1956 June 8, Illyrien Space Center, Press conference center.
Thank you all for coming today. As you know, our latest Moon mission has reached the Moon and settled successfully into the desired orbit.
It represents the first part of Step 2. “Fuel depot at the Moon”. Yes, we have indeed sent a established a fuel depot in a planar orbit around the Moon. Which should help further our effort to land, and return, from our nearest heavenly companion.
It has safely settled into a 1000×1000 orbit, which is in the same plane as the Earth, which is valuable, since it makes future missions easier.
We unfortunately do not have pictures of the “The Nest”, but we do have several of the rocket just prior to launch. Here they are:
Any questions so far?
What is this new heavy lifter?
We will not be covering that today, but we will talk more about that in the future. For now, I can reveal that its called Ze Wunder, a name coined by Wernher von Kerman, based on his experiences from his past.. and the paint scheme. We area really proud of it, and we expect it do become our standard workhorse for a long time to come. It represents the maximum in heavy lift, which can be created at our current level of capability.
Why a 1000x1000km?
Well, Its a tradeoff. It cost more fuel to go so low, but that also mean it will be cheaper to get to the surface and back up again. Which is, ultimately what we want. Also, it was a nice number, just 1s and 0s.
How much mass did you send to the Moon?
We wanted to send 10 tons, but at the end of the day, we could only manage to get 7.2tons into a 1000x1000km planar orbit. We are hoping that more effective launches and orbital mechanics will improve that.
Why have you started on Step 2, before Step 1 has been finished?
I assume you are referring to the return to Earth part of Step1. The ISP has multiple teams, working on different projects. In this case, there where three major projects underway. The lunar lander coding, the return probe and the heavy lifter. Since the return probe project has been delay repeatedly, we decided to simple move onwards. Once the heavy lifter was ready, we launched it. The cargo, I mean, the fuel depot, was an existing design. We actually developed that already for Stage 0, where we tested orbital docking. So there is actually a orbital depot orbiting Earth as we speak.
What is the next step?
The next two Apollo operations will be the lunar return probe, since we can now land reasonably safe, and trying to dock at the orbital depot.