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President Richard Milhous Nixon www PresidentPwas not a big supporter of the Space Program. It was known (in OTL) as he entered the Presidency that he wanted to cut the Apollo missions as soon as possible. He felt that it was a waste of money and he wanted to concentrate on the Vietnam War and the poor economy that he had just inherited. President Nixon was also very anti-communist, as most politicians were at the time. President Nixon is best known for the Watergate Scandal and for possibly being paranoid (mostly about getting re-elected). What if this paranoia fueled his anti-Communism and he feared losing the Space Race? What if he had a change of heart in regards to the importance of the Space Race and wanted to win no matter what! And what if this and not Watergate is what stands out in his Presidency? It is his leadership and decisions during his Presidency that are why the Space Race continued and instead it was the Arms Race that died. What if he is remembered for opening space to humanity?
1966POD: Soviet chief designer and leading architect of its space program Sergei Korolev enters a Moscow hospital for a colon cancer operation, it is a complete success. (In OTL he dies)
Vladimir Chelomey, Korolev's chief rival, approaches Korolev with a plan to increase funding for the Soviet space program and be able to truly challenge the Americans in the race to the moon. The ambitious plan calls for better cooperation, bigger rockets and even catching up with the Americans within two years; then be in a position to pass them. They went before Premier Brezhnev, the leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Central Committee ... the plan was approved.
The Soviets start to test an improved and larger UR-500 (Proton) rocket hoping for a manned fly-by of the moon. They also start redesigning and testing the N-1 super-heavy rocket.
The United States test an unmanned Saturn V rocket in November, it is a total success.
The Soviets successfully launch two unmanned Soyuz 7K-Zond-B probes, redesigned and well-funded, they are larger than earlier models and capable of carrying three cosmonauts and supplies; it was hoped they could perform a circumlunar loop flight around the moon before the American did their fly-by.
Apollo 8 launched on December 21 leaves earth orbit and became the first manned mission to leave LEO and travel to another celestial body.1969
January 11, Soviets successfully follow the Americans with their Zond program and travel to the moon in a fly-by mission.
January 20, Richard Nixon is sworn in as the 37th President of the United States; in a news conference the new President said he is unimpressed with the Soviet mission pointing out that the whole Zond program is too small to land a man on the moon; unlike Apollo that is getting ready to fulfill the goals of JFK set several years earlier to land a man on the moon.
February 21, The Soviet N-1 (Lenin) rocket launches into orbit in an unmanned flight ... after two years of redesigning and successful ground testing. The rocket is larger than early N-1 models but still smaller than the Saturn V.
The Soviets leadership, upon their cosmonauts return, claim that while the Americans may land on the moon first, there are many other places to go in the solar system to visit and that with a new heavy lift rocket and a new manned rocket, both of which can travel in deep space, the Americans will quickly fall behind the Socialist Model.
Premier Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union, said in a speech to the Politburo Central Committee, "the Americans think of this Space Race as if it is a foot race ... one moon, one destination... but we see a moon, the asteroid belt and eight other planets. Therefore, it is not a foot race but a decathlon and we will win the race.!!"
President Nixon is concerned by the foot race comparison and the recent rocket tests. He summons his science advisors and NASA's chief scientists and engineers; while they reassure the President that Apollo would reach and land on the moon by this summer, the President seemed worried. He starts to inquire about the newly formed Apollo Applications Program and what it can do to help keep America in the lead.Apollo 11 Successfully land on the moon in July bringing the first human there! President Nixon in a televised address to the nation said America is up to the Soviets' challenge and will soon set up a Luna base.
The President adds billions back in to the 1970 NASA's budget and works with Democrats and Republicans to get it passed. The new budget returns spending for the space program to the 1966 level or about .5% of the GDP.
While still concerned about deficits, he cut Vietnam War spending and rolled back some funding from the Health and Human Services (welfare), he sells the plan as a Nation Security Initiative.
Apollo 12 lands on the moon in November.
The Soviets use the manned Soyuz 7K-LOK launched from a Lenin N-1 rocket in a trip around the moon on Christmas similar to Apollo 8 mission one year earlier; they announce a plan for a moon base in two more years and trips to both Venus and Mars soon after.
The Soviets announced their 8th Five Year Plan to run from 1971 -1975 in the plan it includes a moon base and a manned flyby of Venus. Out of concern because of American economic power, the Soviets cut back on defense spending; this move surprises the world and shows how serious they have become in regards to the space race.
A third Soviet mission to the moon is a success.
During his first State of the Union Address, President Nixon outlines his agenda for the coming year it includes, in addition to his space initiatives, an educational plan to expand scholarships for students seeking a science or engineering degree. His plan will also have provisions to increase high school graduation rates for Africa-American students; with the hope those rates will match those of whites by 1975. Senator Edward Brooke, America's only black Senator, will lead this committee. The President sees these initiatives as crucial if America is to keep up with the Soviet Union with its larger population base.
April 11, the Apollo 13 mission is a partial failure due to an oxygen explosion in the service module; it makes it back to earth safely. The President orders an around the clock investigation to find the fault of the accident; he also states this event will not deter or slow down the space program. Privately, he wonders if the Soviet were involved.
The Soviet Union becomes the second nation to land on the moon in late April. It releases a plan for 15 more Luna missions over the next 18 months and a base on the moon surface soon after.
In response to the Soviets plan, the USA orders a second block of Saturn V rockets to be used for further exploration of the moon. These rockets will bring the total American missions to 21 by the end of 1971, barring further accidents.
The United States selects the Saturn V-D (700,000 lbs to LEO), which has almost three times the payload of the Saturn V (220,000 lbs to LEO), to be built for delivery in the second half of 1971. The design will be the precursor to the Saturn V-D(R), a rocket with a first stage that is fully reusable. It is now under preliminary design by Wernher Von Braun, America's top rocket engineer.
The Soviets quickly plan a new N-2 rocket with a similar payload as the Saturn V-D, Korolyov will lead the development team.
