And the second-best moon landing ...

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Joseph Nebus

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Jul 20, 2009, 3:06:27 PM7/20/09
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So as I recall, without making the effort to look it up, the
Apollo 11 astronauts were awarded a Special Hugo in 1970 for the Best
Moon Landing Ever.

What was the second-best, then? And I know there wasn't an
actual vote on that, even granting that it would have been awarded to
Apollo 13, but what fictional moon landings got closest to the way
things actually happened?

To my eye, the things that really stand out as getting it Close
or Dead-On Right would be:

- moon landing as a national (rather than corporate or academic
or Royal Geographic Society) project
- flight done using chemical rather than nuclear or handwavium
engines
- rendezvous maneuvers used to make the flight requirements more
attainable
- small crew going to or touching down on the moon
- short duration of the flight
- frequent communications with earth during the flight
- computers (digital or analog) serving important roles in the
navigation and telemetry of the flight
- extensive training and simulation as important elements to the
flight preparation
- participants aware of the symbolic aspects of the flight (as,
for example, the taking of a piece of the Spirit Of
Saint Louis, or Aldrin's taking communion showed)
- an absence of silly ``tension extruders'' like threats of
mutiny or space sickness or aliens, favoring instead
just the adventure and discovery (although there is room
for some of them; after all, the actual flight seeing an
unexpected alarm that happens to be of the type they ran
across in the last week of training? *Such* a movie
moment, there)


I would be stunned if there were any stories that had all of
these elements. Even just a handful of them would be impressive. And
I may not have picked out all the elements that made Apollo really
different from fictional moon landings, although there are quite a few
stories which had elements of these, some of them even not written by
Arthur C Clarke.

And of course the earlier the story the more impressive the
feat is.

--
Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anthony Nance

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Jul 20, 2009, 3:55:13 PM7/20/09
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Which Lester del Rey story even mentioned the astronaut named Armstrong?
Rocket Jockey? That one had chemical rockets, too.

There were an awful lot of moon stories written in the mid 60s that were
near-future extrapolated (e.g. Jeff Sutton's _Apollo at Go_ from 1963,
Martin Caidin's _No Man's World_ , 1967) - do you want to consider those?

Tony
P.S. Since the Apollo 13 mission didn't result in a moon landing at all,
did I miss a reference or humor thing way up there?

cryptoguy

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Jul 20, 2009, 4:08:56 PM7/20/09
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On Jul 20, 3:55 pm, na...@math.ohio-state.edu (Anthony Nance) wrote:

I remember reading (in an anthology story intro) around 1972 that
while there were a plethora of 'first moon landing' stories. not a
single one predicted that hundreds of millions would watch it live, on
TV.

So, here's another YASID: Can you come up with a counter example?

pt

Butch Malahide

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Jul 20, 2009, 5:38:30 PM7/20/09
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On Jul 20, 3:08 pm, cryptoguy <treifam...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I remember reading (in an anthology story intro) around 1972 that
> while there were a plethora of 'first moon landing' stories. not a
> single one predicted that hundreds of millions would watch it live, on
> TV.
>
> So, here's another YASID: Can you come up with a counter example?

What the hell, doesn't anybody read the classics any more? The answer
is yes:

Harold M. Sherman, "All Aboard for the Moon" (novel, 55000 words),
Amazing Stories, Volume 21, Number 4, April, 1947.

The following quotation is part of Gil Benson's ("playboy; devil-with-
the-women; and rich") speech just before taking off for the moon in
his atomic-powered spaceship, the "Good-bye, World":

"I'm also indebted to the General Electric Company of Schenectady for
permitting me to install a hitherto untried sending and receiving
radio set which beams radio waves of such high frequency that we are
confident they can penetrate both the Heavyside [sic] and Appleton
layers which surround the earth, at respective levels of sixty and two
hundred miles, so that we can keep in constant touch with this planet
during our travels and while on the moon.

"These new instruments, in conjunction with the television apparatus
we are carrying, will permit us to scan some of the moon's surface and
project back to earth the actual scenes as we are witnessing them. You
know, of course, that television waves travel in a straight line and
from the vantage point of the moon they can be beamed directly to
earth. In fact, could a television station be established on the moon,
we could then beam all television shows to the moon and relay them
back to earth on a straight line so that they would be receivable
everywhere."

trag

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Jul 20, 2009, 6:49:18 PM7/20/09
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On Jul 20, 2:06 pm, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:

> but what fictional moon landings got closest to the way
> things actually happened?

