SARSA's William Baxter first to
On Christmas Eve, William Baxter of SARSA became the first human to float (almost) freely in outer space as he
space-walked on a brief excursion to the outside of his three person craft. The South African vessel also carried two other new South African astronauts. SARSA also becomes the third agency to achieve manned space flight and to orbit the earth; achieving this feat in a three person craft. The resulting publicity has driven SARSA's budget to new heights (although some in the South African government have campaigned to reduce the high levels of expenditure and have succeeded in a definite drop in the proposed future spending on the agency1).
Did he fall? Or was he pushed?
The official report into the death of Steve Zodiac has left many unsatisfied. The reports says that Steve's body was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs that led from the ground floor entrance to his second floor apartment. Several empty cans of the Amber Nectar were discovered in the apartment and while the official report has no theories, apparently the Police are convinced that Steve must have, under influence of the Amber Nectar, assumed that he was still in space and could simply float down to the front door. As a result of the report the police investigation has been wound down and the Australian astronaut corps have all been cleared to fly. Fortunately for the Australian planners their only mission this year was an attempt at a Lunar Probe Landing.
One side effect of the inquiry has been the hiring of Zak Zodiac to the Australian Astronaut Corps. Zak was welcomed onto the team by some of the other members of the corps while rumours in Harold's bar suggest that the hiring is just to keep Zak quiet.
SHADO continues Inner Planet exploration
In the middle of November SHADO launched another probe to examine the inner planets. This one has flown past the moon and is continuing on its way to Venus. The two missions launched last year flying past Mars have met with mixed success. The first mission, which had flown past the moon on its way to Mars successfully, failed to enter orbit around Mars when contact was lost early this year. The probe is presumed to overshot Mars and could be heading for the asteroid belt. The second mission has successfully flown past Mars, returned valuable scientific data and is now on its way to Venus. SHADO should be able to gather considerable data from that planet too, assuming that both its probes are successful in their mission.
The Moon is a risky target
Three agencies attempted to land probes on the Lunar surface during 1966. The probes belonging to SHADO and ASA both failed to reach lunar orbit (with the Australian probe managing to outdistance SHADO's probe by leaving Earth Orbit (SHADO's probe failed to respond when ground control attempted to instruct the probe to leave Earth Orbit despite the probe successfully making the initial orbits. ASA's probe did not respond when commanded to fire its manoeuvring jets to enter Lunar Orbit). The third probe, belonging to Smaug Inc. has successfully landed on the Lunar Surface and returned excellent pictures to Smaug Inc.'s base during its descent.
General Motors' new mission
In a major advertising push, the American Car Manufacturer, General Motors, has donated $2,000,000 to both SARSA and GOSsiP to acquire the rights to use their astronauts in advertising campaign in South Africa and Scandinavia. The deal includes a small fleet of Cadillac Eldorado convertibles, though the Scandinavian model has been criticised for only being practical for a few days in the year!
Dr. Von Graun moves again
The peripatetic veteran space researcher, Dr. Von Graun, is apparently moving on yet again. It appears that the good doctor had moved last year from SHADO to Smaug Inc without affecting the research of either organisation at that time. However it appears that, having tried just about every possible location, Dr. Von Graun, is now returning to South Africa. The worry for Smaug Inc. is what effect this will have on its research efforts in 19673.
New Australian Premier pledges to maintain manned space flight
In the recent Australian General Election the premier Harold Holt pledged that the Australian Space Agency will maintain a manned presence in space. Following his re-election he has ordered the Australian Space Agency to ensure that their next planned mission will be a successful manned mission. To support this he has increased ASA budget by a further $20,000,0004. The increased budget comes despite a recent audit revealing that many aerospace companies have been trying to take advantage of the hectic pace at ASA, with several lines of expenditure being denied5.
Peace activists condemn money hoarding at SHADO
As a result of a massive letter writing and boycott campaign, the parent company of SHADO has been forced to reduce SHADO's budget by $19,000,000. Apparently the protestors, while worried about the potential for large explosions, were concerned that SHADO seemed to be hoarding its cash and not spending it like confetti. One writer says:
We want to see the pretty fireworks; not look at a big pile of cash. SHADO has offered citizenship to anyone with relevant space experience who wishes to join its team.
Outbreak of philanthropy
It appears that several of the space agencies are anticipating a major disaster in space, with several of the agencies being ready to mount rescue missions should that be required. Sadly for the agencies, most of the missions this year were of robot satellites.
GOSsiP pays up; scrubs mission
As a footnote to last year's problems in GOSsiP's two stage rocket program. GOSsiP's head of research has praised the prompt delivery of information from SARSA that has allowed GOSsiP to recover its two stage rocket safety factors. As a result of the information the two stage rocket program has reached a safety factor of 92%, while SARSA's cash in hand has improved by $10,000,000. The transfer of cash has apparently led to the partial scrubbing of the planned mission by GOSsiP in order to save the money that would have been spent on the equipment for the mission. The launch of a two stage rocket (with liquid fuel strap-ons) proceeded successfully, but it was obvious to ground based observers that no payload was carried by the launch6.
SHADO starts three stage rocket program
SHADO has started to spend some of its long saved cash pile by starting a three stage rocket program. The program starts with an initial safety factor of 35% and promises to continue a long line of rocket launch spectaculars... As a result of the new program SHADO has no plans for new launches in 1967.
The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1967 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:
- 5th Dec
- 10th Dec
- Smaug Inc.
- 11th Dec
- Smaug Inc.
- 12th Dec
- Smaug Inc.
- 15th Dec
- 17th Dec
- 21th Dec
Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm
- 26 September 2017
- Corrected typo
- 28 September 2017
- Tweak CSS style (presentation change only)
- 31 October 2017
- Launch Schedule is for 1967
- While SARSA's budget was bumped up by $28,000,000 by the mission success (and is applied before the budget is collected), the event card (which is applied after the money is collected) dropped the budget down by $15,000,000 as the total budget is (significantly) higher than $150,000,000. ↩
- Image by sicnag - CC-BY-SA 2.0 (via wikimedia) ↩
- -1 to every R&D dice for Smaug Inc. in 1967; +1 to every R&D dice for SARSA in 1967. ↩
- Of course ASA may turn down this government (at a cost to its budget of $51,000,000). If the planned mission fails, ASA's budget will be halved. ↩
- You only need to buy the EVA suit program once and there's no need/use to buy R&D dice if the relevant program is already at its R&D maximum 🙂 ↩
- In this case I permitted the planned launch without a payout. This incurs the scrubbed mission penalty of $3m, but does improve the safety factor of the rocket (and strap-ons) by 1% since the mission didn't end catastrophically. ↩