The Journal of Space Achievement 1960

Recording the events of 1960

First people in Space

Australia first to safely visit Earth Orbit

New Zealand

New Zealand looking south

On the 15th of December ASA launched the first manned mission into space. With a three person crew consisting of Colonel Steve Zodiac, Captain Ken Ross and Dr. Venus, this first mission was a manned orbital with several orbits included in the flight plan. In a press release ASA said ASA has now reached the position where it feels confident to launch a mission for an Australian three person crew to orbit the Earth and return. Questions from reporters asking why Professor Matt Matic was not going along for the ride, ASA responded that they felt Prof Matic had a greater contribution to make from ground control and that the decision had absolutely nothing to do with mitigating against earlier sexual discrimination charges. When asked why a simpler sub-orbital mission was not on the cards as this would also meet the Australian Government's instruction. Steve Zodiac replied Hey, we've got the cojones to get ahead in this game and we're gonna do it!!

Despite fears for the mission safety after the decision to skip the previously considered important steps of an orbital satellite and a manned sub-orbital1, the initially high safety ratings of both the two-stage rocket and the three person capsule meant this mission went without a hitch (and, in fact, the re-entry stage of the mission, considered to be one of the most dangerous parts of the mission, achieved almost total perfection, with even the expected communications blackout lasting only a couple of seconds).

The Australian government is reported to be extremely proud and has voted an initial increase of $60,000,000 to ASA's budget2.

Not a disaster, but...

GOSsiP attempted a Lunar Probe/Mars Fly-by on the 15th of October. The rushed launch of two months was required to meet the only possible launch window for this mission attempt and the difficulties were compounded by the lack of experience in GOSsiP in successful satellite missions3. Unsurprisingly the mission was cancelled after automated mission abort occurred at T-3 seconds. Initial investigations of the countdown abort revealed that the problems that led to the explosion of the two stage rocket in 1958 have not yet been completely solved and experts now rate the two stage rocket as having only a 29% chance of a completely successful launch4. As a result of the countdown abort, that particular rocket itself cannot be reused, but the satellite it was carrying was safely recovered from the launch site and can be reused.

First Orbital Satellite from Smaug Inc.

Continuing the run of non-explosive launches this year was Smaug Inc. on the 20th of December. Their successful mission means that finally a second orbital satellite has been added to that of SARSA in 1958, thus becoming the second agency to successfully launch an orbital satellite5.

Setback to Smaug Inc.'s three person capsule

The discovery that some parts of Smaug Inc.'s three person capsule have been constructed from aluminium has caused consternation amongst engineers in the program. The discovery of the use of the metal, which has a relatively low melting point (although lightweight) has reduced the safety factor of the program by 10% until replacement materials can be researched.

Colonel Zodiac's flu

Official reports that ASA's Colonel Steve Zodiac has succumbed to a dose of influenza following his trip into space are causing a considerable number of conspiracy theories to arise. Various alternative theories have been suggested, including that the Colonel has been infected by some new kind of space virus or that his previous bronze physique has been changed by the trip such that he has been called The Thing by his fellow crew members. However many observers suspect that he has been visiting the Amber Nectar Brewery experience, which has twenty times the number of visitors to nearby Space City's educational tours6.

Scandinavian Governments to refocus on social program

GOSsiP officials are reported to examining carefully several statements by Denmark, Sweden and Norway that, due to a worry that the space budget is being wasted on pretty fireworks, GOSsiP's budget is to be halved so that $39,000,000 can redirected into social programs in the region. Suggestions that firework manufacturers in Copenhagen have been funding a lobbying campaign are being pooh-poohed by GOSsiP officials who point out that the competition is much more dangerous.

Accident at Johannesburg Satellite Factory

A recent quality check at JoSat, the company producing the satellites for SARSA, revealed that it's clean room wasn't as clean as the team expected. The finding of an aardvark within the perimeter led to the discovery of a termite mound within the facility itself. Official report that the damage by the termites to some of the internal wiring has actually helped the program to discover new ways of routing the electronic messages which will mean that it is expected that future problems in the satellite can be fixed while the satellite is in flight7.

Dr. Von Graun defects from SHADO to SARSA

The noted space scientist has found Hawaii to be too hot; too volcanic and too susceptible to tsunamis and has decided to move to safer climes in South Africa. This is expected to impact SHADO's research program while a replacement is hired, while SARSA has quickly hired the professor8.

Amber Nectar not a coolant

The rumours originating in Australia that the Amber Nectar would be used as a coolant were quickly scotched by Professor Matic of ASA who rightly pointed out that, as alcohol was a component of the Amber Nectar, it wouldn't be brilliant to try using it as coolant.

Major Recruitment Program at Smaug Inc.

Rumours that the Smaug Inc. launch facility is based in the South Pacific may explain the sudden surge in recruits to the new Smaug Inc. Astronaut program. A total of six astronauts have been inducted into the program, enough to provide multiple crews for the three person capsule program.

Launch Calendar

The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1961 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:

1st Dec
Launch by GOSsiP
15th Dec
Launch by Smaug Inc.
31st Dec
Launch by Smaug Inc.9

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

Added planned launch by GOSsiP


  1. Thus incurring a 6% safety penalty to every mission step
  2. First Manned Space Mission, First Manned Orbital, First Three Person Craft - all awarded before collecting cash for the next year and before any event card modifies the budget
  3. These two factors combined to reduce the safety factor of this mission by 5% on every mission step.
  4. Last Second countdown abort; Major problem in the boosters. Mission Failure. Subtract 20% from the rocket's safety factor.
  5. ASA's mission does NOT count as an orbital satellite (despite orbiting the earth), so the third agency bonus is still available
  6. Note that if Colonel Zodiac had been planned to take in a space mission in 1961 that mission would have been scrubbed unless a backup crew had been designated. As it happens ASA has no launches planned for 1961, so the event has no effect.
  7. The next failure of a satellite or probe in a SARSA mission will be negated.
  8. -1 to every R&D dice for SHADO in 1961; +1 to every R&D dice for SARSA in 1961.
  9. Using quick reuse event card

Financial summary as of 1st January 1961

Agency Cash in hand Expected Budget for 1962
Smaug Inc. $113,000,000 $91,000,000
SARSA $64,000,000 $74,000,000
GOSsiP $82,000,000 $40,000,000
SHADO $94,000,000 $80,000,000
ASA $164,000,000 $152,000,000

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

Comments: 3

  1. David says:

    Note that, as shown on the Research and Development Worksheet, there is a maximum safety factor to which a program can be brought by research alone. In two cases players attempted to improve one of their programs by research even though the relevant program was already at the maximum level permitted for this program by R&D. I resolved this by refunding the relevant cash back to cash in hand, ready to be spent again this turn.

  2. David says:

    Don't forget that any missions you wish to launch in the following year need to included in this year's order.

  3. David says:

    It may look like ASA has a insurmountable lead and that GOSsiP is doomed - I will point out that future event cards will, in general, be reducing ASA's by double digit millions, while increasing GOSsiP's by similar amounts. In any event it's still a long way to the Moon!