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The Armstrong Leap

Posted 03-02-2013 at 12:28 AM by Bloodworth

Mon. October 16, 2045
Julia Eng
New York Times

Earth - After several hours of careful alignment burns today, the spacecraft Armstrong with her crew of 12 brave men and women fired their main engines today at precisely 6:01 pm EDT; accelerating out of Earth orbit and flinging themselves into the void and into history. Even if this mission should fail, they will have made history merely in the attempt, for in 2 days time when they pass the orbit of the moon and head out into interplanetary space, it will be the farthest any human has ever traveled from planet Earth.

After accelerating for nearly 5 ˝ minutes the Armstrong’s engines were shut down as she entered the 5 month long coast phase of her voyage to next nearest neighbor. If all goes well, Armstrong will be decelerating into an anticipated 200 kilometer high orbit of Venus sometime on the night of the 23rd of March, next year.

About an hour after main engine cut-off, or MECO, Captain Terrance Armstrong ordered the experimental gravity wheel on the ship spun up for the first time during the mission. The wheel is too small to contain most of the working spaces on the ship, nor does it spin fast enough to supply the crew with a full 1G of simulated gravity. What it does, however is provide just enough gravity in the crews sleeping tubes to help prevent bone loss over the course of long space flights. One chamber of the wheel is also used for the ships hydroponics gardens which will help provide fresh fruits, vegetables and oxygen, all of which are necessary to help maintain not only the crews physical heath, but morale as well.

From this point on, though a pilot will be at the helm at all times, the ship is almost entirely in the hands of Sir Isaac Newton. The only times any of her engines will be fired again before braking for Venus will be for a series of mid-course corrections, if they are needed, the first of which will not happen for approximately 3 months.

The crew appears to be in high spirits as they begin the long wait. In another historic first, a father/son team are members of the crew; however, with this long of a mission in a confined space, it has been asked if a husband/wife team might have been a better choice.
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