SQUAD

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  1. Welcome to KSP Weekly! On Monday an exciting contest was unveiled by Airbus Space at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, promising to develop technologies for a trip to the moon in 2024. The European Space Agency, the Mexican Space Agency, Airbus, Blue Origin and Vinci Construction are supporting this competition which aspires to incite a new private-sector moon race. The contest, appropriately called “The Moon Race,” is a global initiative that aims to boost Moon exploration and enable the demonstration of key technologies required for its sustainable exploration, as well as foster global entrepreneurship. Not much has been revealed, but according to its website participants will be able to sign up in 2019, with prototypes due in 2020 and technology development – including a test in a lunar-like environment – targeted for some time in 2021, setting the stage for a Moon mission in 2024. Teams will have the chance to apply for parallel technology streams in manufacturing, energy, resources and biology. The project’s organizers say more will be revealed next year, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. We are certainly excited to see what comes out from this initiative, and we hope that their goals are achieved and that these efforts help to bring us closer to becoming a multi-planetary species. [Development news start here] Kerbal Space Program 1.5: Dressed for Success is around the corner and this week we wrapped up some of the final elements within this update. For instance, after compiling all the feedback shared by our beloved community, we have made some adjustments to the helmets of the new EVA/IVA Space Suits, and we’d like to show them to you. Here are couple of gifs for you to fully appreciate the new suit in different environments: EVA in Space and EVA at the KSC. Click here to see the high-res image. We have been listening and taking note from the feedback you have provided us with, so check out these updated parts, too! Click here to see the high-res image. Click here to see the high-res image. The team also completed the revamp of the Probodobodyne Stayputnik Command Module. Needless to say, this part is influenced by the Sputnik satellite, and as such we wanted to make some adjustments to make this part look closer to its analogue. To achieve this and as with all the other parts we’ve revamped for this update, the specular, normal and diffuse maps have been redone from scratch. This is also one of the parts that benefits the most from the new shader, but an image speaks a thousand words, so take a look for yourself. Click here to see a gif with the new Stayputnik in motion. Click here to see the high-res image. Bug fixing was included in this week’s agenda and among this final sweep, we implemented an auto spring/damper to the wheel suspension system in order to diminish involuntary bouncing. We also adjusted the wheel friction and suspension parameters to tackle this problem. We expect that this will improve the behavior of the wheels and legs in the game. We also want to take this opportunity to talk about our plans on future updates to the game. With the intention to continue advancing KSP and give our players exciting new content and features to look forward to, as well as to improve our processes, from 1.5 onward we will deliver updates approximately every 3 months. These quarterly updates will keep offering exciting new content that will improve our players’ game experience. We are also working hard to limit the impact on mods in various ways, and by providing regular updates we hope to give the modding community a better idea on development timings. Finally, we want to let you know that this is going to be the last KSP Weekly in its current format, but don’t you worry! This doesn’t mean that we will stop giving you development news; on the contrary, the reason we’re doing this is to reinvent the way we give updates to our fans. We want to provide you with more relevant, substantial and focused updates about everything that happens within the KSP HQ. The idea here is quality instead of quantity. The new development news format will be called “KSP Loading…” and will be a newsletter that compiles all the current developments of KSP intermittently between each update. We will however share small bits of day-to-day developments more casually throughout our social media channels - e.g. screenshots, short videos, and Devblog posts among other cool things. Let us know if you’d like us to keep sharing news and interesting facts about space, and we’ll find a spot for such posts as well. [KSP Vault] Let’s hold a minute of silence for all the Kerbals that met their maker when Call Me Kevin decided to make his own space agency. On the other side of the skill spectrum, ShadowZone sent a 300,000kg statue to Eeloo. This might be one of the most impressive feats we’ve witness in KSP. If you haven’t, don’t miss it, you won’t be disappointed… Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :) Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop. That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates! Happy launchings! *Information Source: Boyle, A. (2018, October 02). Blue Origin and Airbus back ‘The Moon Race,’ a space contest yet to be defined. Retrieved from https://www.geekwire.com/2018/blue-origin-airbus-back-moon-race-space-contest-thats-yet-defined/ Howell, E. (2018, October 03). 'Moon Race’ Backed by Blue Origin, Airbus Aims for 2024 Lunar Flight. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/42010-moon-race-lunar-tech-2024-blue-origin-airbus.html Pioneering sustainable lunar exploration. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.themoonrace.org/en/challenges/themoonrace
  2. SQUAD

    KSP Weekly: The Falcon

