Tag Archive: Kerbin I

Apr 21 2020

Kerbin I Mission Analysis

Originally conceived in 2018 and planned to launch aboard an Ascension Mk1 in 2019, when that rocket was deemed unable to make orbit the payload was delayed and eventually committed to the Ascension Mk2, which was not able to fly until early 2020. The purpose of our first orbital satellite was to place our mission control team in charge of actual orbital operations, test the new Archtagon Aerospace RB-8 cold gas engine, test the new Probodobodyne OKTO common probe core and perform one final re-entry/impact test of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). The probe carried a massive bank of batteries because the RTG remained non-functional, allowing for the probe to stay up in orbit for several days with the use of hibernation to save power. The mission got off to an uncertain start when the Viklun upper stage placed the satellite into an unstable orbit, leaving the team on the ground with the challenge of recovering the situation to still carry out the previously-stated mission objectives.

The Mission

Deployment to begin the mission was carried out once the Viklun stage came back into communications range of the ground via its more powerful 1.5Mm antenna. Having run out of power about an hour prior to this, it had been leeching electrical charge from Kerbin I’s battery banks to keep itself alive. Although Kerbin I only carried a 500km antenna, deployment was planned for now because afterwards Kerbin I could go into hibernation, conserving energy over the time it would have spent coming within its own comms range. The Viklun stage had enough residual power after separation it could continue to relay signal while Kerbin I transitioned into hibernation, after which the Viklun became derelict. How it fared after this can be read about in the Ascension Mk2 Flight 1 analysis.

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Mar 19 2020

Ascension Mk2 Flight 1 Analysis

Originally introduced as the Ascension Mk1 Block II back in March 2018, this rocket was meant to be the heavy-lift variant to the orbital Block I, using as many as 4 solid rocket motors to help it get going off the pad with larger payloads. Eventually however as the Block I showed it didn’t have the power to reach orbit the Block II was shelved and the following year brought back as the Mk2 with the addition of the Viklun upper stage. The rocket was originally set to fly in late 2019 until doubts began to creep in about the performance of the new guidance fins in being able to turn the rocket over enough for a shallow orbital ascent. A test flight with the Mk1 was set for the end of the year instead but that was forced back into early 2020 when the KSC was attacked and the launch pad damaged. All this and more details can be reviewed in the mission timeline, which includes tweets dating back to the Ascension program’s inception in 2017. Having over two years to prepare for the launch of this rocket, very little issues were had in the final lead-up to its mission. The rocket was rolled out atop the Mobile Launch Platform and all three service towers were finally used, with the lower booms providing fuel to the two stages and the crew access extension giving power to the Viklun and Kerbin I probe cores. The 1.25m computer core of the Viklun stage is the first of its size and would guide the rocket during ascent using its extra space to hold two discrete CPUs for cross-check and redundancy.

The Flight

Although no issues presented themselves during pre-flight a hold from the weather desk was called during the L-5min final general polling due to upper-level winds being outside launch commit limits. We had to be more careful than usual with upper-level conditions because of the large interstage in this rocket that could literally see it ripped in two if the upper stage strikes heavy winds going in one direction while the lower stage experiences winds in a different direction, an event known as shear. While the winds appeared to be trending downwards in the data received from the weather balloon, we couldn’t be sure whether it would continue. Having the entire daylight window available to us however a second balloon was launched to find out.

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Feb 28 2020

Operations Summary – Week of 2/24/20

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Feb 24 2020

Kerbin I

The first probe to orbit Kerbin, this served as a valuable test bed for operations, control, power, etc and even the mission itself, not going as planned, provided invaluable experience to our new orbital operations crew

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Feb 21 2020

Operations Summary – Week of 2/17/20

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Feb 20 2020

Ascension Mk2 Flight 1 (Kerbin I – Orbit Attempt 3)

Our largest rocket to date finally gets its chance to help us prove that we are capable of achieving orbital space flight. We’ve spent the last year working up towards this mission but are we really ready? Only one way to find out…

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