The Journal of Space Achievement 1965

Recording the events of 1965

Colonel Steve Zodiac, Captain Ken Ross and Jock Campbell first men to fly by the moon

View of the moon from the Australian Capsule

At the very end of 1965, two of Australia's experienced were able to share their experience with one of the more recent recruit and were able to celebrate a successful Manned Lunar Pass mission. There were no problems with the flight and all went very smoothly. The only embarrassment came when Colonel Zodiac, in an unguarded moment, remarked that the radio silence (caused when the craft passed behind the moon as seen from Earth) was, for him, the most enjoyable part of the flight so far - when pressed to explain ground control became concerned about another period of silence before Captain Ken Ross tactfully changed the subject.

Late News: Steve Zodiac's body found in his apartment

In a bizarre follow up to the successful Manned Lunar Pass, the body of Colonel Steve Zodiac was found in his apartment on the 27th of January 1966. Amid intense speculation and debate, ASA was forced to call in the Australian Police to investigate the affair. ASA has pledged that the police investigation will be fully supported by all concerned. The needs of the investigation, together with the large number of swirling rumours ASA has pledged that all members of the astronaut corps will be available to help the police with their inquiries. As a result ASA will be unable to launch any manned missions during 19661.

Monkeys upstaged by the Australian mission

The successful South African Lunar Pass mission, launched just four days before the Australian Manned Lunar Pass, was only crewed by a (carefully selected) team of Vervet Monkeys. Reports from SARSA claim that the monkeys out performed the Australian crew during the mission, completing their experiments planned for the long journey to the moon in record time and without complaints.

Lots of Probes

Apart from the two Lunar Pass missions, the remaining launches in 1965 were almost all of interplanetary satellites. The one exception, launched by GOSsIP was a lunar probe lander, which was last tracked heading into deep space after it failed to make a course correction that would have placed the probe into its initial orbit around the moon. The interplanetary satellites are all operational, with two from SHADO on their way to Mars (one of these first flew by the moon on its way, while the second will travel onto Venus once it passes Mars. Both of these mission launched in August to take advantage of the orbital positions of their targets). ASA preceded their manned mission with a successful lunar fly-by on the 18th of December. The two probes from last year that were enroute (one from SHADO to Venus, one from SARSA to Mars) were both successful in reaching their destinations and returning data from their respective targets.

Sabotage or friendly help?

The recent discovery of flaws in GOSsiP's two stage rocket program and the unusual offer of help from SARSA has left observers wondering exactly what is going on. The injectors for the fuel/oxygen mix on two stage rocket has been found to have a serious design flaw that means that the safety factor for this rocket has been revised downwards by 20%. SARSA has offered to help GOSsiP however saying that We've seen similar problems in our three stage rocket. We can help with the repairs if GOSsiP can cover our expenses of $10,000,000)2.

Worldwide fuel shortage hits Smaug Inc.

It appears that Smaug Inc. has not anticipated the recent surge in demand for rocket fuel. As a result it has only secured sufficient fuel supplies to allow it to launch mission during 1966. The head of Smaug Inc. construction division is reported to be particularly annoyed at the failure of the procurement division Yet again we're met our targets by completing our third launch facility, but it seems that some in the company are determined to see us fail. Could there be more South African spies and saboteurs at work3?

SARSA holds mission control disaster drills

Perhaps worried about the activities of the other South African agencies recently, SARSA has been conducting drills in mission control for various different problems that their moon mission may encounter. With the clock ticking on the 31st December 1968 deadline to successfully land a person on the Moon and return them safely to Earth this recent activity may allow them to complete the mission with little risk4.

SHADO benefits from Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?

The unexpected hit TV Show, Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?, from a sister division, has meant that SHADO now has a long waiting list for its astronaut program. While there aren't any spaces currently in its program, it is expected that SHADO will be able to recruit and train astronauts quite cheaply5.

Some good luck for GOSsiP

In a rare piece of good news for the troubled agency, GOSsiP has made rapid progress on improving the safety of its liquid fuel strap on rockets. The safety of this rocket improved by 41% during the past year6.

ASA looking good

While there is still some distance to go (for example no agency has yet to achieve a Manned Lunar Orbit) it is looking like the Australians have the lead on getting to the Moon first. That said their astronauts are not all that experienced and it would only take one catastrophic failure for the tables to be turned. SARSA is also looking strong, but has a significant time pressure from their government order. The other agencies may wish to look at trying some joint missions to get the international mission bonuses, or perhaps to anticipate the inevitable disasters and the potential for rescues.

Launch Calendar

The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1966 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:

5th Dec
GOSsiP
10th Dec
Smaug Inc.
11th Dec
Smaug Inc.
12th Dec
Smaug Inc.
15th Dec
SHADO
17th Dec
SHADO
23rd Dec
SARSA
28th Dec
ASA

Last updated: September 19, 2017 at 14:26 pm


Footnotes

  1. Should ASA's single planned mission for 1966 be manned it will be automatically scrubbed
  2. The safety factor on GOSsiP's summary page is shown with the 20% reduction. If $10,000,000 is paid by GOSsiP to SARSA the rocket's safety factor will be restored.
  3. Smaug Inc. may only launch one mission during 1966, though it can choose which of its three planned mission will go ahead. The other two missions will be scrubbed.
  4. One time only allows a reroll of a failed safety check.
  5. SHADO can recruit new astronauts for only $1,000,000 each for the rest of the game.
  6. 41 on 8d6 is a pretty decent roll, and goes a small way to balance the bad rolls from earlier in the game 🙂

Financial summary as of 1st January 1966

Agency Cash in hand Expected Budget for 1967
Smaug Inc. $107,000,000 $95,000,000
SARSA $157,000,000 $155,000,000
GOSsiP $65,000,000 $67,000,000
SHADO $158,500,000 $96,000,000
ASA $163,000,000 $162,000,000

Click on the name of the agency to see details on the agency's safety factors, astronaut roster and hardware stocks.


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