Rewriting History: The History of an Alternate Space Program

1 - some sort of lunar “Soonbase”, I guess.

2 - Lunar Orbiter 6?
1 - what the surrounding area of the upcoming lunar base will look like
2 - not what you think it is, but I will be revealing it with the next post as soon as the 3D render is done
 
Dang, a LM-ATM hybrid to the Moon surface ? smart idea !
Something that I thought of literary while getting ready to go to sleep, idk how practical it would have been irl, considering the fact that it's stationary on top of the LM descent stage, but I've devised a sort of swivel mechanism which allows it to spin and tilt, just need to work on that a bit more.
 
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Part 3: "Clearing Things up"
Hello everyone, so I'm finally back. Sorry for the wait everyone, I was on and off with writing as well as planning things out. But here we are, enjoy the read, aren't many story elements here just world-building mostly...

HUGE thanks to Nik, the creator of Proxima, @defconh3ck for creating the speech for this post for me!

Warning! A part of this post may seem quite controversial, especially at such a time. You'll understand what I mean once you see it, but since it is my home I wanted to let it play a role in the space race, and show off what I have planned for the soviet union later on in the series

Rewriting History Post 2.5:
“Clearing Things up”


The year is now 1969 March 5th, just eight days from the launch of Apollo 10, humanity’s first attempt at putting two men on the Lunar surface. The tests of the Apollo program have ended, and it is finally time for humanity to make their next great step, marking the turning point of history as we reach further into the cosmos than ever before.
Starting with Sheppard on Freedom 7 the American human space program has come quite a way, despite the hardships and despite the Soviets beating Americans to numerous goals in spaceflight, this time we were set on being first, the first humans on the surface of another world, stepping into the unknown, this time there will be no holding back.

After the incident in 1967 with Apollo 1, NASA managed to recover quite well, the budget has been growing at increasingly rapid rates and it is seeming as if the endeavour towards the Lunar surface is closer than originally thought. Since the launch of Apollo 4, the coming missions managed to prove the reliability of the Saturn launch vehicles, carrying out each mission nominally without any issues arising, except the thrust lost on one of the H-1 engines of the Saturn IB launcher during Apollo 5, despite the shortcoming the vehicle still completed its mission objectives without the need to cut the mission short. After all the unmanned flights it was finally time for astronauts to sit in a flight-ready Apollo capsule, for the first time since Apollo 1, humans were ready to fly in the new Block II, which has undergone extensive testing and was by now certified for crew safety and ready for crewed flights. The changes done to Block II compared to Block I were extensive, to say the least, many things were removed and added, all flammable materials were removed and replaced, and the blow hatch was replaced by a hatch that could be opened within a matter of seconds, also now allowing for EVA from the capsule, the mixture of gases in the atmosphere was changed, from 100% oxygen to 20% nitrogen 80% oxygen and many smaller changes like insulation. Apollo 7, while being a massive stepping stone for the human space program, wasn’t very eventful, however still managed to draw attention from all over the world, just like with the first flight of a Saturn V, many people came to view the launch with their own eyes. NASA has been attracting more visitors during the duration of the Apollo program than it has over its entire life span, proving that the Apollo program was not only a scientific and engineering success but also a great show for the public. The recently appointed NASA director Thomas O. Paine has done a great job convincing the public and congress that NASA and the entirety of the spaceflight sector should be broadened and the budget to be maintained and set high, space is the next great step in human exploration and will be proven in aid of establishing peace between previously rival nations. The two giants of the “Moon Race” as it was labeled by the media, the Soviet Union and The United States have been hand to hand as of late and shown no alliance with each other, constantly fighting to show who’s the more powerful nation. Thomas Paine recently announced his goal to “Walk the Moon as brothers not as rivals” he aims to bring about a different relationship between the Cosmonauts and the Astronauts in space and on the Moon. In his recent statement, Paine said that without cooperation there will only be trouble, and in space, trouble is out of option: “We will need to find a way to resolve our differences, no matter who is first, we need to see each other as competitors, not rivals”
In the times of the cold war, this was an intelligent decision, easing the tension in space will result in easing the tensions on Earth.

It was only recently that the secretary of state, William P. Rogers gave his speech on bringing peace between the Soviets and the Americans in space and by extension on earth as well, as tensions during the cold war rise the need to bring about peace between the two world superpowers rises higher. The soviets agreed upon the signing of an armistice between the two nations, and William Rogers spoke about it recently on national TV, addressing the nation and its people, "This is a time of great uncertainty. Over the last 20 years, we have seen our world thrust into a new age of turmoil, competition from both sides of the Iron Curtain, and political ideology pitted against one another in a quest to come out on top. It is a time that many will remember with fear, disregard, with ill contempt. But there is also good, at this time. A little over a decade ago, humanity placed its first object in space - Sputnik. This word entered our vocabulary and fundamentally changed the nature of our world forever. Now, as we stand poised for humanity to expand into the stars, we must realize that antagonism is not the way forward. Antagonism drives us toward the turmoil of all-out war and prevents us from accomplishing our goals together. That is why, on this day, I have come to announce the signing of an armistice. A stand down that will have knock-on benefits for both of our great peoples, a stand down that will perhaps see American and Soviet spacemen standing on the dusty plains of Mars, ready to build a new world from the foundation of the old." - William P. Rogers, 1969.

