Records and lessons

Mid-October 1955, Baikonur Kosmodrone.

“Yes, we know and have all seen them Jeb!” Gene insisted, as Jebediah once again were showing the pictures he took outside the capsule on his recent 14-day orbital flight.

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Picture of the Endurance-2, taken by Jebediah while on EVA.

“But we’re not here talk about that Jeb, you have to understand that we need to discuss the Lunar lander 1, so we can fix whatever went wrong!”, Gene insisted. “And no, we’re not discussing possible changes to the design either”, Gene continued while pushing the engineering drawings with scribbles away.

“Werner”, Gene stated, while looking at him – doing everything to ignore Jebediah.

“The design might be a few hundred m/s short of a soft landing – records indicated that it would have hit the ground at around three times its rated impact tolerance” Werner began, only to be interrupted by a suspicious Gene asking: “Would have? What do you mean Werner?”.

“Well, you see”, Werner began “everything was right on the money, so to say, but at the end, the entire thing somehow lost all steering”.

“What do you mean all steering” Gene asked, but as Werner was about to reply, Bill piped in explaining “It could steer fine, but the rocket engine keep pulling it off course for some reason”.

Before Gene could inquire further, a usually silent Valentina had to clear something up “What was the TWR when you started having control issues?”.

“Uhm, well” Werner began as he looked through his papers “around 15 or 16-ish?” he answered, as Valentina’s question suddenly dawned upon him before he was interrupted by a triumphant Jebediah “HA! There’s no way you can make any sort of control by then” after all, even he knew that was folly.

“You didn’t think to include any pilots in your plans did you Werner? We could have told you that not gonna work” Valentina told him.

“Well”, Werner began again “We have that other smaller re-ignitable engine that we never used because it was weaker than the current one, don’t we Bill?”. “Yeah”, Bill began with Bob continuing “it’s actually better as an engine even, so it might give us tose last 200 m/s as well for free”.

As discussion continued, the new Lunar Lander slowly started to take shape – and would definitely work this time….

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Original Engineering drawing of the Endurance-2.
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