By the end of 1970 both the USA and the USSR have dramatically increased the budgets of their respective space programs; largely at the expense of their National Defense.
1971President Nixon initiates a policy of Detente with the Soviet Union. It quickly leads to the SALT I Treaty to reduce nuclear warheads. (In OTL it took several years)
The USSR launches a simple two-man Salyut Space Station and within days a two-man moon base. The moon base is capable of supporting the men for up to 15 days before resupplying is needed. These are both firsts for the space race and restores pride and hope to the Soviet people that they can keep up with the Americans.
The American public and the Nixon administration are shocked at the speed of the Soviet deployments of hardware. However, top NASA officials and Soviet experts at the Pentagon believe it was designed for shock value, to prove to the world and its own people it is still a space power to be reckoned with.
The United States successfully launches its new Saturn V-D rocket in May, three months earlier than planned; on it was the first module for America's first space station. In a series of tests conducted by the Von Braun group of researches, using modified Saturn I-B rockets, they are making some headway into producing a craft that is capable of a soft landing back on its launch pad so it can be reused. The biggest problem is slow processing speed of early microchips that are needed to control the craft, either remotely or automatically, on its return descent. NASA in response to this problem starts a High Speed Computer Grant Program in the hope that it can quickly develop faster processors to meet its needs.
In late December, the United States launches the last of its eight 600,000 lbs modules for its space station, which has room for a total of 50 scientists and workers. Though the station is very simple, it gets the job done without the need for expensive R&D.
The Soviets start to rapidly launch more Salyut space station components in the hope of matching the Americans' new station. Though one of its Lenin N-1 rockets exploded with a solar power array on board, which leaves the station under-powered for a few months, the Soviets are undeterred in their plans to build and expand their different space projects.
The United States orders 30 upgraded Saturn I-B (R); the upgrade includes the craft being partially reusable, able to carry a larger payload, and has a winged flyback craft able to carry up to 8 passengers. This fleet gives America the ability to travel to LEO on a daily bases and eliminates the need to use the heavy Saturn V to carry people in LEO.The USA puts six 2-person stations on the moon, capable of missions as long as three months before resupplying is needed. The mission is to survey their site, so NASA can choose the location of a permanent underground Luna base. NASA is developing the ability to drill in a vacuum, to be able to dig the base.
The United States launches an unmanned research station to the Lagrangian points at the L1 location which directly faces towards the sun. They are doing this to test the effects of long term exposure to open space and solar radiation so they can learn how to protect astronauts on interplanetary trips. It does have live animals on it for research. They will be used in various experimental shielding tests. The shielding tests will include water, plastic, lead and different metals. It will require resupply every three months and it is up to date the farthest animals or humans have gone in space.
The United States constructs a small submarine with 6 volunteers on it; the sub is largely automatic and travels very slowly. It is supplied with food, water and air in the way that a ship on an interplanetary journey would be; it will put them in constant danger and under stress with the fear of the loss the sub. Many see this simulation as ridiculous but understand that the problems of long term space travel must be understood before sending people into deep space when it is too late. The Soviets have done similar test for over 500 days in locked rooms but there was no real ship to run and their lives were not at risk.
The USSR starts to scrap some of its ICBM's for parts in support of it various space operations. The move seen by many as desperation is, by many others, seen as brilliant as it saves them billions in maintenance costs from these idle rockets. The USA copies this move and will rely on its bomber or submarine force if a war were to break out.
The first nuclear thermal rockets are tested by the Soviet Union in October. This new rocket will not be used as part of a launch system from earth; instead it will be permanently kept in orbit at the Soviet space station. It is designed to move payloads from LEO into a trans-Luna or interplanetary trajectory.
The United States was planning a similar nuclear power test with it NERVA rocket for early 1973, but in response to the Soviet test pushes the timetable to coincide with the election in November.
President Nixon is reelected in a landslide.
The first experimental reusable heavy rocket successfully returns to its launch pad and is re-launched in two weeks. Congress authorizes NASA to start assembling several Saturn V-D(R), a move that will save billions in launch costs. The savings will go into education programs and a new Nova rocket program to design a new super-rocket with a payload no less than 1,000,000 lbs to LEO and be 100% recoverable. It also will start design considerations for a 60-man space shuttle for delivery by 1977.
The USSR stuns the world with the first interplanetary trip with a Venus flyby, only four years after their successful moon flyby. This mission is similar to one studied by NASA as part of its Apollo Applications Program in 1970. The President calls on congress to increase NASA's funding and the timetable for America's first interplanetary mission.
With a growing need for nuclear fuel for its space operations, the United States plan to reprocess spent fuel rods. President Nixon names Admiral Hyman Rickover (the father of America's nuclear navy) to head the newly formed Nuclear Regulatory Commission; he will oversee nuclear safety and further development of America's NERVA program.An oil boycott against America starts because of America's support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Nixon introduces major energy efficiency initiatives to end America's reliance on foreign oil.
Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns in October in a scandal; Senator Edward Brooke replaces him as the first African-American Vice President. He is seen as a role model for all minority children and he encourages them to continue to enter the sciences.
After an 18-month search the United States chooses a site in the polar region of the Moon and starts to construct a Luna base.
Due to the oil crisis the world falls into a minor recession. President Nixon believes that the Soviets are behind this to derail Americas plan to follow them to Venus.America's rail system (Amtrak) formed 3 years earlier hopes to start running bullet trains by 1980 as part of the President's energy savings plan. This move is popular because of the rising cost of aircraft due to the space program and the increase in the cost of oil. The United States passes a law requiring 90% of all oil to be produced in America. As shortages will force prices up and will also force innovation and greater fuel mileage.
The Soviets start to construct a Luna base. The base will hold 120 people and will grow fresh vegetables.
