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. brovane Well-Known Member

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    That is a big question. I think a lot had to do with Kennedy (Democrat) program and NASA administration didn't help the situation. In this ATL Nixon is basically following Eisenhower so you have a VP following in as now President so I see a lot of previous administration policies followed. However we could see a more measured response since with Kennedy he felt under the gun to pick something far enough out that we could catch up and Surpass the Soviet's. In this ATL we probably don't feel as so much under the gun with the first satellite and first person in space. Even though we lag in boosters right now.
     
  2. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    before someone wonders how Von Braun in Private industry manage get back into NACAA?

    The answer is simple: max Faget used the Redstone for Mercury testing
    Redstone rocket was design by Von Braun and build by Chrysler Corporation
    that's the company he work for in TL and with his old connection is easy for him to push the Redstone option at max Faget and NACAA management
    off course with germans working there as Von Braun "fifth column"…


    I hope we get a "The Mercury Seven" post, about selection of first astronaut group.
    on James W. Wood case he was planned for first X-20 suborbital flight after 1964, seems USAF get him experience with suborbital mercury flight first.
     
  3. Astronomo2010 Well-Known Member

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    very good new chapter , The US as just make it the 1st Man in Space , lets see further missions like Skylab , Landing on the Moon , Moon Base, Can't hardly wait for the next chapters.
     
  4. nixonshead Well-Known Member

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    ITTL the USAF astronaut corps is a shared pool between Mercury and Dynasoar (no need to assign people off to a separate civilian agency). Given that the Air Force are looking for people of the same skills in roughly the same timeframe as OTL, they find a lot of the same people, with a few differences from butterflies. I don’t currently have a detailed post planned for that, but we will meet most of the first cadre of Air Force astronauts in Part-II.

    Whoops! This is an error. I think in my mind I had the (incorrect) notion that a monkey (Bucky) isn’t a primate. I’ll update the post to correct this.

    Incidentally, apart from sounding suitable “Fifties” to my ear, I chose the name Bucky for a funky fresh rabbit who probably will never exist ITTL.

    Certainly the USAF publicity machine is busy claiming Wood as the first man in space. Whether the title sticks is a question for the future.

    As alluded to in the post, Nixon sees space as an important front in the Cold War… but just as one of several fronts. Even IOTL, I understand that Kennedy bemoaned the fact that the scientists couldn’t give him more down-to-Earth spectaculars to beat Communism with. Nixon is supportive of the manned space programme and continuing advances in unmanned use of satellites - but will that support stretch to pledging almost 5% of the Federal budget..?

    Brovane is correct to point out that the pressure is not as intense ITTL. The Soviets appear to be closing the gap, but they haven’t overtaken, so public perception remains that the USA is number one.

    A minor correction, von Braun is not at NACAA, he’s at the Defense Research Agency. Your point remains valid though. The defence industry in particular is famous for its revolving door, and Chrysler will expect to benefit quite a bit from von Braun’s move, especially for those projects he was instigating as Chrysler’s Chief Engineer. For their part, the new DRA want to attract the best, and von Braun is not only the best, he’s also been very good at keeping his public profile high, as well as maintaining his old DoD connections. He would have been pretty much the first call they made.

    Stay tuned for Part II ;)

    A big thanks to all of you who have commented and/or read Part I of this, my first timeline. It's been a fun experience for me so far, as well as an interesting learning experience, so I look forward to continuing with Part II in August.
     
  5. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    DRA ? oh that is very easy phone call:

    Ring ring ring.
    Walter Dornberg* Here.
    Hallo Walter, hier Werner, ich hab da Vorschlag für das Mercury Programm…







    *= for those who not understand
    Walter Dornberg was chief of Von Braun during the V2 program and after ww2 ended up in USA Defense program
     
  6. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    I was going to ask, why the heck did von Braun not go to NACAA, but then I realized, DNR doesn't do much itself, but it has direction over both the civil agency and the entire conglomeration of various military high-tech projects. From there von Braun can influence all American rocketry programs (I presume his office there is specialized to rocket projects).

