The Journal of Space Achievement 1961

Recording the events of 1961

Catastrophe averted

The capsule shortly before it disappeared behind the waves

Smaug Inc.'s second launch on the 31st December was an attempt at a manned sub-orbital mission carrying astronauts Anna Rivetti, Ben Mezera and Caroline Freberg. With a good launch and a near perfect re-entry of their three person capsule, hopes were high that their recovery in the South Atlantic would also be a success. In the event however, it appears that the explosive bolts for the capsule's flotation devices were too powerful and while the floatation collar did expand, the large hole carved into the capsule meant that the astronauts had just a few seconds to escape the capsule before it disappeared beneath the waves1.

Islanders collect souvenirs

Inhabitants and tourists on Tahiti have been collecting souvenirs of the failed Lunar Probe launched by GOSsiP on the 1st of December. The launch of this mission was good, with the only fireworks being from the post launch barbecue out on the nearby glacier, however it appears that the probe had not been filled with any propellant for its manoeuvring thrusters as the probe did not perform any of the commanded propulsion burns once freed from its rocket. The Probe did not complete an orbit of the earth and re-entered the atmosphere over South Pacific Ocean.2.

Smaug Inc successfully launches second orbital satellite

Smaug Inc has continued its successful orbital satellite program with another successful launch on the 15th of December. This, the third satellite to orbit the earth and the second one from Smaug Inc., caused a few nervous moments when the satellite's manoeuvring thrusters did not fire until very near the end of the timing window, but the satellite did safely make orbit.

ASA goes big

ASA appears to have concluded that its large budget can easily afford big ticket items and the agency has started a four person capsule that will also be capable of landing on (and launching from) the lunar surface, which promises to avoid the need for any dangerous docking operations. Reportedly ASA's science teams led by Professor Matt are delighted at the opportunities that this new program presents.

Observing events, a disgruntled Steve Zodiac has not only been confined to base but has limited access to the Mess facilities and is apparently not allowed beyond the coffee dispenser. A glowering Dr Venus has pointedly made the remark that she is not the said coffee dispenser. At least someone is as happy as Larry/q> Zodiac is reported to have said, referring to a constantly beaming Professor Matt. Meanwhile it emerged that investors in Harold's Bar, adjacent to the site, are worried about a sudden dip in bar receipts and business to business sales of the Amber Nectar to the Space City Mess.

SARSA plans world's biggest firework

Sources from within the South African Space Agency are suggesting that despite tough competition, the agency is planning a spectacular launch for next year with what the source described as the world's biggest firework. While the source was not prepared to discuss details (he was nervously watching the clock during the discussions), it was acknowledged that the agency has completed research on its three stage rocket program.

Outrage at animal testing

There was outrage this year as both SARSA and SHADO announced that they are both considering using either dogs or monkeys as alternatives to unmanned flights. While animal rights organisations are organising protests and lobbying for the practise to be outlawed, both SARSA and SHADO point out that this could allow them to test equipment in a real environment without risking human life3

Smaug Inc. first to develop EVA Suits

A critical part of any lunar landing is the actual walk upon the lunar surface. As there is no atmosphere, Smaug Inc. has started the first EVA Suit program to allow its astronauts to safely leave their spacecraft and conduct independent exploration. The new suits have already attained a safety rating of 63%.

More bugs found

Continued insistence on the use of mosquito nets at the Australian facilities building the new four person capsule/module looks like leading to another potential problem being averted. Workers at the facility insisted on the nets as an additional measure when a colony of funnel-web spiders was discovered in the mock-up designs for the new capsule. Observers refused to speculate on the coincidence of the discover and the recent visit by Colonel Steve Zodiac to the facility4.

Sabotage threat at Smaug Inc.

An anonymous tip-off at Smaug Inc. has caused consternation by suggesting that Smaug Inc.'s three person capsule has a potential fatal flaw. The details of the problem have not been revealed, but the suggestion is that the capsule is much more dangerous than official figures are suggesting. However to discover precise details of the problem look to be quite expensive at an estimated $30,000,000. Officials refused to comment on suggestions that South African agents had been spotted at the capsule's construction facilities. After all, how did they know where they are.., one official is quoted as saying.5.

Dr. Von Graun moves onto GOSsiP

Dr. Von Graun's world tour has continued with a move from South Africa to Greenland after he discovered that the South African climate was no better than Hawaii's! SARSA has denied that this will have any affect on its research program claiming that they got everything they could from the good doctor. GOSsiP has welcomed the move claiming it will reinvigorate their research program6.

Statistics page added

To help keep track of the overall progress of man's quest to land on the moon (and return safely!), the journal has added a new statistics page7.

Launch Calendar

The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1962 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:

10th Dec
15th Dec
20th Dec
Smaug Inc.
23th Dec
Smaug Inc.8

Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm
24th July 2017
Corrected year of the provisional launch calendar


  1. Whilst this is not a catastrophic failure, this does count as a failed mission and incurred the budget penalty for a failed mission. The crew is credited with completing a mission and the safety factor of the capsule is still increased by 1%.
  2. This mission incurred a 6% safety penalty on every mission step due to the lack of a successful Orbital Satellite and no Lunar Satellite Fly-by. As no deaths were caused, the safety factors of both the rocket and the probe have been increased by 1%. As the Probe did not reach the moon, there is no change to the Photo-Reconnaissance rating for GOSsiP
  3. Both agencies got the same event. One time only, each agency may plan a manned mission to take animal passengers instead of human. The mission provides the usual 1% improvement to safety factor to any equipment used without (most of) the risk of a catastrophic failure. A successful mission will improve the agency's budget as if the mission was a subsequent mission. A failed mission will decrease the budget by the standard $3,000,000 (assuming the rocket didn't kill people on the launch pad).
  4. First module failure by ASA will be ignored. If the vehicle in question is the four person capsule/module, it is the relevant mission step that determines if the failure is treated as a capsule or a module failure (Yes, ASA does seem to be getting quite lucky, but it is just luck!)
  5. Smaug Inc. must either spend $30,000,000 on discovery and fixing of the fault, or suffer a 10% safety penalty to the capsule on its next mission (this penalty only applies to the next mission).
  6. +1 to every R&D die for GOSsiP in 1962.
  7. Mainly to help me track which mission budget bonuses are still available!
  8. Smaug Inc. will need to purchase a second launch facility this year or this launch will be automatically scrubbed.

Financial summary as of 1st January 1962

Agency Cash in hand Expected Budget for 1963
Smaug Inc. $96,000,000 $91,000,000
SARSA $77,000,000 $79,000,000
GOSsiP $39,000,000 $62,000,000
SHADO $150,000,000 $85,000,000
ASA $154,000,000 $147,000,000

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

Comments: 1

  1. David says:

    Note that conditional orders saying under what conditions you would like to scrub a mission (or missions) are always acceptable, for example Scrub the manned orbital if the one stage rocket doesn't have a safety factor of at least 75%