That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

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  1. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    Dec 1, 2013
    Here's hoping that with Wacky Redhead soon to end we'll be able to see more of Harry Potter and the Small Screen.
     
  2. Andrew T Kick 'em when they're up!

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    Maryland
    Fantastic update (as usual)! I wonder if PGTV will have a "Canadian content" rule designed to help the Great White North stick a finger in the dike of the onslaught of U.S. cultural imperialism over the airwaves.

    And speaking of: what's the fate of Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas ITTL?
     
  3. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

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    UK
    Very interesting update- given the huge differences in UK and US TV setups, I may of missed some of the finer points, but the new PGTV seems like a huge game changer. Apart from Letterman what are their other shows like? Any sci-Fi?
     
  4. Roger Redux The Revisionist

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    Awesome update as usual Brainbin! I wish this TL didn't have to end here, but I look forward to this mysterious not-really-sequel you teased earlier.
    Also, thanks for telling me about John Kluge! He can help me fill in a gap/plot hole in one of my TL ideas!
    Dave Thomas? The Wendy's guy? If Wendy's doesn't exist ITTL, can Checker's/Rally's take its market share? Please?
     
  5. ANARCHY_4_ALL Evolution and The Revolution

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    He is referring Dave Thomas the comedic actor. Who starred in Strange Brew alongside Moranis.
     
  6. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    Thank you all for your responses to my latest update! And now, as always, for my replies to your latest responses...

    Thank you, Danderns! :)

    This is what happens when Fred Silverman doesn't leave ABC for NBC, and doesn't force Snyder out of his timeslot.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm, but a friendly word of advice: when someone has just posted an update they have spent several weeks working on, you might want to consider responding to it.

    Thank you, Andrew!

    Luckily for PGTV, most of the "beaver hours" will be covered by the local affiliates, outside of primetime. Such is the advantage of having the Canadian government in your pocket! :cool:

    Rick Moranis is a radio DJ, Dave Thomas is an advertising copywriter. They've never met ITTL, alas.

    As with the inaugural FOX lineup IOTL, mostly cheaper shows; primarily sitcoms, alongside a handful of existing (if aging) hits; in the US, SCTV moved to PGTV for the 1986-87 season.

    Thank you! :) Although a spiritual sequel to TWR is only one of my several TL ideas, which may or may not ever be written.

    He certainly is a rather convenient character, let me tell you! ;)


    As a general rule, I don't look too kindly on restaurant chains which show no interest in expanding into the Great White North :mad:
     
  7. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    Dec 1, 2013
    My apologies. I like how the newest major television network is Canadian import. I didn't respond to it intitially because it dealt with the nitty-gritty of television station operation, which I am not familiar enough with to comment on. It's still a great update, though at this point saying one of Brainbin's updates is good is like saying that BRIAN BLESSED is hammy. Everyone knows.
     
  8. The Professor Pontif of the Guild

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    Republic of Beerhaven
    Indeed.

    And I do love how BRIAN BLESSED's name only looks right in capitals :D
     
  9. Dan1988 Thinks he's going off his nut

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    ATL Royaume du Canada
    Same here. :cool:
     
  10. Roger Redux The Revisionist

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    Feb 14, 2015
    Location:
    The Mother of all ASBs (a.k.a. "The Real World")
    This is true.
    Brian Blessed
    BRIAN BLESSED
    BRIAN BLESSED!!!!

    Huh, I'll be damned :D:cool:
    Wait, if Rick Morranis isn't an actor then who plays the lead in Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Peter Scolari?
    (Sidenote: I hadn't realized that the first movie wasn't made until '89, I'd thought it was earlier than that)

    Better question: What form did Ghostbusters take in 1984? I just read some things I didn't know that have intregued me: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostbusters#Development
    *channels Ozzy Osborne* "I didn't know...."

    But...um..maybe they want to but can't because....Wendy's has the moneys..and....um......Canadian Protectionism?........yeah....?:confused::p

    Or ITTL with a Canadian (or half-Canadian) TV network they might have more incentive to do so. Especially if they take all of the Wendy's money.

    Kind of a moot point anyway, as it turned out to be a completely different Dave Thomas (I've probably heard his voice in something as when I looked him up, it seems he's done some things I've seen, but I never knew his name).
     
  11. Threadmarks: Castles in the Sky

    Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    The British Empire
    Castles in the Sky

    When John Glenn was elected 39th President of the United States, space enthusiasts – including veteran, long-dormant Moonie Loonies – were thrilled at the very thought of what his incoming administration might mean for the space program. NASA had lost a great deal of the lustre (and the funding) that the organization had enjoyed in its heyday, and proponents naturally assumed that the prestige of an astronaut president, coupled with the funding blitz of his Invest in America program, would inevitably result in a grand return to NASA’s glory days. This was despite the fact that Glenn, belying his background, had mentioned the space program surprisingly little on the campaign trail in 1980, and whenever he did it was almost always in response to a direct question from reporters or concerned citizens. It could honestly be said that Glenn’s opponents mentioned the space program far more often than he did, although the Republicans largely ceased to do so after their attack ads on the subject backfired. Glenn did briefly mention the space program in his first inaugural speech, and it figured into his plans for the Invest in America initiative, though very much as a longer-term, back-burner project, well behind his other key objectives such as transportation infrastructure and revitalizing the manufacturing sector.