    Welcome to KSP Weekly! On this day, only 10 years ago, we witnessed the first ever private spacecraft launch into orbit. We are talking, of course, about SpaceX’s Falcon 1, an expendable launch system privately developed and manufactured from the ground up by Elon Musk’s company from 2006 – 2009. The two-stage-to-orbit rocket used Liquid Oxygen and Rocket Propellant-1 for both stages, the first powered by a single Merlin engine and the second powered by a single Kestrel engine. The vehicle was launched a total of five times. Falcon 1 achieved orbit on its fourth attempt, on September 28, 2008, with a mass-simulator as a payload. On July 14, 2009, Falcon 1 made its final flight and successfully delivered the Malaysian RazakSAT satellite to orbit on SpaceX’s first commercial launch (fifth launch overall). Following its fifth launch, the Falcon 1 was retired and succeeded by Falcon 9. According to SpaceX, the Falcon 1 was designed to minimize price-per-launch for low-Earth-orbit satellites, increase reliability, and optimize flight environment and time to launch. It was also used to verify components and structural design concepts that would be reused in the Falcon 9. SpaceX started with the idea that the smallest useful orbital rocket was the minimum viable product (with about 1000 lbs to orbit), instead of building something larger and more complicated, and then running out of money and going bankrupt. Unlike Falcon 9, the first stage was originally planned to return by parachute to a water landing and be recovered for reuse, but this capability was never demonstrated. The second stage was not designed to be reusable. One of the keys to SpaceX’s success has been its ability to fail – and move on. Despite setbacks, the company was able to quickly learn from its mistakes, make adjustments, and try again. As a result, within 16 years, SpaceX has gone from conceptualizing privately funded, reusable rockets to launching the most powerful rocket we have seen in nearly half a century. Along the way, SpaceX became the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in 2010. The company made history again in 2012 when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station. The company also successfully achieved the historic first re-flight of an orbital class rocket in 2017, and the company now regularly launches flight-proven rockets. In 2018, SpaceX began launching Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two. Perhaps most importantly, SpaceX has helped to reignite the public’s interest in space. Witnessing their feats and ambitious goals come to fruition certainly has inspired countless people, youth in particular, to pursue math, engineering, aeronautics, and astronomy both academically and professionally. SpaceX has helped leverage efforts by NASA and JPL to enforce the idea that having a career in the space industry – even actually going to space – is as real, tangible, and achievable as any other job that requires focus and hard work. [Development news start here] It wasn’t that long ago since Update 1.5 was conceptualized and development began, always with the goal of pushing KSP forward and delivering a substantial new update that will improve the players’ experience. Whether it is with bug fixes, giving existing parts a revamp, or brand new features for both the base game and the expansion, this update has something for everyone. We are far from over with KSP and there’s still plenty to come, but we are now at a point in development where we are confident enough with the development of this update to share with you all that Kerbal Space Program 1.5: Dressed for Success comes out this October. We improved the burn time indicator by recalculating based on dV and not acceleration. We’ve also added a staging indicator that shows which stages contain the dV needed to complete each part of the maneuver. This will show a red section at the end if there’s not enough dV in the current vessel to complete that maneuver. We’ll continue looking at ways to leverage this dV information going forward. In the extended mode of the burn time indicator two extra lines are shown, allowing you to adjust how much time you want to spend burning before and after the node during the maneuver as well as showing you a countdown for when you need to start burning fuel to do so. In other news, we continue with the parts revamp effort and this week it is time to put the Probodobodyne RoveMate Command Module in the spotlight. The artist reworked the geometry of the RoveMate, and created a new texture map using diffuse, normal and specular maps for this part. You can see a comparison between the old and new RoveMate in the image below. The RoveMate Command Module will now be available in 3 variants, each of them inspired by different real-life analogues, such as the Curiosity and the Sojourner rovers. Both the gold and silver variants received a new shader that makes their new tin foil shine and interact with light as other parts we’ve shown. However, if you look closely you’ll notice that despite the obvious similarities, there are some neat differences in the details: the former has a tighter aluminum cloth appearance, while the latter receives a looser tin foil look. Check out these gifs to see the new White, Silver and Gold RoveMate variants in motion. Click here to see the high-res images On top of all of the above-mentioned details, the orientation issue with this part has been corrected and a few new attachment nodes on the sides of this part were added. This will certainly help to expand the creative usage for this part. The team is also revisiting some relatively new parts included in the Making History Expansion. Such is the case of the FLOOYD Labs’ SM-18 Service Module, which received a modest makeover. For this part the team made a few corrections to the caps’ texture maps and included the shiny shader to the tin foil cap. Check out this gif to see how the new SM-18 Service Module looks in motion. Click here to see the high-res image The team also did some good ol’ bug fixing this week, too! You will