    This might frustrate as much as gratify him though; as nifty as it is to be looking over the shoulder of every existing project and present at the conception of every new one, perhaps being able to coordinate all of them toward some master plan, I gather von Braun had always been someone who gets into the nuts and bolts of a project, sleeves rolled up with his hands dirty with grease. At DNR, he won't be able to do that. Either he learns to delegate that sort of thing, trading off complete control of one project for conceptual direction of all of them, or he will go stir-crazy and eventually use his influence to get himself transferred to one project that he can control totally again, giving up the broad but tenuous powers of DNR.
     
  7. Patupi Paranoid Android Technician

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    Hah! Someone else who was into that series. *sniff* So the expression 'Lets croak us some Toads' will never be uttered in this time line? Sad, so sad :)
     
  8. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

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    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    Now I'm glad that Korolev has a much better fate in my timeline then in OTL. Together with your timeline, his fate in various ATLs is now well balanced out. :p

    It's interesting seeing you writing your own TL. :) I'll definitely give this a read sooner or later. :cool:
     
  9. nixonshead Well-Known Member

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    Heh, I can almost picture this as one of your cartoons! I must admit I’ve slightly neglected Herr Doktor Dornberger during my research, but from a quick assessment I’d say he likely went to work at Bell Aircraft more or less as per OTL, and would be making just as valuable contributions. I may have to look into this more closely...

    In fact the DRA as conceived would have oversight of most major DoD R&D projects, with the aim of coordinating the efforts of the individual Services rather than having them run off on parallel or divergent tracks, and also investing in some of the more blue-sky concepts that would otherwise be ignored as having less obvious immediate operational use (or “forming and executing research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science and able to reach far beyond immediate military requirements,” to borrow a phrase from some other agency…).

    Of course, like many new bureaucracies, the first leaders will have a strong influence over defining exactly where its boundaries of responsibility lay, and as you’ve noted von Braun is not likely to be happy just having his Space Systems Office review other peoples’ rocket designs.

    One thing to note though, the DRA does not have authority over NACAA, which remains a civilian agency outside of the Defense Department, though the two agencies often work closely together (similar to the earlier NACA-USAF relationship). Also, NACAA has nowhere near the breadth of authority enjoyed by NASA IOTL. NACAA remains basically and aerodynamics R&D agency, which does fundamental research in support of other people’s projects rather than instigating their own programmes. The inclusion of the second ‘A’ basically recognises its existing research into re-entry vehicles and related hypersonic flight activities, plus a little bit on in-space attitude control, guidance and navigation technologies. NACAA will not be flying probes to other worlds, still less operating its own fleet of manned spacecraft.

    Unfortunately, it looks unlikely, especially considering the changes to science fiction in the sixties… But I’m getting ahead of myself. ;)

    I hope you enjoy it, Petike! As I mentioned fairly early on, Korolev was amazingly lucky IOTL to survive the gulags, so I didn’t need to do a lot to remove him from the scene - in fact in many ways the gulags did kill him IOTL, just more slowly.

    I’d be interested to read your timeline on the topic, but I haven’t been able to dig it out yet (you’ve started a lot of threads, haven’t you!). Could you post a link?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++​

    So, we’re not quite halfway through the interlude, but I can report that almost the entirety of Part-II is now drafted and undergoing editing as we speak, so we’re still on-schedule for our 10th August launch date (when was the last time you heard that in relation to a space project?!). Part-II will cover a shorter period of time than Part-I has, but as a result will go into a bit more detail, as the Superpowers compete in the new arena of manned space travel. As alluded to previously, Part-II will also include a dedicated Post on depictions of space travel in popular culture, as well as Posts on political developments in the US, USSR and elsewhere in the world. Early interplanetary probes, the fate of Mercury and Zarya, Dynasoar and Raketoplan, and of course the personal fights behind the technology are all to come. So I hope you’ll join me in August for Part-II of…

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  10. Historyman 14 Well-Known Member

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    In the Land of the Ancients.
    Is this on TV tropes?
     
  11. nixonshead Well-Known Member

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  12. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    Are you going to cover Quatermass in the popular culture segment ? The first two seasons probably haven't been affected too much, but Quatermass and the Pit was broadcast in 1958/9, so it would be interesting to see how butterflies might have affected it.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  13. Patupi Paranoid Android Technician

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    OMG that brings back memories! Haven't seen that in ages, the b&w version of the later one.
     
