Sep 06 2019

Operations Summary – Week of 9/2/19

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Dr. Murstap Survives First Rocket Sled Run

This week the headstrong Dr. Murstap Kerman climbed aboard the rocket sled to be blasted down the 2.2km track. All the data from previous testing looked good, although Head of R&D Wernher von Kerman expressed his concern that not enough data had yet been gathered. Murstap, ultimately in charge of the project, acknowledged the concern but was not willing to expend another booster gathering more test data when they only had 3 left from this initial funding round, including the one already bolted to the sled.

So it was that Murstap was sent roaring down the track this past Wednesday. Like previous runs the sled was accelerated at nearly 3.5Gs up to a new land speed record of 261m/s before hitting the water trap 1.8km down the track and slowing rapidly over the next 400m and placing a momentary max load of 18Gs upon the capsule occupant. Murstap was helped out of the capsule shortly afterwards and taken to the Support Village medical clinic for physicians to examine him. He was released later the same day without any injuries.

After he and his team take the time to closely study the data from the run, Murstap will once again climb aboard the sled sometime later this month and the water trap will be deepened to slow the sled faster and place even more Gs on him. We know from past experience that an instantaneous load of up to 24Gs is survivable thanks to Captain Jeb crashing the Deuce back in 2017, so it’s likely Murstap will aim to raise the bar up to around that level.

Missions Progress Update

All upcoming missions are progressing on schedule. The Ascension Mk1 for later this month has been moved to “center stage” in the VAB for primary processing and ensuring the capsule was ready to be stacked next week atop the lift stage. This freed up room in the wings for the Ascension Mk2 to begin to receive some more attention between its lift stage and orbital stage. The parts for the payload, announced last week, have yet to begin to arrive. Off to the other side of center, the Progeny Mk7-A has all its motors delivered and guidance fins are in the process of being attached before the rocket can be staged. The Kerbal Sounding Project has continued to receive submissions for their student launches later this year.

Over in the HAB there have been delays getting the Mobile Launch Platform engines installed as mechanics struggle to work with the massive equipment. Although everything was designed to just drop in, the reality is much more complicated and things are not lining up as well as expected. The modifications needed to get it all to fit together will likely push the MLP into early October, meaning the Ascension Mk2 is now looking at a launch date no earlier than mid-October.

August Financial Report

You can review the August financial report here. CFO Mortimer is happy we were able to pull off a slight profit, and we have to thank our Patreon supporters for helping to make that happen. We expect narrow margins for the remainder of the year – spending will be high as we launch the final missions of 2019 and currently our only main source of income are KerBalloon missions thanks to the increased competition in the aircraft market.

ATN Database

The latest update for the Asteroid Tracking Network database is available here, containing 4,043 asteroids and 5 updated with new observation data. Here are the 38 asteroids that were discovered this past week.

From the Desk of Drew Kerman

Out of Character Behind the Scenes stuff

Written on 8/28/19

Just four days from my last Desk Notes and already blew through a week. Good progress, still looking to get back to at least a month lead time before working more on the Ops Tracker to get orbital capabilities up and running. Would like to work faster but also want to take the time to do some nice content. Real happy with the VAB photo and also the…

Rocket sled

So I was originally going to give up completely on the photo showing the sled hitting the water trap but at the same time I really wanted it. So I made the effort and wrote up a bunch of MM configs to add plumes to the LV-1 “Ant” engine so I could clip it into the track and activate it to produce what I hoped would look like a big splash of water. I went through my entire GameData and searched for FX folders, which hold assets I can use for plumes. I found a bunch of smoke assets I hoped would be white, since I thought that was the best I could do but then came across an actual water effect in the KSO folder. The vehicles pack comes with a fire truck and the fire truck has a water cannon. I spent some time playing around with the plume settings to get an effect I liked.

The actual photo, like most, is a composite of several layers. The events were actually done in reverse – first I activated the motors spraying the water with infinite fuel and took several screenshots as the plumes expanded. Then I cut off the engines, disabled infinite fuel and fired off the SRB. Again, took several rapid screenshots in succession to capture the burn out. Then I combined two images of the water plumes to get varying lengths and two images of the SRB so the burnout was a bit more intense with some of the actual flame still present in the smoke.

Kerbed space anniversary image

So after a few more days of the image I commissioned from Yorshee out in the wild, looks like it’s not something I’m going to be doing often. It’s close to being the top-seen tweet of the month but given that it was retweeted twice while the current top tweet was not, that’s a bit disappointing. I also did not really see a corresponding uptick in followers or web traffic. I usually don’t put expectations on things but in this case for such original content, I was expecting more.

KSP update

Still waiting on KS3P to fix up some issues but the developer is back and seems to be on top of it. Also still waiting on free time to make the jump to 1.7.3 but other than getting the visuals set up to look consistent, I don’t see any major gameplay troubles to overcome.

Did anyone math the rocket sled deceleration?

I purposefully gave up a lot of specific information about the rocket sled test run to see if anyone would bother trying to work out how many Gs of force the sled would have actually been subjected to. Not sure if I included all the information needed tho. The Gs are plot-based, meaning I have them tailored to suit the story rather than trying to work out a setup where they really come out that way. Just too much effort to put into this side plot.

Also it’s worth noting the sled is already traveling at near the record speed set by John Stapp, but consideration should be taken that he was using an open-air sled.