The Journal of Space Achievement 1971

Recording the events of 1971

Perfect Lunar Orbit from GOSsiP

Earthrise from close to the lunar surface

GOSsiP has made a major advance in the race to the moon by successfully completing a series of manned orbits around the moon and the astronauts returning safely to earth. The only moment of doubt for the mission came as the craft was to leave earth orbit to travel to the moon. There was an agonising pause after the command to fire the main capsule engine to take Maja Hansen, Curtis Adamson and Kristian Swenhaugen on their journey, However after only a couple of seconds delay, the engine fired perfectly and the craft was on its way. A minor course correction was required of the late burn but this proved to be a trivial operation. The rest of the journey proved to be very smooth and uneventful.

GOSsiP followed up this success with a successful lunar probe landing improving their photographic coverage of the lunar surface. With the completion of these missions and bearing in mind the lack of docking experience, GOSsiP are currently quoted with 17 to 2 odds to have a perfect manned lunar landing1.

SHADO's manned lunar orbital mission explodes

SHADO's brave astronauts sadly died when their three stage rocket exploded at a height of 92 miles. The liftoff itself seemed to be going smoothly until two minutes into the flight when the first stage was due to be jettisoned. It appears that the explosive bolts which would normally allow the first stage to be discarded instead ignited the second stage boosters while leaving the first stage still attached to the first stage. The disaster leaves SHADO with no astronauts on its roster and has odds quoted at over 8000 to 1 to have a perfect lunar landing mission (though if they could use a state of the art rocket this improves to a mere 2500 to 1!).

SARSA averts one disaster; suffers explosion on second mission

SARSA launched two missions this year. The first was planned to be a manned lunar orbit but had to be aborted when, already in earth orbit, it was discovered that the fuel for the main capsule engine had either leaked or not be loaded onboard in the first place. Some skilful use of the manoeuvring jets allowed the craft to leave earth orbit to return to the ground and following this the craft safely re-entered the earth's atmosphere. The lack of precise control over the reentry point meant that the craft splashed down off of the coast of Nigeria. However despite the rough splash down and a short delay while the navy negotiated access to the splash down site the crew was safely recovered.

The second SARSA mission was a manned orbital and docking mission to allow docking manoeuvres to be practised. However it seems that the quick introduction of a docking module into the mission plan resulted in some corners being cut in the preparation of the three stage rocket for the launch. As with the SHADO launch earlier in the month the lift off itself seemed to be going smoothly, but the three stage rocket rocket exploded at a height of just 51 miles. As a result of this catastrophic accident SARSA scrubbed their third launch and have odds of 1750 to 1 for a perfect lunar landing mission (though, as with SHADO, this dramatically improves if a state of the art rocket is used, which improves the odds to just 220 to 1).

ASA still without a successful Lunar Probe

ASA's latest probe joined its three earlier companions in failing to successfully land on the lunar surface. This one was, however, the closest yet. Close analysis of the data sent back by the probe revealed that if it had had just a couple of grams more fuel onboard it would have been able to reach the soft landing spot located on the outer edge of the area surveyed by the craft. As it was, the craft was unable to find a safe location and crashed on the edge of the Sea of Tranquillity.

ASA's other launch of the year was an attempt at a manned lunar orbit. In the event this craft failed to even achieve earth orbit, splashing down into the south Atlantic after the main engine of the four person capsule failed to ever fire. All the crew members were recovered safely however, leaving the odds of a perfect ASA lunar landing mission at thirteen to one.

World diplomatic corps awaits Smaug Inc.'s joint mission plans

While Smaug Inc continues its rocket building plan by starting a three stage rocket programme, the world's diplomatic corps is still awaiting news of the joint mission plan that Smaug Inc. has organised. Apparently the delay is caused by a desire to see which of the other agencies is making steady progress and hence a need for the mission to be meticulously planned. Smaug Inc has currently 380 to 1 odds of a perfect lunar landing mission (which is improved to 140 to 1 if a state of the art rocket is used). A mission using the best available equipment from any agency (and led by GOSsiP) has odds of about eleven to two.

Accounting scandal reveals extra funds

After an audit of the financial status of the various space agencies during the last year and in particular double checking of the arithmetic, a significant set of errors has been discovered and has led to the agencies being granted an additional $20,000,000 each to their cash in hand to resolve the various issues2.

