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Project Venus : The first manned mission

Follow Jack Fowler on his incredible mission, to be the first man on Venus and how his team helps him complete the almost impossible in this captivating, action packed story.




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Project Venus

The First Manned Mission

Episode 1

By J.W. Kelly

With thanks to Elaine and Abigail.

Copyright © 2016 by J.W. Kelly

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.


Contents

Chapter 1 - Every days a ...

Chapter 2 - Kick those tyres...

Chapter 3 - Team time

Chapter 4 - The call

Chapter 5 - Zero-G Dodgeball!

Chapter 6 - Risk

Chapter 1

29th September 2070

Rita sat in mission control grasping her cold instant coffee. She held the coffee at such an angle it was almost spilling. She was waiting for the seemingly inevitable bad news. Her fiancée Jack, a hero, the father of her daughter, the first man on Venus and now part of the crew who were about to rendezvous with the Interplanetary Logistics Station - known as the ILS. She looked down at her diamond ring. He had proposed just before he left and now, well now - who knows. One week before the end of what had been a tricky, but successful mission, zip, absolutely nothing from the spacecraft Beagle 6. Comms just stopped and nobody on Earth knew why. Some thought everyone on board were dead, some thought it was a technical issue but the conspiracy theories were really the ones in the news. Some people thought they never made it out of LVO (Low Venus Orbit), some thought they were still there doing military research and others thought they were abducted by aliens! All would come clear soon, as they were going to be boarded within a few hours, she would know.

Rita thought about how she would act if the seemingly inevitable bad news came. She loved her man dearly, but it had been a year and a half since they had seen each other. She had learned to live without him. The whole world will be watching her and she was scared she would be insincere.

9th July 2069

Back to where this incredible story started, Jack lay on his back gazing at the flight instrumentation. His left hand raised with his index finger slowly moving over and past the digital displays on his console, but his mind was elsewhere. Deep in thought. A mission to the surface of Venus. His name down in History - along with the greats, Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong, Tim Drake and now himself, Jack Fowler. An image of his daughter interrupted his thought and appeared vividly in his mind’s eye. Her bright blue eyes wide open and her strawberry blonde tufts of hair lying flat, except of course the clump sticking up at the back. Her hair being so soft you could hardly feel anything as you run your fingers through. At 7 months old some of her friends had more hair but hers was the prettiest, at least in her daddy's eyes.

'This is mission control.'

Jack's mind clicked straight back to the room. His index finger realigned to a reading for the left booster, which indicated compressive stress levels were a little high, but still within predetermined safety levels. In two minds whether to say anything, no need he thought, still within safety limits and ground control will be monitoring anyway.

'Comms check.'

'We hear you loud and clear,' replied Hutchings.

'Copy that Dragon 128 - you are good to go. From all of us here, have a good launch.'

'Roger that.'

Jack had been training for almost 2 years for the mission, but for all this time he found it difficult to believe it was him in the chair. What a million to one shot he thought, all his childhood dreams of going to the Moon or further and now he's there doing all the things he wanted to. Unbelievable, he thought.

Jack flipped his visor down and waited as the countdown started.

5

4

3

2

1

0

The whole capsule shook as both crew members looked straight ahead. Arms crossed on their chests and braced for G forces.

'Dragon 128 you have cleared the tower.'

'Roger that,' replied Hutchings.

'Temperature a little high on sensor 4 on our left booster,' Jack noted.

'We see that Fowler, it is still within limits.'

For a moment there was silence on the Comms. Just enough time for both crew members to move on from thinking about the temperature and to focus on the event of the launch.

'Temperature still rising on sensor 4,' Jack updated.

'Abort, abort, brace for abort.'

The windows lit up with the brightest white, as the emergency evacuation rockets roared into action, as the capsule splits from the rest of the rocket. In unison the crew breathed in and braced.

10 seconds later the rockets died away and the parachutes deployed, shaking the capsule violently one way then swinging the other before bringing them safely down.

Touchdown.

The hatch opened from the outside.

A young lady peered in. A warm and familiar face to them, Jen. Jen had been there all the way with them on their training.

'OK guys, training over for today. Grab your stuff we are back to quarters now.'

Jen skipped down the steel stairs of the simulator, clipboard in one hand and brushing her other palm down the scaffold like hand rail. Her long brown hair swished with every step. At 42 she looked younger than she was, but age was a changing thing. Medical advances and

more knowledge about healthy lifestyles have all played their part. Massive improvements in Cancer treatment, Dementia now unheard of in the modern world and the ability to 3D print or re-grow from stem cells, just about any human part of the body. Now in 2069 you are more likely to live past 120 than not.

Jen had worked at ESA for 6 years now. An astrophysicist originally, with an advanced degree from Cambridge University. She had found her calling in being the astronaut's point of contact, whilst in training and their contact when on mission. She never thought she would be doing this when she was accepted at Cambridge. Her path would be to follow the work of Professor Hawkins, or so she thought. She was sure she would become a theoretical physicist, but ended up, with all probability, a much more enjoyable and interesting career.


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