The United States performs a flyby mission to both Venus and Mercury in a newly designed long range ship capable of carrying 6 astronauts. The ship has several times the living space per person than the Apollo ships a decade earlier and twice the space of the Soviet craft. This mission marks the first women to travel beyond earth-moon system.
Computer processing speed has quadrupled in the last two years, double Moore's Law (which is the doubling of transistors every two years on a computer chip; this rate of increase goes back many years), due to heavy funding by NASA. This improved computer performance greatly helps in numerous projects and starts the computer revolution.
Vietnam receives an emergency aid package of oil and economic help due to a recession caused by the oil crises. (It received no help in OTL).
The cost for travel to LEO has fallen over 90%, making it cheaper for an increasing number a companies willing to do business in LEO. Dozens of ongoing R&D project on and off earth continue to expand with the government generous R&D budget.
Microrocket is formed by Bill Gates and Paul Allen; they hope to exploit the rapidly evolving electromagnetic catapult technology, like many others. They hope to build a launch system for earth and the moon without the use of chemical rockets.
The United States travels to Mars and stays in orbit for 6 months. It test an unmanned "lander" and a "return orbiter craft" both which are total successes.
The United States and the Soviet Union both flatly reject the proposed Apollo–Soyuz Test Project. Each believes the other is trying to steal their technology.
South Vietnam is invaded by North Vietnam but they are held off with the help of US air power. The Soviets refuse to send help to their old ally. It is believed, by the CIA, that the Soviets are unable to help due to their reduced spending in their defense budget. The North did not believe the US would intervene because of the Case-Church Amendment. However, Nixon's personal pleading to congress for the South Vietnamese ... congress amends the law and allows resumption of bombing and support.
North Vietnam falls, after South Vietnam for the first time invades the North and captures Hanoi.
Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme shot President Nixon on September 5th. Fromme was a follower of Charles Manson; Manson is serving a life term in prison. With Nixon in a coma and his doctors believing he would not recover; Vice President Edward Brooke is sworn in as the nation's 38th President and America's first black President.
The first super-computer capable of 100 megahertz is the Cray-1 came online December 31.
The Soviet Union reaches Mars in January, just as the Americas are leaving. Unlike the Americans who spent their time in orbit the Soviets came prepared to land on Phobos, the larger of the two Martian moons.
Jimmy Carter is elected President. President Brooke was defeated because he had not originally planned to run for the Presidency but was pressured by many to do so after Nixon was shot. His last minute entry into the election split the Republican Party; when former Ronald Reagan, feeling cheated, ran as an independent.
China invades Vietnam due to the massive amount of refugees pouring into their country; they are fleeing out of fear of southern troops. The Vietnamese hold off the Chinese invaders with the help of American air and space reconnaissance.Elvis Presley visits Former President Nixon after he comes out of his coma. Elvis is motivated to "clean-up" his own act and get off of drugs. He founds the Elvis Presley Center, to help others with substance abuse.
The Soviet Union test the N-3, a new super-heavy lift reusable rocket with a payload of 1,100,000 lbs to LEO.
President Brooke visits Vandenberg Air Force Base, with former President Nixon, to witness a test of a new Scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engine, the first of its kind. President Brooke during a speech said the development of this engine took almost as long as the Apollo program and cost twice as much due to the complexities and technological challenges. The new jet was tested on a modified S-R 71 Blackbird, the only plane that could go fast enough for the scramjet to work. The top speed was Mach 6.
Mao Zedong dies in China leaving a power vacuum and worsens the war in Vietnam.
Premier Brezhnev introduces major reforms to the Soviet Union; the reforms will be under the direction of Central Committee Member Mikhail Gorbachev the program is called Perestroika.
The United States successfully launches its new shuttle, six months early and under budget. The SSTO (single-stage-to-orbit) rocket can carry 36 passengers and a larger stretch version with a capacity of 60 passengers will be tested later in the year.The NERVA rocket, after five years of successful use in the United States, will be replaced. The Carter administration has plans to develop the next generation high-speed nuclear rocket. It will be a salt-water core design and expected to take several years to develop. It was also announced that NASA will start testing an ion engine in orbit next year. The ion rocket will help move cargo to the moon or the various space stations in orbit. The ion rocket has the potential to replace thermal nuclear rockets but many more decades of development will be needed.
The United States introduces its new heavy lift reusable rocket (Neptune VI) in July. The ship is based on an early Rombus design from the early 60's. It can lift 1,200,000 lbs to LEO.
China is routed by the Vietnamese army in its counter-attack in September. While the Chinese army blames the Americans, to avoid humiliation in the eyes of its people, most politicians know the Americans had nothing to do with the loss. In-fighting within the PRC Army suggest that a civil war may be brewing.
The CIA briefs the President that a revolution may be gaining strength in Iran. The agency recommends that discussions with Shah Mohammad Reza should warn them and offer help. With a candor talk with the Iranians about the limits of American power due to the space race. The Shah's government after internal talks starts to reform their country.
The United States dedicates it first Luna base (simply called Alpha base). It has a population of 160 and will continue to expand. One important mission will be to produce oxygen for use as a rocket fuel. Microrocket will set up a shop to start privately testing its electromagnetic catapult launch system.
The Brookings Institution, one of the nation's oldest think tanks, estimates that NASA and other space based government agencies collectively are spending around 2.0% of the GDP and they have quadrupled over the last 10 years. They also pointed out the defense's share of the nation's GDP has fallen by 20% over the same period. They predict the space programs will match and then pass defense within the next decade. Finally, their study found that several million jobs have been created due to investment in the space programs and private industry's investment in space is likely to surpass total government spending in the near future.
The USA and Mexico have agreed to a guest-worker program and a trade pact, hoping to better coordinate their economies. While the United States needs workers to do its low tech work and Mexico needs American investments in its economy. The agreement is seen as a "win-win" for the two neighbors.
With the Chinese withdrawal from the border region, the Vietnamese economy has started to boom with strong investments from the United States and Japan. The Philippine government have noted that immigration to the United States from the Philippines has increased to record levels as the American economy is booming.
