No successes in 1968 either
Continuing the trend from 1968, there was no successful completed mission during 1968. The closest to success is another in the long line of planetary explorers launched by SHADO. This probe is on its way to Mars and will (assuming that it completes its work at Mars) continue onwards to Venus. SHADO's other mission was an attempt at a lunar probe landing. However, despite an almost perfect launch and its safe arrival in the vicinity of the moon, the probe did not respond when commanded to leave Lunar orbit and approach the lunar surface. It appears that a control valve has jammed on the probe preventing the main engine from firing. The probe continues to orbit the Moon.
SARSA's budget halved after failing to land a person on the moon by the end of 1968
Unsurprisingly the two planned missions from SARSA have been scrubbed. As a result of this failure to obey the orders of the South African Government, SARSA's budget was halved as a sign of disappointment.
Failure of GOSsiP's three man capsule prevents orbit
The attempt by GOSsiP's Maja Hansen, Curtis Adamson and Kristian Swenhaugen to join SARSA's Wei Engel as the only living astronauts to have circled the earth was thwarted by a malfunction in their three person capsule. When the craft attempted to enter Earth Orbit (having been lifted perfectly by a combination of a two stage rocket with additional liquid fuel strap booster rockets), the main engine of the capsule failed to ignite. The crew were able to use the manoeuvring jets to align their capsule for a re-entry and the crew was safely recovered from the South Atlantic1.
Australia challenges GOSsiP and SHADO with the biggest firework yet!
After the problems of last year ASA scrubbed two of the three missions it was planning for 1968. The remaining mission was to be a Lunar Probe launched on one of ASA's mega-stage rockets. While the rocket did leave the launch pad successfully, the rocket exploded 37 seconds after liftoff at a height of twenty miles. The sound of the explosion was heard in both Perth and Sydney on opposite of the Australian continent2.
GOSsiP takes a leaf (monkey)3 out of SARSA and SHADO's book
It seems that GOSsiP has been learning from the experiences of the other agencies and has announced that it too has the capability of performing an animal test instead of trying a manned flight. The reaction of the brave crew rescued from the South Atlantic have not been recorded4.
Saboteurs still work inside Smaug Inc.
Despite a major exercise to vet all of the scientists and crew working for Smaug Inc.'s space division, it seems that the South Africans5 have again been able to gain information about possible flaws in the Smaug Inc.'s three person capsule. It seems though, that as a repeat customer, South Africa is only requesting the transfer of $10,000,000 from Smaug Inc. to SARSA6.
Dr. Von Graun's world tour continues
It seems that Dr. Von Graun is attempting to be as even handed as possible (or possibly to collect as many pay checks as possible. He has now been seen at the South Pacific resorts commonly frequented by scientists, engineers and officials from SHADO7.
Problems hit SARSA's three stage rocket
A major problem with the piping and control valves in SARSA's three stage rocket mean that either the rocket's fuel systems will need a redesign or its next launch will be significantly more dangerous as the problems in the fuel system are ironed out8.
Australia's rockets rated as perfect
A review of the launch procedures of Australia's rockets have been rated as
A+ by the Australian Engineering Safety Board. The board complemented the agency on the thoroughness of the pre launch checks and have asserted that they are confident that the next launch will go without a hitch9.
The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1969 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:
- 5th Dec
- 10th Dec
- 14th Dec
- 21th Dec
- 23rd Dec
- 27th Dec
Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm
- 31 October 2017
- Launch Schedule is for 1969, Clarify footnote 4.
- So, a mission failure causing a budget cut of $3,000,000 but the crew survived and have gained a flight's worth of experience. ↩
- The explosion did not damage the launch facility. ↩
- Turns out there is a variety of monkey called a lead monkey! ↩
- One time only GOSsiP 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). ↩
- Who, of course, refuse to confirm or deny the existence of any secret service or any of its operations if it did exist... ↩
- Smaug Inc. must either spend $10,000,000 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). ↩
- +1 to every R&D die rolled by SHADO in 1969. ↩
- SARSA must either pay $36,000,000 to correct the fault or its next launch (only) will be at a 20% penalty. SARSA's cash in hand is shown without this payment. ↩
- ASA's next launch (only) will have a 10% bonus to its rocket safety (yes, assuming that ASA is not planning to a third rocket type, its next launch will not fail). Had ASA's launches not already been planned (due to the size of ASA's budget) to be last, the thoroughness of the launch checks would have bumped its launches to the end of the list. ↩