  14. nixonshead Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I must admit that one slipped off my radar. It's not a show I'm familiar with - I've heard of it, but never seen it. But if you'd care to speculate how the events of Kolyma's Shadow might have affected the show, I'd be interested to hear your theories!

    Just two more days until Part-II :D
     
  15. Patupi Paranoid Android Technician

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    The story used a collective 'madness' due to connection to the hive-minded insect race (or just their ship if I recall correctly. It's been a while since I saw either version, but I'm fairly sure there wasn't a living member of the race in there, just a corpse and a load of halucinations), and harked back to ancient times on Earth. I'm not sure how much of the tale was influenced by the political set up of the time that could realistically be changed in the new setup. I suppose you could read something like 'The Red Menace' as an influence on the backstory, but that would be a stretch. I don't think there'd be too many butterflies in this one.

    Was the story taken from a book written earlier? If so there'd be even less butterflies.
     
  16. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    Part of the back-story concerned the military take-over of the civilian British Experimental Rocket Group where Quatermass worked. I wonder if that was influenced by the fears of the militarisation of space stirred up by the launch of Sputnik. ITTL where the American's are getting the headline firsts, those fears won't be promoted to the same extent, at least not in Western media. That might change the background of the story, but not the main plot.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  17. Threadmarks: Part II Post #1: Teaser II

    nixonshead Well-Known Member

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    Apr 1, 2013
    Hi everyone. I'm travelling at the moment, so I'm afraid I won't have much chance to respond to comments for a while, but as promised here's the start of Part II of...

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    Part II Post #1: Teaser II

    US Army Corporal Paul Roesen sipped contentedly at his coffee as he enjoyed the sunshine on this mild Spring morning. All things told, Berlin wasn’t the worst posting he’d ever had. Normally stationed in the tiny Stars and Stripes field office adjacent to the Armed Forces Network Berlin at Podbielskiallee in the American Zone, part of his duties were to provide a review of what the German papers were reporting on, including those published in the East. Which meant that each morning he got his coffee and cake paid for by Uncle Sam at the ornate Karl-Marx Cafe on Unter den Linden in the Free Zone, reading Neues Deutschland and Berliner Zeitung along with Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine and, of course, Bild.

    Roesen took a moment to enjoy the scene before ploughing through the pile before him. From his table he could see the girls (mostly West Berliners, judging by their fashionable clothes and heavy make-up) strolling past the checkpoint at the Brandenburg Gate and through to Pariser Platz, perhaps like him intending to enjoy breakfast at the cheaper, DDR-subsidised prices available in the Free Zone. Opposite stood the imposing bulk of the Soviet Embassy, whilst looking towards the East, Roesen could just make out the guard towers and gates at Schlossbrücke. They marked the end of the Soviet-sponsored “Berliner Frier Stadt Sector”, beyond which lay East Berlin proper. The long lines of wire fences and guard towers running along the banks of the Spree, forming what the DDR government had euphemistically named the “Anti-Fascist Control Barrier” were hidden from Roesen’s view. The newly rebuilt facade of stores and hotels kept the Line out of sight, if not out of mind. Those East Berliners Roesen could see, including the waiter who’d served him, would all be in that ten percent of the Eastern population considered “Politically Reliable” by the Ulbricht regime. Hardly any of them were under the age of thirty, and likely most of them would have families and dependants behind the Line who could not easily be left behind. Otherwise they would never have been permitted to work in the Socialist Bloc showcase that was the Free Zone.

    Taking another sip of coffee, Roesen looked back down at the papers on the table in front of him, a mixture of East papers and Western publications he’d picked up on his way to the cafe. As all the official newspapers of the DDR followed the same Party line, it was usually sufficient to read one then just skim the rest. Today’s editions were no different, all carrying the same stories: Ulbricht is planning a state visit to Czechoslovakia; The Ministry of Finance projects the DDR economy will out-perform the BDR by 1970; Castro denounces the US for supplying weapons to counter-revolutionaries - usual stuff. The West German papers were all about the latest scandal to hit Adenauer's ailing government, with claims that Defence Minister Strauss had accepted bribes from a Canadian aerospace company in return for ordering their fighter jets. Strauss had managed to shrug off previous accusations of bribe-taking over the Fibag affair, but to Roesen this new scandal looked to be a lot more serious. He shook his head. Why couldn’t the Canadians compete fairly on a level playing field, like American companies did?

