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May 24 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 5/20/19

View post on imgur.com

Ascension One Step Away from Kerbed Flights

The flight analysis for the last Ascension Mk1 mission was posted this week and confirms that the capsule performed the in-flight abort well-within tolerances for live crew members. This means the next launch, scheduled for next week, is the final test before we feel it is safe enough to put an actual astronaut on board. Lead Engineer Simon reports that the rocket is ready to be rolled out on Monday.

In other Ascension news we released a render of the new crew access tower and the new umbilical configuration. The lower umbilical in that render is the one that is currently at the top of the tower, we will be taking the current lower one and moving it up to deliver liquid propellants to the Ascension Mk2 Viklun orbital stage. Right now both booms only send either liquid fuel or oxidizer but we have developed a new system that can carry both fuels across in separate feed lines. The crew access tower will have an elevator that leads to an astronaut ready room for final suit up before taking the retractable walkway to the capsule.

Another render that was released this week was for the RTG from Coatl Areospace that will power our orbital satellites. It can carry various amounts of fuel pellets for various levels of power outputs and longevity. The more powerful versions will put out enough heat that the unit can be extended away from the spacecraft to keep the main components cooler. The extendable arm can also be used on future deep space probes to control angular momentum of a spinning craft if placed properly.

The team has been working with Extremis to get a better idea of whether the Mk2 would be capable of carrying payloads out to Mun or Minmus and were pleased to find that the rocket is actually capable of ejecting a 255kg payload out of the Kerbin system entirely. Whether this is enough to also reach Duna or Eve still has to be looked into, and even though this means it can reach Minmus or Mun being able to send enough fuel on the payload for an orbital insertion is also unknown at this time. Even so, just flying by any of these bodies would still be a great boon to science.

Progenitor Sets Launch Date for Mk7-A

The parts have been ordered for our first rocket and Simon has given his team 3-4 weeks to do the assembly since many of the parts are new in addition to the rocket design itself being new. The launch date has been set for 6/20 @ 17:42 UTC and you can find out more about the rocket and its first mission on our Ops Tracker.

The flight analysis for the launch last week of the Mk6 Block I on its 11th mission has also been posted and we could possibly see another Block II launch next month as well.

KerBalloon Stalls Due to Parts Shortage

The KerBalloon program team has several new contracts and while the low-altitude crew is getting a balloon and their UTVs ready for an overland excursion the high-altitude team is stuck sitting around for a new parts shipment to arrive so they can construct their own balloon probes. Unfortunately there are times where the money just doesn’t meet the needs and a delay in ordering parts leads to a delay in the mission.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 3,594 asteroids and 3 updated with new observation data. Here are the 44 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

Uhhh did I really write up a whole week of stuff in one day? Not exactly since last week’s Desk Notes was written this morning and then I went to sleep and wrote this one late in the evening. So it wasn’t a continuous stretch of work but still – not too shabby. Of course it’s easy given there’s not much missions going on but that’s also kind of the point since I now have my three week lead time without any serious stuff coming that will knock me back until the end of June into early July when I have some fireworks shows. So hopefully before then I will finally be able to push out v10 of the Ops Tracker with real-time ascent/flight information.

5/23 addendum – I did in fact achieve my goal and deploy the real-time ascent data before this entry! I still have one item remaining on my V10 Github milestone to add ground stations to the surface map that I will most likely get to before the week is out. Then after the next Ascension launch if the streaming still works okay I’ll call v10 ready for release.

Mk7 cost

Everything on the rocket costs the proper amount except for the engine shroud base and fairing pieces – those I reduced by a factor of 10 because they are actually supposed to be a part of the engine model not separate parts. Nertea has said this will be addressed in a future release (may have already been) but to be honest I like having the separate parts because now the shrouds have their own mass rather than just being part of the mass of the engine (or, not having any mass at all really). Also the fairing base ring looks like part of the engine assembly.

Expense adjustments

I had to go back into my 2016-17 and 2018 financial spreadsheets to add expenses for the two small fuel trucks, one large fuel truck, ground power unit truck, and the carry vehicle used for the Ascension Mk1 and Progeny Mk7. Those all should have been expenses since they are things built out of parts that have costs assigned to them. Thankfully all my spreadsheets in the three separate files are linked so adding expenses updated all the other sheets. This is also why only the current month’s expense report is only ever available at one time because I don’t want to have to keep past sheets up to date on Google docs.

This of course leaves the KSA with much less money than it had previously but thankfully not enough to warrant any changes I already had planned for how things will be progressing over the next 2-3 months. Plus also maybe more people will donate? But nothing is reliant on that still.

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