    As it happened, President Glenn had very different plans for the future of space exploration than what had been the paradigm of the 1960s. Early into his administration, he appointed fellow astronaut James McDivitt (a retired USAF Brigadier General and veteran of both the Gemini and Apollo programs) as NASA Administrator, and the two shared a common vision for the future of space exploration. The Space Race of the 1960s had taken place against the backdrop of the height of the Cold War, making it yet another proxy conflict between the two superpowers – albeit technological rather than martial in nature. However, relations with both Soviet Russia and Red China had thawed considerably by the early years of the Glenn Administration. Furthermore, NASA and the Soviet space program no longer held an effective duopoly on space exploration; the European Space Agency, the Commonwealth Space Agency, and the National Space Development Agency of Japan were all capable of launching substantial payloads into orbit at the dawn of the 1980s, with the Indian and Chinese space programs not too far behind this key developmental milestone. This informed Glenn and McDivitt’s decision to define NASA’s relationship with other space agencies not as one of competition, but of cooperation.

    The reasons for this paradigm shift were at least as much financial as they were ideological. At its peak in the mid-1960s, NASA had commanded over 4% of the annual federal budget expenditure, a rate which had dwindled to less than half that figure by the time the Apollo Program had ended in the mid-1970s. Under President Reagan, the number had declined further still until it was barely over 1% by the time Glenn took office in 1981. [1] Although Glenn could (and did) bolster that figure somewhat upon taking office, the return to 1960s-era funding levels for NASA was simply untenable. Thus, his initial grand plan – for a return to the Moon and for a permanent orbital space station – became an either-or proposition. Like most either-or propositions, it swiftly divided the minds at NASA (along with the agency’s very vocal base of fans and supporters) into two camps.

    Amongst the general public, there was no question of which option was more popular. Moonshot Lunacy had defined a generation – and many within that generation, then children, were now old enough to vote – with their wallets as well as their ballots. Lobbying organizations demanding a return to the Moon were well-funded and well-organized cogs in the Washington political machine, and their antics always got press. Many scientists and researchers pushed for a return to the Moon as well – the discovery of water ice by Apollo 20 had opened up a whole host of new possibilities for the lunar environment, as well as new technological applications. Some scientists, as they had been doing ever since 1974, decried NASA for turning its back on lunar exploration right on the cusp of a major breakthrough – comparing it to Newton watching the apple fall from the tree and then deciding to go back inside and mint more coinage.

    However, the Moon was still considered by a surprisingly large proportion of the scientific community – perhaps even the majority – to be something of a dead end. Even though there was water ice on the Moon, that still almost certainly did not suggest life (and implying that it did, though a popular notion with lay enthusiasts, was considered shoddy pseudoscience by the scientific community). [2] Water ice was considered far more useful for its technical applications (namely, being harvested to sustain a long-term facility, or to provide fuel for launch vehicles), which were probably decades away even if an immediate return to the Moon was in the cards. The Moon was also unpopular with a handful of space enthusiasts who preferred the exploration of new frontiers, leading them to adopt a “been there, done that” attitude to further lunar missions – some were particularly scathing in their remarks, calling lunar exploration a relic of a very different, far more tumultuous time, much like overseas combat deployments, campus unrest, race riots, and “those filthy hippies”. [3] Those who opposed increased funding for space exploration in general were particularly opposed to lunar missions, regarding them as pointless, chest-thumping exercises in patriotism which would cost taxpayers billions in wasted money. Orbital operations, at least, had proven economic worth, what with the vast (and growing) network of telecommunications satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

    Technicians at NASA, along with budget watchdogs who were not necessarily opposed to some (reasonable) spending on the space program (but were vigilant of overspending, befitting their roles as critics of the excesses of Invest in America), pointed out that it would be far less expensive to focus on a space station. Although Man had already been to the Moon, the means by which he had done so had been retired to museums and public displays, the facilities for creating additional means to do so had been dismantled or converted for other purposes, and the minds who had brought those means to bear were now retired, having sought their fortunes in private and public sector alike. Expectations for the next phase of lunar exploration were for NASA to build on the previous triumphs of the Apollo program: Moonie Loonies still clung to their fantasies of lunar colonies by the year 2000, and even the most modest in-house proposals called for much more elaborate and complex bases, possibly semi-permanent and thus reusable, which would play host to missions of much longer duration than even the later Apollo missions. These parameters would necessitate the design and construction of new modules from scratch, and thus both the startup costs and the lead-up time required for a new lunar program would be simply enormous.

    By contrast, the construction of new modules for a space station would claim direct iterative descent from what had come before, and more importantly, what was still being built on a regular basis. NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center, based in Huntsville, Alabama, had extensive experience with the design of converting Saturn V rockets to modules for the Skylab stations, which was easily adaptable to converting the successor Caelus launchers to modules for a successor station. Johnson Spaceflight Center, in Houston, Texas, was able to draw on its own history as mission control for the Space Shuttle, which had the ability to dock with the Skylab stations as a launch feature. As a result, a vast network of suppliers and contractors were already in place, ready, willing, and able to exploit the minor modifications of the existing (and active!) construction facilities which would support a potential large next generation space station. That one of the key states which stood to benefit from the choice of a space station over a lunar landing program was Alabama did not go without notice, another palpable indicator of the controversial “deal with the devil”... who, true to form, had his finger on the scales.