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched its first manned rocket, after a delay of two years. Though it is somewhat primitive by US and Soviet standards; it is viewed as a total success.
Iran invades Afghanistan after a bitter border dispute and the rise of a communist government, while some believe the Shah's government used the disputes to focus the population on something other than the poor economy, the government said it is for the protection of its rights. Either way it seems to have worked, as street demonstrations throughout the nation have dropped.Microrocket starts to catapult small payloads into space from a test facility in New Mexico. It received a government grant to design a mass driver system for the moon. The Americans hope to start producing rocket fuel for its orbital travel needs without the cost of transporting those fuels from Earth. The escape velocity of the moon is 2.4 km/s compared to Earths 11.2 km/s and without an atmosphere to drag it down will save a tremendous amount of money.
President Carter visits Three Mile Island in early June with Admiral Rickover of the NRC. Three Mile Island is viewed as an example of excellent work in improving safety at a nuclear power plant. The President said that the NRC estimates that over 30% of the nation's electricity now comes from nuclear energy and the county is likely to be triple that amount by the end of the century. There was a small anti-nuclear group protesting but most Americans now believe it is safe, especially since Rickover started to reform the Agency years earlier.
Ayatollah Khomeini, an Iranian exile, returns to Iran in September. But Ayatollah Khomeini fails to gather support in Iran which is still engaged in a war with Afghanistan. Khomeini is arrested and then returns to his exile.
The United States lands on Mars a little over ten years after reaching the moon. It will survey the poles for water and life; they will stay for 6 months. With the human space population approaching 4500 (750 on Moon, the rest in orbital stations), many believe it is only a matter of time before travel to near space, the moon and to Mars will be common place.
The first American Bullet trains runs between New York and Boston. Its top speed is 195 MPH. Over 10,000 miles of tracks are planned to be built over the next twenty years.
The trade pact between the United States and Mexico created the year earlier is expanded to include Canada; the new pact is called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
European Space Agency tested a heavy lift rocket from its newly opened base in French Guiana.
Former President Nixon endorses George Bush for the Presidency, quickly making Bush the front runner.
Chinese Military Commanders in South China reject responsibility for the loss in Vietnam. Beijing had called for them to step down.
Beijing orders the arrest of several key southern Generals. Loyal troops to the southern Generals prevent the arrests. China falls into disarray as cities in the south decide if they want to join the growing ranks of the rebellion.
Microrocket starts testing its Mass Driver on the moon. Continued expansion of Alpha Base has tripled its population in the past few years it is now 550. Several sites on the moon are being studied for Helium-3 extraction. Helium-3 is rare on Earth but is important for possible fuel in a fusion reactor.
Iraq attacks Iran along their shared border in fear of growing Shia insurgency in disputed territory and to take advantage of Iran's slow military progress in Afghanistan.
George Bush is elected President; Shirley Temple Black is the first women Vice President. Ambassador Black (a former child star) was picked because of her position as US Ambassador to the UN World Space Committee (WSC) (formed in 1975) and knowledge in all space related matters. Mrs. Black helped rewrite and get the amendments ratified in the Outer Space Treaty, to allow the development of nuclear pulse rocket technology.
Troops loyal to the Chinese Central Committee attack several key cities in the south. Taiwan offers military help to the south.
NASA and the European Space Agency signed an agreement to help Europe build a reusable rocket. The Soviets respond by helping the Warsaw Pact nation form their own Space Agency independent of Moscow.The Japanese economy collapses due to foreign withdrawal of assets and their stock market collapse. Investors are nervous because of the growing China Crises.
Former President Nixon joins the Bush administration as a Special Advisor in Space Policy.
Microrocket, from its Luna launch site, delivers 220,000 lbs of rocket fuel to a LEO refueling station. With a working Mass Driver System on the Moon; the Americans start to develop mega-structure building technologies and design a Stanford Torus (large space wheel).
The Soviet Union breaks ground on a Mass Driver system on the moon. The system is almost identical to Microrocket's system, starting major accusation of theft or spying. The FBI and CIA both start to investigate out of National security concerns.
Civil War breaks out in China after a full assault against southern cities by northern forces. Taiwan helps southern forces with its powerful air forces.
1982The Soviet Union starts to build a Radio Telescope on the 'dark' side of the moon. This is the first attempt to construct a telescope on the moon and the first structure of any kind on the dark side.
America increases troop levels in South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines in response to Soviet troop increases along the border of China and Russia. The Soviets claim this is in response to the Chinese Civil War and to prevent it from spilling over in their country. Many believe the USSR may intervene on behalf of the Chinese Communists. It is the biggest flare-up of Cold War tensions since a Yom Kippur War.
The US Department of Education announces a shortage of students entering into law and business programs. However, on a positive note, high school graduation rates are nearly identical among the nation's ethnic groups and science degree programs are thriving.
An American probe in the asteroid belt finds an asteroid (possible a dead comet) made of mostly ice. Plans to move the asteroid to earth's orbit are being formulated.
Leonid Brezhnev died on November 10. Mikhail Gorbachev replaces him as General Secretary of the Soviet Union with full support of the Central Committee.
1983The United States demonstrates the ability to smelt ore under zero gravity conditions, both Iron and Aluminum have been extracted from Luna ore. This ability, it is believed, will start a new industrial revolution in space.
The United States Astronaut Academy graduated its first class with 250 cadets. A young African-American man named Barrack Obama is the first Valedictorian; during his speech he cites former Presidents Edward Brooke and Richard Nixon as his inspirations for entering into the sciences.
Iranian troops defeat the last Afghan forces in the 5-year war between their two countries. This allows Iran to concentrate on their other front with Iraq.
Ithacus military craft is deployed for the first time in the Pacific in response to the crisis is Asia. The Ithacus is based on the Rombus rocket and comes in two sizes: the larger one can deploy 1200 troops per rocket and the smaller rocket is deployed on a modified aircraft carrier and can carry 260 troops.
