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Jun 29 2018

Operations Summary – Week of 6/25/18

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Progeny Mk6 Block II Flight Analysis & Radiation Report

There was a lot of data to sift through in the lengthy first flight of the Mk6-II but the final analysis has revealed that all major flight issues can be resolved, the only real problem that remains is how we are going to support a mission that could last nearly 3 hours given the limited amount of battery capacity the rocket can carry. Software engineers are looking at hibernating the probe core, which is something Extremis program engineers have already begun researching so hopefully that will give Progenitor a leg up and let us send a second Block II up sooner rather than later.

You can also read this separate report on what the data from this latest flight has told us about hazardous radiation in space.

Ascension Capsule Testing, New Engine

This week saw the first major testing of our two prototype space capsules, which were lifted by low-altitude balloons and dropped to be recovered, testing out their parachutes and flotation collars over water. The capsules carried a test dummy, not actual kerbals, and the pressure systems were active during the flight to test out seals and environment controls. We will have a full report once testing is complete but for now you can get additional details via this timeline.

Although we know we can make orbit with the current lift stage carrying a light payload to low altitudes, the Ascension Mk1 will not be able to put heavier payloads into higher circular orbits efficiently all by itself. By the time that becomes necessary however we will have a new vacuum engine ready to use for a second stage, designed by Bluedog Design Bureau.

K-422 Design Finalized

Check out the final blueprint for the K-422, which has been in a bit of design limbo these past few months thanks to the Air Safety Administration needing to approve the new folding wing design and new engines having to be developed to account for the low ground clearance of the aircraft. Designed to carry large loads of cargo, the K-422 is the most direct challenger to the airship industry to date. It is not capable of hauling as much load but it can take what it can carry and deliver it faster and over longer distances. Parts will begin arriving in the Horizontal Assembly Building for construction to get underway next month for completion in September

Tedman Flies First Mission

With the Deuce mission to test air launching a rocket delayed, the only other mission slated for Genesis was a check of pollen levels using a Civvie, which is only piloted by one kerb. Tedman and Aldeny flipped a coin to decide who would go and Tedman won, carrying out the mission earlier this week. Both pilots certainly miss that they don’t get as much air time as they used to as flight instructors. The aircraft here at KSC are not personal vehicles and can only be taken out on official missions. Training flights are not in the budget, although there has been some argument for them to ensure that our pilots remain confident at the controls under any situation. Since Ted flew this mission, Aldy will get command of the Deuce during the rocket test flight.

Mystery Goo Studies Continue

A balloon launch this week for KerBalloon also carried aloft additional samples of mystery goo, half of which were exposed through the lower atmosphere but then sealed and pressurized for the remainder of the flight while the other half was left exposed all the way into the upper atmosphere. After returning to the lab the goo was further separated – some were placed near varying levels of kuudite ore while a control group was left alone as done in previous studies. The initial results show that the goo exposed to low levels of kuudite came out of stasis stronger than the control, but levels normally tolerated by the bacteria turned out to be damaging. Scientists are still trying to understand where this behavior to enter and leave a protective form of suspended animation came from, given that the goo was all found underground safely nestled in kuudite deposits.

Arekibo Construction Complete

After just over a year of construction, the 200m diameter dish of the Arekbo Radio Observatory and its accompanying support structures such as the huge suspended beam receiver have been completed. It’s now time for scientists attached to the project to move in and begin installing all the equipment necessary for the observatory to function, a process which is expected to take another 3 months, after which several more months of testing and calibration will bring the facility to a point where it can begin science operations at the start of next year. For more info on Arekibo and the rest of our developing Deep Space Network, see this article.

ATN Database

The weekly update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 2,159 asteroids and 6 updated with new observation data.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 6/18/18

I was really, really close to getting this all wrapped up over a week ago before leaving to do a fireworks show but I ran into some issues with the game that made me go “fuck it” and just start my time off from KSP early. Now I have this week before going away again most of next week and the following week. Thankfully I’m already up to the end of June so if I can just do a week of ops this week I won’t run out of lead time when I get back at the start of July – tho I will be dangerously low on lead time. Ugh. Seems like I can never catch up to where I want to be.

LES over nose chute

When I tweeted about how the nose cone chute was going to be installed under the launch escape system I realized I really had to go and make sure I could actually do that before I made it a thing that would suck to have to walk back on. Thankfully I managed to make it work, and if you’re interested here’s the patch I came up with. It ends up leaving a flat surface around the cone chute that isn’t very aerodynamic but the LES will be jettisoned high enough that this won’t really matter.

Orbital decay?

Someone picked up the orbital decay mod and now I’m wondering again if I want to include it in my save. The main problem is that there’s no way to model the decay in KSPTOT, which would make the mission planner rather useless since the spacecraft will never quite be where the planner thinks it will be. Unless I can get the two mods integrated, I would rather be able to do extensive mission planning with a tool that makes it easy to share the process with my audience through graphs and such. I think though it should be possible, since the orbital decay mod gives you an estimation of time left in orbit, and hopefully that rough calculation can be used by KSPTOT to get a better idea of where a vessel might be after several orbits. I had also previously decided not to do this because I didn’t like the thought of having to update the Ops Tracker database every single day with new orbital data so things stay current. However it’s now pretty easy to do this – I literally just copy/paste values directly out of the game into the database – I may be able to automate it even. The main problem would be the fact that the two asteroids in orbit should have been affected by decay all this time and haven’t – but I think I have good workarounds for that if needed. I’m going to continue to keep an eye on the mod – thankfully it’s a decision I’m still a ways off from having to make.

Capsule drops

Geez this game has to make what should be even simple shit hard. So the way I had the KerBalloon attached to the capsule by struts was done by placing the nose cone atop the capsule, then the balloon atop the nose code node I put there for an LES. Then I translated the balloon higher and added the struts. Yea as soon as it went out to the launch pad the struts said “screw you!” and disappeared leaving the balloon to fall off. Okay. So I had to attach the balloon to the top of the capsule and then the nose cone to a node on the balloon and rotate/translate that into place.

Then getting the float collars to deploy, first I had to use VesselMover to get the capsule out over the water but when I went to put it down it moved at like 0.01m/s taking forever to reach the damn water. if I removed the float collar part VesselMover would put it on the ground as fast as normal. Figures. Then I also had trouble arming thin thing to deploy once it hit the water, and there was no manually deploy button….

K-422

At the time of this writing I’m still calling it the K-422 because no one has bothered to send in any naming suggestions. I think I’m just not going to bother doing that for any other vessel, since it does leave me in a kind of limbo when I go to write tweets or make graphics for future posts I’m not sure if I should still be calling it K-422 or if someone will have suggested a good name by that time. Like, if someone does I will have to go back and rewrite some tweets using the new name instead of the code name.

New props were really needed because the blades were too long – unfortunately I didn’t want to also make them way more powerful so the closest I could find was originally designed to be a pusher prop and so I’m still looking into whether flipping it around to face forward is having an impact on its performance. I will of course need to determine this before the blueprint goes live next week and I have to change things…

All in all though I’m really glad with how it turned out, and again this is why I enjoy taking things so slowly – the more time that passes the better my options get for doing things with this game. I mean, back in the original KSA run this was the best I could do for a C-130 analogue.

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