Kolyma's Shadow: An Alternate Space Race

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by nixonshead, May 11, 2014.

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  1. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    "Far Frontier" differs from Trek in that they've eliminated the space ship completely. Certainly when I was in the 3rd grade watching Trek in syndication, the spaceships were the iconic thing that stuck in my head; I soon became frustrated they didn't show more of them, more often. And it's not just the exterior view; the sets of the Enterprise interiors, the Bridge especially, were a big part of the experience.

    Take that away, and will the show have the same sort of impact on viewers?

    It certainly will become more economically viable; what I didn't appreciate, back in third grade, was how very expensive all these futuristic sets were.

    I think we'd see less of a cult following--there would be some, the way Twilight Zone has one for instance. In some ways the show would increase its impact--they can spend a bit more on making alien landscapes (especially city-scapes) with matte paintings, and more on hiring big-name guest stars. It might more easily achieve a solid five-year run because the network executives would be looking at the bottom line, initial ratings versus production costs, and when they splurged on hiring a big-name guest star that's the sort of cost these suits would understand and approve, if it paid off in keeping audience attention. But there probably would not be the same degree of cultural impact due to the imagery being more subtle and less grandly iconic.

    Upshot then might be a show that is acclaimed by critics and a smaller cult following decades later, that is more relevant and "with-it" in the late Sixties, a more successful vehicle for Roddenberry's desire to preach which might result in a mix of painfully anvillicious shows with some that manage to reach levels of high art and are taught in English classes (the way "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," a 'Zone episode, was taught in my seventh grade class). Five solid years, with none of them limping along on life support the way the third season of Trek was OTL, might be just the thing for Trek to establish itself in these ways.

    But on the other hand revivals would probably not have a tenth the momentum and pressure behind them they did OTL; there might never be any movies nor any thought of a Next Generation.

    Aside from losing some of the iconic punch that eliminating the star ships would cause, the sensibility would be quite different. Star Fleet of OTL is, when you get down to it, a space navy--I'd argue it's technically more of a Coast Guard on steroids, but part of the iconic package is that it's Horatio Hornblower IN SPAACE! God knows the logistics of the alleged "voyages" of the Enterprise are just about impossible to map on any realistic star map; the ship moved around at the speed of Plot, that's all. But simply beaming our heros directly from one episode to the next will give even less of a sense of solid 3-D space; the plot trap of explaining why, in each Trek episode OTL Kirk did not simply flip open the communicator and say "Scotty, save my ass!" every time he got into any sort of jam would be compounded--in principle, the New Frontier Marshal can call on the entire Federation Peace Keeping force en masse at any moment--so why wouldn't he?

    Replacing Hornblower then is somewhere on the spectrum between a city beat cop (as much Roddenberry's background as a Navy officer to be sure) and James Bond--presumably every episode is not resolved with massive application of Sending in the Marines for reasons similar to why we can't do that in every tricky situation in the Jet Age. Politics replaces logistics. So actually it's a far superior vehicle for exploring the tricky dilemmas of our modern, post WWII world where no place is more than a couple days away from the centers of power--but everyplace, even neighborhoods of the capital cities of the Great Powers, involves complications and hitches.

    That means Roddenberry's pulpit pieces might strike all the more incisively at the 20th century point he is trying to make (or smash it if he handles it less than perfectly) but also that the plausible deniability the Trek format covered him with is thinner; he'd be more at risk of running afoul of the network suits getting on to what he's doing and more to the point, fearing that the troglydyte element of the US audience Harlan Ellison called the "scuttlefish" would do so.

    OTL I marvel at right-wing Star Trek fans, but my fooling around on Trek fan sites assures me they are there--in numbers, yet. Why? How? I suppose the Naval imagery and atmosphere has a lot to do with that.

    It would be harder to win that kind of bipartisan appeal when the trope is not space navy, but frontier marshal--the image his characters would have would then depend much more on the policies they carry out rather than the uniforms they wear and the hardware they handle.
     
  2. nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    I’d just like to say a big Thanks to Michel Van for these excellent images. When I first saw them I was completely blown away by their quality. Bravo!

    I must admit, I’ve not looked into the activities of Mr Lucas yet. His main OTL contribution to culture is still a bit beyond my time horizon at the moment, though I assume that there will be significant butterflies flapping before then (not least on Kubrick’s career, and its impact on the respectability of sci-fi movies). Having the Great Beard become a racing driver is certainly an intriguing concept!