The United States build a small 12-person base on the surface of Mars. The main mission is to receive prefabricated modules to build a larger base. Because of the distance between Earth and Mars it is planned to be 100% independent and self-sufficient base with shelter, energy and food production all from on-site facilities.
First successful test flight of NASA's new salt-water core nuclear rocket; though it is still many years from being ready to travel in interplanetary space.
The United States authorizes 26 new moon bases to be built mostly by private business.The Chinese declare a cease-fire in their ongoing civil war. The greatly reduces the likeliness of a larger war between the superpowers. America and the Soviet Union both stand down their level of alertness and withdraw their added troops. Estimates of deaths in the Chinese civil war are in the tens of millions.
George Bush is re-elected President.
Soviets start using their new radio telescope on the moon.
The United States starts to construct a ship for its planned Jupiter mission in five years. The ship will be the first spacecraft made of metals mined from the moon. Many of the electronics will also come from orbital factories that take advantage of the zero gravity conditions. The engine is still being designed and tested, the engines will be built on Earth.
The Soviets build a one km diameter Solar Sail. It proves to be very problematic and embarrassing to the Soviets after it collapsed into itself.
ESA travels to the American Alpha base in an independently designed Trans-Luna ship.
Due to the dramatic drop in launch cost and a steady growth in orbital production of steel; a building boom is taking place in LEO and the different Lagrangian points. NASA sponsors the building of a large orbital space wheel with a planned diameter a one km (0.62 mile). The wheel is the largest planned space station and is based on the Stanford Torus. It will take several years to construct and house 7500 people.
Microrocket launches an unmanned test ship from its test facility in New Mexico to LEO. The ship used the Electromagnetic catapult to accelerate the ship, at one-G, to hypersonic speed (Mach 5), and then the scramjet stage cuts in and speeds the ship up to Mach 20 (13,000 mph). The scramjet stage separates from the payload stage which then uses a small rocket to boost the payload to LEO. The whole system reduces the launch costs to airline levels. Microrocket hope to offer manned flights within a few years, the system promises to make space travel accessible to everyone.
The Trans-Luna Shuttle Challenger was hit by several small pieces of metal broken from the collapsed Soviet solar sail. Though others have died, over the years of space flight, this was the first Trans-Luna shuttle to be destroyed. The ship carried a young women (Christa McAuliffe) who was to be the first permanent teacher on the moon.
The United States announces increased funding for various Ion engine designs. The technology that allows large nuclear reactors in space, which are needed to create the plasma used to push the ship though space, is now available.
With the Jupiter ship construction well under way the United States has started to plan a trip to Saturn for the early 21st century.
The Soviet Union ship lands on Mars for the first time. The crew of 8 will stay on the surface for 18 months and receive several modules for a larger base. Details have been kept a secret for unknown reasons.
The East Germans launch their first rocket.
After six long years of war Iran and Iraq end their war.
West Germany matches the East Germans by launching their own ship several weeks later.
Island One's (the name for NASA big space wheel) spokes and primary support ring are assembled in LEO. With this station and many other private space stations under construction the permanent space population has climbed over 25,000 but the daily worker population, which is shuttled up, can reach 75,000.
The United States has successfully moved the asteroid made mostly of ice, on a trajectory to Earth. It will take until the end of the century to reach orbit.Japan sends a ship from its new launch facility straight to the moon in a surprise demonstration of technological ability.
The Republic of Vietnam and Republic of China (South China) launch a rebuilt American Saturn V-D(R) rocket to LEO with a large satellite believed to be designed to spy on People Republic of China (North China).
The PRC joins Asian space race when it puts a manned ship in space. The ship was acquired from the Soviet Union.
The United States and the European Space Agency agree to jointly build a 200 person space station that will be moved to Martian orbit in modules and reassembled in orbit. The purpose is a long term study and exploration of a broad area of the Martian surface and support of the American base. It will offer support to the growing number of belt prospectors.
In what is considered a game changer for Soviet leadership around the world in regards to peace; the USSR disassembled their last ICBM. Though they still have numerous nuclear weapons most agree that there is little need for such missiles anymore.
The United States opens it radio telescope on the dark side of the moon in a joint project with ESA. It has several times the power of the Soviet telescope.
The first commercial solar power station opens and transmits energy to a receiving station in southern Arizona. The power station can produce and transmit 1.5 gigawatts of electricity. It promises an era of nearly free energy. The station was first planned 14 years earlier during the high of the oil crises.
Vice President Shirley Temple Black becomes the first women President. Black was endorsed by former President Nixon who campaigned for her. Senator Dan Quayle becomes Vice President.
Early in March a major solar flare disrupts some communication and orbital activities. However, due to decades of designs for such events the problems in orbit are minor. On earth power is lost in parts of Canada leading to most advanced countries to plan for worst case flare activities in the future.
The United States new Jupiter ship conducts a test run from LEO construction berth to the moon and back. The test run is a total success.
Island One is spinning for the first time to produce an artificial gravity. Though it is not the first station to produce an artificial gravity, it is the first to reach full one-G Earth gravity.
The first birth on the moon is to an American couple on July 4. Some wonder if it is a big co-incidence, or proof of America's destiny as the dominant space-faring nation; creating the idea of a Manifest Destiny of Space.
The nation of Brazil enters space for the first time in a independently designed system.
ESA sends a six person ship to Mars becoming the third space program to do so. It is noted the ESA has advanced rapidly due to reduced spending on defense. Western European defense spending in below 1% and Eastern Europe is only slightly higher.
India puts a man in space aboard its new SSTO craft. The ship uses technology jointly developed with the Japanese Space Agency.
The United Kingdom, Australia and Canada launch their Commonwealth Spacecraft into LEO. The ship will allow these countries to better compete in LEO without relying on other nations' launch facilities.
