so far this month and the statement they released about them only seeing an estimated 40% of what is actually out there near Kerbin at any given time. They have reminded everyone that it’s still too early to tell if the current high count of asteroids is what things always look like in our neighborhood or if we just happen to be passing through a thicker portion of all the debris left over from the Kerbol system’s formation. Even though we still don’t have the coverage necessary to spot the majority of asteroids whizzing by, the chances of another kilometers-wide planet-killer are looking very small considering that we have found none so far since the one that almost wiped us out centuries ago. Of course that doesn’t mean none are out there, and the ATN will continue to look and work to increase our sky coverage.

ATN Database Update

The weekly update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 1,198 asteroids and 22 updated with new observation data.

Celestial Snapshot of the Week

The elusive shadow of Bop is revealed! With an orbital inclination of 15° around Jool, the second-smallest moon does not always pass between Jool and the sun to cast its shadow down upon the cloud tops. Ironically it’s too small to resolve at this resolution, taken by Commander Valentina with her personal telescope.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 11/13/17

I had hoped to be on Monday today and have my 1 week lead time locked in but just a bit short, still better off than I was last week for once so that’s good. Part of the reason why I’m not leading by a week as planned is because….

Failed Wallops launch viewing attempt

So I made a second attempt to see an Antares launch from Wallops Island down in Virginia. I was planning on going to a launch earlier this year but it was scrubbed the day before and rescheduled to a day I couldn’t make. This past weekend seemed like a perfect opportunity being that it was very early and very cold (down to 25°F) so turnout would hopefully be a bit less than usual. I planned to head down Arbuckle Neck Rd but they had it closed off – it’s listed as a public viewing site on the tourism website for the area which actually directs you to turn down the road, which will take you a mile from the launch pad. They’ve probably been closing it since the huge launch failure back in 2014. Anyways I made the 4.5hr drive with no problems, get setup on the side of the road at the top of Arbuckle so still ~2mi from the launch site and the countdown proceeds with some issues but they are resolved and we get into the final count and “we have red range for aircraft” comes over the live feed on my phone piped through my car speakers and I’m like “Nooooooooooooooooo” and despite the 5-minute window I learned later that the small GA plane refused to respond to calls to get the fuck out. So then another 4.5hr drive back and roughly 11hrs total wasted time. Ironically that 2014 launch failure was another botched attempt at viewing a launch, this time from the Jersey Shore near where I live. I stood out on the boardwalk and saw nothing, then checked my phone and found it had exploded shortly after lift off. Well, here’s hoping I have better luck in 2018…

SRB thrust curves

Since v1.1 of KSP there has been the ability to apply thrust curves to engines in the stock game, you can read more about them here. When I was getting things tested for learning to work with the curves I nearly had a meltdown when I saw the thrust of the 0.625m USI booster was producing way more than what it had during the last MK5 launch and I was like “OMG did I use improper engine configurations during that launch?!?” but then I remembered it was just because I had thrust-limited the booster 😛

Deuce sim training

There’s no link between the sim training and anything I’m actually doing, it’s just an activity to talk about and certainly makes sense for the pilots to be doing. I mean, sure if I had the time I would be flying around in the Deuce a lot because it’s a fun plane to fly (oops, spoiler alert?) but yea no I don’t have the time.

Kerbin relocated

I did this series back in the original KSA run, I thought I had an album with more images than this (oh right, I deleted in when I rebooted. Shucks, the images are still in the flickr account but buried) but no time to put one together at the moment so there you go. I didn’t show off Jool or Laythe a lot because I still want some wiggle room in case I need to make any big texture changes to them in the future when there is a probe around them or something.