The Journal of Space Achievement 1958

Recording the events of 1958

Explosion at Julianehåb

A major disaster at the Julianehåb launch facility has left 3 dead and a major clean up operation. GOSsiP had made a brave attempt to leapfrog the other space agencies by launching an interplanetary satellite on a lunar fly-by mission. The initial launch attempt on the 15th of December was delayed with just one second before ignition of the two stage rocket when sensors detected a malfunction in the rocket motors. The launch was rescheduled to the 30th of December. On the relaunch the countdown was proceeding normally until the ignition phase of the rocket. At T-3 seconds, the rocket exploded on the launch pad in a catastrophic explosion. The launch pad itself was badly damaged in the explosion and will require repairs costing $25,000,0001.

Further investigation into the accident has revealed that the clockwork mechanism used to correctly sequence the flow of fuel and oxygen into the rocket motor cowling had been installed upside down, causing a major build up of the fuel and oxygen mix before the ignition of the combination and then leading to the major explosion. GOSsiP researchers have, in a major scientific breakthrough, been able to replace the mechanism with a new transistorised version that has asymmetric connectors and hence cannot be installed in the incorrect orientation2. GOSsiP's one stage rocket starts 1959 with a safety rating of 26%.

Honohulu repaired; Corruption in R&D

SHADO's Honohulu launch facility has now been repaired following last years launchpad explosion and is being prepped for another launch attempt currently scheduled for the 10th of December 1959. As the repairs at Honohulu continued, more research into both the one stage rocket (safety rating now 48%) and the interplanetary satellite (safety rating now 39%) were made during the year.

Also reported from Honohulu has been the discovery of nefarious practices within SHADO's research and development programs which have reportedly diverted money from actual research and into extensive (and expensive) beach parties on the north shore of Oahu Island nearing the main viewing area for the rocket launches. Suggestions that some of the expensive barbecue equipment was supplied by South African companies ultimately connected to that country's secret police have been denied by both SHADO and SARSA3.

Mass roundup of spies in South Africa

SARSA has released a press statement condemning what it called "a concerted and mass attempt at espionage". It has accused all the other agencies of attempting to acquire its advanced space technology. It has reassured all concerned that, had it any undeveloped space programs it would have ensured that the leaking of that program to its competition4

Woomera also promotes reuse

In an apparent attempt to learn from Smaug Inc.'s experiments into the use of sea water to allow the quick turnaround of launch facilities, the Australian Space Agency has reported that it is conducting experiments into similar technology using the amber nectar instead of sea water. Officials explained that "as Woomera is hundreds of kilometers from the sea we obviously cannot use sea water as the coolant mechanism. We do have to keep a large supply of the beer for use on the facility, so we thought we'd see if it can be used in a similar fashion to that reported to be used by Smaug Inc."5

Flu outbreak forces consideration of backup crews

Following the major worldwide breakout of Influenza, Smaug Inc., is reportedly considering the assignment of backup crews to its future manned flight plans. If a manned launch had been planned for this year without a backup crew in place, the outbreak would have caused Smaug Inc. to scrub the launch as a result of the outbreak6.

Slow start for Smaug Inc.

Smaug Inc. has started a two stage rocket program, but the program has had a slow start reaching the dizzying safety factor of 16% in its first year of research. Smaug Inc. also improved the safety rating of its orbital satellite program, which reached a safety rating of 51%.

Big rockets for SARSA

SARSA is aiming both big and high with its new three stage rocket program codenamed "BFL 3". With rapid (if expensive) progress into this program, the BFL 3 already has a safety rating of 27%, while the one stage rocket was also the beneficiary of research with its safety rating raised to 85% (the maximum rating this rocket can be increased to by research).

Astronaut program started at ASA

The Australian Space Agency has started an extensive training program for its astronauts with an initial intake of three crew members. The Commander, Steve Zodiac, is reported to have escaped serious injury when someone planted a loosely lidded paper cup full of hot coffee in the training centrifuge. It is a mystery as to how the offending cup got in there as security was tight and only the three astronauts were anywhere near the vicinity at the time of the exercise. Dr Venus was unavailable for comment. After a quick sponge down the interior of the centrifuge capsule was as good as new.

Excellent progress on the two stage rocket (now at a safety factor of 68%) and the three person capsule (safety rating of 53%) has been achieved by ASA despite a slight scaling back of the research plans. Despite the lack of immediate plans for launches, ASA is looking forward to future missions with the purchase of an additional two stage rocket.

Launch Calendar

The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1959 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:

10th Dec
Launch by SHADO
20th Dec
Orbital Satellite from SARSA7

Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm


  1. As the explosion killed people on the ground, this counts as a catastrophic failure and reset the safety factor of GOSsiP's two stage rocket back to 10%.
  2. GOSsiP's event card was a major scientific breakthrough in its most advanced rocket program.
  3. Subtract one from each of SHADO's research dice during 1959
  4. Counter-espionage - SARSA could have reduced a competitor's research program to the safety rating of its own equivalent program. However as all its programs are better than all those with the same program this has no effect.
  5. One time only (in a year chosen by ASA) one of ASA's facilities may be used twice in the same year. The second launch will be made on the 31st of December and must be planned in advance in the usual manner.
  6. Event card was "Influenza Outbreak", but as Smaug Inc. has no manned launches planned (or even an astronaut program), this has no effect. Note that having an assigned backup crew for a mission requires that backup crew is not the primary crew for another planned mission
  7. As ordered by South African government during 1957

Financial summary as of 1st January 1959

Agency Cash in hand Expected Budget for 1960
Smaug Inc. $73,000,000 $80,000,000
SARSA $94,000,000 $95,000,000
GOSsiP $71,000,000 $75,000,000
SHADO $98,000,000 $73,000,000
ASA $71,000,000 $78,000,000

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

Comments: 2

  1. David says:

    I will permit interplanetary missions that have two fly-by destinations (e.g. Moon and then onto Venus). However since this kind of orbital mechanics usually requires a tight launch windows I will reflect that by applying a 1d10 month rush to the mission. Note that the implied hit to the safety rating applies to every step of the mission (including the launch). The money for the rush will be deducted as part of the mission resolution and will be permitted to (briefly) reduce the cash-in-hand to below zero. (The debt will be reclaimed when the following year's budget is added to the cash-in-hand). Note that the safety factor could have as high as a 10% hit. I will not permit a triple fly-by mission and will insert an extra mission step after the first destination to reflect the mission burn needed to apply an orbital correction. I'll update the available missions page to reflect these missions.

  2. David says:

    I will also allow any other sensible missions (for example, you can launch two capsules on the same rocket to make two attempts at a manned orbital, or multiple orbital satellites on the same rocket. Note however that if the rocket explodes on launch you will suffer multiple mission failure penalties. If you have a special mission in mind, feel free to discuss it with me before writing your orders!

    Trying to launch two interplanetary satellites on the same rocket (one to Mars and Venus) isn't permitted as each one requires its own launch window.

    In all cases the total payload weight must fit on the rocket.