SQUAD

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About SQUAD

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    Developer of KSP

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  1. Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. Last week an exciting article was published about how Washington State University researchers are working with NASA to determine how a submarine might work on Titan. To achieve this, they recreated the satellite’s ocean in a laboratory by building a test chamber to hold a mixture of liquid methane and ethane – which make up the bodies of liquid on Titan. The chamber also replicated the freezing conditions on Titan:-180°C (-300°F), and under 413,685 pascals (60 psi) of pressure. Aside from being the largest satellite of Saturn, Titan is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object in space other than Earth where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found. Frequently described as a planet-like moon, Titan is 50% larger than Earth’s Moon, and it has 80% more mass. It is the second-largest moon in the Solar System, after Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, and is larger than the smallest planet, Mercury, but only has 40% of ot mass. Although Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan in 1655, we got our first good look at its surface in 2004 when the Cassini–Huygens mission unveiled new information about the moon, including the discovery of liquid hydrocarbon lakes in Titan’s polar regions. The geologically young surface is generally smooth, with few impact craters, although mountains and several possible cryovolcanoes have been found. The atmosphere of Titan is largely nitrogen; minor components lead to the formation of methane and ethane clouds and nitrogen-rich organic smog. The climate—including wind and rain—creates surface features similar to those of Earth, such as dunes, rivers, lakes, seas (probably of liquid methane and ethane), and deltas, and is dominated by seasonal weather patterns as on Earth. With its liquids (both surface and subsurface) and robust nitrogen atmosphere, Titan’s methane cycle is analogous to Earth’s water cycle, at the much lower temperature of about 94 K (−179.2 °C). Learning to navigate through Titan’s seas will be no easy feat, since they are extremely viscous. They’re probably pretty motionless, with waves no bigger than 1 cm. But under the surface, they might change dramatically in density in different areas. Ian Richardson, who led the study, and his team, put a 5 cm long cylinder-shaped cartridge heater inside their test chamber to simulate the submarine. The heat from the submarine can produce nitrogen bubbles, making it hard for the ship to maneuver and see. They found that the density increases the deeper you go and the more the temperature drops. They also learned that due to the small amount of nitrogen found in the lakes, these would freeze at lower temperatures than expected. Back in 2015, a NASA proposal suggested we could send a submarine the size of car to Titan’s seas, which would explore the subsurface region for 90 days. Instruments would sample the ocean and return images, helping us answer whether Titan could be habitable. On the other hand, Kerbals have been exploring Laythe, the Joolean moon, for a while already, but some say more Laythe-related missions are coming. [Development news start here] Last week we showed you the Kerbal personnel parachutes, which will be included in Update 1.4. Although visually the parachutes are ready, the team is currently finalizing the details that regulate their behaviour within the physics of the game. For instance, the parameters for their deployment, atmosphere density and height, which will be similar to the standard parachutes. We are also defining details such as the XP level that Kerbals will need to enable their use, as well as the way you will deploy them, which will not only be through the action menu, but also via a hot-key. The personnel parachutes will be steerable and you’ll also be able to dive and pull up, too. In other news, the team is working at full throttle on the Making History Expansion. Among this week’s tasks was the implementation of the design for showing Mods for a Mission. The idea is that Creators will be able to enter the Mod information that a specific mission requires through a text box in the Mission Briefing. There’s also going to be a clickable button to add a list of all the loaded plugin Mods into that text box. Players, on the other hand, will see a “Mission Mods” section in the Play Dialog, which will display the text from the briefing dialog that the Creator entered, if the mission requires Mods. Additionally, the team worked on creating the Proxy Models for Kerbals, Asteroids, and Flags that will be displayed in the Graphic Action Pane for certain nodes in the Mission Builder. These will accompany other finalized proxy model types, such as launchpad, plane, and rocket. Coupled with that was the implementation of these gizmos in the actual GAP. Some gizmos will be shown depending on the situation that is being created in a specific mission. There will also be a button to toggle between rocket and space plane gizmos for creators to use at will. We are ensuring that these proxy objects are visible at all ranges. In the art realm, the team worked on assigning shrouds to the new engines, but they also finished with the Default Hero Banner for missions, which is looking pretty neat! We wanted to do a little homage to the Voskhod 2 mission with a Kerbal twist, and yes, that Voskhod 2-inspired capsule will be included in the part catalogue for the expansion, as well as its emblematic airlock, which does not appear in the banner though. This banner will be shown in the Play Mission dialog and it will be customizable. By the way, we wanted to share with our console players that we are very close to releasing our first patch for KSP Enhanced Edition which will solve many of the issues that these versions are currently experiencing. Some people have expressed concerns, but we want to assure you that we are fully committed to solve the bugs and issues that Enhanced Edition players are experiencing. We have a dedicated QA team looking for bugs and reproducing reports, as well as a full-time team working on solving all issues. We’ve been asking for help so that no bug escapes our radar, as well as to assign priorities according to what players experience the most and the severity of the issues. So if you want to help us out continue providing us with feedback, you are more than welcome to do so on our Bugtracker. We really appreciate your help. :) 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: Hall, L. (2015, July 02). Titan Submarine: Exploring the Depths of Kraken Mare. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/feature/titan-submarine-exploring-the-depths-of-kraken-mare WSU researchers build -300ºF alien ocean to test NASA outer space submarine | WSU News | Washington State University. (2018, February 08). Retrieved from https://news.wsu.edu/2018/02/07/wsu-builds-nasa-alien-ocean/ O`Callaghan, J. (2018, February 09). Researchers Built An Alien Ocean To See If We Could Send A Submarine To Titan. Retrieved February 16, 2018, from http://www.iflscience.com/space/researchers-built-an-alien-ocean-to-see-if-we-could-send-a-submarine-to-titan/
  2. The first ever completely reusable stock Grand Tour! Besides that, completing the stock contract “Complete the Ultimate Challenge” and jumping on every surface. By Kergarin Aerospace
  3. Any word on when you guys are going to release a patch for the XboxOne version to fix the time warp/acceleration issue, not allowing use of the liquid engines in space? I appreciate the game, (would love it, if it was fixed), but not being able to use time acceleration in space is a serious bummer.

  4. Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. This past Tuesday, we were delighted to witness the very anticipated and first test-flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. We were first introduced to Falcon Heavy back in 2011, when SpaceX unveiled their plans to build it. Although the initial test flight was expected to happen in 2013, a number of factors delayed the planned maiden flight by 5 years to 2018, including two anomalies with Falcon 9 launch vehicles which required all engineering resources to be dedicated to failure analysis, halting flight operations for many months. The integration and structural challenges of combining three Falcon 9 cores were also much more difficult than expected. After the rocket’s 3:45 p.m. ET launch from Kennedy Space Center, two side boosters returned safely to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for nearly simultaneous, side-by-side landing, but we later learned that the middle booster missed the “drone ship” that was its landing target and hit the Atlantic Ocean at about 480 kph (300 mph). SpaceX’s engineers believe only one of three engines fired during a burn designed to line up the landing and slow the rocket’s descent. Despite the loss of the middle booster it would appear that the rest of the mission was a success. In this test flight, Elon Musk’s own Tesla Roadster car with a mannequin wearing SpaceX’s new spacesuit in the driving seat was the payload, intended to be shot to the orbital plane of Mars to the tune of David Bowie’s Starman. The car is also transporting a disk containing Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, and a small message on a circuit board declaring the car was “made on Earth by humans.” However, the car overshot a bit, and it will actually head further out into the Solar System to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The car was on a six-hour coast through space on the top part of the rocket’s upper stage. SpaceX had then planned to ignite the upper stage, known as the third burn, and send the car into its final orbit. Thanks to that third burn the car is now on an orbit that will take it 2.61 AU from the Sun (1 AU, astronomical unit, is the Earth-Sun distance). That’s almost to the orbit of Ceres at 2.77 AU, a dwarf planet and the largest body in the asteroid belt. And even though Musk had originally said the car would survive in space for up to a billion years, some think that all the parts of the car that include carbon bonds, such as its plastics and its carbon fiber frame, will be subjected to degradation by various kinds of radiation, like cosmic rays. Eventually, only its inorganic parts will remain – things like its aluminum frame, and certain glass parts. Capable of taking 63,800 kilograms of cargo to low earth orbit, more than twice its nearest competitor – ULA’s Delta IV Heavy – at one quarter the cost, Falcon Heavy is the biggest rocket to launch (in terms of payload it can lift) since the final launch of the Saturn V rocket in 1973. Falcon Heavy is so cost efficient due to a combination of low manufacturing and operational costs, high efficiency performance in flight, as well as its reusable launch system. This launch is a huge accomplishment. It proves that Falcon Heavy can be used to send payloads into high orbits, such as geostationary orbits, and that it can send things to Mars and beyond. Not to mention that thanks to three cameras on board the car got some surreal and amazing images of the car heading to orbit, with its “Starman” mannequin inside and a dashboard message of “Don’t Panic!” referencing Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Falcon Heavy garnered excitement that arguably hasn’t been seen since the days of the Space Shuttle, and as we enter a new era of heavy-lift rockets, private space ventures, and a reborn space race to Mars, we couldn’t be more excited. Have you tried to perform your own Falcon Heavy-like launches in KSP? [Development news start here] Just a day after the test-flight of Falcon Heavy, we revealed the release date and the price of Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion, the first ever KSP expansion. We can’t wait to see what you think about the final product next month! If you missed the announcement you can find it here. We also had a poll last week to decide which of the colors of the new vintage spacesuits was going to be used for EVAs and IVAs. Voting time is over and you the community have decided(by a very close margin)! The blue vintage spacesuit will be displayed during EVAs and the brown one during IVAs! Thanks to everyone who participated and helped us with this decision! [Click here for high-res pictures] Even though we are close