    Thanks! The Far Frontier was the result of a lot of brainstorming between Brianbin, e of pi and myself. Having butterflied Roddenberry’s career before that point, I knew that we were unlikely to get Star Trek as we know it, but figured that the underlying drive to tell controversial stories would still push towards a sci-fi show. In particular, the controversial episode of Night Stick (a show Roddenberry failed to sell IOTL) is based upon an OTL episode of The Lieutenant, guest-starring none other than Uhura herself, Nichelle Nichols.

    Brainbin pointed to Gary Seven as an example of where Roddenberry could have gone, so I combined that idea with a more Western vibe (Westerns being, of course, hugely popular at that time, and Roddenberry having a lot of experience in the genre) to come up with The Far Frontier. In keeping with Roddenberry’s progressive casting choices, I wanted to have an African-American actor in the main cast, but wasn’t sure if that would be possible for the times, until Brainbin pointed me to Cosby’s role in I Spy, a show I was unfamiliar with. He seemed to fit surprisingly well, and I can imagine a lot of humorous ribbing between Cosby and Baker.

    Although I’ve not yet mapped out the precise fate of The Far Frontier, I suspect that Cosby’s prior fame and his versatility will let him move on from the character of Ruk in a way much closer to Patrick Stewart than Leonard Nimoy IOTL. He’ll always be associated with the role, but it won’t completely dominate his career.

    Firstly, thanks for such a thoughtful analysis!

    I must admit, dropping the starship did concern me a bit, being a spaceship geek myself, but in the end the direction the concept was going seemed to make more sense without a ship. That’s not to say there won’t be any spaceships in the show - and in fact the ‘central base’ they teleport from could well be a space station. But it will obviously be much more planet-bound than Star Trek, and probably actually closer to a sixties version of OTL's Star Gate, with a small team visiting different planets each week. That generation’s spaceship-fix will have to come from somewhere else...

    This is something we batted back and forth a few times, how to avoid the Teleporter becoming too powerful. We basically imagined a number of ways to limit its impact on the drama. I have a few notions in mind such as the need for highly accurate coordinates for teleporting (necessitating surveys by spaceships before being able to beam out, and meaning Winter can’t simply call up “Scotty” and ask him to place him directly into the enemy camp), large power costs limiting time between teleports (to, say, about the length of an episode) and the number of people who can be sent (so no marine battalions), and perhaps some kind of technology like a homing beacon for it to lock onto (limiting the teleport ability to our heroes, as well as setting up various stolen beacon plots). I’m sure that the show’s writers would come up with many other limitations and capabilities - some of them contradictory - just as happened with OTL’s Star Trek (“The planet’s magnetosphere is highly charged with makeitupyon particles. Our transporter beam will be unable to get through. We’ll have to put most of our senior officers into a shuttlecraft instead. I sure hope it doesn't crash…”) ;)

    I certainly agree, the focus will be very much on our heroes using their wits and morals to find a resolution, although I see Winter and his team having perhaps more leeway in dealing with the locals than even Kirk had. The three main characters will often be the only representatives of central authority on the planet, and so will have to be quite creative in coming up with solutions that fit the local conditions - remembering always to follow the guiding principles of tolerance, respect. So whilst The Far Frontier is unlikely to have an equivalent to “Balance of Terror”, it could very well feature a “Devil in the Dark”.
     
  3. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back Kicked

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    Fireball XL5

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Michel Van Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Liege Belgium Europe
    Fast Space Cruiser Orion 7

    [​IMG]
     
  5. nixonshead Well-Known Member

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    Apr 1, 2013
    I can imagine something very similar to Fireball XL5 and/or Space Patrol being made ITTL (at least I hope the great XL5 theme song survives!), but these are of course primarily aimed at children. I expect there will be adult-targeted spaceship sci-fi coming, but not quite yet, at least not in the US...

    Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion came along substantially later IOTL (1966), so would be more prone to butterflies. Also, I'm not clear how much (if at all) it was influenced by Star Trek - certainly there were a lot of similarities, but these could be just coincidental.

