I'm trying to get past the writers block problem so I wrote an addition to the fifth chapter of the current project.
On arrival at the Senate committee room Stone stood out from everyone else. Along with his apparent state of youth Stone also wore another second hand suit that dated from a decade ago as he had no use for the polyester fabrics, wide lapels, and other stylistic flourishes of male fashion in the mid-seventies.
Prior to today’s session Stone had a conversation with Doctor Curtis.
“So what else are you working on?”
Stone thought for a moment and then answered.
“Well. My current project is titled Exodus, it’s about the passage of a neutron star through the Solar System and the human response to it.”
“Will it hit anything?”
“Does it have to?” Stone replied.
Curtis thought for a moment.
No, it didn’t, the gravitational effects of the passage would be more than sufficient to cause an extinction event on Earth.
“I also did a rough outline for two more novels set in the same continuity as Don’t’ Give Up The Sheep and A Clear Morning. The first will be titled Star Of The North, which will be an account of the Final War from the viewpoint of a combat rifleman from Minnesota.”
In fact it would be his own autobiography with a change of some character names.
“The second is titled Return To Tranquility.”
“So after the war your people are going back to the Moon?”
He was cheating on this one as well. This novel would be an account of the actual history of the new space program.
Curtis asked another question.
“So you’re using the Two Stage To Orbit system for your revived space program?”
“No.” Stone replied. “I’m cheating.”
“Really?” Said Curtis. “How?”
“Well initially I’m using a system called Boosted Single Stage To Orbit.”
“Yes.” Stone replied. “It’s basically Korolev’s solution to building a first generation ICBM.”
Stone was referring to the R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile which was later adapted to launch satellites and manned spacecraft.
”Korolev?” Said Curtis.
“Sergei Korolev, the head Soviet rocket scientist at the time.”
“I’ve never heard of him.”
Stone was surprised but replied.
“I thought I read the name somewhere.”
You did after the war. He thought.
“So the orbiter runs on LOX-LH2 solely on internal tankage, but uses external boosters to provide thrust in the initial stage of the flight. The boosters are recoverable, and while the unmanned dry cargo and tanker versions of the orbiter can use solid propellants, there is a clear reluctance after the accident in A Clear Morning to use them on the manned orbiter.”
Stone used the technical shorthand terms for liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, the primary propellants of the Space Shuttle system.
“So for the manned orbiter we take a proven system like the Redstone, take the unused mass of the warhead and the guidance platform and use it for structural reinforcement, the recovery system, and additional propellant.”
Redstone was the first generation theater ballistic missile system deployed by the United States Army. And it would eventually replaced by the initial version of the solid fuel Pershing 1 and Pershing 1A missiles.
“So what we have is a system that is reliable, recoverable, and most importantly, reusable.”
Curtis nodded again.
“Okay.” He said. “Can you send a copy of Return To Tranquility? The technical parts?”
“Sure,” Stone replied, “no problem.”
With this it was time to testify.
Although Senator March had recognized Stone from their previous encounter and had objected to his testimony before it began the chairman asked him to proceed.