to the release, we keep on working on the expansion and this weeks several tasks were finished. Among these are some adjustments done to the Mission Builder’s Graphic Action Pane (“GAP”) UI based on a design/art review. We noticed that the GAP was looking a bit cramped, so we decided to adjust to make it as sleek as possible. Some vessel-related nodes, like Part Failure/Repair, among others, were looked into this week. While using these nodes, you are able to select the part failures that you want to have triggered during your narrative. If the vessel is Creator defined, you can select the specific part in the GAP and assign failure from a list. But what if the vessel is Player built? Well, we had to implement the behaviors required for player created vessels in those nodes. For instance, for Part Failure the Creator should get a list of all the failures and then they are applied across all parts of a player created vessel where possible, depending on what the player builds. We also finished implementing another quality of life function that will allow the Creator to copy and paste nodes in the Mission Canvas. Additionally we finished writing the new KSPedia pages that will be included in the Expansion, so players have all the necessary information they require once they start designing their missions. On top of that, our art team was also very busy. Since we are including several new parts with a 1.875 diameter, we also needed to include a Heat Shield to accompany them, which is now within the part catalogue for the upcoming 1.4 update. And that’s not all, several months ago we mentioned that we were going to include a personnel parachute in the expansion, well, we have determined to include it in the 1.4 update instead of the expansion, so all Kerbals in peril can attempt an emergency parachute-jump (assuming there’s an atmosphere). Here’s a sneak peek! [Click here for high-res pictures] In other news, the first patch for Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition is close to completion! We really appreciate the reports we’ve received from all of you to help us prioritize where to target for our first update. Keep helping us out by providing us with feedback and by reporting issues in the Bugtracker as we plan our next round of support. Finally, we remind you that you still have another week to participate in our latest KSP Challenge - Lithobraking! So go check it out and share your creations! 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: Letzter, R. (2018, February 06). Radiation Will Tear Elon Musk’s Rocket Car to Bits in a Year. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/61680-will-spacex-roadster-survive-in-space.html The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Booster: Why Is It Important? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nss.org/articles/falconheavy.html Sloat, S. (n.d.). Teslas Roadster Will Coast for Six Hours Into Deep Space. Retrieved February 09, 2018, from https://www.inverse.com/article/40963-tesla-roadster-space-x-falcon-heavy Dean, J. (2018, February 07). Musk: Falcon Heavy’s center booster hit ocean ‘hard,’ damaged drone ship. Retrieved February from https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2018/02/07/spacex-falcon-heavy-center-booster/314813002/ O`Callaghan, J. (2018, February 08). Elon Musks Car Was Supposed To Head To Mars. Now Its Headed Somewhere Else. Retrieved from http://www.iflscience.com/space/elon-musks-car-overshoots-mars-and-will-head-for-the-asteroid-belt-after-stunning-falcon-heavy-launch/ Felton, J. (2018, February 08). There Is A Secret Message Hidden On Board The Tesla Floating Through Space. Retrieved from http://www.iflscience.com/space/there-is-a-secret-message-hidden-on-board-the-tesla-floating-through-space/
  5. This is a simple plugin that allows you to surface attach parts at accurate angles, created by Padishar. @linuxgurugamer adopted it and rebuilt it for 1.3.1! #KSP
  6. With Jeb otherwise indisposed Val has been relishing her new role as chief test pilotess. Next out the stables is the Maelstrom; a medium SSTO that is rumoured to be able to make it to the Mun and back on a single tank. Well, there’s only one way to find out! By Cupcake Landers
  7. Hello everyone! With over a year in the making, we are getting closer to bringing Kerbal Space Program towards its next leap forward. Today, we are proud and super excited to announce that Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion will be available for PC on March 13th, 2018. Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion brings a lot of new and exciting content to KSP, including the powerful and intuitive Mission Builder, where you will have the tools to create and share your own scenarios with other players. We are also including the History Pack, a set of missions ready to be played immediately, inspired by historical moments in space exploration, and more. The new Mission Builder puts the process of creating and editing missions in your hands with endless possibilities. You’ll be able to customize your own missions to include launches, landings, rescues, malfunctions, explosions, repairs, and much more. You can set unique victory conditions, add exciting challenges, and place unexpected obstacles to keep other players on their toes as they play through these complex missions. Challenge others to complete your missions by sharing them with the Kerbal Space Program community! The History Pack includes a variety of pre-made missions inspired by humankind’s own space exploration. Now you can spacewalk, pull off a crash landing, and attempt to recreate some of the most memorable moments inspired by historic events. But with our unique Kerbal twist, of course. The expansion also includes a bunch of new parts and astronaut suits inspired by the Space Race that you can use throughout Kerbal Space Program! Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion will be available for $14.99 (USD) on PC. And yes, we’re keeping our promise that all players who purchased the game through April 2013 will receive the expansion for free. We’ll provide more details on how that will work before launch. Stay tuned for more news and exciting updates about Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion. Happy launchings!