    Though it undoubtedly had a lot of charm (it feels far more "Swinging Sixties" than Star Trek), I must admit I am tempted to butterfly it if for no other reason than to spare the world the horrors of the Tanz den Rücksturz :eek:. And those giant mutant fish... :confused:

    A fun fact: For several years one of the control rooms at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, used for controlling ESA's deep space probes, had an old-fashioned iron sitting on one of its consoles. This confused many visitors, who were unaware it was a tip-of-the-hat to the control console of the Orion:

    [​IMG]

    Incidentally, a minor thing that may be of interest, here's the updated logo after NACA became NACAA:

    [​IMG]

    This Sunday's post might appear a little later than usual as I'm travelling once again, but it should still make it up before midnight (CEST). This week we'll be looking at how the Zarya and Mercury programmes are progressing.
     
  6. Patupi Paranoid Android Technician

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Florida
    I love seeing butterflies in the morning :) especially regarding Trek. Very nice shift in the trend Nixonhead. I have to admit to also giving a mental sigh at the loss of Starfleet, but the idea of 'Horatio Hornblower' in space is something that perked me up. Could Honor Harrington be reborn ITTL early? A cruder, overly glitzy, action packed version as a zappy space battle with politics series? That would be interesting to see develop, perhaps taking some of the role of Trek (though without Roddenbury's style) and carry on the mantle of space battles until cheap CGI comes along :D

    EDIT: how about, as some crude rationale behind the nineteenth century broadside methodology, the ships are typical flying saucers, but due to the spinning of the 'gravity drive disks' they can't turn very well, and most of the thrust is through the axis so they can't side shift much either. Plus the spinning disks preclude most weapons from being on the top or bottom, so they stick out between the counter rotating upper and lower disks. This would give 60's era, close passing strafes of battledisks with many sparks and flashes, many consoles exploding in sparks, the deck tipping and shuddering and bad actors tumbling awkwardly across the ship sets.... pretty much Trek's ship part on it's own :D (And incidentally this gives relatively simple models for the ships. Two dinner plates, one atop the other, sticks pointing out between the gaps. Though making them visibly rotate would up the price a bit.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  7. nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Well, as Shevek23 pointed out, The Far Frontier has completely ditched any "Hornblower in Space" trappings - it's more "The Lone Ranger on Alien Planets". That said, I'm sure something like the Honorverse would emerge ITTL too, at least in book form. I'm not very familiar with the stories (though I must admit they intrigued me - I could just never work out where the series started, and always there's so much else on my reading list!), but they seem like the sort of thing that would find a receptive audience in most TLs :)

    One thing nobody's commented on so far, I killed "Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb". I can also say with reasonable confidence that at least one more Kubrick classic will not survive ITTL...

    As for what else comes up in TV and film later ITTL, we'll just have to see ;)

    Anyway, since it's Friday and for some unknown reason I'm not yet in the pub, here's a little something extra from the bottom of my old box of photos: The Mk.I Dynasoar ATV "Diana" landing at White Sands.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  8. e of pi Layers on Top of Layers

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    Just since I'm sure someone else will mention it, the series starts with On Basilisk Station, then continues in The Honor of the Queen and The Short Victorious War. You can find the former, at least, for free as an ebook in the Baen Free Library here.

    It's a series I've enjoyed, reread often, and have recommended to others, but I think it lost me as it went along. I initially skipped In Enemy Hands entirely by accident (and on re-read, it doesn't seem like I lost a lot) and stopped anything but plot summaries of the books after Ashes of Victory (the ending just threw me off the whole set of following books, not to mention an explosion of the dreaded "six books, one major plot event, a thousand characters" syndrome). However, all that being said, the first several are a lot of fun. :)

    Not to side-track too much, but anyone who enjoyed the Honorverse might also find themselves enjoying the RCN series by David Drake, though I'll recommend the second book (Lt. Leary Commanding) as the best starting place.

    You know, it seems somehow unfair you're both such a good writer and so incredible at artwork--that looks brilliantly real. ;) I think your work on this has exceeded even the renders you won the Turtledove for last year for Eyes, and I hope you'll be recognized for it again. :)
     
  9. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Liege Belgium Europe
    About Raumpatrouille

    It's NOT influenced by Star Trek
    The Concept Start in 1963 and was Produce in 1965 , West Germany.
    Broadcasting first episode on 17 September 1966

    Star Trek First Episode was on 8 September 1966
    So we could Talk about of a parallele Evolution of Concept
     
  10. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    Tell me about it - if only he were a lousy or unmotivated writer, then he could focus more on furnishing certain other timelines with his gorgeous artwork :p
     
  11. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Hah.