    Time was another consideration; even on the most aggressive timetables, it was not certain that Man would return to the Moon before the end of the 1980s (and therefore by the end of Glenn’s projected second term on January 20, 1989). Even the most conservative estimates for a space station, on the other hand, had it mostly complete and already operational by mid-decade; all Glenn would have to do to see it come to fruition was win re-election, and so he did.

    Most importantly, a permanent space station would not have to be a project whose costs NASA had to shoulder alone, which was where the new paradigm of cooperation came in. NASA could farm out the construction of entire modules (alongside other components) to the “lesser” space agencies, forcing them to bear those costs in exchange for becoming partners in the enterprise. Feelers were put out to ESA, the CSA, and NASDA, with all three agencies expressing interest in a collaborative endeavour. [4] This, more than anything else, would tip the scales in favour of a space station, as it made NASA’s limited resources stretch further than might have otherwise been the case. The culmination of all these advantages meant that the space station was able to be far more spacious and lavishly constructed than would have been the case had it been a mere sideshow to a return to the Moon.

    Although the reasons for going ahead with a space station instead of a lunar landing were well established, the reasons for going ahead with a space station for its own sake were somewhat more nebulous. One strength of the previous competition-based paradigm at NASA was that nobody needed a reason to go to the Moon, other than to beat the other guy in getting there first. Although scientific research and experimentation was conducted on the lunar surface by the Apollo astronauts, and samples were returned for analysis by earthbound chemists and geologists [5] – which proved, among other things, that Moon rocks had the same composition as Earth rocks (supporting the shared origin theory), and also that terran plant life could survive in returned lunar soil samples (under Earth-like conditions) – these breakthroughs were considered a mere sideshow to the overarching goal: to establish, and then extend, a lead over the Soviets. Once the Soviets effectively abandoned their own lunar exploration plans in the early-1970s, the Apollo program’s days were numbered, despite the rise of the Moonie Loonies and their philosophy of “luna gratia lunaris” – the Moon for the Moon’s sake. [6] After all, the lunar mission – just like all of NASA up to that point – had been sustained by the spirit of competition.

    The spirit of cooperation which had become the new doctrine at NASA would inform the choice of name for the space station. Americentric names such as Freedom, Liberty, Independence, and Revolution were all rejected for fear of seeming exclusive of NASA’s partner agencies. [7] On the other hand, names which focused overtly on the aspect of cooperation – Peace, Brotherhood, Unity, and Concordia were among these [8] – were deemed insufficiently inspiring; a name was needed which would capture the majesty of space, and of the ambition and drive to innovate which the space station would represent. Peace and unity, after all, were earthbound concerns, not necessarily spacebound ones. It was in turning to the classic Greco-Roman wheelhouse that a worthy name was finally chosen: Olympia, for Mount Olympus, the seat of the Greek pantheon, and the highest peak in Greece. Olympia would represent the notion of cooperation (Olympus was shared by twelve deities, all with vastly different philosophies, powers, and interests) as well as the awesomeness of space, and its isolation from the people of Earth.

    The incoming Glenn administration found themselves in an even better position than they realized once it was decided to move forward with plans for a space station. The Humphrey administration, in its later years, had already approved studies for future space stations to follow Skylab – particularly for use as orbital platforms which would host the massive arrays collecting the solar energy which would then be transmitted down to Earth as microwave power. These plans continued under the Reagan administration, coming to an end only when it became apparent that such a means of power generation might not be economically feasible, by which time popular opinion was rapidly shifting against microwave power anyway. [9] However, these plans called for a station – or rather a network of stations – built on a much larger scale than the (comparatively) modest plans for Olympia, and thus it was almost trivially easy to cut them down and adapt them for use on their current project. This saved a great deal of what little time and money needed to be funnelled into design and development, allowing them to proceed almost immediately to component construction.

    The basic building block of these studies had been massive modules, ten metres in diameter, fashioned from the tanks of the Saturn V (and later Caelus) second stages just as the Skylab stations were built from the smaller third stages, though at roughly four times the volume. [10] Although the original plans for the “superstations” of the 1970s had called for a great many of these modules to be cobbled together into a vast and intricate network, just one C-II rocket module would function as the core of Olympia. This module would house the life support and habitation systems necessary to sustain a much larger crew than Skylab from the outset of operations. In fact, its great size was such that it could not be launched fully outfitted – it would be far too heavy (weighing in at 200 tonnes, nearly twice as much as what Caelus was capable of throwing to low Earth orbit). As a result, an auxiliary module built from a C-III rocket (the same size as Skylab, 6.6 metres in diameter) would be launched as a cargo ferry before later seeing conversion into additional laboratory space for the intended crew manifest – sixteen to twenty astronauts, all told.