> - moon landing as a national (rather than corporate or academic


> or Royal Geographic Society) project

> - rendezvous maneuvers used to make the flight requirements more
> attainable

> - frequent communications with earth during the flight

> I would be stunned if there were any stories that had all of


> these elements. Even just a handful of them would be impressive.

"The Man Who Sold the Moon" copyright 1939/1940 by Robert Heinlein had
all the elements you listed except the ones I quoted above. In
TMWSTM, it was assumed that weight would be such a consideration that
no radio equipment would be feasible, IIRC.

He had chemical rockets, small crew (1 person), training, quick trip
with little time to spend on the moon, etc. Heinlein thought it
through carefully and even got the number of chemical stages
correct. I would guess he did some back of the envelop calculations
based on the Isp of chemical fuel and ball park numbers for dry weight
of stage vs. fueled weight of stage.

Paul Ciszek

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Jul 20, 2009, 6:59:29 PM7/20/09
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In article <nebusj.1...@vcmr-86.server.rpi.edu>,

Joseph Nebus <nebusj-@-rpi-.edu> wrote:
> So as I recall, without making the effort to look it up, the
>Apollo 11 astronauts were awarded a Special Hugo in 1970 for the Best
>Moon Landing Ever.
>
> What was the second-best, then?

The Soviets had a successful sample-return mission shortly after the
Apollo 11 landing. Nobody cared. But considering the state of
computers and automation at the time, it sounded pretty impressive
to me.

--
Please reply to: | "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is
pciszek at panix dot com | indistinguishable from malice."
Autoreply is disabled |

Butch Malahide

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Jul 20, 2009, 7:11:14 PM7/20/09
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On Jul 20, 5:49 pm, trag <t...@io.com> wrote:
> On Jul 20, 2:06 pm, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:
>
> >         but what fictional moon landings got closest to the way
> > things actually happened?
> >         - moon landing as a national (rather than corporate or academic
> >                 or Royal Geographic Society) project
> >         - rendezvous maneuvers used to make the flight requirements more
> >                 attainable
> >         - frequent communications with earth during the flight
> >         I would be stunned if there were any stories that had all of
> > these elements.  Even just a handful of them would be impressive.
>
> "The Man Who Sold the Moon" copyright 1939/1940 by Robert Heinlein had
> all the elements you listed except the ones I quoted above.

The moon landing in L. Ron Hubbard's "240,000 Miles Straight
Up" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, December, 1948) is certainly a U.S.
government project; it's not the *first* moon landing as the Soviets
are already on the moon, but theirs (needless to say) was also a
government project. That's one of many stories of Americans vs.
Russkies on the moon from that period; probably the best known is
Fredric Brown's 1959 "Honeymoon in Hell".

Frequent communications with earth during the flight was a feature of
Harold M. Sherman's 1947 "All Aboard for the Moon", already mentioned
in this thread.

The rendezvous maneuver used in Project Apollo was quite a surprise to
me, as I'd never seen it used in a sci-fi story.

Dimensional Traveler

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Jul 20, 2009, 9:38:18 PM7/20/09
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Paul Ciszek wrote:
> In article <nebusj.1...@vcmr-86.server.rpi.edu>,
> Joseph Nebus <nebusj-@-rpi-.edu> wrote:
>> So as I recall, without making the effort to look it up, the
>> Apollo 11 astronauts were awarded a Special Hugo in 1970 for the Best
>> Moon Landing Ever.
>>
>> What was the second-best, then?
>
> The Soviets had a successful sample-return mission shortly after the
> Apollo 11 landing. Nobody cared. But considering the state of
> computers and automation at the time, it sounded pretty impressive
> to me.
>
They had one at the same time as Apollo 11 that went *splat* on the moon.

--
Things I learned from MythBusters #57: Never leave a loaded gun in an
exploding room.