  8. Matt Lowne has been to every single planet in the Kerbin system in “Blunderbirds”! Enjoy! #KSP
  9. Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. Yesterday, 15 years ago, the Space Shuttle Columbia was returning to Earth after a 16-day scientific research mission when it disintegrated during re-entry near the end of its 28th mission, resulting in the deaths of all seven crew members. We want to take this opportunity to commemorate Columbia and its crew. Columbia was the first space-rated orbiter in NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet. The Space Shuttle was different, new, and advanced. It launched vertically like a rocket, flew like a glider on its wings after re-entry, and landed on its wheels on runways; It also had a robotic arm capable of grabbing satellites in orbit for repair in space, or bringing them back to Earth. It launched for the first time on mission STS-1 on April 12, 1981, the first flight of the Space Shuttle program under the command of John Young. Over 22 years of service it completed 27 missions. Its construction began in 1975 and was named after the American ship Columbia Rediviva which, from 1787 to 1793, under the command of Captain Robert Gray, explored the US Pacific Northwest and became the first American vessel to circumnavigate the globe. It is also named after the Command Module of Apollo 11, the first manned landing on another celestial body. After construction, the orbiter arrived at Kennedy Space Center on March 25, 1979, to prepare for its first launch, which was delayed because of technical problems. It was finally launched on April 12, 1981, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1), and returned on April 14, 1981, after orbiting the Earth 36 times, landing on the dry lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Space Shuttle Program was expanded due to the success of Columbia, and it was not long before the fleet of Shuttles was expanded by Challenger and a few years later by Discovery and Atlantis. Endeavour was the fifth and final operational shuttle built. These five shuttles flew 135 missions over the course of 30 years. Some of these included several Spacelab missions; the construction of the International Space Station (ISS); crew rotation and servicing of Mir and the ISS; servicing missions, such as to repair the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and orbiting satellites; manned experiments in LEO; carrying the HST to low Earth orbit (LEO), as well as carrying the Chandra X-ray Observatory to a higher orbit, a mission perform by Columbia itself. Columbia’s final successful mission was STS-109, the fourth servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope. Its next mission, STS-107, culminated in the orbiter’s loss when it disintegrated during reentry, killing all seven of its crew, including the first ever Israeli astronaut. The fate of the shuttle had been decided during its take off, when a falling piece of insulation foam struck the left wing and damaged the heat protection system. The Columbia disaster was the second fatal accident to hit the fleet (the crew of Challenger had been lost in 1986), and consequently, President Bush decided to retire the Shuttle orbiter fleet by 2010 in favor of the Constellation program and its manned Orion spacecraft. The Constellation program was later cancelled with the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 signed by President Obama. Despite the tragic missteps, we can’t undermine the legacy of the Space Shuttle program. Everyone involved should be very proud of what they achieved in a 30 year long trajectory. We can at least keep launching shuttles from the KSC and look back and honor the heroes that gave their lives in the name of exploration and science. [Development news start here] Another week full of hard work. At this point of the development process of update 1.4 and the Making History Expansion, the projects are looking pretty much as they will at the release. The main features and components are already implemented, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of work ahead of us. On the contrary, at this stage we need to polish, add the final components, and ensure that everything behaves as it should. Along those final tasks, and talking about Making History specifically, is the implementation of Tutorial Missions for the Mission Builder. We talked about this last week, and we have made a lot of progress on that this week, and now we are undergoing a review for the advanced tutorial scenarios. To give you a brief idea of what you can expect from the tutorials in terms of content, we can share with you that they’ll be divided in three categories: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced tutorials. The basic tutorial will teach how to use the nodes and place them in succession for a mission to make sense. You’ll also learn how to save your creations in this tutorial. The intermediate tutorial will introduce additional techniques, like taking advantage of the Action Panes and tailoring specific scenarios and events, i.e., situations that change the course of a Mission, as well as taking advantage of the Scoring system. Finally, the advanced tutorial will cover how to set requirements for crew and parts, custom messages for the success and failure dialogs, the validation dialogs, and how to export your creations to let others play them. As with the base game, taking the time with the tutorials will certainly give you an edge to become an excellent mission creator. The team has also been working on a cool feature that will allow Mission Creators to preview the light on celestial bodies while in the Mission Builder. This will be done via a slider, which will have values based on the length of the light cycle