Mar 01 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 2/25/19

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Progeny Mk7 Vacuum Engine Revealed

Continuing to release more details of the next Progeny rocket, the Progenitor program posted this tweet detailing the new vacuum engine that will replace the aerospike design currently in use. Although the aerospike developed by Umbra Space Industries was an incredible feat of engineering, the company has failed in their attempts to scale it up over the past few years. While they haven’t given up, they also were not able to dedicate resources towards an engine that met the Mk7 design specs but we did have some bids from Rockomax Conglomerate and Bluedog Design Bureau. Ultimately the Rockomax design won the contract. It is only 1.5kN more powerful than the USI aerospike and slightly less efficient but the main design goals were to introduce a gimbal system that allow the engine to vector as much as 3° while also allowing the engine to be restarted once after shutting down. This would be used either for an orbital insertion burn or a de-orbit burn depending on the mission profile.

C7 Aerospace Shut Down by Government Investigation

Earlier this week the C7 executive division was raided by government agents and the entire division was placed under arrest, effectively halting all company operations. You can read all the details in this press release. We are still waiting for more information to be released – Operations Director Drew Kerman has been trying to talk to politicians in the capital but has so far failed to learn any new details and no one we work with at C7 that hasn’t been arrested seems to know what is going on. This is a very troubling situation we don’t expect to be resolved anytime soon but we do at least hope to learn more about the reasons behind the arrests and investigation soon.

Ascension Mk1 Engine Suffers Explosive Static Fire Failure

Every new K2-X engine that we receive is mounted to the 1.25m engine test stand out on the edge of the R&D complex to undergo several static fire tests prior to being integrated with an Ascension Mk1 lifter for flight. The final engine from our original order in 2018 was undergoing a routine static fire to simulate the full flight profile when it exploded 1m26s into the test. The entire upper-half of the stand holding the fuel tank was completely destroyed while the lower half was damaged badly enough to crack the concrete base. A full investigation is currently underway to ascertain the issue(s) that led to the explosion and could take anywhere from 2-3 months to complete. Until then, no kerbed missions will be undertaken. Unkerbed capsule testing will still go on, and the upcoming Viklun 1.25m vacuum engine, due to be delivered next month, will simply be tested in flight if we are unable to setup a pad test.

High-Altitude KerBalloon Mission’s Return Overdue

Departing earlier this month, the high-altitude KerBalloon crew was embedded with an expedition to sail to the furthest body of water and release two balloons. They were due back yesterday and have still not arrived back in port at Umbarg so far as of today. No one is seriously concerned yet, given they have an extra week of supplies to last them at sea and if they were damaged in a storm but able to make it to land their chances are even better. Given they are traveling over 4,000km there and back it’s not surprising they may have slipped off their travel schedule.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 3,211 asteroids and 2 updated with new observation data. Here are the 23 asteroids that were discovered this past week: