This is happening largely after the 2015 date, so we didn't go into huge specifics on it, but I'd thought about them transferring a few of the more unique Freedom labs and modules as part of the initial expansion set for Discovery--the CGl, the Cupola, perhaps the arms, that kind of thing. Hadn't quite worked out the logistics of moving them, though, which is why it's not mentioned one way or the other in a canon post.Based on what I've read, the timing is such that if they want to keep anything from Freedom, they'd have a small window where they could, though given the age of those modules, I do have doubts they'd keep much of Freedom that way.
Once Discovery is up and active, Freedom will indeed see end of mission and be deorbited, as were Skylab and Spacelab before it ITTL. It'll probably be worked out to film it from the ground, somehow, like they did that one time for Shuttle's ET--after all, its entry (unlike Skylab's) will be very predictable.That would be a sight to see...
This has been a such great timeline. Well thought out, and nixonshead's art brought it to life. But now it's ending...
Were there any design reference architectures for a Mars mission ITTL?
The reason we can't expect the story to continue forward in time is the reason the authors gave some years ago; they can't maintain the level of realism they have thus far when the story moves far into the future of the day of writing.
I wish it could go on indefinitely, taking us into that future. We know it can't.
So what I hope for is that the authors stick around and give us the equivalent of DVD extra features--little "director's cut" deleted scenes they had to move on past to maintain the pace a couple years back but would like to have expanded more, perhaps--especially now that they've reached the end and can look back with clearer foresight of where these skipped moments might have led. Or discussion of why this or that technical idea won out over others, beyond the capsules we were given; in particular exposition of the alternatives not chosen. We got a glimpse of that once with the ATL proposal for a biconic reusable orbital manned vehicle that was bypassed. Perhaps there are others of interest.
P.S. If you're looking for a final topic of discussion: of the three options laid out at the end of the finale (reusable lander accessing a single moonbase, reusable "minibase" to remote destinations anywhere on lunar surface, short series of Mars landings), which would be your preference? I wrote those, and I'm kind of glad we're not planning to continue things because I can't quite make up my mind...
- By this time, I suspect they've long since concluded that the more time spent on the surface, the more they can get from each individual mission.
- They've built up a lot of experience with crews operating on a surface that isn't the Earth, and so can use that to design effective missions.
- They'll have good data on what happens to the Human body in low-G conditions, which they can draw on for methods to keep their Health up during the 30-month missions that Manned Mars Missions can last up to.
- I just like the idea.
The hints you left of the rest of the 2010s are also intriguing--Oceania the only continent not to launch an interplanetary probe? I don't remember mentions of Brazil or Africa earlier in the TL, so I take it Brazil and (South Africa? Nigeria? Egypt?) have interplanetary debuts planned?