    These two core modules would be supplemented by three smaller laboratory modules, one to be built by each of three “junior partners” to NASA. Massing only 20 tonnes each, these were still too large to be launched natively by the rockets built by the various space agencies; thus they would also be launched by American rockets, though they would dock with the station under their own power. The infrastructure supporting all of these modules would include massive, state-of-the-art arrays of solar panels – a legacy of the failed microwave power experiment – providing the energy needed to power the myriad of laboratories and facilities aboard the station. Once the station was largely in place, the Space Shuttle would handle standard crew and cargo transport duties, though it was enough of a handful for the original four shuttles that more were ordered to keep supplies flowing – as at least one would be docked in rotation at Olympia to function as a “lifeboat” in case of perilous circumstances.

    President Glenn thus formally unveiled his plans for a space station in the summer of 1981, slightly ahead of his proposal for that fiscal year’s budget, presenting it as an accessory to his broader Invest in America initiatives. Although he could not fund NASA by executive fiat – budgeting was the responsibility of Congress alone – he had enough allies in the Democratic-controlled House to pass a budget which called for a bump in NASA funding, which in turn would allow for the space station to get off the ground. The wheels were set in motion at the very instant that Congressional approval was secured in the autumn of 1981, but even though NASA was able to proceed from a relatively advanced starting position, there was little apparent progress for the first few years of development; everything that was happening was behind-the-scenes work, including the final design of Olympia, which would be built in stages. It was within this window that detailed discussions with ESA, the CSA, and NASDA first took place; it was decided that all three would have their modules attach to a single node which would function as the primary artery connecting all of the modules of the station, which was unimaginatively called “Node 1”. It was planned to launch already attached to the core module, which had internally become known as the Olympia Core Module, or OCM; reporters, who were generally less acronym-happy than NASA technicians, were happy calling it simply “the Core”, and the name stuck. Construction on most of these components began in earnest in 1983, after two years of planning, though it wouldn’t be until 1984, when proper structural assembly of these components began in Southern California, that the Core would resemble anything close to its final form, and the actual launch of the Core – and, thus, effectively, of the station in earnest, as it was designed to be operational even without the other modules, took place in the late summer of 1986, nearly five years after construction was first approved by Congress. The crew for the first mission aboard the Ur-Olympia, flying aboard the USS Enterprise, followed two weeks later, in early September, for a month-long stay.

    From the outset, NASA’s publicity regarding Olympia emphasized the scientific breakthroughs that would be possible on the station, which would be much larger than Skylab and thus capable of housing many more laboratories – and many more test subjects, or rather, astronauts. Advances in telecommunications technology, particularly with regards to broadcast satellites, and the relatively close proximity of the station’s planned low Earth orbit to the planetary surface was such that live transmission and real-time two-way communication would not only be possible, but almost mandatory. The educational possibilities were enormous, with science students the world over able to directly observe the experiments which were to be conducted aboard Olympia. Among the laboratories on the drawing board was one which would study the effects of long-time exposure to the zero-gravity environment of outer space. Loss of bone density and muscle mass were already known to be direct effects of spaceflight of any duration, and testing potential remedies to this problem might also have use on Earth to treat any number of degenerative diseases. The human guinea pigs aboard the station would additionally be joined by other tourists - animal, vegetable, and mineral alike - as they would be subjected to a wide battery of tests measuring their adaptability to extreme and hostile environments, to provide a better understanding of just how insidious and tenacious life could be.

    However, all of these wondrous experiments would be contingent on the launch of the dedicated science modules, which lagged well behind the launch of the Core; the American Scientific Research Module, or SRM, built from the C-III rocket housing, was constructed in parallel with the Core but due to its lower construction priority would not be finished for several months thereafter; the launch was scheduled for 1987. The three modules belonging to the junior partners – ESA’s Jules Verne, the CSA’s Endeavour, and NASDA’s Kibo – were due to arrive later still; it was telling that the SRM, considered a mere accessory to an even larger main project by NASA, was still considerably larger than any of the three partner modules, all of which were the defining prestige projects of the 1980s for their respective agencies. As of the latest timetable projections in mid-1986, those modules were due toward the end of the decade in question. Ironically, despite the doctrine of cooperation, the three agencies were in fierce competition with each other over which module would be completed first, and which one would play host to more impressive facilities. As competition so often does, it drove innovation at ESA, the CSA, and NASDA, each of which was eager to join in a game of oneupmanship over their rivals to prove once and for all… which of them was the third-greatest space agency in the world.

    Even though the Core module would be all by its lonesome for the first year of operations, the crew of astronauts aboard the Ur-Olympia were still able to conduct a surprisingly large number of scientific experiments in their jury-rigged, temporary laboratories. However, the skeleton crew of six still had to prepare the station for future expansion – a much harder job than it would have been for the full crew complement of three to four times that number. Teamster work – loading and unloading the regular cargo shuttles to and from the Earth – comprised a surprisingly large proportion of their schedule as equipment was installed to fill up the Core, a job which was sped up but also made more difficult by the construction of a second run of two additional shuttles, both named for their intended roles as “messengers” to Olympia: Hermes and Iris. The two shuttles were ordered in 1981, as part of the same budget that authorized Olympia; they were ready to launch just in time to begin servicing the Core five years later. In addition to carrying cargo, the shuttles would also ferry crew, with the plan being to drop off the arriving complement and pick up the departing complement aboard the same shuttle, though – especially with the skeleton crews continuing to operate until such time as the station was more complete – there would be some overlap between the end of one mission and the beginning of the next, and a great deal of housekeeping work was able to be completed during these overlaps. Still, even a dozen astronauts was well short of the intended roster at any given moment once the station operated at full capacity. There was sadly very little opportunity for the assembled astronauts to wow earthbound audiences with their audacious experiments.