be glad to hear that with Update 1.5 you will not experience that annoying NullReferenceException that some players got when saving a mission where the craft files used in vessel situations had been deleted. Kerbals will not explode when resuming a test mission either. Additionally, the normal texture maps of the mobile, Woomerang and Dessert launch pads have been fixed. [KSP Vault] This week in the KSP Vault… Forum users kl0buk and Ferrdo_Kerman built one of the best-looking control panels for Kerbal Space Program we’ve encountered and opened this thread to share the development process of making them. To celebrate the end of the weekly challenges in the KSP subreddit, Matt Lowne made this video where he talks about his personal experience with the challenges and executes the very first one the subreddit presented. We encountered this beautiful watercolor depiction of our favorite trio while navigating through the World Wide Web and we wanted to share it with you all. By LazyClock: Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :) Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop. That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates! Happy launchings! *Information Source: (n.d.). Retrieved from https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/educate/college/careers/Entreps/6-17-05.htm Chang, K. (2016, September 27). Elon Musk’s Plan: Get Humans to Mars, and Beyond. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/28/science/elon-musk-spacex-mars-exploration.html S. (2012, November 28). Company. Retrieved from https://www.spacex.com/about Falcon Launch Report | Successful launch for Falcon 1 rocket. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://spaceflightnow.com/falcon/004/index.html Shontell, A. (2013, March 09). Elon Musk Decided To Put Life On Mars Because NASA Wasn’t Serious Enough. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musks-started-spacex-because-he-wanted-to-put-life-on-another-planet-2013-3
  3. SQUAD

    KSP Weekly: Space Junk

    Welcome to KSP Weekly! Since the start of the Space Race, Earth has gradually been surrounded by a cloud of space debris. This material ranges from dead satellites to rocket stages and accidentally dropped astronaut tools. The fear is that if we do not soon start taking this litter out of the sky, it will become a significant threat to active satellites, astronauts, and even the International Space Station (ISS). The issue of space junk is particularly pressing because a number of companies are in the planning stages of launching thousands of new satellites in the coming years. Additionally, it has been hypothesized that a runaway chain reaction of collisions can exponentially increase the amount of debris and as a result, the likelihood of further collisions. This is known as the Kessler syndrome. Whether Kessler syndrome is already underway is under debate. Nonetheless, the measurement, mitigation, and potential removal of debris is something that some participants in the space industry are starting to take into their own hands, and several proposals have risen to tackle this growing matter. For instance, a UK-led satellite has recently performed a successful test of a net designed to capture space debris, and there’s stunning footage to show this feat. Called RemoveDebris, the $17-million satellite was built by the University of Surrey in the UK. It was launched to the ISS on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April 2018, and later in June, NASA released the small satellite – weighing 100 kilograms – from the ISS with the help of the CanadaArm robotic arm. The event took place more than 300km above the Earth and it is part of a series of trials that will showcase different technologies to remove the redundant hardware now circling the Earth. Aside from the net test, the satellite will also try firing a harpoon in early 2019 at a target at the end of an extendable arm – another way that debris could be de-orbited. At the end of its mission, it will also deploy a sail that will increase its atmospheric drag and bring it back into the atmosphere. Aside from the technical aspects, the challenge is to deploy this sort of mission at a low cost and at a larger scale. This is most definitely a step in the right direction and we are very excited to follow the progress of the RemoveDebris satellite and similar missions in the future. [Development news start here] The team is working tirelessly on Update 1.5 and at this stage, progress is quite evident. For instance, the revamped part catalog continues to grow and this week was the turn of another classic: the Probodobodyne QBE Command Module. As you can see in the image below, the art team worked on completely new texture maps using diffuse, normal and specular maps for this part. The geometry was also reworked, and as with the other command modules we’ve shown, we added a new shader to give the QBE a metallic look that shines and interacts with light. Check this gif to see the new QBE Command Module in motion to see what we’re talking about. Click here to see the high-res image The art team also revisited the SP-R, S and T Structural Panels. For starters, the team created a brand new texture variant for these panels, but all of them got their diffuse, normal, and specular texture maps redone. Both the silver and golden panels include the new shaders that makes them interact with light as a bright metallic part would, while the striped panels now have some cool indentations at their edges, as well as some cool erosion effects. Check these gifs to see the new silver SP-S and gold SP-R Structural Panel variants in motion. Click here to see the high-res images The developers have been busy fixing various known issues on both the base game and the expansion, too. For example, you’ll be glad to hear that you won’t be able to see the Sun shine through Jool anymore when it’s your active target and you’ve zoomed out the camera. The