    Found it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGcIy76N9sY
     
  12. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back Kicked

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    Dr Who started out as a kiddie show, yet had impact past that initial market

    There should still be a _2001: A Space Oddity_ as that was based on one of Clark's Shorts from the early '50s
     
  13. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    I'm afraid you just opened a mighty big can of worms with that assessment... :eek:

    The Sentinel, published in 1951. Although what might be seen ITTL is a fairly straight adaptation of that story as opposed to the radical re-working it got IOTL.
     
  14. e of pi Layers on Top of Layers

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    Pulled out my Clarke short story anthology (the complete collection, a brick of a book I used to carry around as a kid) and checked. "The Sentinel" is 8 pages long, and pretty sparse--"We went to the moon on a routine survey expedition since for some reason we can't see terrain features from orbital images, and I saw a big mountain. I decided to climb it, and the top had been cut off into a plateau. On top, there was a little pyramid, that was projecting a forcefield protecting itself from meteors and dust. We dated it to millions of years old, placed there by some alien race not native to our solar system since the only other life on the moon is the 'creeping moss of Aristarchus' and then we detected it was beaming back a signal, and had been for a while--just basically 'I'm still here, they haven't found me yet.'"

    "So we blew it up, and now we see who or what comes."

    Boom. Over. No wonder it got a big re-write into 2001--it's a good start but it's missing a plot that can sustain a movie for two hours. Really cool start, though.
     
  15. Threadmarks: Part II Post #6: Orbital Dual

    nixonshead Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to the wonders of modern WiFi, rather than posting late I'm able to bring this week's post to you extra-early. So here is your mornng edition of...

    [​IMG]

    Part II Post #6: Orbital Dual

    The two-man Zarya-3 mission of March 1964 had given the Soviet Union the edge in the Space Race. As the first multi-crew mission it established a capability that the US would be unable to match until the orbital debut of the Mk.II Dynasoar, still years away. Despite some frantic conferences between the Air Force and NACAA, there seemed no way in which the tiny Mercury capsule could be modified to accommodate a second crewman, and development of a larger capsule would take longer than the completion of Dynasoar.

    For many in the Air Force and the wider government, this hardly mattered. So the Soviets had crammed two men into their space-pod instead of one? So what? Though it made for a good headline, it didn’t imply any obvious military advantage. Let the Soviets continue with their stunts, went the line, while we continue development of our superior spaceplane system. Whilst this view had some justification from a military and technological perspective, it didn’t look so good from a political point of view. The continuing air-drop tests of Dynasoar were good up to a point, but to have the Russians performing high-profile stunts in orbit whilst the best the Air Force could do was simply repeat Joe Walker’s first flight undermined the image of the service in the eyes of the public and the Air Force’s Congressional paymasters. For this reason there was considerable pressure from within the Air Force hierarchy to do something to counter the Soviet propaganda victories, and do it soon.

    With the Minerva-1 rocket, based on the Minerva Liquid Rocket Booster, not scheduled for its first flight before the end of the year, it was clear that the US response could not come from a Dynasoar launch, even an unmanned, sub-orbital mission. For all its limitations, Mercury was currently America’s only option for getting men into space. Once this was accepted, the question became how best to use the system in place. Two more space-qualified Mercury capsules were in inventory, with two more structural and electrical test articles that might it be possible to refit for use in space over the next six- to nine-months. More could be ordered from McDonnell, but it would take the best part of a year before any new capsules could be delivered, so for now any response would have to come from those Mercury spacecraft on-hand.

    The mission that would be adopted came from the desk of General Bernard Schriever, commanding officer of Air Force Systems Command, who oversaw all of the Air Force’s manned space efforts. For a number of years the Air Force had been investigating a requirement for a manned satellite interception (or “SAINT”) capability, to enable their pilots to rendezvous with Soviet satellites, ascertain their purpose and, if necessary, destroy them. For a short time there had been consideration of developing a new manned spacecraft specifically for this purpose, before the mission had finally been folded into the Dynasoar effort, but perhaps Mercury could be used to test the concept earlier. Although the Mercury capsule had only limited maneuvering capability, careful control of the launch time and trajectory should allow the Atlas-D to place a manned Mercury capsule in a direct ascent intercept course passing close to an already orbiting target vehicle. If that target vehicle were itself another Mercury, the mission could be evaluated from the perspective of both the target and the interceptor, whilst also demonstrating America’s ability to perform in-space intercepts and to have two astronauts aloft simultaneously.

