Dark side of moon photographed
One of SARSA's Interplanetary Satellite has successfully returned photographs of the side of the moon that always faces away from the Earth this month. The probe, one of three launched by the same three stage rocket, had a brief software problem. However the new wiring installed in the probe in 1960 meant that the satellite was quickly rebooted by a special radio sequence and the mission was able to proceed normally.
The far side of the moon presents a very different view to that of the moon as seen from Earth. There are no major
seas leaving the far side to present a very rocky and cratered view. Scientists are still debating the causes of the difference and why (or even how) the differences could have arisen and the implications for the early history of the Earth and the Moon (and, indeed, for the early history of the entire solar system)
Also launched on the same rocket were two other interplanetary satellites - one sent to Mars and one to Venus. The Mars probe, unfortunately, did not fire its own thrusters once released by the rocket, failed to achieve Earth orbit and then burnt up in the Earth's atmosphere. The Interplanetary Satellite heading to Venus is operating normally and is on its way.
Smaug Inc joins ASA in orbit
On the 20th of December, Smaug Inc's intrepid crew of Anna Rivetti, Ben Mereza and Caroline Freberg became the fourth, fifth and sixth humans to enjoy earth orbit. Their manned orbital mission1 launched on time and the only worrying moment came when it was time for their three person capsule to leave earth orbit. The engine burn needed to slow the craft down did not fire on schedule, but after a few seconds delay the engine fired up and continued for the required four minutes and merely meant that the landing site was about 560 miles to the east of the intended landing zone - requiring the fleet monitoring the landing to move as quickly as possible to the new location. Apart from this hiccup, the re-entry and recovery phases of the mission proceeded smoothly2.
Could SHADO have a satellite?
It is still unclear what happened to the latest orbital satellite mission from SHADO. The launch was perfect, with no unexpected fireworks and telescopes trained on the launch all claim that the satellite separated from the rocket with no problems. The observers even claim that the satellite entered earth orbit. However as no radio signals have ever been detected from the satellite all these claims are just that: claims3.
ASA goes even bigger
Dr Matt and his team's delight has become stratospheric. Even Steve Zodiac has become affected by the enthusiasm, expressing his view of the research into XL2, ASA's new Mega Stage Rocket Program as
Yaaay! Bigger! Louder! Faster! as he wiped a strange cream moustache from his upper lips.
Zodiac's compliance with the Amber Liquid Ban has been surprisingly complete and much easier than expected - too easy for some observers. Harold's Bar has denied that its move to a greater focus on spirits and that the sale of its new whisky reinforced Irish Coffee and Rum based Jamaican Coffee in the Mess had nothing to do with them. When asked if she knew anything of the development Dr Venus simply rolled her eyes and walked away.
SHADO interested in Tracy Island?
Rumours are spreading that the large cash surplus in SHADO is not being saved, as claimed, as a rainy day fund for the next set of launches but are being diverted into a new fund. Suggestions that the head of SHADO is looking at islands in the south pacific in which to base their next launch and research facility are being denied. However eager estate agents hired by several islands in the south pacific, including the recently converted Tracy Island have been seen at the reputed headquarters of SHADO.
Smaug Inc's new astronauts
There was heated debate within Smaug Inc. as the Science team argued for the completion of the second launch facility this year. However things changed when the members of the team where inducted into the astronaut programme so that they could more closely assess the impact of the sabotage. As a result of the investigation and repair work, the second mission launch planned by Smaug this year has been scrubbed.
SARSA planning ICBMs?
SARSA was forced last month to deny that its three stage rocket program was in any way linked to suggestions that it could be re-purposed as an intercontinental ballistic missile and further suggestions that the rocket could carry multiple warheads was firmly denied by the agency.
Stamp Scandal hits Smaug Inc.
Shortly after Smaug Inc's successful manned orbital and just in time for the late Christmas shopper several auction halls successfully sold authenticated, but definitely unauthorised,
first day cover envelopes and franked stamps from the the mission. Investigations into the sales revealed a conspiracy between two of Smaug Inc.'s astronauts, Caroline Freburg (who flew on the recent successful manned orbital flight) and Kathy Wilson (one of the scientists recently moved to the astronaut program and who organised the sale). As a result of furore Smaug Inc has been forced to sack the two astronauts4. Apparently the last straw for Smaug Inc.'s senior management was the revelation that the two astronauts had initially sold the stamps to Smaug's major competitor Drogon&co.
R&D bonus for SARSA
South Africa has instituted a major industrial trainee program for its space industries. The program, which claims to be
open for all with the relevant qualifications, is expected to add a major boost to the research efforts of SARSA and allow its programs to make significant improvements in the coming year5.
Major Engineering Advance for SHADO
It appears that the engineering divisions of SHADO are also eyeing up the large cash balances that have built up in SHADO bank. They have announced that they believe that they have been able to make significant advances and savings in their production facilities and are able to offer, for one year only, a 50% cost saving to the rest of the organisation. The engineering division was unable to comment if their head had joined SHADO's chairman in his window shopping trip across the South Pacific6.
Espionage row between ASA and SARSA
The Australian Space Agency has claimed to have uncovered an espionage program from SARSA aimed at its Interplanetary Satellite. ASA says that the reportedly high safety factor of SARSA's program is a fabrication as the actual satellite bears a remarkable similarity to ASA's model which has a much lower safety factor. SARSA, whilst denying that it has any espionage program, states that
Having seen the plans, we wouldn't touch the Australian Satellite with a barge pole!7.
Nobel announces production difficulties
GOSsiP's main rocket manufacturers, Bofors (founded by Alfred Noble), has announced that production difficulties mean that it will be unable to provide any new rockets to GOSsiP during 1963. Bofors has denied that the recent focus by its board members on boosting the size of the famous Nobel prizes (including, in particular, the Nobel peace prize) has had any impact on the delays, claiming that the delays are purely down to the discovery of significant impurities in the titanium ingots used in the early stages of the construction of the structural elements of the rockets8.
The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1963 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:
- 6th Dec
- 18th Dec
- 27th Dec
- Smaug Inc.
- 29th Dec
- Smaug Inc.9
Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm
- 27th July 2017
- Clarified that the Mars Probe launched by SARSA failed to achieve Earth orbit. Removed planned launch from SARSA (I misread the orders 🙁 )
- This Manned Orbital mission was launched before a successful Manned Sub-Orbital mission and so was at a 3% mission penalty for all mission steps. ↩
- Smaug Inc. thus earns the second agency bonus for: Manned Space Mission, Manned Orbital and three person craft ↩
- Although the satellite did enter orbit, the satellite failed to power on, and so the mission counts as a failure ↩
- If either of these two astronauts are part of the two launches planned by Smaug Inc. for 1963, those launches will be scrubbed unless a backup crew has also been planned ↩
- +1 to every R&D die purchased by SARSA for 1963 ↩
- All Hardware purchased by SHADO in 1963 will be half price. ↩
- A combination of ASA's event card and orders from SARSA makes the relevant event card have no effect ↩
- No new rockets may be purchased by GOSsiP during 1963 (unless purchased indirectly via another agency) ↩
- Smaug Inc. will need to purchase a second launch facility this year or this mission will be automatically scrubbed. ↩