aura of the Green Giant has also been adjusted to look like it did before. Other bugs that have been fixed include blurring for flags, icons, tutorial images at different texture settings, and a very annoying bug with decouplers in symmetry that staged them separately. The team fixed another issue that duplicated Steam Workshop items when trying to update them. These are only a few examples, and work continues each week. [KSP Vault] This week in the KSP Vault… Fans of Kerbal Space Program in New York City can head to the Space & Science Festival this weekend at the Intrepid Museum to see KSP in action! Attendees can check out exhibits by NASA and meet astronauts and scientists, as well as meet DasValdez from Kerbal Space Academy, who is showcasing KSP at the festival! And if you can’t attend, he’ll be livestreaming at times on his Twitch channel as well. Watch the Ultimate Fighter Jet Showdown by TAPE Gaming. Out of all of the winners the Fighter Jet Showdown series, who will win this King of Kings match? How to build a SPACE SHUTTLE in Kerbal Space Program 1.4 - ShadowZone teaches us to build one of the most iconic spacecraft in history in the current version of KSP. PC Gamer recently published an article about ShadowZone’s impressive expertise in KSP, so we want to give Daniel a shoutout and invite you to read this article too. Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :) Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop. That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates! Happy launchings! *Information Source: Amos, J. (2018, September 19). RemoveDebris: UK satellite nets ‘space junk’. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45565815 Amos, J. (2018, September 19). RemoveDebris: UK satellite nets 'space junk’. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45565815 Dealing with space debris. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2017/04/Dealing_with_space_debris O`Callaghan, J. (2018, September 19). Watch The Stunning Moment A Spacecraft Fired A Net At A Piece Of Space Junk. Retrieved from https://www.iflscience.com/space/watch-the-stunning-moment-a-spacecraft-fired-a-net-at-a-piece-of-space-junk/ RemoveDEBRIS space junk net capture success! (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sstl.co.uk/media-hub/latest-news/2018/removedebris-space-junk-net-capture-success
  4. SüdAntares Cosmonautics decided to build something different than rockets and sats! Check out what he did! #KSP
  5. The BDAc family of mods were all created by BahamutoD, and in his absence,The BDAc Team has taken it upon to keep the explosions flowing! Check it out! #KSP
  6. Welcome to KSP Weekly! Tomorrow, September 15th, it’ll have been 28 years since the Magellan spacecraft began its primary mission, so it is as good a time as any to talk about this cool Venusian orbiter. Aptly named after the sixteenth-century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, known for his exploration, mapping, and circumnavigation of the Earth, the spacecraft’s main goal was designed to make quality radar maps of at least 70 percent of Venus’ surface, providing a clear look at the topography below the planet’s thick, perpetual cloak of clouds. Also referred to as the Venus Radar Mapper, the Magellan spacecraft was launched by NASA on May 4 1989 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, making it the first interplanetary mission to be launched from a shuttle. It was also the first one to use a solid-fuel motor called the Inertial Upper Stage booster to continue its journey as it was released from the shuttle’s cargo bay, and the first spacecraft to test aerobraking as a method for circularizing its orbit. Magellan was the fifth successful NASA mission to Venus, and it ended an eleven-year gap in U.S. interplanetary probe launches. The spacecraft carried a sophisticated imaging radar, called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which was used to make the most highly detailed map of Venus ever captured during its four years in orbit around Venus from 1990 to 1994. After concluding its radar mapping, Magellan also made global maps of Venus’s gravity field. Magellan mapped 98 percent of the planet’s surface with a resolution of 100 meters or better. The radar images showed that most of the surface was covered by volcanic materials, that there were few impact craters (suggesting that the surface is relatively young geologically), and that there was no evidence of plate tectonic activity or water erosion, although there was some evidence of wind erosion. Despite the high surface temperatures (475°C) and high atmospheric pressures (92 atmospheres), the complete lack of water makes erosion an extremely slow process. As a result, surface features can persist for hundreds of millions of years. The Magellan mission also determined the topography of the Venusian surface, measured the Venusian gravity field, and provided suggestive evidence that the planet’s interior differs in major ways from Earth’s interior. On Oct. 12, 1994, the spacecraft made a dramatic plunge into the thick, hot Venusian atmosphere, and was crushed by the pressure of Venus’s atmosphere. Magellan’s signal was lost at 10:02 Universal Time (3:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time) that day. What a glorious end to such an amazing mission, don’t you think? Although Magellan was the agency’s last dedicated Venus mission, we’re sure that the lessons learned from the spaceship’s aerodynamic dive into the Venusian atmosphere will be applied to future planetary missions… even if conducted by little green creatures. [Development news start here] The progress on Update 1.5 is on track, and, naturally, this week wasn’t without its developments. The team is currently working on some cool features regarding one of our favorite Celestial Bodies: Asteroids! As you know, before the Making History Expansion, it was very hard to get an asteroid within