Jun 15 2014

Four Month Update

A couple of notes from this past month including how I’m re-using parts for missions to save money, taking better consideration when I tweet, scheduling image posts directly to twitter, and attention from official space agency twitter accounts.

Charging for science missions w/aircraft re-using parts

I don’t want to park a craft out in front of the hangar to re-launch when I need it, that just means more parts I’m required to load when running the game. So I’ve been paying close attention to the cost-breakdown window that you can get from Mission Controller Extended to calculate how much of the cost of each launch is the craft and how much are the resources used on each flight. The craft is paid for once, the resources are paid for multiple times. These include fuel, monoprop, electric charge, etc. If my aircraft has solar panels on it, then I don’t charge myself for the EC at launch, as I would have recharged the batteries off solar since the last time it was flown, even if it landed with a depleted charge. When it comes to charging for fuel, I only calculate the cost after flying a mission and seeing how much I use, since the rest would theoretically be recycled back into “storage” anyways. Any new parts added to the craft since the initial purchase are of course additional one-time expenses. Unless I break a part and need to replace it.

Better mission planning for tweet times

Ever since the ComSat I mission that lasted throughout the entire night (real-time, EST) I’ve been careful to plan out missions so that the important stuff occurs during the day (again, EST which is the timezone KSC is based on). It’s bad enough to blow up follower’s twitter streams with a ton of updates, worse to do it when no one else is really tweeting to help drown you out a little bit. It hasn’t been as hard as I feared.

Some attention from actual space agencies on twitter

I had a little bit of epic win on twitter this past month. It just happened that a long-exposure launch photo I made was scheduled to appear shortly after the latest Soyuz launch to the ISS. Well, I saw one of my followers retweet an image from the Canadian Space Agency of a long-exposure photo of the Soyuz launch and jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t actually think it would get noticed but when I replied to that tweet with my own long-exposure image the CSA actually retweeted me. Then one of their astronauts responded, and the B612 Foundation got in on it too. Here is the full twitter conversation. I picked up a couple more followers from that exchange.

I’ve also found the B612 Foundation account to be a good sport in regards to the KSA, they are following my account and interacting with the Agency a little bit. I look forward to leveraging this more once asteroids start to become a real issue for the KSA in the months to come.

Then too is the fact that my cousin’s sister (so not a direct relation) is an actual NASA astronaut who’s been up to the ISS and is pretty active on twitter. I’ve not had the opportunity to meet her in person yet so I’ve asked my cousin to have her check out the account. We’ll see if that amounts to anything.

Posting images directly to twitter

Speaking of twitter, I realized my tweet scheduling service could post pictures directly along with the scheduled tweet, which is awesome because the images won’t show up until they are ready to be seen and now my twitter gallery is filling up with cool photos. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was to have just that one very first photo in the gallery showing up on the front page of the little engine attached to a probe body. How lame!

Asteroid following via quicksave

I discovered how to follow asteroids you don’t control, since you can’t do it from the tracking station. It just involves some simple quicksave editing and I detailed how to do it over on reddit.

Speaking of reddit, still haven’t managed to recapture the success of the first mission report I posted there but I do have a small following based on votes for the subsequent ones I’ve posted since.

Permanent Mission Reports thread

Check it out, finally set up a single thread for all future KSA mission reports and other related material. I’ve noticed that’s how most others roll in that forum, so decided to conform. Plus I really did want to start adding a little bit of extra material in the form of written stories covering multiple missions to go into more detail about some things. I’ll be working on the first Plot Summary after I’m done with this entry.

Science photos

I can get science points when taking photos with a VDSHullCam part, and the decline in point value is very slow so you can get a lot of science from this part if you really want to sit there and spam it home. That wouldn’t fit well with the whole RPG play style I have going though so what I’ve done instead is I can only transmit home data from a photo I’m going to be posting online. This serves also to help keep me from spamming images as well. I think it’s created a nice balance for me in deciding when to take screenshots.

Moar editing!!

It’s amazing all the stupid mistakes I’ve made – continuity errors, spelling, grammar… I’ve managed to let one mistake slip out where I called the Aerospace Group the Aeronautical Group (what the what?) but that’s it so far. Re read all the things, people! Again and again! Especially for me since you can’t edit tweets. D’oh!

Well, another month past… I still have a 3 month lead time in place so the KSA is currently operating in mid-September…

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