Derek Lyons

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Jul 21, 2009, 1:48:37 AM7/21/09
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Butch Malahide <fred....@gmail.com> wrote:

>The following quotation is part of Gil Benson's ("playboy; devil-with-
>the-women; and rich") speech just before taking off for the moon in
>his atomic-powered spaceship, the "Good-bye, World":
>
>"I'm also indebted to the General Electric Company of Schenectady for
>permitting me to install a hitherto untried sending and receiving
>radio set which beams radio waves of such high frequency that we are
>confident they can penetrate both the Heavyside [sic] and Appleton
>layers which surround the earth, at respective levels of sixty and two
>hundred miles, so that we can keep in constant touch with this planet
>during our travels and while on the moon.

It never seems to have occurred to SF writers that engineers would
actually test such things first...

D.
--
Touch-twice life. Eat. Drink. Laugh.

http://derekl1963.livejournal.com/

-Resolved: To be more temperate in my postings.
Oct 5th, 2004 JDL

Derek Lyons

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Jul 21, 2009, 1:56:50 AM7/21/09
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trag <tr...@io.com> wrote:

WRT "The Man Who Sold the Moon".

>Heinlein thought it through carefully and even got the number of
>chemical stages correct.

Which matters little because vehicle also used a catapult - which
means he got the overall design wrong. (In a predictive sense.)

>I would guess he did some back of the envelop calculations based
>on the Isp of chemical fuel and ball park numbers for dry weight
>of stage vs. fueled weight of stage.

He'd have done just as well reading sheep entrails - as he had no way
of foreknowing the advances coming in the next couple of decades.
Even Werner Von Braun, writing in the mid 50's and with much greater
knowledge than RAH and the real life experience RAH didn't have, got
it very badly wrong.

Derek Lyons

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Jul 21, 2009, 1:58:41 AM7/21/09
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nos...@nospam.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:

>
>In article <nebusj.1...@vcmr-86.server.rpi.edu>,
>Joseph Nebus <nebusj-@-rpi-.edu> wrote:
>> So as I recall, without making the effort to look it up, the
>>Apollo 11 astronauts were awarded a Special Hugo in 1970 for the Best
>>Moon Landing Ever.
>>
>> What was the second-best, then?
>
>The Soviets had a successful sample-return mission shortly after the
>Apollo 11 landing. Nobody cared. But considering the state of
>computers and automation at the time, it sounded pretty impressive
>to me.

They suceeded mostly because they went to great lengths to simplify
things... But that's mostly due to the Soviet lack of computers and
automation.

T Guy

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Jul 21, 2009, 8:24:20 AM7/21/09
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( nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) ):

...rendezvous maneuvers used to make the flight requirements
more attainable

(Butch Malahide <fred.gal...@gmail.com>):

> > "The Man Who Sold the Moon" copyright 1939/1940 by Robert Heinlein had
> > all the elements you listed except the ones I quoted above.

> The rendezvous maneuver used in Project Apollo was quite a surprise to


> me, as I'd never seen it used in a sci-fi story.

(Tim):

Yes, that was almost a suprise to me, in that Apollo happened when I
was young enough that I didn't have enough experience of
interplanetary travel stories to be suprised at LOR. I thought that
the fiction-mongers were simply getting it wrong.

Several decades later I found that NASA were planning to use direct
ascent up till 1962, when one guy there banged his head against a wall
long enough to get people to listen and then convinced them.

Tim

gsei...@removesentex.net

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Jul 21, 2009, 10:49:45 AM7/21/09
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On Tue, 21 Jul 2009 05:58:41 GMT, fair...@gmail.com (Derek Lyons)
wrote:

>nos...@nospam.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:
>
>>
>>In article <nebusj.1...@vcmr-86.server.rpi.edu>,
>>Joseph Nebus <nebusj-@-rpi-.edu> wrote:
>>> So as I recall, without making the effort to look it up, the
>>>Apollo 11 astronauts were awarded a Special Hugo in 1970 for the Best
>>>Moon Landing Ever.
>>>
>>> What was the second-best, then?
>>
>>The Soviets had a successful sample-return mission shortly after the
>>Apollo 11 landing. Nobody cared. But considering the state of
>>computers and automation at the time, it sounded pretty impressive
>>to me.
>
>They suceeded mostly because they went to great lengths to simplify
>things... But that's mostly due to the Soviet lack of computers and
>automation.
>
>D.

