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May 17 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 5/13/19

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Ascension Crew Selection & LES Ascent Test

This week’s mission, the fifth Ascension Mk1 flight, tested out the Launch Escape System under ascent conditions – all previous testing had been done on the launch pad in the event of a mishap prior to lift off. The capsule was successfully separated from the rocket while it was still under power and landed under chute in the water north of KSC. The data from the test dummy aboard is still being studied to ensure that the conditions suffered during the abort were within tolerances for live crew members. The results from this flight, coupled with the upcoming launch at the end of the month, will ultimately determine whether we can launch a kerbal on the following flight in July.

Today we held the crew selection process via a live stream on YouTube, which you can review here if you’d like to see how the lottery system was done. Long story short – the first kerbal to ascend into space will be Specialist Bob Kerman! He will then be followed by a crew rotation order of Bill, Val and Jeb. Being first into space will exempt Bob from also being first to orbit Kerbin, but there are so many “1sts” still out their to be claimed that all of our crew remain excited at future prospects.

Progenitor Tests New Science Instrument

The Progeny Mk6 Block I also flew a mission this week to allow the testing of a new science instrument: the hemispherical ion trap. This instrument was originally designed to measure charged particles in the kerbolar wind while riding aboard one of our Extremis probes, but the environment within the radiation belts surrounding our planet also provide a suitable location for study. Initial results from the data collected are promising and could potentially lead to a follow-up mission with the Block II up to the outer radiation belt.

Flight Officer Aldeny Laid to Rest

This weekend funeral services will be held in Aldeny’s home cavern of Ockr after his death on a Dhumla mission, reported last week. We’ve updated the background information on his crew profile page, click the bottom of the image to pull it up. You can do a full review of all his exploits during the year of service to the KSA on this page. RIP

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 3,551 asteroids and 0 updated with new observation data. Here are the 39 asteroids that were discovered this past week:

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 5/2/19 (with added notes on 5/17 for crew selection livestream & ascent telemetry)

Sooooo close to 3 week lead time. Was only two days off but then got side tracked a bit by other things, like finally working up a Google map of all my road trip car photos geolocated so that not only can you see proof my car was there but get a look at the crazy roads it was driving on. Links are also included to the route plan for road trip it was taken on, so if anyone is looking for cool road trip ideas, check it out.

Progeny launch

Rrrrgghhh so stupid that it took me like 5 tries to get this rocket into space because of stupid copy/paste errors in the code that I didn’t bother to look at closely. Then there was one legit error where kOS was like “can’t find event ‘log radiation data'” even though the error report listed “log radiation data” as an event that was callable. I submitted that bug to the kOS team a while ago and forgot about it.

The fairings was an interesting twist I did not plan. At first I thought I had disabled the explosive force in the part for some reason in the past but I checked and the property was still there.

Ascension launch

Nearly nailed this on the first try, because I added some code in the abort function that disabled checking of ascent events that would have been invalidated by no longer having the fuel tank or engine attached. However I forgot to disabled locked variables related to the engine which crashed the program on the first try but then I was able to run the mission fine on the second. What’s nice is that I didn’t code anything new – I just simply enabled the abort routines I already had in place from the last launch and let that all play out to see if everything worked as I had intended

Crew selection livestream

Not too shabby for my first livestream, I think I stuck to script pretty well because yes, of course there was a script. I think the overall production was nice, I only screwed up at the end when I started the KSP theme music – it sounded so much louder in my headphones that I lowered the volume, which was already lowered in the stream and made the music mostly inaudible. One person showed up, which was more than I had hoped for to be completely honest. It’s why I didn’t plan for the selection process to make use of any viewer participation. Really the point wasn’t to kick start some new live streaming aspect of the KSA but just let people see how the selection process went down and that it was totally random and non-predetermined by me in any way. The one practice run through I did before going live had a selection of Bill, Val, Bob, Jeb – yep poor Jeb was still relegated to the rear!

Ascent telemetry

Yay it works again! All in all it took me about a week to get everything up and running – which is way better than I ever thought possible. Most of what I did in my older Flight Tracker was thankfully in JavaScript and the ASP parts were mostly already handled from a data-loading perspective. So it was mostly copy/paste with various adjustments to work in the new asynchronous framework of the Ops Tracker. I do agree it looks much cooler with some ascent video to go along with it but that’s still a ways off since making the videos remains a pain in the ass and rather time-consuming. Not to mention from what I remember getting the video to work across various browsers and stay synched to the telemetry data was a nightmare.

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