SQUAD

KSP Weekly: The Grapefruit Satellite

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Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. 60 years ago, on March 17th, Vanguard 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 18. Vanguard 1 was the fourth artificial Earth orbital satellite to be successfully launched (following Sputnik 1, Sputnik 2, and Explorer 1). The spacecraft is a 1.47 kg (3.2 lb) aluminum sphere 16.5 cm (6.4 inches) in diameter.

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It contains a 10 mW, 108 MHz transmitter powered by a mercury battery and a 5 mW, 108.03 MHz transmitter that was powered by six solar cells mounted on the body of the satellite, which makes it the first satellite to have solar electric power. Six short antennas protrude from the sphere. The transmitters were used primarily for engineering and tracking data, but were also used to determine the total electron content between the satellite and the ground stations. Vanguard 1 also carried two thermistors, which measured the interior temperature over sixteen days in order to record the effectiveness of its thermal protection.

Because of its symmetrical shape, Vanguard 1 was used by experimenters for determining upper atmospheric densities as a function of altitude, latitude, season, and solar activity. As the satellite continuously orbited, it would deviate from its predicted positions slightly, accumulating greater and greater shift due to drag of the residual atmosphere. By measuring the rate and timing of orbital shifts, together with the body’s drag properties, the relevant atmosphere’s parameters could be back-calculated. It was determined that atmospheric pressures, and thus drag and orbital decay, were higher than anticipated, since Earth’s upper atmosphere does taper off into space gradually.

Original estimates had the orbit lasting for 2,000 years, but it was discovered that solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag during high levels of solar activity produced significant perturbations in the perigee height of the satellite, which caused a significant decrease in its expected lifetime to only about 240 years. Vanguard 1 transmitted its signals for nearly seven years as it orbited the Earth. After its scientific mission ended in 1964, Vanguard 1 became a derelict object and it remains the oldest man-made object still in orbit, together with the upper stage of its launch vehicle. It was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle as a part of Project Vanguard, and the effects of the space environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It also was used to obtain geodetic measurements through orbit analysis. Due to its small size and spherical shape, Vanguard 1 was described by the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, as “the grapefruit satellite”. Since Vanguard 1 and its two sisters satellites are still orbiting with their drag properties essentially unchanged, they form a baseline data set on the atmosphere of Earth that is over 50 years old and continuing. Vanguard did not only mark a milestone for space exploration, but it proves that Kerbals aren’t the only ones obsessed with space snacks!

[Development news start here]

These past couple of weeks since the release of the expansion have allowed us to compile lots of feedback and various bug reports that are keeping us busy. From the forums to the bugtracker, from social media channels to the development team itself, we continue to gather all the feedback we can to provide our players with substantial patches that address issues with both the base game and the expansion. Yes, patches are coming, you didn’t think that we would stop working, did you?

And that’s not all, non-english speakers will be pleased to hear that we will include localizations of the History Pack missions in the upcoming Making History Expansion (MHE) patch.

The team is also working on a few new  pre-made missions for you to play in the expansion. Plus, we are working on some changes for the stock missions based on the feedback you’ve been giving us. So stay tuned to learn about the nature of these missions and the things that you can expect for the next patches coming your way.

And console players, we haven’t forgotten about you either. We are currently working with our friends at Blitworks on a new patch for KSP Enhanced Edition, so watch out for further developments.

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning insights about the development of certain features the team worked on, keep an eye on the Devblogs section of our forum.

Recently TriggerAu published a couple of interesting articles, the first one talks about  the difficulties of naming vessels made of multiple components, and how a new feature to configure the vessel naming was implemented to facilitate this process. The second one is about the Mission System and how it works. It contains some in depth information and details that we were not been able to get into KSPedia, so it’s definitely worth checking out. Here are both links for your convenience:

What’s in a Vessel Name?
Joining the dots… The Mission System

Finally we want to remind you that you can share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, and/or the KSP Forum.

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!

PD: We have Easter Holidays here in Mexico next Thursday and Friday, so there won’t be a KSP Weekly next week. But do not worry, we’ll come back with exciting development news soon!

*Information Source:

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Very cool! Can't wait for the 1.4.2. bug-fix release! (and First!!)

Edited by WildBill

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Glad to hear you guys are back at it. Still messing around with the Mission Builder. Any patch will I'm sure include some fixes and added functionality for it. Even still, I'm impressed with its abilities as is. I think I've only just scratched the surface of its potential. If only I knew anything about programming. :)

Speaking of which; really hoping that 3rd tutorial will be included in the next patch. I could really use it.

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Maybe the excitement from the launch of Making History has died down. I can sort of see why and could list a number of reasons many players aren't really that thrilled but I'm still happy to have forked over a bit of pocket money because it seems likely to lead to more stuff.

So when is the next DLC coming out? Will it have things we've been begging on our hands and knees for over the past few years or will it be another mixed bag many players aren't really interested in? :P My wishlist: not having to use 275 reaction wheels and blutonium rods for a slightly large vessel, not having to use workarounds instead of proper stock hinges (the klaw is already a flappy hinge when in free pivot so I don't understand what's stopping adding a proper one) and on the same note electric propellers for atmospheric flight, it would also be nice to see motor wheels of the largest size that aren't the most worthless parts in the entire game. Not being able to "weld" instead of adding more of those ugly struts is just insane. Lastly the option to switch fuel in at least SOME of the tanks would be... just silly not to have.

