Jan 11 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 1/7/19

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KSC Returns to Flight with 3 Launches Planned for January

After spending all last week in team meetings, at the start of this week the program leads came together and hashed out a launch schedule for all three of our current rockets to go up this month:

Progeny Mk6 Block I: 1/15 @ 15:53 UTC
Ascension Mk1: 1/23 @ 22:21 UTC
Progeny MK6 Block II: 1/31 @ 16:47 UTC

Almost all of these flights were well into their final readiness stages back when the EM field sprung up, so getting them all closed out for launch in just the first month of returning to full operations isn’t a huge task, although it will still require a lot of work. The main reason we are pushing these three launches out the door as fast as possible is because they are all bottlenecks to further development. The Progeny Mk6 Block I needs to prove its biological sample units can be returned intact and were in fact the cause of the last mission failure before we can feel safe launching with additional payloads. The Ascension Mk1 has given up on reaching orbit for new goals to prepare for sub-orbital capsule flight. The Progeny Mk6 Block II has yet to find a role for itself in our current lineup and we have to see if this expendable mission is worth the cost. So until all three rockets have flown, we simply can’t really schedule or plan any further missions.

Genesis Starts 2019 Off Strong

Sinking into the red in 2018 thanks to the development costs of the Dhumla, Genesis is charging ahead and determined to show a profit this year. Flight Officers Tedman and Aldeny participated in two missions just this week alone. A Civvie science flight was conducted by Tedman to collect air samples out over the massive burn scar left by the fires in the wake of an asteroid explosion, allowing scientists to see how air quality has improved in the weeks since the smoke has cleared out. Both Tedman and Aldeny worked together aboard a Deuce flight to travel out over a stretch of water where mariners had reported seeing large creatures breaching the surface off in the distance. Trying to get a closer look proved fruitless as the creatures appeared to be scared off by the noise of their ships. Using the belly camera, scientists hoped the aircraft would be able to find evidence of the animals at or near the surface of the water. The mission collected almost 15,000 photos to be analyzed. The last time we went hunting based on reports like these, nothing was found.

Ascension Capsule Testing Ramps Up

The 4 astronauts spent most of last month giving the new capsule prototype a thorough look-over from the inside and out, now it’s heading outside to begin some more rigorous testing such as being lofted several kilometers up by a KerBalloon and then dropped to see how well it handles free flight and the impact of landing under chute on both sea and land. No kerbals will be aboard the capsule during these tests but a dummy (nicknamed Greggery, which is apparently hilarious although the astronauts refuse to let anyone in on the joke) will simulate the mass of an occupant while also recording data.

A second, stripped down capsule was also delivered this week so it could be integrated into a simulator the astronauts can use to train on using the systems aboard the craft. It won’t be anything fancy, there won’t be computer-generated images out the sole window, but flight controllers will be able to program in various scenarios, both normal and emergency situations for the astronauts to learn how to handle. Hopefully they all die a lot in the simulator so that they learn to live during the missions.

C7 Aerospace Scores Win for Aircraft Business

Airships have plied the skies for centuries, with fixed-wing aircraft literally never taking off before civilization was forced underground. The airship industry is a business juggernaut and getting in the way of their profits has not made C7 Aerospace and their partners, like us, many friends in a government that has long been propped up by the wealth of airship barons. Legal blocks and political wrangling have hounded the aircraft industry at every turn, but this past week C7 managed to score a major victory by getting permission to construct an airstrip at the new Kongo River Research Base that has been getting setup for operations since late last year. They expect to have the single runway completed by March or April.

This is good news for us at KSC as well hopefully, since for the past year we’ve been trying to work up the funding with C7 to expand our own airport facilities to serve as a hub for Umbarg, which is the “capital” of the airship business and has flat out refused to accept any airstrips near its massive underground hangar complex.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 3,016 asteroids and 1 updated with new observation data.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 11/25/18

This was a good solid week. Both aircraft flights were flown with no major issues and I’m really looking forwards to also getting back into launch operations again at last! Also if you didn’t realize, the burn scars in the Civvie flight were just the same graphic as the Monolith burn but tilted/rotated and enlarged to cover the landscape. I wasn’t going to bother with it, but seeing the extent of the scars created by the recent California wildfires made me want to do it.

KSP v1.5.1

I haven’t really been paying attention to mod status since the latest KSP version dropped but just in the back of my mind I was starting to think that things were looking pretty good for an upgrade. I whittled down my install to just the mods I used on a regular basis and the part mods that were needed to load all my current operational craft – the Progeny & Ascension rockets and the Civvie, Deuce and Dhumla aircraft. That ended up being only around 100 mods and once I had the list I went and checked them all. 80% were noted as 1.5.1 compatible and I went one at a time through the remainder to ensure they worked properly. I did have to drop two minor mods I barely use but the rest all worked okay so I made the transition. I haven’t done anything yet except get fully setup on 1.5.1 so I will report back next week on how it goes actually using it.

There is one thing I already knew would be an issue – the new suits. They do look nice but it completely redoes the texture sheets which means all the old suits made for TextureReplacer no longer work properly. Thankfully I don’t often feature the crew in photos and the visual difference between 1.4.5 and 1.5.1 is negligible as well as being able to load all the craft I need in either version which means I can still go back to 1.4.5 for crew photos in the short term. Long term I’m going to have to decide how I want to move forwards by adopting entirely new suits designs or trying to rework the texture sheets to use the current design. There’s also the option of the new retro suits, which remove that obnoxious neck collar.