July 26th, 1959; Baikonur Kosmodrone.
As the reporters sit in the lounge hearing the last of Wernher’s explanations of the earlier launch, while showing pictures and video from it, Gene is standing off-stage waiting for confirmation from the flight controller.
As Wernher progressed in his speech, he touched both the re-fuelling issues* that had delayed the launch almost a week, as well as the generally successful design of the Proton-2a, although the boosters broke apart on separation and the first stage was not recovered due to coming to a too high speed. As such, it was not a rocket that would be likely to see much use, as the payload capacity was comparable to the updated Proton-3 – which was also cheaper.
As the flight controller signalled Gene, Gene in turn waved to Wernher giving a thumbs up, prompting Wernher to end his presentation.
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, I will hand you over to Gene”, Wernher said, moving away from the podium.
“Thank you Wernher”, Gene began, as he moved towards the podium, pressing a button on a remote to change the pictures being shown.
“Commander Cericca, congratulations on arriving at KSS and beginning your mission. How are things up there?”, Gene asked into a headset.
“Thank you Gene, and everything is as it should be”, the speakers in the room reported with a female voice.
“As you can see from the pictures Flight Engineer Sanlinne took, she was able to manually extend the last panels and we have retracted the parts of the cooling system that we don’t need until phase-2 is well under way”, it continued.
“Good”, Gene commented, “How is the supply situation, all as expected as well?”.
“Indeed Gene, Maalla has made an inspection while waiting for the laboratory to finish and launch, and it’s all in good shape – so we should have enough for 2-3 years for now. Though the recyclers on phase-2 should ensure that we just require more food mostly, with the occasional top-up of water and oxygen”, the speakers finished.
“Good to hear Commander. I’ll let you all get back to work now, and we’ll also get back to getting phase-2 under way down here so you can start working in earnest up there. Gene at mission control out”, Gene ended the conversation, turning around to the assembled reporters to take questions with a smile.
*: When editing the transport ship to change the fairing, two of the tanks suddenly had no fuel, and re-adding it took a few days extra.