All the above basic stuff is what I'd like regardless of what type of DLC is on the horizon and I've also seen others request those things a number of times. My most desired DLC would be a "future tech" that includes some of the current advancements in real life, like the microwave rocket and ion engines that refuel by extracting gasses from space. Some reason to build permanent bases would be nice too, like keeping a well staffed and powered base on Laythe to continuously generate a small bit of funds and science and provide a second space center capable of both building new vessels and recovering damaged ones anywhere on the planet would be pretty cool. Also maybe kerbals want to build colonies as a stepping stone to reach other solar systems, you could get a contract to haul special equipment and hundreds of personnel to some remote rock so they can establish a colony that is under the Kerbal governments control. You could also take random assignments to safely shuttle more staff there as it expands.

Just blurting out ideas before Squad decides on some other DLC nobody is overly excited about. :D

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59 minutes ago, Rejected Spawn said:

Maybe the excitement from the launch of Making History has died down.

Not for me. :D I've been playing more KSP these past two weeks than I have been the past several months leading up to the 1.4 and DLC release.  I feel like a re-lapsed addict.

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Also using the MH excuse to get back into a career mode that had been paused ... for a year. Have nearly finished rescuing and upgrading craft that were launched before heat shields and thermal radiators :wink:  

Looking forward to the next update and more MH content :) 

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3 hours ago, Raptor9 said:

Not for me. :D I've been playing more KSP these past two weeks than I have been the past several months leading up to the 1.4 and DLC release.  I feel like a re-lapsed addict.

Yup. I know I haven't posted much, but that's because I have just moved cities, I don't have internet sorted out, and little time in general... and still I have managed to create a bunch of new stuff, update some of the things that needed updating, and in general hurt my sleep because I am having so much fun and new ideas.

 

Rune. Just you wait to when I get around to firing the mission builder!

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I returned to KSP after a couple of months of not playing, ironically not because of MH (which I still bought because I want to support Squad any way I can), but because of Kerbal Star Systems, which blew my mind with its awesomeness. Honestly, MH pales pretty quickly in comparison to some of the mods out there. I'd be willing to pay for a DLC that incorporates mods like NearFutureXX, MKS, optional graphical enhancements, and a version of KSS that will run on computers not currently sitting at NASA Ames.

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12 minutes ago, John FX said:

How about no?

It is plain that at least one of these errors are as a result of someone using cut and paste to make their sentences and is nothing to do with English not being their native language.

That is just sloppy it is not a language issue. Stop making excuses for a business...

Which would you rather have, a weekly post with a few typos, etc, or no post at all?

The posts are not necessary or required.  People are human, they make mistakes.  And in the grand scheme of things, this mistake is so trivial as to be ignored.

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20 hours ago, SQUAD said:

These past couple of weeks since the release of the expansion have allowed us to compile lots of feedback and various bug reports that are keeping us busy. From the forums to the bugtracker, from social media channels to the development team itself, we continue to gather all the feedback we can to provide our players with substantial patches that address issues with both the base game as the expansion. Yes, patches are coming, you didn’t think that we would stop working, did you?

We'll come back to the understatements some other time, but about that question... Legit question? Because as I matter of fact, it does seem you would NEVER stop working... And I'm sure that's just the way you want it, but the quality should come first. Wouldn't you feel cheated? When you open your new product to find out it doesn't work, or parts are missing/broken? I don't have to ship it anywhere to replace it, thankfully, but there is still a *consistent* inconvenience as I wait for KSP fixes on each new frackin version released. CAN you fix it?! 

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1 hour ago, Dark Lion said:

CAN you fix it?! 

With enough time and money anything is possible. A better, albeit equally rhetorical, question is: will there be enough money to provide enough time to fix it?

I suspect the answer for the immediate future is yes, and most of the issues seem like they can be resolved in relatively little time.

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[snip]

I think you're forgetting @SQUAD has absolutely NO obligation to post a KSP weekly... this is entirely a volunteer thing, and they could quit tomorrow. The fact they keep us in the loop is a huge courtesy.... let's not jeopardize it.

And more that that... it's clear you're not an Emiko Station reader, because I make mistakes all the time, and if you had done this on my thread, several readers will jump all over you... and most likely invite a visit from a moderator.

The rule is: If you find a spelling or grammar mistake, you private message the author, and let them know so they can correct it.

That's possibly the biggest unspoken rule for the fan-fiction area... and should apply to the entire forum!!!

Be polite!!!

Edited by Vanamonde

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8 hours ago, steve_v said:

*Waits patiently for "joysticks actually work" patch*

I've been using a joystick with KSP for about 4 years.  What kind of issues are you having?

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On 3/23/2018 at 12:00 PM, SQUAD said:

And console players, we haven’t forgotten about you either. We are currently working with our friends at Blitworks on a new patch for KSP Enhanced Edition, so watch out for further developments.

*Sits here quietly reading a forum of people who got a huge update fight over grammar, and is happy that console players at least got two sentences worth of mention this week*

Edited by LegendaryAce

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[snip]

Someone from @SQUAD is going out of his or her way to provide us with some feedback on what going on... which is way, way more than I can say for most games I've played. This is NOT part of their job description... and something they can stop doing at any time... especially if people start nagging about silly little stuff!!!

I'm sorry... but I'm starting to get really, really mad about this... Because if y'all don't stop nit-picking silly non-important stuff like this, @SQUAD is just gonna stop writing the weekly updates all together!!! And it will be ALL YOUR FAULT!!!

Edited by Vanamonde

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Some companies will over-correct based on nagging feedback, let's not see this end up being written by a Take Two lawyer, with impeccable grammar and even longer sentences. Various footnotes and disclaimers. (Considering their hourly rate, probably not.) Weekly updates have been written semi-informally since day one. The ship will sail on. 

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6 hours ago, RoboRay said:

What kind of issues are you having?

 

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i wonder what would happen to an actual grapefruit in space, and if you could transport them (say to mars) through the vacuum of space without need for life support? would the fruit freeze, or turn to dust, or maybe gain new powers from solar radiation? how long would they last? and what would they taste like? :)

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