Firework display on Hawaii leaves 10 dead
As if to show that the
national holiday is set to become an annual event, another large explosion has been reported from the SHADO launch facility near Honolulu. The one stage rocket carrying an orbital satellite exploded on the launch pad killing 10 technicians on the ground. An initial investigation has shown that this rocket suffered a similar failure to that of GOSsiP's launch last year, but the near total destruction of the rocket and the launch site has meant that firm details on the cause of the problem is proving difficult to ascertain.1
Sabotage ruled out at SARSA
Despite the ruling out of sabotage as the cause of the failure of the suspected South African spy satellite, Johannesburg has imposed a significant budget cut to SARSA before approving the transfer of funds to the agency. On the 20th of December, a launch from SARSA failed when the rocket carrying the government satellite exploded at a height of 15,000 feet. The initial countdown proceeded normally and the explosion was the first (and last) sign of trouble with the mission. Fortunately the rocket's height at the time of the explosion avoided any ground casualties and so the safety rating of SARSA's one stage rocket remains unchanged at 85%.
Suspected surveillance operations
After unexpected progress at SARSA in their interplanetary satellite program many agencies, including at GOSsiP, have blamed loose talk2. GOSsiP also suspect that some of the data on their one stage rocket program may have helped SARSA's three stage rocket program, although GOSsiP's scientists did express surprise that a program whose main achievement to date has been a large crater could possibly help anybody's program!
Meanwhile attempts in Australia to close the many bars and pubs surrounding the Woomera launch facility following the discovery of a major leak in the three person capsule program has met with outright rejection by the staff at the facility. Smaug Inc. is suspected of using espionage to raise the safety factor of their three person capsule to match that of ASA's similar program.3
The discovery of a nest of a venomous spiders infesting the newly installed electronics in ASA's three person capsule has important safety implications for the future say independent experts. Dr. Venus was in charge of rechecking the capsule for safety and cleaniness following a recent ground test of the capsule. Her discovery of a colony of funnel-web spiders hiding in the clothing lockers of her male colleague's lockers has led to both a major review of the capsule's safety features and to her induction into ASA's astronaut program. It is expected that she has averted at least one major capsule problem that might have occurred in flight4.
Spam in a can furore
The description by Einar Gerhardsen, prime minister of Norway, of Maja Hansen as
Spam in a can, just waiting to be cooked. has caused outrage at the agency, and a general reluctance to apply for further positions as astronauts at the agency. While the agency admitted that part of the crater at Julianehåb was now used for Summer Solstice barbecues, it said that it has yet to kill any astronauts and it did not recognise the situation described by the prime minister.5
Big science push at SHADO
SHADO has embarked a major mission to promote science and provide additional education into mathematics and probability theory. Although the results have not yet been reflected in successful launches, it is expected that this push will be reflected in research conducted by the agency during 19606.
Calls for review of R&D at GOSsiP
After the very slow progress on the revamp of the two stage rocket program at GOSsiP (now rated with a safety factor of just 36% after some concerted research efforts), many at the agency are calling for a review of the research methods used and have threatened the research team with a whole scale review of the program7
Lift off is a dangerous venture
Since the beginning of the space race, attempting to get anything off the ground has proven to be a dangerous business. So far, of the five launches attempted, three have exploded on the launch pad, one shortly after launch and only one has so far made into space and into orbit. Observers note that lift off from the launch pad is one of the most dangerous parts of any space mission, with the theoretical re-entry stage of a capsule also being described as
quite risky if anything goes wrong.
The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1960 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:
- 10th Oct
- Launch by GOSsiP 8
- 15th Dec
- Manned Launch of at least two crew members by ASA as ordered by the Australian Government in 1955
- 20th Dec
- Launch by Smaug Inc.
Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm
- 31 May 2017
Updated to reflect launch window of GOSsiP's planned mission
- 27 July 2017
- Clarified footnote 4
- As the explosion killed technicians on the ground, this explosion counts as catastrophic and reduces the safety factor of SHADO's one stage rocket program to 10%. In addition the launch facility requires $25,000,000 of repairs before it can be used again ↩
- Espionage by SARSA has raised the safety factor of their Interplanetary satellite program to match that of GOSsiP and in addition a small improvement to the three stage rocket program has been made following the results of the espionage program. ↩
- Yep another espionage event, this time for Smaug Inc.! ↩
- The first failed safety check in a capsule program made by ASA will be ignored and the mission will proceed to the next safety check. ↩
- Note, no new astronauts may be recruited by GOSsiP during 1960. ↩
- +1 per R&D die purchased by SHADO during 1960. ↩
- I did feel that rolling just 10 on 6d6 was quite a lot on the unlucky side! ↩
- Launch in October to met launch window of desired mission. ↩
Note that I have been adding rules clarifications as comments to the newspapers. As these are answers to questions that I've been asked and I think need general answers they may (or may not) give a hit as to what might be being planned.
Note that purchasing of R&D dice happens before any launches (even rushed ones), so giving, one hopes, a better chance of survival for your astronauts on their missions!