the atmosphere of other Celestial Bodies, at least without mods or some sort of cheats. When Asteroids were originally introduced into the game, only space interactions were in mind, but that changed with the expansion as now players can easily spawn asteroids on collision routes with other Celestial Bodies. In light of this, we have been working on ensuring that asteroids behave properly whenever they enter the atmosphere of a Celestial Body, similar to a spacecraft. So far, we have added VFXs as they go through reentry heat and included explosion effects when they actually collide. Check this Gif to see the progress. In other news, the endeavor of revamping parts continues! Each week we gather insightful feedback from the community as we show the new look of some of these parts, but we haven’t shown you everything just yet. This week we have some stuff to show off. For instance, there’s more to the revamping task of the MK1 Command Pod that we want you to look at. Let’s start with the new IVA, which has been done over from scratch. As you know the look of this Pod takes inspiration from the Project Mercury Pods, so it made perfect sense to draw inspiration from these command pods to model the new command panel. What do you think? Click here to see the high-res image Additionally, the team also worked on creating a couple of additional texture variants for the MK1 Command Pod. This way you’ll be able to give your rockets the right look: Dark, White or a Gray & White pattern, it is up to you! Also noteworthy is the detail that our artists have added to the Pod’s texture. Click here to see the high-res image The Probodobodyne OKTO command modules also were in the artistic agenda this week. The new look of these command modules was based on the ones used in the Mariner Program, and to achieve that our artists made completely new texture maps using diffuse, normal and specular maps. They also retouched the geometry and added a new shader to the module’s tops to make them shine and interact with light, just like they did with the HECS modules. On top of that, with resource optimization in mind, they put both textures into a single map. Moreover, the collision mesh was tweaked to better fit the shape of the probes. Check these gifs to see the new models in motion: OKTO and OKTO 2. Bear in mind that the config files of these parts were not modified in any significant way. Click here to see the high-res image [KSP Vault] This week in the KSP Vault… Matt Lowne released the 4th episode of his new Green Harvest series! Since the Duna Attacks, we loved Matt’s cinematic storytelling and Green Harvest doesn’t disappoint. Check it out! Finally, Marcus House made a simulation of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy sending a self-refueling (ISRU) vessel to the Moons Surface. A double booster vertical landing included! Impressive… Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :) Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop. That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates! Happy launchings! *Information Source: ASP: The Magellan Spacecraft at Venus. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.astrosociety.org/edu/publications/tnl/18/18.html?PHPSESSID=4aff07778bb9b4b6b5727a1050ec3e91 Hamilton, C. J. (n.d.). Magellan Mission to Venus. Retrieved from http://solarviews.com/eng/magellan.htm In Depth | Magellan – Solar System Exploration: NASA Science. (2018, January 26). Retrieved from https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/magellan/in-depth/ Logsdon, J. M. (2018, June 11). Magellan. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Magellan Magellan. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/magellan/
  7. Welcome to KSP Weekly! If we are ever to further our reach in terms of space exploration, we will need develop new types of propulsion systems. Long range vessels, like the Voyager spacecraft have relied on monopropellant propulsion systems, e.g. hydrazine, but if we want to go deeper into space, we can’t just rely on chemical propulsion systems, we need more fuel-efficient systems. To tackle this problem, back in 2001, Roger Shawyer proposed radio frequency (RF) resonant cavity thrusters, also known as EmDrive, as a propellant-free propulsion system. Several prototypes of this concept have been constructed and tested, including at the Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory at NASA. Initially, a few tests of prototype drives were reported to produce a small apparent thrust, but repeated tests failed to reliably reproduce these results. Due to the inconsistencies with the laws of physics, including conservation of momentum and conservation of energy, and the absence of reproducible evidence, many theoretical physicists and commentators consider the device impossible. However, NASA has taken this challenge seriously and started looking into new approaches. One of them, the Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) has recently passed a critical test. AEPS is a next-generation ion-thruster. It creates propulsion by accelerating ionized atoms with an electric field. It creates a modest amount of thrust compared to traditional chemical rockets, but it is capable of doing so for a longer period of time and with a lot less fuel. The test evaluated the propulsion systems discharge supply unit and power processing unit. The engineering team showed that the AEPS can convert power at a high-efficiency level, producing minimal waste heat. The test was performed in the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio. It is estimated that the AEPS thrusters are going to be over 10 times more powerful than any Hall thruster currently in operation. These ion thrusters are being designed for a wide variety of missions—from keeping communications satellites in the proper position (station-keeping) to propelling spacecraft throughout our solar system. Ion propulsion is even considered to be