of each Celestial Body, eg: Kerbin 0-6 hours (a full rotation period on Kerbin last 6 hours). This feature will also work for tidally locked bodies, such as Mun, where its rotation period encompasses a full orbit around Kerbin (6.43 days, or 1 Kerbin Month). The slider will adjust the position of the sun given the universal time of the solar system. This tool will give creators a clear grasp of the shade of a celestial body at a certain point in a mission. Additionally, the developers are busy improving a Vessel/Part selector feature for part related nodes based on feedback provided by our dedicated testers. With this tool, Mission Creators will be able to determine the vessel and the part that will be affected by the node. A Creator will select the vessel through a drop down menu on the Setting Action Pane (SAP) and then will be able to select the part through a vessel visualizer found in the Graphic Action Pane (GAP). Having expanded the part catalogue for the game also means that it has become important to balance them and specify where new parts should be located in the Tech Tree. Tasks need to be carefully assessed to give each part a role and place in the game, which can turn out to be more complicated than it seems. Moreover, this week we began the process of wrapping up our part configurations and file organization for the new parts. All told, between Making History and 1.4, we are including about 75 new parts, not counting mesh and texture variants (include those, and we’re at over 100). With that many parts, there is a lot of work. From more mundane tasks like asset consolidation, tags, and localization, to more interesting tasks like picking out manufacturers, part names, and flavor text for part descriptions. One thing we have said for a while now is that the parts should be viewed as being ‘reminiscent of’ rather than 'replicas of’ historic parts. We’ve carried this over to the part names as well. So while you won’t find an RD-108, AJ-10, or an F1, you will see their analogues in the RK-7 'Kodiak’, RE-J10 'Wolfhound’, and KE-1 'Mastodon’. We have also (finally!) done our balance pass of all of the monopropellant tanks, as well as the Xenon tanks. The QA and Dev teams spent a lot of time figuring out how to make these tanks follow consistent rules without causing major issues for our players. Monopropellant tanks will follow the same wet/dry ratios as our liquid fuel and LFO tanks. Xenon tanks were all over the map, but have now been standardized, and on the whole, will end up with a slightly lower dry mass, and a bit higher fuel capacity. We’re also taking a hard look at the new pods, decouplers, etc. to make sure their mass, crash tolerance, cost, etc. are all consistent. The guiding design principle is that the new parts should complement the existing part lineup, without forcing players to either use the new parts exclusively, or hobble them to where they are only useful in the context of the expansion. As always, all of this will still have to go through another round or two of QA. And while this effort is not all encompassing (we’re focusing on expansion parts and our fuel tanks - both old and new), we’re happy to finally begin zeroing in on better standardization and consistency across our part catalog. By the way, we have an awesome treat for you. Back when we announced the expansion, we mentioned that we were including a new vintage-spacesuit for Making History, well here it is. [Click here for high-res pictures] The spacesuit will come in three different colors, veteran crew members will get their own (orange) and the blue and brown suits will be used for EVA and IVA. Here’s where you’ll help us out! Which color would you rather have for each situation? Click here to enter the poll. In other news, while we continue to compile feedback and reports regarding Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition, several issues have been already solved and our friends at BlitWorks have delivered a new build to be revised and tested by our QA team. If everything goes well, this means that we will be able to release our first console patch fairly soon. In the meantime, you can still help us out by providing us with feedback and by reporting issues in the Bugtracker. Here’s also the Bug Reporting Guide we shared with you last week in case you missed it. Finally, we encourage you to participate in our latest KSP Challenge - Lithobraking! This time around, the challenge consists of landing on an atmosphereless body with no engines run after 1000 meters radar altitude, and safely landing by using parts to dampen the crash. Are you up to the challenge? Check it out and share your creations! 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: Dunbar, B. (n.d.). Space Shuttle Overview: Columbia (OV-102). Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/shuttleoperations/orbiters/columbia_info.html (n.d.). Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/resources/orbiters/columbia.html
  10. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy has had it’s static fire and is all ready for flight in a week or two. This demo flight will tell you all you need to know about the upcoming triple booster landings and a few fun facts about the Falcon Heavy! #KSP By Marcus House
  11. A complete and total rebuild of the old Stockalike Station Parts Expansion project. Everything has been redone, and nothing is left of the old mod! Check it out! By Nertea