    This ambitious mission plan was passed up the chain of command, through the Secretary of the Air Force to the White House, where it was personally approved by Nixon in early May 1964. The mission would use both of the remaining spaceworthy Mercurys, with Mercury-6 launching first as the target vehicle, to be followed six hours later by Mercury-7. This six hour upper limit was dictated by the short on-orbit lifetime of the spacecraft, but made it absolutely imperative that Mercury-6 achieve a very precise orbit, and that highly accurate tracking data be obtained at the earliest opportunity in order to fine-tune Mercury-7’s ascent. A launch scrub for Mercury-6 would introduce severe errors into the calculations, whilst a delay to Mercury-7 would certainly cause the mission to fail. Preparation of the spacecraft, their launchers, and all of the support systems therefore must be precise, with everything checked and triple-checked before the final go-ahead would be given. This ruled out an attempt before mid-September, the absolute earliest date by which everything could be made ready.

    The Soviet Union faced no such constraints, and on 10th September the Zarya-4 mission launched from Tyuratum, carrying cosmonauts Dimitry Zaikin and Viktor Gorbatko. Like the previous Zarya-3, this mission used the Zarya-B capsule launched on the M-1 rocket, and had a similarly smooth ride to orbit. However, unlike the previous mission, for this flight a new piece of equipment had been added to the hatch at the top of the SA re-entry module - a stowed, inflatable airlock.

    After three revolutions of the globe from an altitude of between 245 km and 350 km, Zaikin gave the command to deploy the airlock. Locks released and air filled the airlock, pushing it out to it’s full 3 m by 1.5 m dimensions, extending a number of hinged support arms that clicked into place to reinforce the rigidity of the structure. With both cosmonauts in their spacesuits in case of a sudden failure of the seal, the hatch between the SA and the airlock was opened. The seals held as designed, and Gorbatko crawled into the airlock, closing the hatch behind him and carefully clipping his safety lines to the outer surface of the SA hatch. This done, Zaikin began the airlock depressurisation cycle from within the SA. As the air pressure dropped to almost zero, and with their spacecraft fully visible to the ground tracking stations of the USSR, Gorbatko opened the hatch of the Zarya-4 airlock and cautiously pushed his head and shoulders out of the spaceship into outer space.

    At Mission Control, Mishin watched the grainy video transmission from a camera mounted on the airlock module as Gorbatko pulled himself fully out of the capsule to become the first human in history to float freely in the cosmic void. For the next few minutes Gorbatko drifted alongside the Zarya spaceship, watched by Zaikin through the SA window. Gorbatko reported no ill effects from his excursion, though he found it difficult to orientate himself, with tugs on the safety tethers often resulting in unexpected spins. He also reported some difficulties in bending the limbs of his spacesuit, which had become stiff as the internal air pressure pushed against the fabric of the suit.

    After ten minutes outside, Gorbatko was ordered back inside the airlock. The spacewalker complied reluctantly, using the tethers to pull himself in head-first. However, he quickly realised that he did not have enough room inside the airlock to turn around and close the hatch. He had to push himself back outside, turn around and then back into the airlock feet-first, before finally pushing the hatch closed and locking the seal into place. This done, Zaikin re-pressurised the airlock and a few minutes later was re-joined in the SA by a jubilant Gorbatko.

    Following the triumphant spacewalk, Zarya-4 spent a further 36 hours on orbit before detaching the airlock and firing her retro-thrusters for home. By the time Zaikin and Gorbatko touched down on the Russian steppe, their total mission duration was double the previous record set by Zarya-3 six months earlier. The mission briefly turned Gorbatko into a world-famous celebrity, and reinforced the view that the USSR was now ahead of the US in space achievements. It was a view that the Americans hoped to make short-lived.

    [​IMG]
    A commemorative stamp celebrating the Zarya-4 mission.

    On 15th September 1964 two Atlas-D missiles carrying Mercury spacecraft, named “Orville” and “Wilbur” for the pioneering Wright brothers, stood poised for launch at Cape Canaveral. Two earlier attempts had been foiled by poor weather over one of the tracking stations making up the world-wide network that would be vital to the success of the mission, whilst a third had been cancelled at the last minute due to a fault signal from one of the rockets. As the 15th dawned though, the weather was fine and everything was as ready as it could be.

