Fenisse

Beyond Earth - An RP-1 based alternate space race - Update XXII - The Aquarius 8

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XXII: Meet the Team I

The Aquarius 8

 

In between the two Connection Block I missions, an event which would shape the future of the IASRDA, and the world as a whole, took place. A press conference was scheduled for December 11 at Cape Canaveral AFB. In front of nearly two hundred journalists from a dozen different nations the first manned program of the IASRDA was announced to the public: the Aquarius program was officially born.

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Logo of the Aquarius program, showing an early concept of the capsule that would eventually be used.

 

Preparations for the program had actually commenced nearly a year before. Research and Development teams had been assigned to developing systems to send men into an orbit around the Earth, others had been assigned to modify the existing launch vehicles so that it would be safe for people to fly on board, and, most importantly, a strict selection process had taken place to select who would actually be sent into orbit.

Out of nearly a thousand available candidates, they were narrowed down to 120, after an interview, 32 were further selected for the required physical and fitness tests. Of these 32, only 8 would actually become what is now known as an astronaut, one who will navigate the stars (eventually).

 

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P001 Isaac R. Perry, 1943

Isaac Robert Perry, also known as “the Commander”, or simply as the “Chief” by his peers, was born in Liverpool, England, on the 2nd of December 1917. He was one of the “Original Four” pilots of the International Rocket Society.

Perry had studied at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, where he graduated in 1939, at which point he was commissioned into the Royal Air Force. He then joined the No. 41 Squadron RAF just months before the Second World War started. He subsequently saw action over Dunkirk, fought during the Battle of Britain, and then flew a wide number of combat missions over occupied Europe. At the end of the war he was credited with 21 enemy kills, and had reached the rank of Squadron Leader. He remained in service in the RAF for a further five years, and was finally commissioned as a Wing Commander.

On the 19th of December 1950 he was selected to be part of the newborn IRS, and has been part of the organization through all its years, continuing to serve in the IASRDA. He at the time of writing holds the rank of Commander, the second-highest rank for an Agency pilot. He is the IASRDA’s most experienced aviator, and is widely regarded as been a sort of fatherly figure to refer to by his colleagues. He has a strong wit, but is very calm and composed under stress; even at 42 he is in top physical and mental shape.

 

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P002 Joseph F. Mitchell, 1953

Joseph Frank “Joe” Mitchell was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, on the 27th of June 1919. He was one of the Original Four.

Mitchell graduated at West Point in 1941, and joined the United States Army Air Forces soon thereafter. He was assigned to the 20th Fighter Group, and fought in Europe from 1943 to 1945. He is credited with 14 kills during his combat tour. After the end of the war, he become one of the most experienced USAF test pilots, flying a large variety of jet aircraft, his favorite of which was reportedly the F-84F Thunderstreak. In 1950 he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

He was selected on December 19, 1950 to be part of the IRS, and subsequently of the IASRDA. At the time of writing, he holds the rank of Senior Captain, just below the rank of Commander. His experience as a test pilot has proved to be invaluable in several occasions. He loves joking, although he is a true professional during flight, and is great friends with Commander Isaac Perry.

 

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P003 Samuel M. McDonald, 1952

Samuel Mark “Sam” McDonald was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 14th of August 1929.

McDonald graduated at the United States Naval Academy in 1951, after which he was assigned as a naval aviator with the VFA-32 “Fighting Swordsmen”. During US Navy service he flew a large number of aircraft, namely the F2H Banshee, the F4U Corsair, the F9F Cougar, and the F8U Crusader. In 1959 he held the rank of Lieutenant.

He was selected and confirmed as part of the IASRDA test pilot team on December 11, 1959, after a long and grueling selection process. Due to his USN rank, he was assigned the Agency rank of Flight Lieutenant. He is considered to be a capable pilot with thousands of hours of experience who is in prime physical and mental shape.

 

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E001 Douglas J. Cherry, 1950

Douglas James “Fixer” Cherry was born in Glasgow, Scotland on the 18th of October 1924. He was one of the Original Four

He studied and graduated at the Oxford University in 1946, obtaining a master two years later. He joined the Royal Air Force, where he was selected for pilot training. He was commissioned in the RAF in 1949.

He was selected to be part of the IRS on December 19, 1950, and has been part of the IRS and IASRDA since then. He underwent a rigorous training regimen as a full-blown flight engineer; his first flight on board of an IRS aircraft was on April 3, 1954 as part of the Project Thunder 4 mission. In 1959 he held the rank of Master Engineer. His skills as an engineer earned him the nickname of “Fixer”, due to his ability to reportedly fix everything broken he put his hands upon. He had a strong Scottish accent.

 

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E002 Ivano D'Antonio, 1958

Ivano D’Antonio was born in Rome, Italy on August the 23rd, 1928.

He studied at the Accademia Aeronautica in Naples, and was commissioned into the newborn Aeronautica Militare in 1950. In 1959 he rose to the rank of Capitano.

 

He was selected by the IASRDA to be part of the Aquarius 8 on December 11, 1959, being assigned the rank of Engineer First Class. He was a calm and composed professional, performing extremely well under stress, as well as being an experienced pilot. Together with the IASRDA R&D teams he would go on to develop the Aquarius launch abort system.

