Yeah, I should have said "toxic for a rocket propellant". I was just confused since looking up the chemical safety sheet for Furfuyl Alcohol showed something much less poisonous than I remembered and I wondered if I had miss-read the sheet all those years ago. But no, it was just that Ranulf meant Propargyl Alcohol.Many more fuels that are more toxic. You don't want to drink methanol or kerosene either.
I like it muchly, having a PoD for both the US and the Soviets makes it a more interesting TL I think. Though the Soviet side of things feels a bit handwavey. The Soviets are making a bit commitment when they go around the moon in TTL and I am dubious that no loss of Soyuz 1 is enough of a PoD for Podsadka to look workable and attractive.Okay, here's the summary of my proposed timeline, called "Fire of Mercury:"
If you ever do decide to write a TL and want help with the Soviet side of things, feel free to call on me.
I also wonder if the weight and complexity of a two gas system from Mercury onwards would make the Lunar Gemini concept more attractive? (Assuming there IS a Gemini program at all.) And that smaller, less capable capsule, may make it more worthwhile for the Soviets to race...
Also, I suspect that the LEM would end up being a pure oxygen system for landings at least. Less complexity, less time to get in and out of space suits while on the surface. Does NASA invest in the extra expense of giving the LEM a dual-gas mode as well? Or would investing in life-boat capability for the LEM be too much ITTL?