Iraq invades the Kingdom of Kuwait, re-igniting the Iran-Iraq war. However, President Black calls on the United States to intervene on the side of a small country that has been wrongly conquered. Many are against involvement as America has little interest in this region and Iran has taken the leadership position.
The USSR is booming economically along with much of the developed world. The Soviets have reduced their defense spending to just under 10% percent of their GDP, half their 1970 level.
Continued border disputes between the two Chinas have led to a Cold War. In an effort to prevent an all-out war the United Nations recognizes both nations. Taiwan becomes part of the newly recognized Republic of China.
The first tera-scale computer is built by IBM. It is capable of 1.2 teraflops per second.
President Black is authorized by congress after several months of talks and UN Security Council resolutions to engage in war to remove Iraq troops from Kuwait. Iran is angry by the long process and the fact the USA has moved no troops to the area. However, the United States starts to use rail-gun projectiles from arsenal submarines in the Persian Gulf as well as long range, sub orbital, hypersonic bombers. These weapon systems capacities were unknown to the world and crush the Iraqi forces. After 100 hours of bombing, America lands dozens of Ithacus rockets, with 100,000 troops in Kuwait and Iraq. Iraq's forces are quickly routed with casualties in the tens of thousands.
Many countries complain that America has over-used force against the Iraq. This leads to a drop in confidence in American leadership and that of President Black. America slips into a minor recession for the first time in 10 years.
The Soviets start to assemble a new deep space manned vessel in LEO. They claim the ship will be powered by a gas-cored thermal nuclear rocket, if so this would demonstrate a more advanced thermal rocket than the American salt-water core NERVA engine on the Jupiter ship.
Former President Nixon gives a speech at MIT pointing out that the Soviets are still in the Space Race and the United States must not slow down its R&D or the Soviets will leap further ahead.
The Hubble Space Telescope is launched into deep space toward the asteroid Ceres. It will use this massive asteroid to shade it from micrometeoroids. The location for Hubble was chosen to get the telescope further away from the sun's glare.
The Soviets admit that they have no military capacity like the Americans. They feel that they have no need to police the world. They call on the Americans to stop developing advanced destabilizing weapons and allow the United Nations to do its job.
American college rates are roughly the same for all sub-groups including different ethnic groups and gender. This fulfills the Nixon-Brooke plan laid out over 20 years ago.
With growing hotel and recreational capacity in LEO and on the Moon there is a growing push for tourists to be able to travel to Mars. There is, however, no current ship capable of carrying tourists on such long journeys.
Microrocket has started to transport workers to LEO on its mag-lev/hypersonic craft, this further increases the ease of traveling into space. Microrocket plans to build dozens of launch sites throughout the free world.
The Alpha moon base population passes 10,000 year-round residents and has a hotel capacity of nearly 3500. The community has official chartered itself as a town. Current construction is laying down enough housing for a population of 40,000 by century's end. Total Luna population is several times that already in dozens of communities.
William Clinton is elected the President of the United States over incumbent Shirley Temple Black. The overuse of force in Iraq and the brief recession are cited as the main reasons for her narrow defeat.
The United States is the first nation to reach Jupiter. The 24 person crew will spend 9 months exploring the Jovian system and will be able to freely land on the many moons during this time. Several modules of the ship including a 220 megawatt power plant are left behind to be a starting point of a permanent space station.
The United States sponsors an International Space Elevator research group that will study the possibility of constructing an elevator like transportation system. A moon based system is considered more likely in the short term.
A joint American/Japanese experimental nuclear pulse rocket blows up in an underground research base in Alaska, dozens are killed.
Japan joins the United States as one of the only countries to land on Mercury. Japan hopes to further study the planet's core for rare earths which are needed in advanced electronics.
The Cold War between the Chinas increases when it appears that the PRC Army Space Command shot at a South Chinese reconnaissance satellite. If true it is the first military conflict in space. The world community strongly protests this action. Unfortunately, the South said it will match the North's ability.
1994The Soviet Union follows the Americans to the Jovian system and quickly lands on Europa. Europa is an ice covered moon circling Jupiter; it is believed to possibly harbor life. The Soviets came with a high powered heating drill and hopes to be the first nation to find life off of earth. The drilling may take years as the ice is dozens of miles thick.
Former President Richard Nixon Dies on April 22. Several days later Alpha City (the largest city on the moon, population 13,000) votes to change its name to the Nixon City.
An international team reaches fusion break point at a research station in Canada. This means that the amount of energy that is released from the fusion reaction is equal to the energy put in.
The American/ESA space station is completed in Martian orbit. On an independent mission the Commonwealth ship HMSS Elisabeth II docks with it.
The Soviet Mars base secret is revealed; it was the belief that they had found an ancient alien site, it proves incorrect and an embarrassment.
Microrocket is now moving hundreds of tourists into space on a daily bases to dozens of space facilities. The Trans-Luna flight time has been reduced to only 18 hours.
Chemical rockets are all but dead with only a few nations still using them. The PRC is still the largest nation using them due to technological transfer limits
The population in space has reached 250,000; with a further 80,000 now calling the moon home.
A major drought in Africa has reminded the world that parts of the world are still well behind in development. The United States takes the lead on relief efforts.1996
President Clinton announces a multi-trillion dollar, multi-year program to rapidly develop Africa. The plans include cheap space solar power stations to desalinate water and provide electricity, road and rail construction, and heavy incentives for American companies to invest there. As America has little National Debt and a booming economy it quickly gains support. Most European countries add their own assistance packages.
The United States opened the final leg of its 10,000 mile high speed intercity train line a goal set almost 25 years earlier by then President Nixon. The final line also has the newest technology and the train on a maglev track can travel 300 mph. The rest of the system will be updated over the next 20 years.
President Clinton is re-elected.
The Soviet Union shocks the world by going to Saturn with a sister ship of its Jupiter vessel.
Europe's first base on Mars is dedicated. The six person base is exploring sites for an all-European colony.