    Once it became clear during the initial mission that the astronauts would have little time to engage of publicity activities except during the brief “overlap” periods, an idea was hatched to take advantage of the high frequency of these handovers and of their relatively brief duration. Node 1, even in the station’s primitive state, still allowed multiple shuttles to dock with Olympia at once, and each crew complement was embedded with a single shuttle. [11] Each shuttle was designed to carry a full crew, not the skeleton crews currently being ferried until such time as the station was sufficiently complete so as to support them at capacity. This left a lot of empty seats on which sojourners – who arrived with the arriving shuttle and then departed with the departing shuttle, thus only remaining aboard the station for a few days – could hitch a ride. [12] These sojourners would not be expected to be trained in operating the station, given the extremely short durations of their stay, and which even allowed the possibility that they might be… civilians. NASA publicity saw this as a win-win – bring Olympia to the people by bringing one of the people to Olympia. One suggestion considered for Skylab – but ultimately shelved, for lack of time and space – was to have a civilian science teacher serve as mission crew and perform a lesson aboard the station. It was decided in the summer of 1986 that reviving the “Teacher in Space” initiative for Olympia would be the perfect fit. An internal memo from NASA Administrator McDivitt approving this initiative in principle was dated September 19, 1986 (a Friday), in the late morning, right before he left work for the weekend to catch up on his long game at the links.

    The Teacher in Space program was perhaps NASA’s most ambitious attempt to maintain public interest in Olympia, which had started strong but was beginning to wane by the mid-1980s. Olympia, commentators had frequently noted at the time of its selection over a return to the Moon, had the advantage of coming to fruition much more quickly and cheaply than the alternative, and indeed at least the American portions of Olympia were still on track to be completely assembled and operational by Election Day 1988, with comparatively minor delays and setbacks, especially relative to past projects. The “echo boom” generation was increasingly becoming known for a desire for instant gratification, wanting everything yesterday [13], and the unfortunate reality of space exploration was that nothing about it was instant or immediate. Video feeds from Olympia couldn’t capture the wonders of space when the crew being observed were concerning themselves with such mundane tasks as unloading cargo, although some easily amused sorts took delight in the physical acrobatics that accompanied the act of pulling an object – any object – out of a container.

    The astronauts made some efforts to entertain their earthbound viewers during their limited downtime, most notably when the lone non-American of the first Olympia mission – West German astronaut and long-distance runner Alfred Bäcker, from Darmstadt – ran the Berlin Marathon in real-time along the inner circumference of one of the unused floors of the station’s cavernous core, the camera set up in such a way as to mimic the famous master shot of a similar scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Speaking to the press afterwards, Bäcker noted his desire to not fall out of practice, and reminded viewers at home that his 42.2-kilometre run [14] was not nearly so taxing as it had been for his fellow competitors in Berlin, as the centripetal forces generated as he ran around the stationary module only produced gravity at roughly 0.3g – wholly dependent on his running speed, which averaged at 14 kilometres per hour. This allowed him to finish the marathon in just over three hours – a personal best for him, but still almost an hour short of the world record, and of the record held by the winner of the Berlin Marathon on that particular September 14th (a Sunday). [15] The event was a big hit, popular the world over – particularly (obviously) in West Germany, where Bäcker earned the enduring nickname “Der Läufer”, or “the runner”. Although the running craze which had been popular in the last decade had faded somewhat by 1986, this ingenious bit of quick thinking and playing to the crowd by Bäcker would likely set a precedent for the missions ahead…

    Olympia.png

    Space Station Olympia shortly before the commencement of the first Olympia mission in early September, 1986. The Space Shuttle Enterprise is about to dock with the station.

    ---


    [1] 1.25% precisely, Doctor. Measured in your Earth units.

    [2] The idea of water ice on the Moon meaning life on the Moon (often extremophile bacteria among “serious” enthusiasts, with more fanciful proponents suggesting subterranean colonies peopled with complex and intelligent life-forms) was very popular in the later 1970s ITTL, becoming the “Face on Mars” of its day, advocated (among other places) on such shows as In Search Of… (not hosted by Leonard Nimoy ITTL), which never let facts get in the way of a good story. Even the otherwise-rigorous Cosmos used the water ice to advance an argument that alien life could be far more likely than first appearances suggest, earning Sagan one of his (very) few rebukes from the scientific community. (Simply put, the man had blinders on when it came to alien life. He’s even entertained the “ancient astronauts” theory with a straight face, when any remotely serious anthropologist would laugh any such proponent out of the room.)

    [3] Though it should go without saying that all four of those issues still exist in the present day ITTL, just not to the same extent, nor to the same intensity.