Perhaps not a bad design philosophy. I say this because a friend
recently asked me about emergency escape from the ISS and I started to
say "Well, they have a Soyuz..." and it hit me that the Soyuz has been
chugging along quite successfully for 40 some years or so.

Cheers

GaryS

Joseph Nebus

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Jul 21, 2009, 11:21:20 AM7/21/09
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na...@math.ohio-state.edu (Anthony Nance) writes:

>Joseph Nebus <nebusj-@-rpi-.edu> wrote:
>> What was the second-best, then? And I know there wasn't an
>> actual vote on that, even granting that it would have been awarded to
>> Apollo 13, but what fictional moon landings got closest to the way
>> things actually happened?

>There were an awful lot of moon stories written in the mid 60s that were
>near-future extrapolated (e.g. Jeff Sutton's _Apollo at Go_ from 1963,
>Martin Caidin's _No Man's World_ , 1967) - do you want to consider those?

I'd be glad to consider them. They're a neat little corner of
the genre where the authors had to know they were writing books which
would be almost instantly obsolete --- as opposed to general science
fiction which will either be forever impossible or set too vaguely in
the undefined future to be specifically obsoleted --- and yet there's
something fun in _Mike Mars And The Search For Something Dyna-Soar Can
Usefully Do_ anyway.


>P.S. Since the Apollo 13 mission didn't result in a moon landing at all,
> did I miss a reference or humor thing way up there?

Well, a bit of humor. I mean, a story about a successful moon
landing is well and good; an unsuccessful one can also be interesting,
and the particular twists and turns of that flight would probably have
been a successful story even despite only glancingly touching the moon.

--
Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joseph Nebus

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Jul 21, 2009, 11:39:50 AM7/21/09
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fair...@gmail.com (Derek Lyons) writes:

>Butch Malahide <fred....@gmail.com> wrote:

>>The following quotation is part of Gil Benson's ("playboy; devil-with-
>>the-women; and rich") speech just before taking off for the moon in
>>his atomic-powered spaceship, the "Good-bye, World":
>>
>>"I'm also indebted to the General Electric Company of Schenectady for
>>permitting me to install a hitherto untried sending and receiving
>>radio set which beams radio waves of such high frequency that we are
>>confident they can penetrate both the Heavyside [sic] and Appleton
>>layers which surround the earth, at respective levels of sixty and two
>>hundred miles, so that we can keep in constant touch with this planet
>>during our travels and while on the moon.

>It never seems to have occurred to SF writers that engineers would
>actually test such things first...

Actually, I'm most charmed by the mention that it was the
General Electric Company of Schenectady, so as to differentiate it
from the General Electric Company of Lower Squankum.

My reading of pre-Gagarin books suggests that a lot of writers
didn't really tumble on to the notion that the Very First Spaceflight
would probably not be going to the Moon, or Mars, or both. That there
would be an orbital flight first --- maybe even a suborbital flight,
maybe even just really fast/high plane flights --- and that as much as
possible would be tested early and often doesn't seem to come up.

--
Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

trag

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Jul 21, 2009, 4:33:37 PM7/21/09
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On Jul 21, 12:56 am, fairwa...@gmail.com (Derek Lyons) wrote:

> trag <t...@io.com> wrote:
>
> WRT "The Man Who Sold the Moon".
>
> >Heinlein thought it through carefully and even got the number of
> >chemical stages correct.
>
> Which matters little because vehicle also used a catapult - which
> means he got the overall design wrong. (In a predictive sense.)

Your memory is faulty. No catapult was used for the initial moon
launch in TMWSTM.

The capital investment to build the catapult was too high for the
first launch.

Butch Malahide

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Jul 21, 2009, 5:20:11 PM7/21/09
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On Jul 21, 10:39 am, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:
>         My reading of pre-Gagarin books suggests that a lot of writers
> didn't really tumble on to the notion that the Very First Spaceflight
> would probably not be going to the Moon, or Mars, or both.

In fact, some of them had the Very First Spaceflight going to Venus.
Note the three conflicting essays on "Where Will Our First Spaceship
Go?" (by Ley, Merril, and "Tenn") in Marvel Science Fiction, August
1951:
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?MRVLSSAUG1951

A most unusual itinerary for the Very First Spaceship in Robert H.
Wilson's 1931 "Out Around Rigel": *from* the moon (ancient lunar
civilization) to Rigel, of all places.