The United States completes its large base on Mars with a population of 200. Like its early Luna bases, the Mars base is meant to grow rapidly.
The largest solar power satellite is operational, with the power of five gigawatts. Power is transmitted to a site in Siberia.The First deep space Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) is tested with a trip to Mars in 39 days.
United States and Japan in a joint mission find rare earths on an asteroid. These metals are needed for advanced electronics.
The Soviet drilling probe on Europa reaches liquid water. A submarine probe starts to explore near thermal vents hoping to find life.
South China declares war on the PRC. Widespread attacks on web sites and industrial computing systems show how deadly such attacks can be.
Iran reaches the moon to establish their first base.
Peta-scale computing is demonstrated.
Artificial meat is grown in a lab on the moon for the first time. The hope is to be able to produce this form of protein that many space travelers miss, as few animals have been transported off of earth.
The world population reaches six billion. The leading nations are:
- Republic of India 1,000,000,000
- South China 660,000,000
- North China 540,000,000
- United States of America 325,000,000
- Union of Soviet Socialist Republic 295,000,000
Northern and Southern China computer viruses spread around the world. As little research into defense has been done in these areas and the abilities of each China was unknown, the world computer networks quickly collapse and the largest recession since the 1970's grips the world.
India establishes a base on the moon causing large anti-space riot due to an ongoing famine and economic collapse. The Indian government believes it must compete with the rest of the world or fall further behind.
Microrocket opens a launch system on Mars. This eliminates the need for chemical or nuclear rockets on Mars. Movement in the Martian atmosphere is done by specially designed aircraft that can breathe the CO2 that is in the Martian air.
Fears of a Y2K bug that would damage computers is of no concern as the world is still trying to clean up their networks from the viruses released from the war in China.Puerto Rico becomes the 51st State on July 4th.
Condoleezza Rice is elected President of the United States in a landslide over Vice President Al Gore. She is the first African-America to be elected President. George W. Bush is vice president.
The Soviet Union second ship reaches Saturn.
The United Stated reaches Saturn and brings a ship that can land on Titan, its largest moon. The ship carries a craft that can sail on a lake of liquid methane.
The United States announces plan to complete the Grand Tour of the solar system with trips to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto over the next two decades. They hope that their advanced plasma or nuclear-pulse engines will allow high speed travel on these multi-billion mile journeys.
Mikhail Gorbachev longtime leader of the Soviet Union steps down. Vladimir Putin replaces him.
The Soviet Union announces an acceleration of its plans to build a Martian city and to develop a permanent station in the asteroid belt.
America's ice asteroid reaches orbit after a multi-decade trip. The water on this asteroid promises to provide a cheap and plentiful source of water. The United States offers the Soviet Union water rights with no strings attached in a gesture of peace and friendship.
A ticket tape parade in New York on September 11, celebrating a successful joint mission to Mars by America, Israel and Iran is briefly interrupted when a Saudi citizen named Osama Bin Laden jumps off the World Trade Tower in an effort to start a Jihad against the west. The sad story of his death travels around the world as an example that old hatreds still exist in the world.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (known as SpaceX) is formed and hopes to become the first private company to bring tourists and colonists to Mars. It will use Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) engines and have travel time to just 39 days.
The war in China is over. Both countries have suffered wide spread damage to their industry and infrastructure. Combined deaths are over 100 million and, despite the Peace Treaty, deaths continue to rise due to famine and disease. One expert suggests that the damage is greater than that of World War II. Few, however, believe it will be a lasting peace.
President Rice tries to initiate Detente in the on-going Space Race with the Soviets. Rice hopes that co-operation will further develop the technologies of both nations. She calls on Premier Putin to create a joint development plan to build a ship to travel to the stars.
The Soviet announces they will join the American plan, but are concerned about America's growing military power. They point out that despite decades of reduced defenses spending America still spends half the world budget in defense.
The United States and India travel to Venus in a joint mission and land people on the surface for the first time. The lander on touch-down is quickly lowered into a subterranean base which was built by remote controlled construction equipment.
European Space Agency travels to Jupiter on a Commonwealth Nations built ship. They are the third organization to reach the Jovian system. They send several probes deep into the atmosphere of Jupiter.
Iranian troops enter Saudi Arabia to support the Saudi government against an uprising in the south.
Japan and Vietnam jointly travel to Mars; their hope, on this journey, is to show the Chinese and other Asian countries that they can compete with the world but need to work together and stop all ongoing wars, hot or cold.
North Korea, believing that Japan is plotting an invasion of their nation and using a trip to Mars as a cover-up, invades South Korea. America removed their troops years earlier, as they saw little need for troops there, quickly deploy their Rapid Deployment Force and stop the invasion. Southern forces with American help counter-attack and North Korea is defeated. Kim Jong-il, the North's leader, is tried for crimes against humanity.
Space based solar power stations provide the majority of power for much of Eastern Europe. America is however nearly 90% nuclear out of concern over vulnerability of solar stations to attack. America, which is now using 4th Generation nuclear plants, is using old "spent fuel rods" as its primary source of fuel. This process will greatly reduce the nuclear waste problem. Furthermore, it can also use thorium as a source of fuel which is more available the uranium and is cleaner.
The United Stated authorizes a group of American business led by Microrocket to construct Island Two, a planned space station based on the Bernal Sphere concept. Island Two will be able to house 120,000 people and take several years to finish.
The first Solar Sail is demonstrated on a flight to Venus by the Soviet Union. This is the first interplanetary trip using this type of technology.
SpaceX uses a VASIMR powered ship and travels to Mars in 39 days. It has 20 passengers and six crew members.
Condoleezza Rice is re-elected President of the United States. She easily defeats John Kerry of Massachusetts.
2005The total space population surpasses 1,250,000 and has been growing steadily for 30 years. Current future projections see a growth pattern of around 20% increase per year.
The PRC falls into civil war and nearly collapses.