    [4] This marks the first time that an agency of the US government has ever formally cooperated with the CSA. Progress is possible!

    [5] This editor’s pedantic nature obliges him to point out that scientists who study lunar soil are properly selenologists, not geologists.

    [6] It should be noted, for the edification of any linguists who might be reading, that luna gratia lunaris is pure Pig-Latin, derived from the famous MGM motto ars gratia artis - art for art’s sake.

    [7] Freedom, of course, was the name chosen for the OTL equivalent of Olympia (before that project was folded into the International Space Station) but that name passed muster under the more… dogmatic Reagan administration. The Glenn administration is more conciliatory by comparison, and less adamant about choosing a name positively dripping in Americana. Of the other choices, France obviously likes the name Liberty and pushes hard for it, but nobody else – not even her partners in ESA – is nearly as enthusiastic.

    [8] Many of these names have their supporters amongst the various member states of the other agencies – in fact, said agencies often become divided over the issue. Within ESA, France (naturally) supports Brotherhood (or, in French, Fraternité), whereas the other states (particularly West Germany) prefer Unity. In the CSA, the UK is fond of Peace, but Canada prefers Concordia (a name her delegation suggested), as it is the name of a Canadian university formed in 1974 (IOTL and ITTL) through the merger of a Jesuit college and a preexisting secular university. This division prevents any of the “cooperative” names from gaining much traction, allowing the compromise choice of Olympia to emerge by consensus.

    [9] Before the dark times. Before The Greenpoint Dilemma.

    [10] The second stage of the Saturn V three-stage rocket, the S-II, evolved into the Caelus C-II ITTL, just as the third stage of the Saturn V, the S-IVB, evolved into the Caelus C-III. However, and as is definitely not the case for the Caelus first stage (C-I), the two upper stages of the Caelus rocket are simply modernized updates of their Saturn predecessors, not unlike the incremental (and nigh-imperceptible) changes in car models from year to year. (It should also be noted that the C-II features more cupholders than the S-II.)

    [11] Ideally, up to three shuttles would be docked at the completed Olympia at any one time: the shuttle which would ferry the departing crew back to Earth; the shuttle which had ferried the arriving crew from Earth; and a third shuttle for cargo transport.

    [12] Another option considered was to embed these sojourners with the even more frequent Shuttle missions carrying supplies to the station, which generally flew with just a Commander and Pilot aboard, staying for a few days up to as long as a week.

    [13] The echo boomers being specifically known for wanting everything yesterday is, of course, a reference to the famous early-1980s pop song, “I Want It Yesterday”, performed by a young starlet who went on to become an icon of 1980s fashion and culture. You can probably imagine her OTL analogue, what she’s like and what kind of girl she is.

    [14] This would require approximately 1,343 revolutions about the station. Due to attitude control effects, Bäcker switched directions between clockwise and counterclockwise every few minutes at ground control request; he would always do this while obscured from the camera’s view.

    [15] IOTL, the Berlin Marathon - one of the marquee marathon events the world over, though for obvious reasons the course only covered West Berlin until 1990 - began in 1974, and takes place on the last Sunday in September. ITTL, butterflies see to it that the event takes place on the second Sunday in September instead.

    ---

    This update was co-written with e of pi, who was also wholly responsible for the design of Space Station Olympia. Thanks also to Dan1988 for assisting with the editing, and to nixonshead for the dazzling render of Olympia as it appears at the conclusion of this TL! If only there were some way to see the finished station in all its glory… if only, if only…

    Also, would you look at that, I knocked out another update in just one week! Could I possibly match that pace and finish this timeline in less than a month? (Probably not.)


    Olympia.png
     
    Mackon and Puget Sound like this.
  12. nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    I guess that's my cue :D

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  13. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    Superb update!

    I really like your space posts, esp the alt designs and reusing bits of rockets, so this was perfect. The two renders are fantastic.

    What are the Soviets/Russians up to in response?
     
  14. Daibhid C Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
    Location:
    Pictland
    Hmm, TTL!Daibhid is ten. This would be the most awesome thing ever to him. 40 year old OTL Daibhid thinks it's pretty cool as well.:)
     
  15. TheBatafour Complete Anarchy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oh my god, brainbin, e of pi, nixonshead and Dan1988, what amazing people you are! When I think I've read this timeline's best stuff, along comes this lovely spacey update. And those renders leave me nearly speechless (got me a new wallpaper right away). Nixonshead, I cannot wait for that next timeline you've got coming. Now to get into the content:

    So, where do we put TWR in relation to OTL and ATL space history? Well, if our timeline is a slightly dirty glass of water, and Eyes Turned Skywards is that same glass cleaned and purified, then TTL offers us a free refill (Baxters Voyage would be a swimming pool compared to these options, but that's besides the point). It's got Saturn-Shuttle, it's got a space station, the possibilities of a return to the moon or a journey to mars are opened, what more could a reasonable 'moonie loonie' such as myself want?

    Olympia looks lovely. Plenty of room in the Skylab-on-steroids core, enough docking nodes for a whole fleet of space shuttles, and international lab modules. And yes I did notice the Canadarm!