> That there
> would be an orbital flight first --- maybe even a suborbital flight,
> maybe even just really fast/high plane flights --- and that as much as
> possible would be tested early and often doesn't seem to come up.

The idea of a first flight that goes around the moon without landing
was used in "Around the Moon" by Jules Verne and "Adam and No Eve" by
Alfred Bester. No doubt many others.

Butch Malahide

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Jul 21, 2009, 5:32:18 PM7/21/09
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On Jul 21, 4:20 pm, Butch Malahide <fred.gal...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jul 21, 10:39 am, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:
>
> >         My reading of pre-Gagarin books suggests that a lot of writers
> > didn't really tumble on to the notion that the Very First Spaceflight
> > would probably not be going to the Moon, or Mars, or both.
>
> In fact, some of them had the Very First Spaceflight going to Venus.

Wasn't Venus the first off-Earth destination in Campbell's Arcot-Wade-
Morey series? I don't *recall* anything about a preliminary excursion
to Luna; of course that doesn't prove anything.

Garrett Wollman

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Jul 21, 2009, 5:37:13 PM7/21/09
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In article <a6c8a319-1bf6-4a2c...@c14g2000yqm.googlegroups.com>,
Butch Malahide <fred....@gmail.com> wrote:

>In fact, some of them had the Very First Spaceflight going to Venus.
>Note the three conflicting essays on "Where Will Our First Spaceship
>Go?" (by Ley, Merril, and "Tenn") in Marvel Science Fiction, August
>1951:

There's an Asimov essay, "What Truck?" (in either /The Subatomic
Monster/ or /The Relativity of Wrong/, not sure which), in which he
riffs on a turn-of-the-century essay he read (in an old magazine)
about the difficulties of space exploration and the potential economic
utility of the moon.

(asimovonline.com says it was in /The Subatomic Monster/ and reprinted
in /Asimov on Science/, with the original publication in F&SF, August
1983. It also mentions a follow-up article, "Where All the Sky is
Sunshine".)

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | The real tragedy of human existence is not that we are
wol...@csail.mit.edu| nasty by nature, but that a cruel structural asymmetry
Opinions not those | grants to rare events of meanness such power to shape
of MIT or CSAIL. | our history. - S.J. Gould, Ten Thousand Acts of Kindness

Derek Lyons

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Jul 21, 2009, 8:12:07 PM7/21/09
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T Guy <Tim.B...@redbridge.gov.uk> wrote:


>Several decades later I found that NASA were planning to use direct
>ascent up till 1962, when one guy there banged his head against a wall
>long enough to get people to listen and then convinced them.

More like the "one guy" pushed his viewpoint long enough that when the
accumulated studies and analysis of everyone else indicated that LOR
was the preferable mode (given the constraints) he got credit for
inventing/creating/pushing the idea.

David DeLaney

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Jul 21, 2009, 7:39:17 PM7/21/09
to

Checking, yes it was; apparently Arcot was fixated on "cold pinpoint lights"
and neglected to notice that there was a Convenient Stepping Stone And
Testing Ground a _lot_ nearer than any of Mercury, Venus, or Mars (after
thinking about it for "four months"). They decided where to go before
starting to design the ship. (Book two, Solarite, of The Black Star Passes)

Dave
--
\/David DeLaney posting from d...@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.

Derek Lyons

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Jul 22, 2009, 12:32:42 AM7/22/09
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gsei...@REMOVEsentex.net wrote:

>On Tue, 21 Jul 2009 05:58:41 GMT, fair...@gmail.com (Derek Lyons)
>wrote:
>

>>They suceeded mostly because they went to great lengths to simplify
>>things... But that's mostly due to the Soviet lack of computers and
>>automation.
>

>Perhaps not a bad design philosophy.

They launched two - one suceeded, one failed. Not exactly a ringing
endorsement of that design philosophy.

>I say this because a friend
>recently asked me about emergency escape from the ISS and I started to
>say "Well, they have a Soyuz..." and it hit me that the Soyuz has been
>chugging along quite successfully for 40 some years or so.