GOSsiP has contingency plans for rocket problems

GOSSiP's extensive work on its two stage rocket aided by liquid fuel strap on rocket motors (which always makes for a dramatic launch!) has allowed its scientists to conduct extensive experiments into the technology. One such experiment nearly ended in tragedy when the O-rings on the liquid fuel strap on rocket were seen to have a significant intolerance to the cold conditions at the Julianehåb launch site and sprayed fuel across the launch site. However it is expected that the resulting safety precautions put in pace to avoid a re-occurrence will mean that GOSsiP will also avoid such an incident marring the use of the rocket in the future3.

Worries hit SARSA launch

A review of the engineering designs at SARSA have identified a potential problem that puts the next launch from SARSA into doubt. The worries centre on the precise combination of stainless steel and concrete used in the No. 1 launch pad at the SARSA launch complex. If a mission is launched from this pad during 1972 the pad could break under the accumulated stress and strain of the various launches from the pad over tyhe past decade and a half of use. If the pad is not used the design flaws can be resolved in time for launches in 19734.

Smaug Inc. Reorganisation causes Ego problems

Following a reorganisation at Smaug Inc., the heads of existing two stage rocket program and the new three stage rocket have been having full and frank discussions regarding funding for the research programs. As a temporary compromise Smaug Inc.'s board have agreed that the two program will have equal R & D funding during 19725.

SHADO board decides that faking a moon landing will be cheaper

The board controlling the funding between SHADO and the other divisions of the organisation appear to have decided that it would be cheaper to produce a film documenting their moon landing (and using fake footage as required) rather than actually performing the moon landing. The board has removed $30,000,000 from SHADO's budget and diverted that to the Harlington-Straker Film Studios based 40 miles west of London.

ASA presented with $8,000,000 bill

ASA has been forced to settle an $8,000,000 bar bill presented to it by Harold's Bar in Woomera. The bill presented the accumulated bar tab by the entire Australian astronaut corps and despite the best attempts by ASA to repudiate the bill, the bar owner, Harold Cooper was able to prove that ASA had guaranteed that he would be paid when he set up the bar back in late fifties. Mr. Cooper denied that he may have discussed the arrangement with the late Steve Zodiac, one of his most famous patrons.

Launch Calendar

The provisional calendar for launches planned in 1972 (assuming none of the missions are rushed or scrubbed) is as follows:

5th Dec
10th Dec
12th Dec
16th Dec
18th Dec
20th Dec
26th Dec
28th Dec
30th Dec
31st Dec

Last updated: December 21, 2021 at 19:38 pm


  1. This assumes no additional research or practice missions and does not count mishaps which either do not stop the safe completion of the mission or are resolved by the crew.
  2. I discovered that the spreadsheet column I created last turn to compute the cash in hand was very wrong. As all players used the figure in good faith (and had no good way of validating the results) I concluded that I would fix the problem by granting each and every agency additional funds to ensure that their original orders did not result in them overspending. I have now corrected the spreadsheet error!
  3. The next rocket failure by GOSsiP will be negated.
  4. If the pad is used during 1972 there is a 50% chance that the mission will suffer a rocket explosion on the launch pad.
  5. Any R&D money spent on a rocket program by Smaug Inc. in 1972 must be matched by spending on a different rocket program (it doesn't have to be the two stage and three stage program, though Smaug Inc. would need to start either one stage or mega stage rocket program to spend R&D funds on those programs).
  6. A fourth launch facility will need to be purchased if this mission is not to be automatically scrubbed.

Financial summary as of 1st January 1972

Agency Cash in hand Expected Budget for 1973
Smaug Inc. $71,000,000 $75,000,000
SARSA $73,000,000 $70,000,000
GOSsiP $226,000,000 $138,000,000
SHADO $94,500,000 $38,000,000
ASA $126,000,000 $86,000,000

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: We have reached the end of the event deck. It will be shuffled before the next newspaper and hence the events will start to reoccur. Three event cards did not appear in this pass of the deck - one major media event (increases budget by 30m) and two scientific breakthroughs (6 dice rolled for your most advanced rocket program and for a program of your choice).