    I share Ogrebears concern. What's happening on the other side on the Iron Curtain? For as far as I can recall, TTL has been quite silent on Soviet affairs. Seeing as how the American space program would often react to Soviet space developments, even in alternate timelines (Vulkan Panic ftw), it would be nice to know what Mishin, Chelomei, Glushko and those other rascals are up to. If I might make some speculations myself, it seems most plausible that they dropped N1 and picked up a new design of a lower caliber. They might switch Soyuz out for TKS, or shamelessly copy the west and develop a mini-shuttle to go along with their new rocket. Though I'd like them to pick up the US's slack and kickstart a new lunar program, I don't think there's much prestige in it. All I hope is that they build a sustainable space station of their own before their TTL collapse. However, that all lies beyond the cutoff date. If any part of TTL deserves a continuation the most, I believe it is this. Come on, the Commonwealth Space Agency has a lab module docked to Space Station Olympia, which is serviced by the Space Shuttle Enterprise. That's all just music to my ears :D

    Speaking of space, and closer to the core of TTL, I'm curious to see what's going on in that galaxy far, far away...

    EDIT: in fact, if I might keep on ranting for a bit, TTL offers perhaps a more precious gift than mere budget: stability! An OTL problem I've noticed is that due to the four-to-eight-year election cycle for US presidents, you get this constant state of restructuring, where each new White House resident (and his ballot buddy) want to put their own spin to it. Programs of high technological fidelity or high (peak) cost are especially sensitive to this, both in the sense of proposal and rejection. Some examples: cutting NERVA and Saturn V production post-Apollo, postponing Freedom (eventually turning into ISS) in the 80s, proposing the ridiculous 450 billion SEI under Bush Sr, and relatively recently turning Ares into SLS. While you would expect the Space Shuttle to be cut for similar reasons, high cost and high technology, this is unfortunately the devilish exception that proves the rule. It was essential for man-in-space, and so it limped along.

    Meanwhile, TTL is initially more held-back in approving these 'grand plans!' (the exclamation mark is mandatory), and only orders a small Shuttle side-platter for their main course Caelus. Whatever presidents are next, they might at worst cut that shuttle, and a capsule wouldn't even be such a bad thing! And as Skylab-convertible stages are still being produced, the problem of Shuttle-to-nowhere is solved as well! Basically what I'm saying is that even with Reagan re-elected, TTL's program is way more safe than the Space Shuttle had any right to be.

    Now for my next point (seriously, this post is slowly turning Shevek-sized) I feel TTL could enter Phase 3 of space development by 2001, that miraculous year. What do I mean by Phase 3? Well, it's a concept I just made up and yet am pretty confident about. Basically, I see Phase 1 as the jump to orbit, the moon, Mars, whatever crazy goal you as military-industrial power have set yourself. Next comes the hopefully more stable Phase 2, where on-ground and in-orbit research leads to those juicy nuggets that will kick the Space Age in an almost literal hyperdrive. Think here of Nuclear and electric propulsion, asteroid rendezvous and redirect missions, hydroponics and closed-cycle ecologies, long-term space and lunar stations, orbital fuel depots, spaceplanes and SSTOs, all driven by my favourite development of all, CHEAP LIFT (again, the caps are mandatory). Now, I consider OTL being stuck in the middle of this phase ever since the space shuttle decision, with my current prediction of overcoming it coming in 2030, with next-generation space stations and a well-developed reusable commercial program in the form of Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, Blue Origin, what have you. Phase 3 is when I think we'll see the development of space tourism, first-generation resource exploitation, and in terms of space science, settlement of the Life Conundrum, both in and outside of the Solar System.

    So, how can TTL reach Phase 3? Well, Olympia seems here to stay until the next millennium, and will probably be serviced by a next-generation shuttle by the end of its lifespan, so here we have crossed off the space station and shuttle. Caelus offers good options for Lunar Base, which IMO will come to be constructed in the 90s, especially if Glenn is succeeded by a Bush-type, with a genuine interest in space exploration from a there-to-stay standpoint. The commercialisation of low-to-medium space launchers can be driven by inter-European rivalries, CSA and ESA both wanting to capture parts of the western satellite market, but a more business-minded president could also not hurt here. The rise of reusability might be driven more from a spaceplane than a SSTO angle, but that should do alright as well. Basically, where we have to wait another fifteen years at best for a sustainable shot at the stars, and Eyes Turned Skywards got there around 2015, I have good hopes that TTL might get there by 2000.

    Now, Brainbin, as true author of this timeline, I know you're not waiting for a rant as I have just presented you with. But hey, I feel like it has amazing cultural implications! For what happens when space tourism is finally viable? When the leaders of the world might look upon this blue ball they collectively govern? It's going to blow minds! Furthermore, those space-skeptics can start to be placated by all those resources we pluck out of orbit. If I had more experience in the technical details, or had a rocket science buddy to back me up, I'd develop such a sociological, and dare I say anthropological shift myself, an Eyes-Turned-Skywards-on-steroids if you will.