Well, you can look at it two ways:

You can count the entire run of Soyuz... And when you do, you find the
difference in safety numbers between Soyuz and Shuttle is
statistically insignificant. (And then you get to pile on all the
near misses and problems that Soyuz has had across it's run*... It's
not a pretty picture.)

The usual response by many is to complain how unfair it is to hold the
current Soyuz responsible for those deaths so long ago.

So, we'll look at it another way - examining only the Soyuz TMA (the
current mark) which is actually very different from it's predecessors.
When we do, we find that it has only 13 flights since it's
introduction in 2003... With major safety incidents on eight of those
flights, including three in the last five flights.

Fact is, compared to the complex Shuttle, the simple Soyuz hasn't
fared much better, and by some metrics it has fared much worse.

D.

* Including two of an incident the Shuttle has none of - complete
loss-of-mission accidents caused by booster failure. Then there is
the reentry where the craft started entry *nose first*. The there is
the incident where they jettisoned the module with the bulk of their
life support and power - only to delay reentry... Not to mention two
(IIRC) loss-of-mission incidents caused by failure to dock with the
space station. Then there are the multiple off target landings...

Jim Lovejoy

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Jul 22, 2009, 1:56:28 AM7/22/09
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Butch Malahide <fred....@gmail.com> wrote in news:a6c8a319-1bf6-4a2c-
94e7-889...@c14g2000yqm.googlegroups.com:

> On Jul 21, 10:39�am, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:
>> � � � � My reading of pre-Gagarin books suggests that a lot of wr
> iters
>> didn't really tumble on to the notion that the Very First Spaceflight
>> would probably not be going to the Moon, or Mars, or both.
>
> In fact, some of them had the Very First Spaceflight going to Venus.
> Note the three conflicting essays on "Where Will Our First Spaceship
> Go?" (by Ley, Merril, and "Tenn") in Marvel Science Fiction, August
> 1951:
> http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?MRVLSSAUG1951
>

And _Skylark_ having the first voyage going hundreds of lightyears.

(The test flight was only around the moon, but neither Seaton nor Crane
counted that as an actual voyage.)

Joseph Nebus

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Jul 22, 2009, 1:36:13 PM7/22/09
to
Butch Malahide <fred....@gmail.com> writes:

>The moon landing in L. Ron Hubbard's "240,000 Miles Straight
>Up" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, December, 1948) is certainly a U.S.
>government project; it's not the *first* moon landing as the Soviets
>are already on the moon, but theirs (needless to say) was also a
>government project. That's one of many stories of Americans vs.
>Russkies on the moon from that period; probably the best known is
>Fredric Brown's 1959 "Honeymoon in Hell".

Neatly enough I just over lunch ran across a mention of a moon
race story where the participants are government-run projects and now
I'm interested in the details of it. Apparently William Tenn (Philip
Klass) published this story in Astounding in 1946, as ``Alexander the
Bait''. That's a great called home run for the space race, though in
this case the first lunar landing is done by the Canadians.

--
Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Butch Malahide

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Jul 22, 2009, 2:05:33 PM7/22/09
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On Jul 22, 12:36 pm, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:

> Butch Malahide <fred.gal...@gmail.com> writes:
>         Neatly enough I just over lunch ran across a mention of a moon
> race story where the participants are government-run projects and now
> I'm interested in the details of it.  Apparently William Tenn (Philip
> Klass) published this story in Astounding in 1946, as ``Alexander the
> Bait''.  That's a great called home run for the space race, though in
> this case the first lunar landing is done by the Canadians.

You mean, you just ran across it in the current rasfw thread "Great
Moon hoax launches space race"? Or you saw a mention of this story
somewhere else?

--
"The nation that controls the moon will control the tides!"

Matthew Malthouse

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Jul 22, 2009, 4:03:05 PM7/22/09
to
On Tue, 21 Jul 2009 05:58:41 GMT, fair...@gmail.com (Derek Lyons)
wrote:

> nos...@nospam.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:


>
> >
> >In article <nebusj.1...@vcmr-86.server.rpi.edu>,
> >Joseph Nebus <nebusj-@-rpi-.edu> wrote:
> >> So as I recall, without making the effort to look it up, the
> >>Apollo 11 astronauts were awarded a Special Hugo in 1970 for the Best
> >>Moon Landing Ever.
> >>
> >> What was the second-best, then?
> >
> >The Soviets had a successful sample-return mission shortly after the
> >Apollo 11 landing. Nobody cared. But considering the state of
> >computers and automation at the time, it sounded pretty impressive
> >to me.
>
> They suceeded mostly because they went to great lengths to simplify
> things... But that's mostly due to the Soviet lack of computers and
> automation.