The United States build a small six-person base on Saturn's moons Titan and Rhea. The mission will be to continue to explore these moons for life and serve as a base for the whole Saturn system.
A final deep space ship design is approved. It will use a nuclear pulse engine which has taken 30 years to design and perfect. Though practical commercial fusion power is not yet available, research continues.
The first practical robots are introduced in newly unified Korea. They are capable machines and are used to clean up undetonated bombs from the short Korean War without help from people.
The population on Mars reaches 1500 and America plans a 10,000 person city to be built over the next 20 years.
The first cruise ship with 500 passengers will travel to several orbital stations on the way to its final destination of the moon; the ship is very much like those on the oceans of Earth.
Private business is now the driving force in space development. It is pointed out by several experts that this is one of the reasons the Soviets are struggling to keep up with space station development and Luna colonization, as the Soviets are still a state planned economy. In addition to this weakness the Soviet military is nearly two generations behind Americas ability even though American spending as a percent of the Soviets is only around half or about 4% of its GDP.
Republic of China forces (with help from a multinational force made up mostly Japanese, Philippine, Indonesian and Vietnamese troops) enter into North China and put down several uprising in North China. The end of these uprising it is hoped will put an end of nearly 30 years of war in China. The death count from all the wars, famine and misery is over 200,000,000 and still growing.
Mexico opens it first independent base on the moon becoming just the second Latin American country to do so. Mexico, which has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world for the last 30 years, is now the fifth richest nation in the world behind the USA, USSR, Japan, and Brazil.
The Soviets launch a deep space ship to Uranus. However the ship will take years to get there due to the need to carry more supplies which reduce the amount of fuel it can carry. Many believe that the United States will catch up and beat the Soviets there once their ship launches in two years with it highly advance nuclear pulse rocket.
The People's Republic of China continues in its civil war and is fighting outside forces. Though the PRC tried to rally its forces and blame the south, its efforts failed. The Republic of China claims it had nothing to do with its civil war and instead blames the PRC's hard line politics.
With rapid economic growth in most of Africa over the last ten years, democracies are becoming the most popular choice of governments. The Freedom House, a group that rates the freedom of the world nations, cite that over 60% of the world's population now live in mostly or fully free states.
2008Vice President George Bush loses in a landslide to Hillary Clinton. Clinton election marks the first time that America has had "back to back" women presidents.
As part of the Starship Project the Soviets invite the Americans to jointly research anti-matter production, on a proposed, yet to be built laboratory on Mercury. Mercury is chosen for safety, due to the distance from Earth and abundant solar energy which would be needed for any production of anti-matter.
The Soviet Union opens a research station on Europa with Brazil. This is the first joint deep space research effort by these two countries.
Following American and Soviet example of co-operation East and West Germany plan a joint research mission to Saturn. Their mission will complete the most detailed study of the rings of Saturn which has not been studied in detail by America or the Soviets who have placed all their efforts on the moons.After five years, Iranian forces withdraw from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi rebellion has been put down and the King has introduced reforms similar to those that Iran was successful 30 years earlier.
The United States launches its deep space ship towards Uranus. It will then journey onto Neptune on a five year mission. The ship is the fastest ship built up to this point and is capable of moving at 0.012 C or around one million miles per hour. This nuclear pulse rocket is several times faster than any earlier vessel.
Premier Putin of the Soviet Union signs into law a plan to loosen up some control of its economy and start a gradual conversion towards democracy. Many believe that this plan could transform the world and lead it into a Golden Age.
Island Two is completed in the L5 position in orbit. Several other large stations are under construction by other countries. Black Spaceport, one of the largest stations, will soon be relocated to Martian orbit in a continued effort to keep up with the growing demands of the space faring public.
Turkey becomes the second Middle Eastern country to establish a base on the moon. They hope to further develop their capacity and jointly travel and build a base on Mars with Iran.
The first nuclear pulse powered cruise ship is tested on its maiden journey to Venus. The vessel is built to carry 800 passengers and crew to any space port in the inner solar system.
Japan and Vietnam reach Saturn and establish as small base on Rhea, Saturn's second largest moon.
The United States reaches Neptune after by-passing Uranus which it will visit on its return trip to Earth. The 90 person crew will explore this system for a year. It came fully prepared to land on its moons and send probes deep into its atmosphere.
The newest Luna shuttles are using upgraded ion powered rockets and can make the one way trip in less than ten hours.
The largest hotel on the moon can hold 500 guests. The new hotel is in Armstrong City. Tranquility Crater near the first Luna landing site which is now a National Historical Site.
NASA releases a report on the 40th Anniversary of America's first space habitat and Luna base. It points out that while many still find it hard to believe that while millions of humans can move into space, in such a short period of time on earth the population has grown by three billion people. All those people have had homes constructed, more land plowed under for food, tens of thousands of commercial building and tens of thousands of factories built and the largest migration from rural to urban centers, all which would have been seen just as incredible 40 years earlier.
2012January 1, Orbital space population is 2.5 million - 306,000 on the moon, 2200 on Mars and 602 in deep space missions or on outposts. An international group made up of the United States of America, European Space Agency, the Commonwealth nations, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and the USSR jointly launch a Bussard Ramjet on the first trip to study the Kuiper and Oort Clouds of comets and minor planets. This design was chosen because it will be ability to collect free floating hydrogen gas to keep itself fueled. The ship will therefore have almost an unlimited range and a top speed of .05 C or 3,000,000 MPH. The ship launched on March 19 will take several years to reach its destination and will spend decades researching this distant part of space.
July 4, The Americans show off their newest high speed test craft. The craft is similar to a British concept study from the 1970's called Project Daedalus. The experimental ship is designed to travel as fast as 10% light speed but testing and building up to that speed is expected to take several years.
November 6, Hillary Clinton loses the presidency to John Stossel in the closest election since 1960. It is expected to be decided by fewer than 210,000 votes in the popular vote and just three in the electoral vote.