    But enough for empty promises and crazy rants! Well, okay, I'm not done yet. As my final topic for this post, I'm curious about the CSA-ESA rivalry. One dominated by Britain, one by France, oh what a delight that will be in orbit! As mentioned, they'll be competing with eachother, but more than that, with whatever aerospace companies decide to get in on the satellite launch market. In short, tough competition, but certainly interesting. Keeping an eye on the almost inevitable fall of the Soviet Union, I feel like the ESA, France-dominated as it is, might be more fervent in laying claim on whatever treasures come out of the Soviet Space Program as it is commercialised. Similar to ETS, I could see ESA building a lab module for whatever Mir-analogue is built, thereby having astronauts on two separate space stations. What's more, the rivalry could lead either of them to develop their own capsule, manned or otherwise. Or both programs could crash and burn out of competition fatigue. Whatever happens, it's a shame we can't get to see it.

    Though I'm far from an expert on these topics, I do like discussing them, and I hope someone can get something interesting out of this frankly oversized post. In the meantime, keep writing all of you, and especially Brainbin, it's great as ever :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  16. Roger Redux The Revisionist

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2015
    Location:
    The Mother of all ASBs (a.k.a. "The Real World")
    I love everything about this. :):D
    Fantastic update as always Brainbin.

    Nixonshead: Your artwork is, as always, gorgeous and awe inspiring.
     
  17. e of pi Layers on Top of Layers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Location:
    Halfway to Anywhere
    Thank you all very much. It's worth noting that with the completion of this post, I finally wrap up the original agreement Brainbin agreed to back when Workable Goblin and I asked him if he'd be willing to help out on Eyes. Well, that timeline's wrapped up, and now TWR is also drawing to a close, and looking back I think I may have gotten the better out of the deal--I got to design a space program for a fun timeline, and I got a great friendship out of it, too. :) I've been very proud to help Brainbin with TWR through the years, and I'm looking forward to assisting in small ways with edits and such through the last few posts. :)

    While I appreciate the rest of the metaphor, is Voyage really a swimming pool? There's a Mars landing, sure, but they have to cancel practically the entire unmanned and LEO program to get it...and by the end of the book it's fairly clear it's a one-and-done thing. No mentions are made of preparations for an Ares 2 and in fact just the opposite. Perhaps that's not surprising given the expense, and for just three weeks on the surface! After a couple re-reads, Voyage seems a bit like a book illustrating the consequences of overstepping--like a literary monkey's paw. Anyway, literary criticism aside (see, I can digress too!), back to TWR...

    On the Soviet front which you and Ogrebear asked about...we haven't dealt with the Soviet space program in much detail. The general thought is that Glushko ends up in control in the early 70s as IOTL following Mishin dropping the ball--a problem made worse by Moonshot Lunacy. However, comparing the L3 complex to the two-launch late Apollo missions from TTL, the larger focus on the Moon in the late Apollo program ends up deterring continuing N1--better to pretend to have never been in the race. Combine that with Glushko's not-invented-here syndrome and it's dead. With the Americans doing Caelus and Shuttle, some kind of new Glushko booster and a spaceplane of similar size might be on the agenda, but we're not sure if it'll be more like a Soviet Caelus copy (trying for stage-and-a-half with recovered engines) or a more traditionally staged booster design with some sort of recovery. Either way, looking at the OTL history of Zenit, we've decided that things are pretty much OTL until 1985 or '86. The Soviets probably have Glushko looking at some large stations using his new rocket, given added urgency after Glenn's Olympia program begins, but that's after the end of the TL. Alas, the debut flight of Glushko's masterpiece booster and shuttle are scheduled for September 21, 1986. Seems like that's a very busy day ITTL...

    This part I'll leave for the Brainbin, and for an update later this cycle.
     
  18. TheBatafour Complete Anarchy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    This is the part where I shamefully admit to not having read the thing through yet (though I do own it) and thinking it to be a general exploration extravaganza.:eek: Nevertheless, one could of course claim that most swimming pools are themselves a case of overstepping: maintaining the chlorine-filled monstrosity is anything but a blast I've read...

    If I might now digress from this digression, how did you go about creating this ATL space program? For example, was the CSA a reaction to an idea by Brainbin of isolating the UK from Europe, or did your idea of such an agency trigger the political background? And looking to the future, where do you see timelines like these going? While I saw hints of it in ETS, a twenty-person space station in the mid-1980s isn't nothing, and must certainly lead to significant scientific and technological advances. We've already seen one in the form of better solar panel tech of course, but I'm curious about any general trends in these spinoff successes.

    You know what, I'll stop myself here, no need to clutter this lovely timeline up with pages upon pages of space-stuff. And yes, these next updates are going to be great! Although the clip you linked references the Phantom Menace of course, which is the part of THAT metaphor I'm not sure can be appreciated :p
     
  19. Andrew T Kick 'em when they're up!

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Location:
    Maryland
    Words cannot express how much I love this. :)
     
  20. Roger Redux The Revisionist

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2015
    Location:
    The Mother of all ASBs (a.k.a. "The Real World")
    Well, I imagine her being either a very 'material' girl, or what some might describe as 'unusual'.

    (Since I just had a brain-fart and tried to look up the song, which naturally doesn't exist :p, I can only guess it's either Madonna or Cindi Lauper; unless it's someone a bit more obscure. :D)
     
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