  12. Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. Since the first humans looked up to the night sky we have been amazed by its beauty, and it’s no wonder that our red neighbor always caught our particular attention. Romans, for instance based their entire religion on astronomy. They knew of seven bright objects in the sky: the Sun, the Moon, and the five brightest planets, which they named after their most important gods: Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Second only to Jupiter, Mars was the protector of Rome, a nation proud in war. According to Roman myth, Mars rode on a chariot pulled by two horses named Phobos and Deimos (meaning fear and panic). We kept the Roman nomenclatures for planets, so when we discovered the two small martian moons, it was natural to name them after these two mythical horses. Our admiration towards Mars has not diminished and we have learned a lot about the red planet since then, and if anything, our knowledge and awe has only increased. Most agree that Mars used to be wet and that ancient water is trapped in or on the planet, whether it’s polar ice, underground ice deposits, and maybe some sort of liquid water flowing every now and then. The question is if that water is actually usable or if it’s too inaccessible or polluted for practical use. However, according to a paper in a recent issue of the journal Science, it seems that some places on Mars have huge glaciers below the surface. Scientists had already inferred that there was ice beneath the surface, because of indirect measurements, but it was difficult to know if it was in the form of ice crystals mixed with dust grains and rock fragments, since the ice is underneath layers of dust and rock. The new study has taken a more direct approach of understanding Mars’ ice: photographs. Using photos of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to investigate eight hills where erosion has revealed what’s beneath the surface of dust. To the surprise of the scientist, each hill had a layer of what seems to be pure ice with hardly any rocks or dust mixed in, and just a couple of meters underneath the surface. The ice was found by using enhanced-color images and by measuring the electromagnetic radiation these glaciers gave off, so scientists were able to confirm that the composition was indeed frozen water. The team found that the ice layers were tens and sometimes even a hundred meters thick. This discovery is great news for a future colonization of Mars, strengthening its position as the best prospect to become our second home. These glaciers could not only become vital sources of drinkable water for future astronauts, but also could produce breathable air by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Some models show that these glaciers might have formed from immense snowstorms millions of years ago. We could learn how the Martian climate has changed over time by drilling these ice layers, just as we do here on Earth. I wonder if Kerbals are as excited as us about Kerbin’s red neighbor and if they also plan to establish colonies on Duna. [Development news start here] There is never a shortage of work here at the KSP HQ, especially now that we are in such a critical point in the development process of our upcoming releases. Whether it is the Making History Expansion, the 1.4 update, or KSP Enhanced Edition, we are ensuring that our efforts are properly allocated, and that every project is receiving the necessary resources. Sometimes the work involves tasks that might not be as exciting as the implementation of new features or new parts, but still very important. For instance, this week involved a whole bunch of those “back-end” tasks that help us ensure that every element behaves as it should, including the merging of pull requests, testing and fixing any issues, as well as organizing the sprint of tasks that the following weeks are going to involve. This type of work usually isn’t in the spotlight, but without it, it’d be impossible to coordinate a development team efficiently. While on the topic of back-end development processes, we are happy to share that the 1.4 update is coming along nicely. We want to provide our players with a big update that will not only include several enhancements and bug fixes, but also new content and features that will forward the KSP experience, most notably the full localization of the game to German, Italian, French, and Brazilian Portuguese. Which by the way, is almost done and undergoing the LQA (Localization Quality Assurance) process. We have been working on Making History for quite a while already and it’s difficult to express how amazing it is to see the expansion take shape, considering that it began as ideas written down on paper (figuratively). We hope that our regular readers are getting some of that feeling too, as you’ve been following along these past months. Working on the Making History Expansion has brought up ideas for features that will end up in the stock game, too! One example is the implementation of a toolbar button that will give players the ability to switch between the VAB and the SPH… Quality of life features, aren’t they great? This week we also worked on making a small audio revamp to the sound effects of all engines (old and new). Once we have the audio files, we will need to load them into the project and configure the part’s “config” files to load and play the right sound when the proper criteria is met. For the Making History Expansion, we’ve previously talked about how Creators will be able to tweak a wide range of parameters for each node they drag onto the canvas in the Mission Builder, but an image is worth more than a thousand words, so we wanted to take this opportunity to show you the UI for the Mission Builder Canvas’ Sidebar and the Setting Action Panes (SAP). These are just a couple of examples of the Setting Action Panes (SAP) for two different nodes. As you can appreciate, each of them has different parameters that Creators will be able to customize for any specific mission. If you look closely, there’s a lot of information that you can deduce from there. On