mission enabling for some cases where sufficient chemical propellant cannot be carried on the spacecraft to accomplish the desired mission. The next step will be testing the early systems integration. The team will then move into design finalization, and finally the critical design review. Once it passes that, the final design will move into actual production. The Lunar Gateway, for instance, is expected to make use of the AEPS technology, as well as chemical booster rockets. It sounds like these engineers are collecting plenty of science points as they make great strides in propulsion technology! [Development news start here] Update 1.5 continues to be at the forefront of the agenda. Each passing week, new elements are being added to this upcoming and substantial free addition to KSP. For instance, this week the team worked on fixing a quite annoying aspect of the Camera in the VAB/SPH. Some of you may have noticed that if you removed the root part after having moved the camera, the camera would not be reinstated into its initial position, which in turn could cause a bit of confusion sometimes, especially if the new root part was out of view. With this fix, the camera will be reset to its original position every time a root part is removed from the editor. The part-revamping effort continues. In this release we are focusing on some parts that are used heavily at the start of every career mode, this includes the MK1 pod and the FL-TXXX fuel tanks. This week the art team completed the makeover of the RT-5 “Flea” and RT-10 “Hammer” Solid Fuel Boosters. While working on these parts, we took various real-life references and worked on giving the boosters a panelized texture and new top that brings them closer to their real-life analogues. As you can see below, the belts and other heavy rings were also removed to make the boosters look lighter and more aerodynamic. Additionally, both of these boosters will have a secondary stripe-less texture variant that you’ll be able to choose at will. Click here to see a rotating gif animation of the new RT-5 “Flea”, and here to see the RT-10 “Hammer”. Click here for full res images. If you have been following along each week, you’ll know that the Making History Expansion will also get a few enhancements with the upcoming update as well. One such enhancement will make our fellow subaquatic Kerbals pretty happy: We are including the ability to place Fly Through Nodes underwater! After all, submarines are “flying” vehicles with negative altitudes, right? So, rejoice Mission Creator, with Update 1.5 you’ll be able to organize the subaquatic race of your dreams! [KSP Vault] This week in the KSP Vault… Munar 1 - A fun and very relatable short film by PuffballsUnited - Who hasn’t been through such hardships, right? Mission Of The Week: Top Secret Mission to Gilly. Another challenging mission that will have you take Val to Gilly, land, drop your drills, and test a new and top secret ISRU technology on the tiny satellite. What could possibly go wrong? - By Cpt Kerbalkrunch Get it here. Starchaser - A Sci-Fi Kerbal Space Program cinematic set in the future. Nucleartaxi is making this episodic web-series that follow the adventures of members of the Duna Independence Movement. Watch episode episode 1 here! Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :) Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop. That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates! Happy launchings! *Information Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Demonstrates Advanced Electric Propulsion Capabilities for Future Space Exploration. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-successfully-demonstrates-advanced-electric-propulsion-capabilities Carpineti, A. (2018, September 03). We’re Now One Step Closer To Deep Space Voyages After NASA’s Latest Success. Retrieved from https://www.iflscience.com/space/nasas-new-propulsion-system-that-will-take-us-to-deep-space-just-passed-a-critical-test/ Dunbar, B. (2015, August 18). Ion Propulsion. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/about/fs21grc.html NASA Team Claims ‘Impossible’ Space Engine Works-Get the Facts. (2016, November 21). Retrieved from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/nasa-impossible-emdrive-physics-peer-review-space-science/
  8. It is now Val’s turn in the pilot rotation. Her mission has been classified Top Secret. Kerbodyne has designed a new ISRU that will speed ore conversion by 300%; without an engineer. She is to travel to the low-g world of Gilly to test the new converter. The mission is straight-forward and confidence is high. Safety risks are minimal. Mission is considered to be routine. Take Val to Gilly, land, drop your drills, and test the new converter. What could possibly go wrong? - By Cpt Kerbalkrunch Get Mission here: https://bit.ly/2PEAUF3
  9. SQUAD

    What do I do with my depression?

    Please note we have reached out privately to this player. If you are in need of suicide support, we encourage you to find local resources at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/.
