July 29th, 1957; Baikonur Kosmodrone.
Gene and Wernher were sitting in Genes office, having a glass of Vodka after the successful Polar Surveyor launch of the day – launching a polar surveying satellite into a good orbit, and using liquid Hydrogen and Oxygen in the upper stage successfully leaving a fair amount of fuel in the tanks – allowing to monitor the long-term effects of evaporation.
“I just wish our three previous launches had not been such abject failures Wernher”, Gene continued the conversation, “we really should examine things closer beforehand next time, maybe even go back to actually doing at least a single simulation for each new type of orbital or rocket?”, he asked Wernher.
“Yes, we could do so”, Wernher began, “but they were all relatively cheap and simple – simulating would actually had been a fairly significant additional cost”, he continued, “we are considering something like that, but all our more expensive payloads are launched on known types of rockets, where it shouldn’t be an issue”.
“True”, Gene agreed, “at least we now know that using even the most powerful RCS is not enough to propel the last stage of even the most minuscule probe into a final orbit in lieu of a third stage”.
“And”, Wernher continued, “we also know that the Ministry of Illyrien Technical Monitoring (MITM) designs their SigInt satellites to not be able to retract – so next time we won’t put it on the same system as a film-return kamera and expect it to land safely”, Wernher commented looking up as if praying for more intelligence from the so-called intelligence people.
“Well, at least we have some time before the next launch in October, which we know should go fine as a repeated launch”, Gene commented as Wernher replied “true, I’m personally more looking forward to the November launch”.
“Indeed”, Gene answered, “though how are the A-variants of the Proton series coming along?”.
“Very slowly”, Wernher replied, “mostly because the year is fully planned out, so we don’t expect to have any use for them until next year at the earliest”.
At that, the two looked at each other and emptied their Vodka, and Wernher left to work on some rockets, while Gene continued some of his paperwork.