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Victor's Vignette

Posted 08-19-2013 at 09:41 AM by PhantomCruiser

Victor (Hugo) Patel leaned against the railing of the CSSC assembly building roof and did his best not to be awestruck. After several days with not enough sleep, he finally looked at the Energia rocket with its Buran-T payload container as it was crawling its way out to the big pad at Carl Sagan Space Center. Facilities personnel mixed about with RSC and Roscosmos people checking, rechecking and final checking every single item on a long punch-list of things that would need going over again before the behemoth actually took flight. The pad had long ago been certified to launch the Energia, and even though CSSC was still a relatively new spaceport, the ritual of checklist had to be maintained. Little things always managed to niggle their way into the minutia, and if not examined carefully, a full-on “Murphy’s Law” event could do anything from a launch scrub to a loss of life. Thus, checklists; stacks and stacks of checklists. His boss, the odd nut that he was had a phrase along the lines of “I’d rather spend thousands now to avoid losing millions later” and it had taken a while for Victor to see the wisdom of such thinking. Every one he’d worked for previously had a different idea, essentially cut-cut-cut-save-save-save. Kirby had been his first boss that gave him blank check.

And just look at what I got with it Victor thought to himself. In a few days Victor planned to set in motion a chain of events worthy of a Rube Goldberg machine. From three launch sites across the planet Victor intended to assemble a functioning space-based research, development and manufacturing platform within 30 days. After that, construction would slow down, but not much. His goal was full operations inside 12 months, but that would be pushing his luck. It was going to be a fine balance between production and construction. Phantom personnel would be the scientists while some national programs would swallow a goodly amount of pride in order to share in some of the science and laboratory space, the payment of which would be to provide the “truck drivers” and construction expertise needed to accomplish such a project.

To Victor it was a simple method of bartering, we need this-you need that. Kirby took more convincing, but in the end he’d come around to Victor’s methodology. Phantom makes a lot of things, but launchers big enough to throw a space station into orbit wasn’t one of them. Somebody would have to take it up there for them, the trick was to make it feasible to multiple parties and let them bid against each other. Victor’s blank check would take care of the rest.

It was quite an experience for Victor at the negotiating table, NASA and RSC were both major league players and it took months to hammer out the details for the flights each would provide. The Russians were a bit more amiable, with only the single Buran at the moment; they were willing to make some concessions in order to promote their spacecraft. The Italians on the other hand were more than willing to bargain. Their Eridanus shuttle was still very new and they were looking forward to showcasing their little space plane as a competitor against the heavies of the U.S. and Russia. Japan too was getting into the game, providing logistical support in return for lab space.

Some wet dress rehearsals, a static fire test and a few engineering reviews are all that stood in his way. For the meantime, Victor took a final look at “his” rocket as she was jacked down onto the launch pad. Various teams, separated by the color of their hard hats swarmed along different sections of the vehicle. With the show over for the time being, Victor felt a long needed rest coming on. He paused long enough to snap a few pictures on his phone that he’d send to Kirby later, and with a long, protracted yawn, turned toward the stairs.
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  1. Old Comment
    Aeadar's Avatar
    Nice entry PC!

    Launch day approacheth!
    Posted 08-19-2013 at 06:42 PM by Aeadar Aeadar is offline
    Updated 08-19-2013 at 06:46 PM by Aeadar
 

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