There were many failures (both US and USSR).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing

Eg: Luna-1, 2-Jan-59 "Failure - missed moon, but first spacecraft to
solar orbit" :)

Matthew


--
Mail to this account goes to the bit bucket.
In the unlikely event you want to mail me replace usenet with my name

Butch Malahide

unread,
Jul 23, 2009, 1:39:47 AM7/23/09
to
On Jul 21, 10:39 am, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:
>         My reading of pre-Gagarin books suggests that a lot of writers
> didn't really tumble on to the notion that the Very First Spaceflight
> would probably not be going to the Moon, or Mars, or both.  That there
> would be an orbital flight first --- maybe even a suborbital flight,
> maybe even just really fast/high plane flights --- and that as much as
> possible would be tested early and often doesn't seem to come up.  

SPOILER WARNING

A. E. Van Vogt's "Project Spaceship" (Thrilling Wonder Stories,
August, 1949) is a story about the Very First Spaceflight, which is a
suborbital flight, reaching a maximum altitude of 804 miles. (Hmm. Is
there an altitude limit for "suborbital" flights? Would a direct
flight to the moon and back count as a suborbital flight?) The rocket
crashes into the sea as planned; the "pilot" (who has no controls,
everything is automatic or radio-controlled from the ground) ejects
and parachutes onto dry land. I forgot to mention that the first stage
was a 4-engine jet airplane which released the rocket at an altitude
of 25000 feet and a speed of 500 mph. By the way, the story is mostly
about spaceflight politics, not rocketry.

graham

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Jul 23, 2009, 8:27:44 AM7/23/09
to
On Jul 20, 2:06 pm, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:
>         So as I recall, without making the effort to look it up, the
> Apollo 11 astronauts were awarded a Special Hugo in 1970 for the Best
> Moon Landing Ever.  
>
>         What was the second-best, then?  

Although written long after 20 July 1969, the second best might be,
"Peter Nevsky and the True Story of the Russian Moon Landing" by
Batchelor. It has interesting alternatives for many of the analog
criteria in your list:

A National effort [although carried thorugh to completion by breakaway
Soviet military].

Chemicals [Lox/Kero and Lox/LH2 plus solid boosters].

The concept had an EOR and an LOR, but only the EOR was performed
since like much of the Red Air Force doctrine, the TSAR Cannoneers had
a pursuit til tanks empty approach.

Only one of the cosmonauts went to the surface.

The flight was about 60 hours longer than A-11 because of equipment
failures and workaround GN&C and props solutions. In many ways, the
description of the vehicle sounds a lot like Komarov's Soyuz.

I don't recall training and sims at all.

Clearly there was awareness of the symbolic [particularly if they beat
the Apollo].

The last...


>         - an absence of silly ``tension extruders'' like threats of
>                 mutiny or space sickness or aliens, favoring instead
>                 just the adventure and discovery (although there is room
>                 for some of them; after all, the actual flight seeing an
>                 unexpected alarm that happens to be of the type they ran
>                 across in the last week of training?  *Such* a movie
>                 moment, there)

I think maybe the extended air and surface campaign to assassinate the
Cannoneers shouldn't count against it since all that took place pre-
launch.

There is a 40th anniversary scene where the now 60+ Peter Nevsky goes
to the Moon to retrieve his "Uncle's" remains for their return to
Earth.

>
>         I would be stunned if there were any stories that had all of

> these elements.  Even just a handful of them would be impressive.  And
> I may not have picked out all the elements that made Apollo really
> different from fictional moon landings, although there are quite a few
> stories which had elements of these, some of them even not written by
> Arthur C Clarke.  
>
>         And of course the earlier the story the more impressive the
> feat is.  

A week before the A-11 launch, I read "Prelude to Space" written in
1951. At the time, I thought that ACC captured many real problems and
successfully resolved them [even if it did not match reality].