    In international news, there was a depressing piece in Die Zeit about the race riots back in the US, with the paper reporting that Nixon was calling on all levels of government to enforce desegregation, whilst Humphrey deplored his inactivity and Wallace threatened to deploy the National Guard in Alabama. It ran alongside a story that the US was considering increasing military aid to the new government in Saigon, whilst reassuring the world that the weapons being sent were purely defensive and reiterating that there was no chance of major American forces being deployed against the Viet-Cong in combat roles.

    One story that appeared in both sets of papers was a piece about yesterday’s returning Soviet space mission. Even considering the East German papers’ tendency to embellish Soviet achievements with hyperbole, there was no denying that the USSR’s recent space exploits were impressive. Sure enough, when Roesen checked the West German papers, they too were full of praise for the achievement. When, they asked, would the US again be able to match the Communists in space? Roesen wondered the same thing. He was fascinated by all this Buck Rogers stuff and had been following the Mercury flights and Dynasoar tests along with everyone else over the past year, but it looked to him like the Air Force was dropping the ball and letting the Reds pull ahead.

    The story about space reminded Roesen of the curious little booklet he’d picked up in the American Sector along with the West German papers. After jotted down a few notes to wire back to the S&S head office in Darmstadt and ordering another coffee, he pulled the booklet out from under the pile of papers and took a closer look. It was digest-sized and featured a painting of a group of astronauts on some alien planet (no, that would be the Moon - the Earth was clearly visible in the background), running towards a rocketship. It was that picture that had caught his eye in the newsagents. Opening the magazine, Roesen was slightly disappointed to find no other illustrations inside, but as he began to read the German text he found himself becoming more and more engrossed. The tale of an American expedition to the Moon discovering an alien spaceship had him hooked. His half finished second cup of coffee was cold by the time he put the magazine back down and signalled to the waiter he was ready for the check.

    The waiter was delighted when Roesen not only paid with West Marks (officially 1:1 with East Marks; unofficially more like 5:1), but also absentmindedly added a ridiculous tip to the total. Roesen barely heard the heartfelt “Dankeschön!” from the waiter; he was still in the world of spaceships and aliens. I wonder if there’s an English translation I can send to my nephew? he thought to himself as he stood to leave. If there isn’t, maybe I should translate it myself. I’m sure he’d get a kick out of reading the adventures of this “Perry Rhodan” character…

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    The centre of Berlin after the Crisis of 1961. The Soviet-controlled “Free City Zone” acts as a buffer between the Eastern and Western Zones. “The Line”, a militarised barrier of wire and concrete, prevents unauthorised passage between the Free Zone and DDR-controlled East Berlin.
     
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  18. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

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    So, let's see:

    • Nixon seems to be about where Kennedy was at this time wrt Vietnam, so we'll see where that one goes.
    • Canada bribing the Germans into taking their fighters. Oh the irony. It hurts! :p
    • Perry Rhodan might be coming to the States? Be interesting if that happens...
    • Soviets have picked back up in space. Looks like the Space Race didn't go off and die (not that we believed that would happen)
    Looks very interesting going forwards...
     
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  19. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    Liege Belgium Europe
    YES YES YES

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    so what is fuzz about ?!
    Perry Rhodan is a german pulp science-fiction series, by the way the biggest in world !
    since september 1961 there each week a new issue now at edition #2764 and still running.
    story in short
    US expedition find alien spaceship on moon
    Perry Rhodan has to prevent world war III do the discovery and unite mankind and be become power player in the Universe.
    because the universe is hard brutal place, full of enemies and those learn fast way: "don't mess with humans other wise your doomed"

    if this series comes in USA already in early 1960s, it will change the future US Sci-fi far reaching

    and it is illustrated from issue one
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. nixonshead Well-Known Member

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    Apr 1, 2013
    Hi everyone, sorry I've been a bit uncommunicative this week, my internet access has been a bit spotty. I should be back to normal this coming week, so I'll come back and address all comments then. In the meantime, following a little bump to get to the next page...
     
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