  10. Welcome to KSP Weekly! Almost two years after the launch of NASA’s asteroid sampling spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, it has caught it first glimpse of its target, the carbonaceous asteroid, 101955 Bennu, from a distance of almost six times the distance between the Earth and Moon (2.2 million km). The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer mission, nicknamed Osiris-Rex, was designed to study the asteroid and return a sample back to Earth on September 24th, 2023 for detailed analysis. The target, Bennu, a 500-meter-wide asteroid, was discovered back in 1999. It was chosen for interception by OSIRIS-REx, the first asteroid sample return mission in NASA’s portfolio, for several reasons. These include its primitive, unaltered composition, which may feature compounds that could be precursors to biological life; it is also large enough to have a decent-ish gravitational field, which means it won’t regularly eject spacecraft-destroying material from its surface. The asteroid’s dimensions also makes it the smallest object that any spacecraft has orbited, let alone landed on. As OSIRIS-REx approaches its target, the spacecraft will use its science instruments to gather information about Bennu and prepare for arrival. The spacecraft’s science payload is comprised of the OCAMS camera suite (PolyCam, MapCam, and SamCam), the OTES thermal spectrometer, the OVIRS visible and infrared spectrometer, the OLA laser altimeter, and the REXIS X-ray spectrometer. After arrival at Bennu, the spacecraft will spend the next 18 months or so mapping the asteroid from above and picking a sample site. If everything goes as planned, the spacecraft will pick up around 2kg of gravel and soil from its surface in July 2020. Then, it’ll leap up into space and fly back to Earth, landing in the Utah desert in September 2023. Although this is the first time a NASA mission will land on an asteroid and come back home, it’s not the first space agency in the world to achieve this feat. Back in 2010, JAXA’s Hayabusa spacecraft brought back samples from asteroid 25143 Itokawa, and its sequel – Hayabusa2– caught up with the dumpling-shaped asteroid Ryugu back in June this year. We are very eager to see what researchers will learn from these missions. Maybe this is only the start of future asteroid mining missions, we’ll have to wait and see. [Development news start here] Work on the upcoming 1.5 Update continues, and with each passing week, new components are added to the project. As we have mentioned previously, this update will have something for everyone, as both the base game and the expansion are getting their good deal of features. This week for instance, we worked on a new node for the Mission Builder: The Part Count Node. Today, the vessel category in the Mission Builder has nodes that test for vessel mass and velocity among other things, but it lacked a part count test. While it may seem like mass can be used to determine if you lost any parts along the way, changes in fuel also decrease the mass, thus making it an unreliable way to do so. With this new node you’ll be able to test whether a vessel has or hasn’t lost any parts (destroyed or decoupled) during any point on a mission. It basically works by making a comparison between the state of a vessel in two separate moments and by defining the number of parts itself. This will be particularly useful in missions where players must design their own craft and would be unable to exactly know how many parts they will use to begin with. This feature, like many others, began as a suggestion made by the KSP community, so we want to thank you for sharing your feedback with us, we take it very seriously. :) As part of our part revamp effort, the art team finished with the new makeover of the Probodobodyne HECS II. The team slightly changed the geometry, updated the textures, added a new shader, and worked on the specular map to give it a realistic metallic look that will interact with light as tin foil would actually do. Check this Gif to better appreciate this light interaction. Click here to see the high res image Another highly requested feature that the team has been working on is the ability to assign Kerbals directly from the VAB/SPH into an EAS-1 External Command Seat. As you know, vessels that were solely controlled by a command seat had to get a pilot by launching a manned command pod, putting the pilot on an EVA, walking him or her out of the launchpad area, and then launching the vessel with the seat, or by adding a crewed, detachable command pod to the vessel, which was too much of a hassle if you ask us. Now, when the vessel is spawned, the Kerbals will appear in the command seat. As you can see, the QA team has been having quite some fun with this feature… [KSP Vault] This week in the KSP Vault, we want to highlight the Resonant Orbit Calculator! This mod, as the name suggests, allows you to calculate the resonant orbit needed to inject payload crafts, like satellites, into equidistant positions of a shared circular orbit, which is especially useful for setting up satellite constellations. Click here to check it out! Have you ever wondered how difficult the ISS’s crew rotation missions are? This might be the right mission for you to try out then. In this Mission of the Week – Space shuttle: ISS crew rotation + CommSat deployment – you will have to launch a space shuttle to an ISS-like space station, perform a crew rotation, fulfill a secondary mission objective and land the shuttle back at the KSC. Get it here. Last but not least, we watched this beautiful short by Dan Rimachi, rightfully named Type 2, which displays a Kerbal type 2 civilization accomplishing an operation to create a wormhole by harnessing Kerbol’s energy. Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :) Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop. That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates! Happy launchings! *Information Source: Andrews, R. (2018, August 27). NASA’s Asteroid-Sampling Mission OSIRIS-REx Has Taken The First Images Of Its Target. Retrieved from https://www.iflscience.com/space/nasas-asteroidsampling-mission-osirisrex-has-taken-the-first-images-of-its-target/all/ Howell, E. (2018, July 09). Hayabusa2: Japan’s 2nd Asteroid Sample Mission. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/40161-hayabusa2.html Klotz, I. (2016, September 08). A Short History of Missions to Asteroids. Retrieved from https://www.seeker.com/a-short-history-of-missions-to-asteroids-2000284822.html NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Begins Asteroid Operations Campaign. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asteroidmission.org/?latest-news=nasas-osiris-rex-begins-asteroid-operations-campaign
  11. SQUAD

    JoolTube: Starchaser!