Ad Astra,
graham
--
"We will only know how hard it is to go to the Moon, when we try to go
back."
Robert Gilruth

Butch Malahide

unread,
Jul 23, 2009, 11:05:19 PM7/23/09
to
On Jul 23, 12:39 am, Butch Malahide <fred.gal...@gmail.com> wrote:
> SPOILER WARNING
>
> A. E. Van Vogt's "Project Spaceship" (Thrilling Wonder Stories,
> August, 1949) is a story about the Very First Spaceflight, which is a
> suborbital flight, reaching a maximum altitude of 804 miles. (Hmm. Is
> there an altitude limit for "suborbital" flights? Would a direct
> flight to the moon and back count as a suborbital flight?) The rocket
> crashes into the sea as planned; the "pilot" (who has no controls,
> everything is automatic or radio-controlled from the ground) ejects
> and parachutes onto dry land. I forgot to mention that the first stage
> was a 4-engine jet airplane which released the rocket at an altitude
> of 25000 feet and a speed of 500 mph. By the way, the story is mostly
> about spaceflight politics, not rocketry.

The title of Van Vogt's story is neither "The Problem Professor" nor
"Problem Spaceship"; it is simply "Project Spaceship". (The story is
divided into 4 chapters, and "The Problem Professor" is the title of
Chapter II.)

In the same issue, the title of Bradbury's story is "The Naming of
Names".

Ahasuerus

unread,
Jul 23, 2009, 11:10:12 PM7/23/09
to
On Jul 23, 11:05 pm, Butch Malahide <fred.gal...@gmail.com> wrote:
[snip]

> The title of Van Vogt's story is neither "The Problem Professor" nor
> "Problem Spaceship"; it is simply "Project Spaceship". (The story is
> divided into 4 chapters, and "The Problem Professor" is the title of
> Chapter II.)
>
> In the same issue, the title of Bradbury's story is "The Naming of
> Names".

Thanks, we'll investigate immediately! :-)

Joseph Nebus

unread,
Jul 24, 2009, 11:51:58 AM7/24/09
to
Butch Malahide <fred....@gmail.com> writes:

>On Jul 22, 12:36=A0pm, nebu...@-rpi-.edu (Joseph Nebus) wrote:
>> Butch Malahide <fred.gal...@gmail.com> writes:

>> =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 Neatly enough I just over lunch ran across a mention of a=


> moon
>> race story where the participants are government-run projects and now

>> I'm interested in the details of it. =A0Apparently William Tenn (Philip


>> Klass) published this story in Astounding in 1946, as ``Alexander the

>> Bait''. =A0That's a great called home run for the space race, though in


>> this case the first lunar landing is done by the Canadians.

>You mean, you just ran across it in the current rasfw thread "Great
>Moon hoax launches space race"? Or you saw a mention of this story
>somewhere else?

Oh, I'm sorry to be unclear. I ran across it while reading a
book about the long struggle to position NASA as providing a solution
for some urgent national need that's actually worth something like the
money spent on it. It came up in the background discussion of how the
ideas of manned space flight now were popular long before there was
any serious technical ability to think about it, as an aside to the
work done in the mid-to-late 50s coming up with ideas for what people
could do in space which proved handy once the President demanded that
people do something in space now.

--
Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Greg Goss

unread,
Aug 1, 2009, 6:37:28 AM8/1/09
to
Butch Malahide <fred....@gmail.com> wrote:

>SPOILER WARNING


>
>a story about the Very First Spaceflight, which is a
>suborbital flight, reaching a maximum altitude of 804 miles. (Hmm. Is
>there an altitude limit for "suborbital" flights? Would a direct
>flight to the moon and back count as a suborbital flight?)

A sub-orbital flight can be any height, so long as there is no travel
around the earth along the way. If the loft time is over a day, the
earth will have done a rotation under the flight, completely
confounding your ability to explain "suborbital" to anyone.

At some point, the terminology would switch to "non-orbital", perhaps
where the loft distance is longer than the downrange distance. In
your example an 804 mile loft is much less than an earth
circumference, so sub-orbital is reasonable.

--
Tomorrow is today already.
Greg Goss, 1989-01-27

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