May 03 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 4/29/19

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Ascension Program Targets July for 1st Kerbal in Space

The flight analysis for the latest Ascension Mk1 mission dropped this week and you can read all the juicy details right here.

Program leads have planned out the use of the three remaining Mk1 lifters, only two of which have engines to be attached currently. Because the K2-X is still not certified safe for kerbed flight until the test explosion investigation is completed the next two flights will be uncrewed for more testing. The first will launch on 5/16 to carry the original test capsule partway to space for an ascent abort test. The second will launch on 5/28 to re-fly the capsule from this recent flight once again through space with some minor adjustments to the mission profile.

If both missions go well and the K2-X is cleared of problems then we could have a kerbed sub-orbital flight put together by July. Who will be the first astronaut in space? All 4 have trained for the privilege but only one can be the first. Stay tuned next week – we’ll be announcing more details about the selection process!

Genesis Program Resumes Operations

The dust has finally settled in the hidden feud between the aircraft and airship industries – what we can say about the ordeal is summed up in this report.

Flight Officers Ted & Aldy have returned for work ahead of C7 resuming operations next week to clear out some mission backlog although weather failed to cooperate much and they were not able to re-fly the southern polar mission until today. Next week will be a Civvie flight to gather some pollen level data while they wait for the investigation to complete into why the Dhumla lost cabin pressure on its last test flight. Once cleared, it will begin flight testing once again.

April Financial Report Released

Head of Finances Mortimer finished getting the books in order for this past month and you can view the latest reports here. While our operating capital continues to diminish, we’re still confident that we can begin carrying commercial payloads into space later this year before we completely run out of money. Even the early Progeny Mk7 designs will be more capable of a greater range of payload configurations and the Ascension Mk1 is already proven to be a capable launcher. Plus we have some investors in the wings who have pledged their support if we get a kerbal into space.

KerBalloon Comings and Goings

Earlier this week the low-altitude crew set out on their mission while the high-altitude crew returned from theirs with a successful outcome. So far May is off to a good financial start. Genesis has even achieved profit again just in time for Dhumla testing to resume.

Deep Space Network Update

ATN/DSN Central has completed its commissioning phase and all facilities are ready to be staffed up for operations to begin by mid-year. The complex is home to the planet’s largest reflecting telescope, sporting a segmented 10m primary mirror assembly that should provide some stunning new images of the heavens. It also contains two 27m radio dishes that can communicate with future orbiting satellites or launch vehicles as they head downrange. A 60m dish is also planned, but was put off so more attention could be placed on the next two observatory locations, one of which has already fallen behind schedule.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 3,490 asteroids and 2 updated with new observation data. Here are the 21 asteroids that were discovered this past week:

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 4/19/19

It took me a bit longer than I would have liked to get around to writing up the Ascension analysis but mostly that was due to fiddling around with Launch Vehicle Designer. Still am working on plugging the data from KSP back into LVD to attempt and recreate the flight in the simulation as accurately as possible.

I’ve recently realized I may have inadvertently overpowered the Viklun engine. Originally it was spec’d at around 330 ISP but I saw that my K2-X lifter engine had that and was like, well this one should be higher so I increased it to 360. Well turns out the 330 ISP was for the 2.5m version of the K2-X engine and I wasn’t paying attention to which one in the parts menu I was looking at when I checked the specs.

I actually had some spare time to download and configure KSP v1.6.1 to have all the usual graphical goodies but running with DX11 enabled. So far so good, no major problems. However there have been a great deal of stylistic changes to things like Scatterer and Stock Visual Enhancements even in just the jump from 1.5.1 to 1.6.1 and it is a royal pain in the ass to work through and reconfigure things to look the way they look now and have looked since 1.1.3. There’s just little to no documentation and you can only learn what does what by fiddling around with values (of which there are a lot). So, not sure when I will actually be able to switch to 1.6.1 full time because who knows how long it’ll take me to figure out the graphics stuff.