    In episode 1, the crew infiltrates Kerbin’s shipyard. Will they return to Duna safely? #KSP By Nucleartaxi
  12. @linuxgurugamer released this mod designed to go along with the KerbalGPS! Check it out! #KSP
  13. A simple mission in which you’ll have to launch a space shuttle to a ISS-like space station, perform a crew rotation, fulfill a secondary mission objective and land the shuttle back at the KSC. - By michal.don Get it here https://bit.ly/2N0hvRu
  14. Welcome to KSP Weekly! A study published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides direct and definitive evidence for surface-exposed water ice in the polar regions on the Moon. The team of researchers — led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University — peered at suspected icy patches using an instrument called the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), which flew aboard Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the Moon, and provided the first mineralogical map of the lunar surface. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper used the near-infrared spectrum to pinpoint the signature activity of ice molecules interacting with infrared light. This helped the scientists to distinguish the frozen water from other types of ice or water in a different form — such as bound up in minerals — and they identified ice deposits dwelling in permanent shadows at the Moon’s north and south poles. The abundance and distribution of ice on the Moon are distinct from those on other airless bodies in the inner solar system such as Mercury and Ceres, which may be associated with the unique formation and evolution process of our Moon. The Moon’s surface is continuously bombarded by meteorites and micrometeorites. Many, if not most, of these impactors contain water ice, and the lunar craters show that many of these were very large objects. Any ice which survived impact would be scattered over the lunar surface. Most would be quickly vaporized by sunlight and lost to space, but some would end up inside the permanently shadowed craters, either by directly entering the crater or migrating over the surface as randomly moving individual molecules which would reach the craters and freeze there. Once inside the crater, the ice would be relatively stable, so over time the ice would collect in these “cold traps,” and be buried to some extent by meteoritic gardening. Correspondingly, most of the ice was found in surface craters that are never touched by direct sunlight, and where temperatures hover around minus 157 degrees Celsius. This discovery has several implications. For instance, it can provide scientists with valuable clues about the composition and activity of the Moon and other icy bodies in the inner solar system. Beyond the scientifically intriguing aspects, deposits of ice on the Moon would have many practical aspects for future manned lunar exploration, as it provides significant impetus for future international landings in the polar regions to drill and return samples of this ice. Ice deposits in significant quantities on the Moon could also provide resources for future lunar bases, or could also potentially be an important resource for space travel; mining lunar ice and converting it to rocket fuel could extend the reach of future missions to deep space. [Development news start here] First of all, we want to thank everyone who participated in our poll which helped decide which color pattern the revamp of EVA Space Suits will have. We received many responses and there was a clear preference, so without further ado, here are the results: The red, blue and white suits were clearly the favorite, and as such they are now part of the Kerbals’ wardrobe. While performing this poll, we also received tons of constructive feedback on the revamped EVA Space Suit. The art team is assessing the feedback and we will show the final version in a future update. As part of the 1.5 Update agenda, we have also been looking at other parts that are getting a well-deserved refurbishment. One such parts is the MK1 Command Pod, which just got out of the VAB, fully revitalized and optimized. We’re taking this opportunity to fix a few small issues with the original Mk1 pod. Attachment nodes will be adjusted so that the pod nests correctly on a 1.25m stack, and the top has been tweaked to be exactly 0.625m in diameter. The MK1 Pod will keep all its features and specifications, but with this new look it will make your first rockets look sleek and modern. Just as with the other parts we have shown off, the goal of this revamps isn’t to reinvent the wheel, but to give the part catalogue a more cohesive and sleek look, as well as to optimize the texture maps and the model geometry to reduce load times. Here is a GIFs to give you a full 3D look of the MK1 Pod. Click here for the high res image. Aside from art-related tasks, the team also started to work on improving and expanding the functionality of the Search Bar in the Mission Builder. Now whenever you make an inquiry, the Search Bar will check for matches on both the Toolbar and the Canvas. To facilitate the search process the system will create two lists; one for toolbar results and other for matches within the canvas. You will then be able to select your search results and it will highlight the matching nodes on the canvas and focus the camera on them. You can also drag a search result out onto the canvas and it will copy the existing node. [KSP Vault] Last week, DasValdez got ULA systems engineer Patrick Moore to talk about the Parker Solar Probe mission and Delta IV Heavy rocket while he provided realistic flight commentary as he launched his own “Deltish IV” rocket carrying a “Parker Sorta Probe”, built using stock parts in Kerbal Space Program. Watch it here! The Mission of the Week, Jeb’s Monument, a very challenging mission that will have you transporting a huge Jeb Statue towards Duna. Piloting, spacecraft design, docking, re-entry, precision landing, and efficiency, this mission will put your skills to the test! Get it here: https://bit.ly/2MIYNgN Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop. That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates! Happy launchings! *Information Source: (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/ice/ice_moon.html David, L. (2018, August 22). Discovery of Water Ice on the Moon Thrills Lunar Scientists. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/41590-moon-water-ice-discovery-thrills-researchers.html Li, S., Lucey, P. G., Milliken, R. E., Hayne, P. O., Williams, E. F., Hurley, D. M., & Elphic, R. C. (2018, August 15). Direct evidence of surface exposed water ice in the lunar polar regions. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/08/14/1802345115 Luntz, S. (2018, August 21). Scientists Have Discovered Water Ice On The Surface Of The Moon. Retrieved from https://www.iflscience.com/space/scientists-discover-best-evidence-yet-for-water-ice-on-the-lunar-surface/ Weisberger, M. (2018, August 21). Ice on the Moon! Frozen Reserves Detected at the Poles in a Lunar First. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/63387-ice-on-the-moon.html
  15. “Jeb’s lost in space and presumed dead, so we’ve built a giant 300-ton statue in his memory. We just need you to take it to Duna for us…” This challenging mission will have you transporting a huge Jeb Statue towards Duna. The statue and launch vehicle have already been designed for you, but you’ll need to design and build the interplanetary transport and landing equipment, and you’ll get extra points for landing the statue upright in a pedestal waiting for you on Duna’s surface. Put you skills to the test! - By Yakky Get the mission here: https://bit.ly/2MIYNgN