the other hand, below you’ll find the Mission Builder Canvas’ Sidebar. From here, the Creator will drag the nodes they want to include in their missions. As you can see, the nodes are divided by types (categories) shown in the tabs in the upper left side of the screen. We wanted to give the UI the familiar look and feel that the VAB and SPH have when you build vessels. Additionally, Creators will be able to set awards to their mission that player can get if certain goals are met during their mission run; such as completing a mission under a specific time frame, the survival of the crew, among several others. Here’s an example for the “Boldly going” award, which a player could receive if a certain number of kilometers traveled was surpassed. In other news, we continue to compile all the feedback and reports we are getting regarding Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition. As these reports come in, the QA team tries to reproduce them, according to the description that the players provide. The successful reproduction of a bug allows us to identify a bug/issue with precision and consequently to work on solutions. This is why making reports properly is a great way to help us fix any bugs promptly and efficiently. Here’s an old, yet very useful Bug Reporting Guide in case you want to help us out. 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: Dundas, Colin M., et al. “Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-Latitudes.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 12 Jan. 2018, science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6372/199. “Huge Water Reserves Found All Over Mars.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 11 Jan. 2018, news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/mars-buried-water-ice-subsurface-geology-astronauts-science/.
  13. Here you will know what #KSP is and how it plays. Consider it a first look for total newbies! By GrunfWorks
  14. Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. This past January 5th, a legend passed away. A man who enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut (42 years of active NASA service), became the first person to fly six space missions, walked on the moon, and commanded the first Space Shuttle. We are talking, of course, about John W. Young. We want to take this opportunity to honor his memory and talk a little about his work and legacy. John Young was an American astronaut, naval officer and aviator, test pilot, and aeronautical engineer. He was born in San Francisco, California, on September 24, 1930, to parents William Hugh Young, a civil engineer, and Wanda Howland Young. Young showed an interest for science at a young age and earned a Bachelor of Science degree with highest honors in Aeronautical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952. After graduating, Young entered the United States Navy. He served as fire control officer on the destroyer USS Laws and completed a tour in the Sea of Japan during the Korean War. Following this assignment, he was sent to flight training. In 1954, he was designated a Navy helicopter pilot and after receiving his aviator wings, he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 103 for four years. After training at the United States Naval Test Pilot School, Young was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for three years. In 1962, he set two world time-to-climb records while flying his Phantom II, attaining 3,000 meters (9,843 ft) from a standing start in 34.52 seconds and 25,000 meters (82,021 ft) from a standing start in 227.6 seconds. He joined NASA this same year. Fellow astronaut Charles Bolden described Young and Robert “Hoot” Gibson as the two best pilots he had met during his aviation career: “Never met two people like them. Everyone else gets into an airplane; John and Hoot wear their airplane. They’re just awesome”. In 1965, Young flew on the first manned Gemini mission with Gus Grissom. He somehow managed to smuggle a corned beef sandwich onto the spacecraft, a feat for which he was reprimanded, even though it was probably far more delicious than the food on board. Some members of the US House of Representatives were not pleased about the stunt, claiming that Young cost taxpayers millions of dollars by disrupting a scheduled test of space food during the flight. Despite this stunt, he commanded another Gemini mission the next year with no reports of corned beef smuggling, though he may have gotten better at hiding food this time around. In 1969, during Apollo 10, he became the first person to fly solo around the Moon. He became the ninth person to walk on the Moon as Commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. During that mission, he drove the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the Moon’s surface. He is one of only three people to have flown to the Moon twice. He also commanded two Space Shuttle flights, including its first launch in 1981, and served as Chief of the Astronaut Office from 1974 to 1987. John Young was the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle. Young retired from NASA in 2004 after one of the most incredible careers in aerospace history. He was 87 years old when he passed away, and he will be remembered by space enthusiasts for many more years to come. And it seems that he enjoyed snacks as much as our green little friends. Godspeed, John Young, and here at the KSP HQ we salute you! [Development news start here] This past Tuesday we officially released Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition! After months of hard work hand in hand with our friends at BlitWorks, we have been able to provide console players a faithful and worthy version of KSP on both PS4 and Xbox One. These past few days we have been carefully