Space collaboration between the two nations has been in consideration for some time now, none of the proposals have been pitched to the soviet union yet however that is in the plan in the upcoming months, the proposal that everyone is rooting for as of right now Apollo-Soyuz, or the ASTP, a joint mission between the Apollo CSM and the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft docking together in low earth orbit and performing a handshake. However with the new study for a so-called orbital wet workshop, put forward by Wernher Von Braun, an option arose to dock a Soyuz to the space station and allow the soviets to enter, this relies on a heavy amount of trust between the nations however at the same time will also show that the Americans are confident in the ability of the soviets to remain peaceful and friendly and to the Soviets that Americans can be trusted, the concepts will be pitched to the soviet leaders soon. Despite the signing of an armistice between the two nations surveillance over the Soviet Union continues from space but not through the air, recent data suggests the development of a new Russian space launch complex in the Crimean peninsula, Crimea has become Russia's most important territory, supporting the black sea fleet and now as it looks like will support launches to space. From what is known officially the Ukrainian SSR will be launching their separate rockets, and by piecing evidence together it was concluded that these new launch vehicles will be launched from Crimea, it is currently unknown when the site will be operational and what kind of launch vehicles it will support however satellite photography is showing evidence of the site being relatively small, US intelligence speculates that the largest rocket that the site will be able to service and launch is the Soyuz, however, based on the location of the site it has become questionable where spent rocket stages will be sent, unless Russia can clear out a path for spent rocket stages and make sure it is safe to drop them in select locations, US intelligence is speculating the possibility of Russian developed reusable rockets…

Moving on, over the last 2 years the amount of progress made by NASA was astonishing, while the Apollo program was in its testing phase, numerous scientific discoveries were made, with the mariner 5 probe flying past Venus to measure magnetic fields and capture images of the Venusian atmosphere, as well as capturing the first images of the moon of Venus. NASA has been studying the Moon of Venus for quite some time, as it spins opposite to the rotation of its planet, it's the second moon in the solar system to have such an orbit, and the moon also has a strangely uneven orbit around its home planet, Mariner 7 is set to orbit Venus as well as attempt to fly by Venusian moon and capture images of the surface and gather data about the composition of the moon. Further Mariner missions are planning to explore the Venusian system as well as the Martian system. Mariner 6 is set to fly by mars and Mariner 7 will be attempting an orbit around venus, matching the orbit of its moon to try to get a close flyby, the development of the Mariner program has been put to higher priority due to the Soviet Venera program and its success, landing a probe on the surface on Venus in 1965 and receiving photographs of the Venusian surface, the probe did not last long however it is speculated that further surface missions are planned and will most likely follow the successful record of all the previous missions. Mariner itself hasn’t had such a perfect record, with the first successful flyby of venus occurring with Mariner 3, after the first 2 missions experienced major failures, Mariner 1 was destroyed by ranger safety, and Mariner 2’s launch fairings failed to separate. However, even though Mariner has had poor success rates with Venus in comparison to Venera, it had a much better time getting to Mars, with Mariner 4 successfully flying by the red planet, way before the soviets even left LEO with their Mars program, a great achievement over the Soviet Union, demonstrating deep space superiority and capabilities of the United States.

Recently NASA has addressed the number of issues that have been plaguing the Saturn IB launcher, which is their primary LEO man-rated launcher apart from the Saturn V, which is a Super heavy lift class of rockets it would not be worth it to use it for all other applications aside from flights to the Moon/heavy payload flights to LEO. The IB has had a very good flight record, except for thrust loss issues on its engine cluster, but the LV was still able to complete every mission that it was flown on, but the shortcomings are starting to stack up and add up, originally the IB was built to launch the CSM stack into LEO and not much else, its capability isn't that impressive and NASA needs a new smaller sized, man-rated LV. The capability of the Saturn V is unmatched, with its ability to put around 140 tons of payload into low Earth orbit however NASA still needs a small-size man-rated launcher, which is where the IIIA comes in. The Saturn IIIA will be the first in the series of S-III launch vehicles, the base design features an MS-III stage, measuring 27.06 feet (9.25m) in diameter and 69.80 feet in length (21.30m), and to that will be attached upgraded S-IVB stage, however, there will be an option to add a larger tank that's equal in diameter to the first stage, this will most likely be done for uncrewed flights. Unlike the S-IB first stage, the MS-IIIA will be manufactured by Boeing just like the S-IC. the MS-IIIA is the name that was given to this new first-stage design, and the contract was handed off to Boeing for manufacturing, the design largely remains the same as the S-IC, but with a different engine section, of course for support, the LV will be powered by 3 F-1 engines instead of the 5 that we are used to seeing on the Saturn V, The MS-III features the same fuel tank design just scaled down and the thrust structure will need to see a redesign due to the change of load and load distribution as well as the size. Boeing is already hard at work figuring out the new tanks and they have rolled out the prototype of their MS-III tank, which they will perform pressure tests on as well as other structural tests. One of the F-1 engines on the first stage shut down mid-flight to limit the amount of G-forces on the crew; the same procedure is performed on the Saturn V, called Inboard cut-off. The S-IVB stage is the same one as used on the Saturn V, featuring a J2s engine this time around, an upgraded version of the J2 engine which flew on all the previous Saturn V and Saturn IB rockets. The J2s (J2 Simplified) features a design that is easier to manufacture and increases performance. In a vacuum, the engine could push 116,00kgf of thrust with an ISP of 436 seconds. The J2s also features throttling capability which will become helpful quite soon, since the J2s engine will become the staple of hydrolox engines in the US and is planned to be used excessively. The main simplification in this version of the J2 engine is the change from a gas generator cycle to a simpler tap-off engine cycle. This simplification makes the engine easier to operate by eliminating the gas generator and simplifying the engine's startup sequence. The decision to change to the J2s engine was made to allow for higher capabilities and of course faster manufacturing times allowing for more Saturn III series flights to occur. The Saturn III series will also be making flights to the moon from time to time so it will need the uprated performance of the J2s for Lunar flights as it will be pushed to its limits. As time moves on the original Saturn V design will see less and less use, the original design is projected to fly until 1974 after which it will start to be replaced by the MLV series, starting from the MLV-V and moving further from there, different tank structures and different engines in use, still based on original Saturn technology but, of course, upgraded and modernized.