 

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E003 Jean-Pierre Giraud, 1959

Jean-Pierre Giraud was born in Toulouse, France on the 8th of July, 1923.

He studied at the École de l'air in Salon-de-Provence, where he graduated in 1949. After a short period of service in the Armée de l'Air Française, he became a test pilot to aid in the development of the Mirage aircraft. During this time, he developed several invaluable engineering skills.

He was selected on December 11, 1959 to be an astronaut for the Aquarius Program of the IASRDA. At his request, he was trained to become a full-blown flight engineer, despite being already qualified enough to be a pilot. Upon joining, he was assigned the rank of Senior Engineer.

 

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S001 Daniel Higgins, 1953

Daniel “Danny” Higgins was born in Washington, D.C. on May the 28th, 1924. He was one of the Original Four test crewmembers of the IRS.

He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 1946; there he obtained a Master in 1948, and was applying for a PhD, which he subsequently obtained in 1955. He was the only civilian to be part of the IRS test team.

He was selected on December 19, 1950, despite being a civilian, unlike his colleagues. He was put on an intense training schedule, and finally flew for the first time on the Project Thunder 5 mission on February 27, 1955. He is widely regarded to be a genius in various fields, most notably astrophysics and mathematics, and would help the IASRDA determine the optimal flight path for the Aquarius missions. As of 1959 he held the rank of Senior Specialist.

 

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S002 Thomas Lynn, 1958

Thomas Lynn was born in Toronto, Canada on the 14th of April 1930.

He studied at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he graduated in 1952. He then became a test pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and was one of the few people who flew on the Avro CF-105 Arrow.

He was selected for the Aquarius program on December 11, 1959. His areas of expertise included several scientific subjects, and his speed of thought made him well liked by his crewmates, and notably, by Higgins as well. When he joined he was assigned the IASRDA rank of Specialist First Class.

 

These eight men would soon become known as the Aquarius 8, the best the West had to offer. In the following months and even years they and everyone working behind the curtains to ensure both their success and safety would face difficulties never faced by anyone before; but why choose the easy way, when to further science you often need to follow the hardest path?

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I gotta say, you're one of the reasons for me to actually stop lurking and actually start interacting around here!
I'm a sucker for visual candy when it comes to game reports and you've done some real good work here!

Actually inspired some designs of my own in my current RP-1 career and made me want to share my own alternate history background for my RP-1 career.

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11 hours ago, Maravone said:

I gotta say, you're one of the reasons for me to actually stop lurking and actually start interacting around here!
I'm a sucker for visual candy when it comes to game reports and you've done some real good work here!

Actually inspired some designs of my own in my current RP-1 career and made me want to share my own alternate history background for my RP-1 career.

I'd read your alternate history!

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18 hours ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

I'd read your alternate history!

Why, thank you!
Well, I'm planning on starting a Mission Report series soon(ish).
I dont want to start at the usual RP-1 starting date. Probably will start from a later point. Either way, there's some content I want to produce before jumping into that. And I've been kinda busy IRL, so it'll take just a wee bit longer. I'll rather start and be able to regularly update, or not start at all.

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Thanks for keeping this alive on my behalf, guys! :) I have been *ahem* stuck on a mountain for the past week and will remain here for the next days at the very least. And I don’t have a towel with me, but for now I’m not panicking.

Also, thank you @Maravone for the very kind words! I’m happy to be an inspiration for you, and if you need any help with your report feel free to ask. It’s always good to see more RP-1 AARs on here, and I’m glad you’ve become part of this wonderful community.

Anyway, although I don’t have my computer with me right now, I’ve been working on some Beyond Earth stuff...

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...such as the above drawing of the Sirius upper stage; which is similar in scope to the Centaur (with some pretty important differences, however). I’m not that good at drawing, and the photo doesn’t make it any better, but this is something you can expect to see in the future of this “series”. Please ignore the random Nightfall (which I recommend, btw) on the left, I was using it so that the notebook wouldn’t close while I was drawing and taking the photo.

See you soon! (hopefully)

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It is chonky indeed, but it’s supposed to be flown inside a fairing (much like the Centaur-T on the later versions of the Titan), so it is shorter than the D version, which would instead limit payload space (or require a longer fairing).

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On 8/14/2019 at 5:02 PM, Fenisse said:

Thanks for keeping this alive on my behalf, guys! :) I have been *ahem* stuck on a mountain for the past week and will remain here for the next days at the very least. And I don’t have a towel with me, but for now I’m not panicking.

Just as long as they serve Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters there, you'll be OK :P 

 

On 8/14/2019 at 5:02 PM, Fenisse said:

...such as the above drawing of the Sirius upper stage; which is similar in scope to the Centaur (with some pretty important differences, however). I’m not that good at drawing, and the photo doesn’t make it any better, but this is something you can expect to see in the future of this “series”. Please ignore the random Nightfall (which I recommend, btw) on the left, I was using it so that the notebook wouldn’t close while I was drawing and taking the photo.

I see through your scheme here.  You're hoping your design will absorb some of that Asimov mojo by osmosis ;) 

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I just wanted to say a few words of praise. Although I am taking a break from KSP at the moment, I like to read your report again and again. The high quality of the pictures/plans and the alternation between the rockets and the airplanes have particularly impressed me.

Keep up the good work :)

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