watching the response from the community while providing assistance with some controls and functions, and the whole team is jubilant to see that it has been predominantly positive. However, it is through your constructive criticism, feedback, suggestions and bug reports we are receiving that we’ll be able to solve the issues and bugs that have been showing up. So, yes, there is a patch planned that will address many of the issues we’re discovering as part of our ongoing support plan for the Enhanced Edition. In the meantime, remember that posting on the Console Project of the Bugtracker with as much detail as possible is the best way to make sure we see and fix them, so please do report anything you find. As always, we appreciate all of your feedback! In other news, the Making History Expansion continues to be carefully molded, as more features and components are implemented. For instance, just as with the core game, we expect that Mods will play an important role in Making History, and this week completed the design of where and how Mods installed into the game are going to be displayed to the Mission Creators and Mission Players. We are making sure that Mod support is at the forefront of the decisions we make with the design. It is imperative for us to maintain the relationship we have with our community and to extend this into the creation of Missions and the support of Mods. It is because of this we will integrate Mod support from day one into the Making History Expansion. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll let you know further detail regarding Mod support, so stay tuned for that. Additionally, the team is working on the implementation of Tutorial Missions for the Mission Builder into the list of Stock Missions to be included in the expansion. We want to make sure that everyone who ventures into Making History has the means to fully take advantage of the tools they are going to have at their disposal. Our fans have made us aware of shortcomings of the tutorials in the core game and, as always, we have been taking note, so these new tutorials are going to include a new Highlighting System accompanied with instructor dialogs that will improve the flow of the tutorial. Moreover, the development team finished implementing the correct experience and trait levels into missions for Kerbals, and is working on additional Nodes to be included in the Mission Builder. These include the following: Action Camera Mode Node: This will be an action node that will allow mission creators to toggle the camera mode during mission. An example of how this could be used is to create a sort of cutscene within the flow of a mission. Test Velocity Node: With this simple node, we want to include the ability to test a vessel’s velocity. We’ll allow Creators to choose between Orbital and Surface modes. Create Flag Node: By using Create Flag Node, Creators will be able to place a flag on any planet’s surface. We’re adding the ability to select the Flag, and include a message and description to it. Test Vessel Distance Node: This node gives the ability to test the distance from a vessel to another object. This week we finished merging in the last of the code and models for Engine clusters and Structural Tubes into the game, so it’s time to get into some more detail on how these work. Engine plates come in sizes from 1.875 through 5m, and the player can independently select from several node configurations (single, double, triple, quad, 6x1, and 8x1) with symmetry support. The plates also include mesh switching that allow for up to five different lengths per engine plate. One design consideration was to not penalize players for using the new engine plates (both in terms of mass and part count). So they will have a relatively low mass (since they essentially take the place of the normal engine fairings), and will also have a bottom decoupler built in, so the behavior would be very similar to the normal practice of putting an engine on top of a decoupler, except now you will be able to have this behavior for an entire cluster of engines. Of course, everyone likes part pictures, so here are some examples of the new engine plates, using both old and new engines We also took all of the new engine shrouds (25 in total) and will be providing a set of mesh-switchable structural tubes, suitable for boat tails and other creative uses. These come in sizes from 1.25m through 5m, each with five selectable lengths. They all have inward and outward facing nodes on both the top and bottom, and are completely hollow for all of the makers out there. It’s important to mention that these features are still being tested and may still to go through some additional changes. We’re hoping that this new trove of structural elements will really unlock some creative opportunities for our players, and we had a lot of fun making and testing them too, as shown in this test footage. Finally, we remind you that you still have another week to participate in our latest KSP Challenge - Target Practice. So go check it out and share your creations! 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 Sources: Biographical Data: JOHN W. YOUNG . (n.d.), Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/young.html Speck, E. (2016, September 25). Moon-walking astronaut John Young turned 86 on Saturday. Retrieved from http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/go-for-launch/os-nasa-astronaut-john-young-turns-86-20160923-story.html Dunbar, B. (n.d.). From Gemini to Shuttle: John Young Retires. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/features/young_retires.html Goldstein, R. (2018, January 06). John Young, Who Led First Space Shuttle Mission, Dies at 87. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/obituaries/john-young-dead.html