    First to launch was rookie astronaut Neil Armstrong in the Mercury-6 capsule Orville. His Atlas rocket lifted off at 07:22 local time, blasting him into orbit on a 220 km by 197 km orbit inclined at 31.4 degrees. Mercury-6 was to act as the target vehicle for veteran astronaut Al Perini’s Mercury-7, and as soon as Armstrong reported final stage shutdown the global tracking network that the Air Force had put in place set to work pinning down his orbit with all the precision they could muster. The results were fed back to the Cape, where one of the most powerful mainframe computers in America crunched the numbers and spat out the detailed parameters to be used to fine tune the launch of the second Atlas.

    At 10:31, as Orville was coming up on completion of its second orbit, the Mercury-7 Atlas fired and Perini and his spacecraft were catapulted into the void. The mission profile called for a “Direct Ascent” type intercept between the two ships, in which Wilbur would pass Orville before completing the first orbit. The alternative approach, a so-called “Co-Orbital” intercept, would have first placed the intercepting craft into a lower orbit, from which it would chase down its target. This type of intercept would be more typical for the kind of satellite inspection missions the Air Force hoped to perform with Dynasoar, but the limited manoeuvrability of the Mercury spacecraft made it impractical for this first attempt. Therefore Perini would make just one close approach to Armstrong’s ship before the two separated on increasingly diverging tracks.

    The meticulous planning and detailed calculations paid off handsomely, with Perini’s Mercury-7 passing Armstrong’s Mercury-6 over southern Africa. Closest approach occurred over southern Africa at a minimum distance of just 2.2 km. Armstrong reported having seen the launch plume of Perini’s Atlas as it ascended towards him, and both astronauts were able to see the other’s craft as they sped past one another. Armstrong and Perini exchanged radio greetings ship-to-ship, and remained in contact for several hours as the distance between them gradually increased.

    [​IMG]
    Neil Armstrong’s Mercury-6 capsule “Orville”, taken by Al Perini in Mercury-7 “Wilbur” as the two spacecraft pass one another.

    The primary mission accomplished, Armstrong fired Orville’s retro-rockets at the beginning of Orbit #6, coming in for a splashdown off the California coast at 15:57 EDT, giving Mercury-6 a total mission time of 8 hours 35 minutes. Perini remained on-orbit, running further tests on Mercury’s ability to orientate itself in space and conducting observations of the Earth, taking many photographs with the camera that had earlier captured Orville as she’d rushed past. Perini also conducted one unauthorised experiment in space cuisine when he consumed a salami sandwich that had been hidden in his flight suit. Despite the fears of Mission Control, crumb generation was minimal and caused no harmful effects to the spacecraft’s equipment, whilst Perini reported a definitely positive effect on his moral.

    Although consideration had been given to having Perini stay on-orbit overnight, the experts from McDonnell were reluctant to offer guarantees that all of the spacecraft’s systems would perform over such a long period. Additionally, the cramped confines of the Mercury cockpit were tough enough to endure even for relatively short periods - a full day on-orbit could give Perini severe problems. Wilbur therefore followed the example of Orville in firing her retro-rockets on Orbit #8, splashing down in the Pacific east of Hawaii at 22:38 UTC, 8 hours and 7 minutes after lifting off from Florida. This gave the overall Mercury-6/7 mission a combined sixteen-and-a-half man-hours on-orbit, and when taken together with his Mercury-3 mission, Perini now had a total flight time of over 13 hours.

    Despite these durations comparing poorly with the multi-day flights now commonplace for Zarya, the mission was hailed as a success in the media. The intercept itself had been a great accomplishment in technical precision and electronic control, and the ability to operate two spacecraft simultaneously was an area in which the US could undisputedly demonstrate to be ahead of the game. With Dynasoar now undergoing rocket-assisted supersonic testing in the skies over Edwards Air Force Base, it was expected that the US would soon be able to match the Soviet’s achievements in mission duration and space walking, and then extend a lead into the new realm of establishing a permanent foothold in the heavens. At least that was the image Nixon’s election team were pushing as the US went to the polls in November 1964.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
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  16. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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  17. Athelstane Anglo-Saxon Troublemaker

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    Another great update, Nixon.

    It's all fairly plausible so far.
     
  18. B787_300 New Member

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    Lol a Salami Sandwich?


    ITTL does he still get chewed out by MC for sneaking a sandwich up there?
     
  19. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    A little homage to Gemini 3 mission
    were Young had smuggled a corned beef sandwich on board and eaten it together with Grissom.
    the superiors at NASA were not happy about this.
     
  20. brovane Well-Known Member

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    There was a congressional hearing over that Sandwich.
     
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