August 28, 2017

Launch Contract Announced

Operator boredom.  Launch fatigue.  Falling asleep at the wheel.  Even the most experienced launch technicians can suffer from it.  During a routine launch, something distracts the operator.  Before anyone realizes, it a multi-million dollar rocket and payload is heading for the ground instead of the stars.

To avoid rocket loss due to launch fatigue, Centauri Spaceworks has contracted with Nooleus to provide 1000 quick launches.  This will supply Centauri with the fuel and modules it needs to continue building ships and stations without the time, effort, and risk of doing every launch.  Centauri will still continue to do crew and consumable supply launches as needed.

August 24, 2017

Palm Tree Space Hotel

Welcome to the Palm Tree Space Hotel.   When your daily shuttle from HOM first arrives it will dock at the base of the palm tree where the guest rooms are.  

You will be greeted by our receptionist in the lobby.  We have four rooms available.  Each with a king sided bed and palm tree themed sheets.  There are two observation lounges for you to enjoy the spectacular views.  There is even a garden for you to relax in as well.

Please don't stray beyond the garden however, that area is for staff only.  A corridor connects the guest portion of the hotel with the mechanical and staff areas at the top of the tree.  An Orion III craft is docked at the top of the tree to use as an escape pod in emergencies.

Update: The Palm Tree Hotel has been upgraded with an extra docking port and a pool!

August 20, 2017

Double Docking Bay Doors

Orion III entering the open docking bay.

With the growth in the size of ships, Centauri Spaceworks needed a larger docking bay.  This required a larger docking bay door.  Instead of just enlarging the existing door, engineers divided the door to create a double door.

In the previous single door design, the force of undocking and docking the door at its hinges would knock the structure out of position.  The structure was always required to supply a bit of station keeping thrust to maintain its position after the door opened or closed. It was theorized that the motion of two symmetric doors would cancel out, leaving the station at rest after the doors had completed their motion.  However this was not the case and a bit of thrust is still required to maintain position.

The double doors do have the advantage of opening and closing faster than a single door.   Each door only has to traverse half the distance.

August 16, 2017

Fuel Cell

Centauri Spaceworks has an excess of main engine fuel at its shipyard.  Every week a new fuel silo is sent up from HOM to replenish the supplies.  All of the thruster propellant goes to refueling the station builder tugs that have been busy constructing new ships and stations.  Without having to travel long distances, the tug's fuel tanks remain almost full of main engine fuel and only need a small topping off each week.  The nearly full main fuel tanks have started stacking up.

Lead Engineer, Alrick Fons, has proposed a use for all this extra main engine fuel:  turn it into power.  Centauri Spaceworks has a need for a compact power source for its spaceships designs.  Alrick designed a fuel cell that will convert the fuel and oxidizer into power.  Water is also produced as a by product of the reaction.

Fuel Cell module concept

The fuel cell is estimated to produce up to 120 units of power.  It has storage equivalent to an ATV.  At full capacity it contains enough fuel to power the module for 30 minutes.  This also results in two full containers of water. Fuel consumption can be reduced if the power load is reduced.

In order to avoid power outages, the fuel tank has an auto refill feature.  When enabled, it automatically turns on the fuel pump when the tank falls below 1/4.  It shuts off when the tank is full, or when there is no remaining fuel to pump.

Alrick has also suggested that this process could be reversed as well.  He has top engineers at Centauri Spaceworks are working on developing a module to convert water and power into thruster propellant.  This will reduce the amount of fuel silos that need to be launched each month to support to work constructing spaceships.  Look for more information about the fuel manufacturing module in a future update.

August 12, 2017

Upgrades to the Hermit

Harold Hawkes broke his radio silence with a short but panicked message that his ship, the Hermit, had encountered a meteorite shower around JOR. More radio silence followed, leaving the media pundits speculating if he had survived or not.

Harold survived, and his second transmission revealed that his craft had indeed been struck by several small meteorites. He was forced to undock, and live in the Orion capsule  while making repairs. Without a module usable as an airlock he was forced to vent and re-pressurize the Orion capsule several times. During his initial EVA, he forgot to secure all the compartments and accidentally vented some of his belongings, including his favorite book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, into space.

The end of his second transmission caused even more caused even more gossip: Harold Hawkes was coming back to HOM!  Harold wanted to have more thorough repairs made to the Hermit, as well as a few upgrades including:  an airlock for future EVAs, and a pod for exploring

After the upgrades were completed Harold left HOM to travel to YEL to observe its yellow rings.

August 8, 2017


Exterior view of the Trident

The Trident is the latest cargo ship constructed by Centauri Spaceworks.  It offers plenty of cargo capacity with 48 units of cargo.

It utilizes the latest technology including the new cargo hold module.   It is powered by dual ATV reactor modules.  These are ATV modules packed with batteries.

Without the need for bulky solar panels to power it the Trident can squeeze into small docking areas.  It can fit into an area that is just two standard station module and one hub wide.

Interior view of the Trident
The Trident has just completed its commissioning tests and is now awaiting its first assignment.

August 2, 2017

Ghostship Desdemona

The Desdemona was a surface exploration vessel sent out at the start of the last decade. It's crew vanished in orbit around ENC.

The Desdemona's mission went as planned through arrival at ENC. While in orbit around ENC, a large solar flare disrupted communications. .  The ship's last communication was:
Copy information about upcoming solar event. The crew on board the Desdemona will take shelter inside the radiation shelter of the ships engine room.

Ingo and his assistant Natalia will remain on the surface. The plant's magnetosphere combined with the shielding on the lander should be sufficient protection. Ingo has discovered a network of caves. This is an exciting discovery and he wants to have as much time on the surface as possible. He also thinks that the caves are deep enough to provide shelter from the storm if needed.  
Expect to re-establish contact in 24 to 32 hours.  Desdemona out.

The crew of the Desdemona failed to re-establish contact after the solar flare subsided.  After several days of radio silence, a robot probe originally planned to study the rings of YEL was re-directed to ENC to investigate.

Desdemona drifting in orbit around ENC

Using the robot probe, operators on the home planet found the ship without power and drifting in orbit. The camera images showed that the first lander had returned to the ship. A second lander had been launched and landed on the surface of ENC.  They were unable to establish radio or visual contact with any of the crew.

Over the course of the next month operators on the home planet used the robot probe's manipulator arm to activate the airlock on the empty docking port of the Desdemona and explore the ship.  Inside they found no signs of an emergency, but no signs of the crew either.