First Pictures of Lunar Surface
On the 15th of December, the South African Space Agency, SARSA, successfully launched a rocket carrying two satellites. The first was a Lunar Probe Lander and it's mission to land on the surface of the moon and return pictures from that surface went without a hitch. The Probe touched down on the vast lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms) and revealed a surface that, while cratered, looks like it could be a suitable place for a future moon landing.
The second satellite carried by the rocket was a second attempt at a Mars Fly-by mission. This probe is currently on its way to the red planet.
SARSA ordered to
land a man on the moon by end of 1968
In a major speech to mark the end of the year and obviously enthused by the successful Lunar Probe Lander, the President of South Africa, Charles Robberts Swart, has ordered SARSA to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of 1968. The President said
We cannot allow the Australians or anybody else to beat us. We must and we will get there first by any means! I have heard rumours that other agencies have set themselves a target of reaching the moon by the end of the decade. We South Africans can, and will do better, so I pledge that we will land a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth by the end of the 1968!. If we have increase SARSA's budget to match the Australians then that is what we will do. If we have to send monkeys to test the way then that is what we will do. If we have to sow the way with additional satellites to secure the route then that is what we will do. The reaction of the agency itself is not yet entirely clear, but the Journal has assumed that the order will be accepted by SARSA. If the order is rejected, SARSA budget will be cut to $90,000,000 and $53,000,000 will be removed from SARSA's cash in hand (the financial figures shown below assume that the order will be accepted). Should SARSA accept the order and fail to achieve the lunar landing by the end of 1968 its budget will be halved.
Confusion in Smaug Inc.
The ongoing review of the space program started by Smaug Inc. following the disaster last year appears to have paralysed the organisation. No instructions were issued by the organisation this year1 and only those launches which had equipment ready to do were able to launch2.
SHADO gets a mission off the ground
Following a major research effort, SHADO latest mission successfully left both the ground and Earth orbit on the 10th of December. In fact the mission, a Venusian fly-by, had a near perfect separation from its booster rocket and is now safely on its way to Venus. Pyromaniacs have expressed disappointment at the launch -
Where was the drama? and the explosion? one was heard to comment.
ASA becomes third
Orb Sat nation
On the 29th of December ASA became the third nation to have successfully launched and operated an orbital satellite. The mission is believed to have been primarily a proving mission for the three stage rocket program, but has scooped the third nation bonus for orbital satellites.
Smaug Inc. flies by the moon
In a morale boosting move, Smaug Inc. successfully flew a satellite past the moon on the 20th of December, becoming the second agency to have successfully completed this mission. The boost to the agency's budget, together with the substantial cash in hand balance of the agency is expected to allow the agency to make a major comeback in the next year or so.
Of the six missions planned for 1964, two were scrubbed. Both GOSsiP and Smaug Inc. scrubbed one mission each. Observers have been forced to assume that both missions would have been orbital satellite launches although there were signs that other missions may have been intended.
Hampton Bell of SHADO retires
In a embarrassing blow to SHADO's astronaut recruitment efforts, the agency was forced to admit that age discrimination legislation forced it to recruit Hampton Bell even though he was just eight months from his 65th birthday and hence retirement. One can only hope that he was not scheduled to fly on either of the missions being planned by SHADO for 1965!
Minor problems for Smaug Inc.'s Satellites
Recent auditing of the test protocols for Smaug Inc.'s Satellite program has revealed that a few of the ground test results are unreliable. As a result the safety factor of Smaug Inc.'s Orbital Satellite program has either been overrated by 10%, or the results re-verified at a cost of $10,000,000.
Major test failures for both ASA and GOSsiP
Ground tests at both ASA and GOSsiP have revealed significant problems. At ASA, the problem involves its three stage rocket whose safety factor has been revised downwards by 25%. Meanwhile for GOSsiP it was testing of the three person capsule that revealed a failure of the craft's rubber sealants and its safety factor has been revised downwards by 15%.
Manned launch plans at ASA?
Rumourmongers in Harold's Bar in Woomera (while carefully avoiding all cocktails and sticking to the Amber Nectar) have been kept busy after Dr. Venus had been overheard commenting on the two launches planned by ASA for 1965. Gossip suggests that she said
Hmmph. Boys together eh? At least I will have a break from Zodiac.
The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1965 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:
- 5th Dec
- 10th Dec
- 12th Dec
- 18th Dec
- 27th Dec
- 31th Dec
Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm