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For All Mankind - Apple TV Series

Rhinocrates

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Apple has released the first three episodes of For All Mankind, an alternate history TV series. Ron Moore, of Battlestar Galactica, is running it. The premise is that the Soviets were lucky with the N-1 and the first man on the moon was Alexei Leonov. As a result, the space race continues, steadily diverging from our history. Various historical characters such as Neil Armstrong, (then) Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins appear incidentally, while Deke Slayton, Gene Kranz and Werner von Braun have more screen time and the main characters are fictional.

Some critics have called it slow, others might call it meticulous as it strives for verisimilitude and there are some fun Easter eggs (von Braun is seen on TV at a congressional hearing proposing Sea Dragon).

Overall, it's theme is 'how NASA should have kept going after Apollo' and I expect the divergences from our history to accumulate - footprints on Mars in the 1980s and so on.

As I mentioned, it tries to be realistic, so I'd be interested in what people think of it.
 

Rhinocrates

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First purely fictional hardware shown, a hab module landed by remote control at the rim of Shackleton crater after the confirmation of lunar ice. A small model was shown in an earlier episode. There's no indication of how it fitted within the diameter of a Saturn V third stage - maybe there was some assembly in space and the airlock was relocated from the top to the side. Fuel tanks look pretty small.

The show handwaves over the delta-V needed for a polar landing, but it's refreshing to see that the momentous event is the discovery of a small block of water ice instead of an entire alien civilisation.
 

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Archibald

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It is basically a much lightened Skylab landed on the Moon, so build out of S-IVB, although a wet workshop rather than a dry workshop since that S-IVB must land itself propulsively. Note that the lunar gravity even pretty weak should help solving the issues that doomed the wet workshop OTL. Assembling floors in zero-G was a giant PITA.
 

Archibald

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Just for the fun of it I speculated a little about FAMK divergence.
IMHO is the Soviets reacting to Apollo in 1961 rather than 1964. Also screwing the Proton for the N-11, that is a cut-down N-1 minus the tricky first stage.

Then all the robotic lunar probes - luna lunokhod and ye-5 scoopers - went to the N-11. The more flown the best for the N-1.

Meanwhile the N-1 Block A first stage could be ground tested.

Finally the N-11 was just powerful enough to send a Soyuz LOK in lunar orbit: screwing OTL Zond distraction. The Soviets got their Apollo 8 moment mid-1968.

This tremendously boosted Soviet morale.

Meanwhile as per OTL the LK worked perfectly in three LEO unmanned tests... three years earlier than OTL Kosmos 382, that is, in 1968.

So by early 1969 all the bricks in the Soviet piloted moonshot were ready.

And on July 3 1969...

Meanwhile on April 4, 1968 Apollo 6 Saturn V did not made it through so George Low bold Apollo 8 decision never happened.

Unaware of Soviet progresses Apollo stuck with the D - E - F gradual LM testing: OTL Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 had a high Earth orbit LM test between them.

And Apollo 11 come a hairbreadth too late.
 
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Michel Van

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It sad that Series use the Soviets as "Mac Guffin" to push the plot at NASA
I wanted to see the Other side of Space race as well

next little flaws and errors is series in general very good
 

fightingirish

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After the credits of the last episode 10 "A City Upon a Hill" from season 1 , here a spoiler for the next season 2:
In a post-credits scene in 1983 Ed and Karen discuss a live coverage from the South Pacific Ocean showing a sea launch of an extremely large rocket similar to the Sea Dragon carrying a plutonium payload for expansion of the Jamestown colony.
 
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Grey Havoc

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Incidentally, the reason for the slightly altered launch sequence from what it would have been in real life lies in a certain background Easter egg. ;)
 

uk 75

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If you want a good online source for what if space especially on the N1 and post Apollo.
Plus.two handy 60s books on what kids like me were led to believe would happen in the 70s and 80s.. That went well as Clarkson would ssy.
 

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Michel Van

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About the Shuttle to Moon
it make some sense to use one common transport system

There was study about using STS for Moon mission in 1971 were Orbiter rendezvous with Propellant tanks in orbit
sehe here https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/to-the-moon-with-the-space-shuttle.4011/

Instead of complex Infrastructure of Shuttle, Nuclear Shuttle and Space Tugs and propellant resupply flights to fuel that Fleet
Here seems that NASA use STS and Sea Dragon (unmanned?) as main launch infrastructure
Were Shuttle fly to Low orbit and if needed to Moon orbit for Jamestown colony crew exchange.
by dropping Nuclear Shuttle and Space Tugs it save billions of Dollar in program !
 

Archibald

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What is sure is that Sea Dragon had plenty enough power to send an orbiter to the Moon.

The Shuttle stack as we know it ? They did a study for SEI and, hmmm, it was very very bad...

Note that, with Sea Dragon in service, it goes better. Much better. Basically - you only need two Sea Dragon to fill a Shuttle External Tank, all 750 mt of it...

And it get even better with lunar hydrolox - LOX from the crust ilmenite, and LH2 from the poles.

I have this sneaking suspicion they use a combination of Shuttle E.T and Sea Dragon with lunar hydrolox and huge ISRU effort.

This Shuttle would need three things the OTL one never had
- in-space restartable SSME (at least 1 of the 3)
- keep the E.T attached to the orbiter
- for TEI and return to Earth
a) propulsive braking with the same SSME, still with the E.T attached
or
b)aerobraking, but the OTL heatshield would result in far worse STS-107

My bet is propulsive braking by 1*SSME with the E.T for return to LEO. That's 110+30 mt to brake back in LEO.

then again, if you have Sea dragon and lunar ISRU, then even a suboptimal vehicle like the shuttle can be make to work.
 
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Orionblamblam

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If they want a Shuttle, how about Star Raker?


Might be nice, but it seems that if they wanted to be reasonably consistent, they should have gone with one of the fully reusable TSTO Shuttle concepts. The high cross range North American Rockwell Phase B design, for example, would have been easy to implement, substantially badass, and would have fit well within the timeline and aesthetic.

Star Raker was designed for SPS. But Sea Dragon would have done a good job of that, so SR might have been redundant.

deliveryService
 

sferrin

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I wonder if they'll ever go as far as mass drivers on the moon and giant solar power satellites and space colonies. Giant O'Neil cylinders would be awesome.
 

jeffb

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In a timeline where NASA has advanced Saturn Vs and Sea Dragons, the stock STS stack makes *no* sense.

I suspect that the STS makes an appearance in season 2 simply because they've got so much footage of STS lifting of and operating on orbit already. Saves on the the special effects budget.

Pity we didn't get some Douglas ROMBUS action though, that would be awesome.

1595810904243.png
SASSTO!

1595810861971.png
 

Michel Van

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i will be damed
but just found the NASA technical memorandum 104084:

Feasibility Analysis of Cislunar flight using the Shuttle Orbiter
by Davy A. Haynes of Langley Research Center 1991

He proposed that Orbiter+ET refueled with 713 metric ton hydrolox near Space station Freedom
using 5-day Hohmann transfers orbiter could arrive in 100 km lunar orbit with 3.2 metric ton of payload.
if Orbiter get more fuel it could bring more payload to Moon orbit.
He point out issue like SSME restart or ET propellant handling and Increase in OMS propellant capacity

Source
 

jeffb

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This is no long For All Mankind, but rather "space nerd cool spaceships pornfest". :p

Absolutely :D.

Does raise the question though of whether the STS was the right way to go for cheap reliable access to LEO argument and whether, in the context of For All Mankind's political and technological setting, taking the time and resources away from the Apollo program to develop the STS is a realistic scenario.
 

Archibald

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Let me throw my 2 cts into this - I fully concur, that Orion NPP would be completely awesome. Or even better: Orion NPP brought into orbit by ROMBUS. :p
 

Rhinocrates

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Screencaps of the expanded moonbase. The exterior shot shows the original module on the right, and the larger ones I assume were delivered by Sea Dragons. The first interior shot is apparently the control room in the module visible in the centre, judging by the shape of the windows. The third is possibly crew quarters of the base, looking rather submarine-like, as you'd expect.
 

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Graham1973

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Somewhere I've got the original Boeing moonbase studies from 1964, I'll dig them up and post some screenshots, as they may be the basis for at least some of what's seen in the pictures Rhinocrates published...
 

Graham1973

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Here are the Boeing design studies from 1964, these were used in the next major moonbase study in 1968. When North American/Rockwell did their 1971 study they based it around the space shuttle and Saturn V and incorporated experience from the first few Apollo missions.
 

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Archibald

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"Lunar Exploration Systems for Apollo".


My favorite Apollo lunar base. While Apollo (because JFK, and because LOR) was always suboptimal as a lunar base concept - LESA might have been a good start to correct these flaws.


This vehicle, really. RL-10 hydrolox for maximum payload delivery to the lunar surface by a single Saturn V. Direct Ascent.
That's the key.

Over the long term, use the S-IVB and LESA shelter to renew crew and cargo transportation to the lunar surface.
- scrap the cumbersome Apollo - LM - LOR crew system
- drop the largest possible payload to the surface via a single, Direct Ascent Saturn V
- the RL-10 also allows to plug Lunar ISRU into the system for drastic reduction of transportation costs to the lunar surface.
- LOX from lunar regolith
- LH2 from the poles ice deposites
- S-IVB and LESA shelter ISRU TANKERS in lunar orbit & EML-2 for transportation to Earth and later... Mars.

This way, the Apollo Lunar Base has far better long-term survival prospects...

Direct Ascent with hydrolox, later lunar ISRU. Start with cargo delivery: if the vehicle crash, nobody really cares. As soon as reliability and confidence have grown enough, put crews in that vehicle, and kiss goodbye to LOR-Apollo-LM.
 
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Archibald

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In the long term, it might be possible to keep only the S-II and build a cheaper launch system from it.
Something like
-----------------------------------
1*260-inch solid-fuel booster
+
1*S-II (to Earth orbit)
----------------------------------
+
1*S-II (another one, as a TLI stage).
-----------------------------------

I did the maths sometimes ago. Such vehicle should be able to replace a Saturn V payload-wise while cutting in the number of stages and cost.
 

SleeperService2

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My first time in this bit and I'm kicking myself.
I'm surprised that Encounter With Tiber hasn't been mentioned. Written by Buzz Aldrin who kept active at the centre of things when the big decisions were being made. Not least because he was the EVA Expert for quite a while. The book can be slow but his ideas on NASAs alternative future are very interesting.
Obviously Baxter's Voyage is better on the technical side than characters but some of his writing has merit too. The Mars lander is an elegant solution not too far from the technology of the day.
We need to see RHOMBUS and Orion on screen, maybe a viewer will be inspired to get into a position where it happens. Even if it's just to make everybody feel good.
 

Grey Havoc

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I wonder if those Tanks in Payload bay are for propellants
It looks they are part of some sort of orbital insertion stage or possibly an OMV design that I'm not familiar with? It rings a bit of a bell, but I can't dredge up the memory.
 

aim9xray

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That's a Skylab. (It took a while for me to recognize it in the as-built configuration with the intact mirco-meteorid shield and full set of solar arrays.) Since Skylab had no props to speak of, the shuttle tanks would be to replenish breathing gasses? Or maybe supplemental shuttle OMS fuel for Skylab reboost?
 

Archibald

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Without the external tank indeed the orbiter engines would have to run of fairy dust. Then again, it worked for Moonraker, so why not for "For all mankind" ? :p
 
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