Moving back to the human spaceflight aspect of NASA, Rockwell International proposed a new spacecraft to NASA, where the service module of the Apollo spacecraft will be shortened. The engine will be replaced by an upgraded version of the LMDE, and a habitation and cargo module will be placed onto the tank. Above it will sit the command module, the command module will also be modified to be able to fit 5 people instead of 3, as there won’t be a need for this version to fly to Lunar orbit. It will be used for LEO flights, this will allow for large cargo capabilities and as well as extended periods to be spent in LEO. To access the cargo block the crew will need to move through a door in the heatshield of the Apollo spacecraft, which is nothing new to NASA, this concept was studied and even tested for Gemini B and MOL, so NASA already had some experience within this field. As of today, the administration is looking further into the Rockwell proposed concept, as this design may become useful further in the Apollo program with the development of Skylab, Spacelab, and Starlab. The cargo block is derived from the proposed Big Gemini, or Big G, spacecraft, except it's scaled down to match the 3.9-meter diameter of the Apollo CM. NASA will continue to look further into the proposal and soon will begin bringing out the first test articles, if the approval comes forth to test fly a mock-up, it will be flown on a Saturn IB vehicle, and later on this spacecraft will fly on the Saturn III series vehicles.

I'm still working on making my post more interesting and packed with content for you guys to enjoy, I've been planning out the rest of the series for a while now and I will continue to improve the amount of content I put out.

in conclusion, I hope the things I've written make sense, again all of this is purely for fun and of course fictional, so please let any of the unrealistic situations slide. Hope you guys enjoyed reading this one here, and keep your eyes peeled for upcoming images accompanying this post!
 
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hey everyone, I haven't yet started working on the next chapter, been really busy recently and low on motivation to write, will get back to it soon though. Gonna drop a pretty major spoiler for the future of this series though, showing the things I have planned for the upcoming years.
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hey everyone, I haven't yet started working on the next chapter, been really busy recently and low on motivation to write, will get back to it soon though. Gonna drop a pretty major spoiler for the future of this series though, showing the things I have planned for the upcoming years.
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Space Shuttle docked to S-IVB + S-II space station with what looks like an ETS-type Airlock Module / SM docked to it at right angle to the payload bay. Below is what looks like a proper version of the X-33 (😏) on approach w / a small payload bay.
 
Space Shuttle docked to S-IVB + S-II space station with what looks like an ETS-type Airlock Module / SM docked to it at right angle to the payload bay. Below is what looks like a proper version of the X-33 (😏) on approach w / a small payload bay.
Oh boy it is not a version of the X-33... Hint? It's Russian.
 
Part 3 follow up: Mariner 5
Mariner 5 flyby of Venus, Mariner 5 also managed to get close to Venus' moon Cupid and gather a small amount of information about the body. Further study of the system will be conducted with the upcoming Mariner missions.
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Hey everyone! Small announcement and news.

College and preparations for Uni have kept me rather busy, I will get back to writing very soon...

Follow-up announcement, next major post will be set in 1981, post-Apollo program, exciting stuff is right around the corner. Keep your eyes peeled everyone!
 
I have returned to share my ideas once more.

So the alt history is currently being overhauled in a direction that I like much more, Shuttle will become a much bigger part of the series and this will become much more story based

New logo in the works.

Furthermore, here's a look at a design that I'm currently working on which will appear rather soon
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Research part 1: Venus.
Currently studying and researching the HAVOC concept as one of the primary missions of the alt history. Haven't decided 100% yet.

This is honestly pretty fun to explore and has some great possibilities!

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