Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The World's First Permanent Space Station....in DC's Earth-One continuity

The world's first permanent space station, a toroidal-shaped affair like that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, is commanded by Captain James Carone. He has a crew of three under him. It is referred to in one scene as Space-Lab during its appearance in issue number six of the DC Comics series "The Secret Society of Super-Villains", titled "Captains Cataclysmic", and it is a NASA spacecraft (or, at least the astronauts are from NASA. The series was published in 1976 and 1977. During the issue, the station was attacked by three villains, Captain Boomerang, Captain Stingaree, and Captain Cold, using Boomerang's Boomerang spaceship. The three villains are planning on capturing not only black-haired Captain Carone, but a captain of a cruise liner and a captain of a football team...vanity crimes, to prove they are masters of air, space, and land. Eventually, Captain Carone and the cruise ship captain, Captain Timothy Nolin of the world's largest passenger ship, the S. S. Sunset, are freed after the failed attempt to capture the captain of the Eastern Division All-Stars, Jeff Peppard, during the game at Star Stadium in Star City, USA. This is during the era when the Justice League of America maintained a satellite headquarters in Earth orbit.

References at this message board link suggest that Carone's crew includes Lt. Sean Wilkins, with red hair, and Lt. Brad Shanower, with blonde hair. The fourth crewmember is unnamed, but has reddish-brown hair, similar to Wilkins' color. I suspect that page is fanfiction, because it refers to one of the cruise ship's crew as Purser Burl Smith, who was the Gopher character on The Love Boat television series.

A detailed synopsis of the issue, complete with a thumbnail image of the cover, can be found here.

This page has an image of Captain Carone after he was captured by the villains. He seems to have changed outfits...

This series takes place in the Earth-1 continuity, which has been disrupted by the various Crises on various Earths in the DC Universe. Because of that, I do not know if the events of the miniseries take place in whatever the current timeline is, or if the station or the four astronauts exist in the current continuity.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Little Green Men

Jhanni is a former Star Scout. Former, because after the probe to Venus found no detectable life, and Adventurer 7 met with a mishap on the way to Saturn, the government ended the space program. That included ending the Star Scouts.

But Jhanni and his former squadron of Star Scouts are out looking for evidence from UFOs, believing that if they could find proof, they could get the space program--and the Star Scouts--reinstated. But Jhanni's dad won't let him search with his former squadron mates. So Jhanni is out searching, on his own, in the desert near his home.

At a big boulder, he found a UFO in a hole in the boulder. A small alien got out and climbed down a ladder. He pointed a device at Jhanni, and to his amazement found they could understand each other. The alien has a universal translator. He's been out of contact with his base for three days, because the strong winds picked up his lander and knocked it into this hole in the boulder. His oxygen was damaged and has less than a day to go, and the radio was knocked out, keeping him out of contact with his base.

"I can't get over how big you Martians are," says the alien. "Wait until Houston hears about this!" He introduces himself as Captain Frank Gambino, United States Air Force.

From the short story "Little Green Men", by Barry B. Longyear. Found in Spaceships & Spells, a short story collection published by Harper & Row in 1987 for younger readers (ie, children). Edited by Jane Yolen, Martin H. Greenberg, Charles G. Waugh. Assigned arbitrarily to the Barry Longyear Little Green Men timeline.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

NASA: Planet of the Apes 4

Closing out the Planet of the Apes Weekend, we document the NASA spaceship Cassiopeia.
The Cassiopeia was launched in 2125. It was the first long-duration space mission. It held four crew in suspended animation: Ulysses, the commander; Romulus, an African-American male; Sophie; and Martinez, another female. It was descended from the design of the National AeroSpace Plane, also known as the X-30 or the Orient Express.

The Cassiopeia appeared in the Ubisoft videogame for the PC "Planet of the Apes", released in 2001 as a companion to the Tim Burton film. It is part of the timeline designated Planet of the Apes 4.

USAF: Planet of the Apes 3

Continuing Planet of the Apes Weekend!

The United States Air Force maintains a space station named Oberon. It has a live animal research facility on board. We are currently seeking visual data of the Oberon but have not located any as of this time.

In the year 2029, the station is under the command of Lt. General Karl Vasich.

One member of his crew is Captain Leo Davidson.

He works closely with primates, training them for space missions, including a chimpanzee named Pericles and another ape named Semos. Other human personnel include Lt. Colonel Grace Alexander, Major Maria Cooper, Major Frank Santos, and Specialist Hansen.

The Oberon and its crew are from Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" and are designated as part of the timeline Planet of the Apes 3.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

NASA: Planet of the Apes 2

On August 6, 1976, NASA's Venturer space capsule is on a mission in deep space. The Venturer resembles an Apollo capsule, but is substantially larger, with more supplies and equipment for a crew of three.

Commander Bill Hudson is the mission commander, seen using the microphone here. Apparently, he is from the US Navy. The other astronauts are pilot Judy Franklin (who apparently has previous experience with propeller-driven craft, as later seen) and Jeff Allen, an African-American. Under their spacesuits, Bill wears a white t-shirt, Judy wears a blue t-shirt, and Jeff wears a red t-shirt with a turtleneck. Judy wore a diamond ring on the mission.

Reference is made to Dr. Stanton's Theory of Time Thrust, which seems to indicate that the Venturer crew is testing a new time-travel drive, or faster-than-light drive. Since the ship lands without a parachute, that would seem to indicate it has a gravity landing drive as well. We do see that the ship contains at least one set of scuba gear, a high-powered hand-held laser drill, and a self-destruct charge. It appears that the ship's crew was expecting to land on Earth or a different planet, or in a different time, hence the highly unusual equipment.

The Venturer launched from Cape Kennedy. Later, Cape Kennedy was turned into a museum facility and NASA launched vehicles from a new launch facility in the middle of the Mojave desert.

On August 6, 2109, Colonel Roland 'Ronald' Brent launched from NASA's Mojave facility with a new, large vessel. Very little is known about it, but it appears to be as large as a 747 airplane, if not larger. Apparently, he was the only crew. Brent was born on May 2 (or May 5, sources vary), 2079.

The Venturer, astronauts Hudson, Allen, Franklin, and Brent, NASA's Cape Kennedy facility museum, and NASA's Mojave Launch Facility are all part of the Return to the Planet of the Apes animated television series. As such, they are part of Planet of the Apes Timeline-2.

Friday, August 5, 2011

ANSA and the Planet of the Apes

ANSA: The American National Space Administration

This space program has been very busy. Under Chairman Dr. Otto Hasslein, ANSA reached many major milestones:

1. The first manned spacecraft to orbit the Earth
2. Landing men on the Moon--Project Apollo
3. Landing men on Mars--Project Juno
4. Successful suspended animation and revival of astronauts for long-duration missions
5. Near light-speed travel
6. Faster-than-light travel
7. Travel to the Alpha Centauri system

On January 14, 1972, ANSA launched Liberty 1, a near-light-speed voyage to Alpha Centauri with astronauts in suspended animation. The expected return time was in the early 1980s. The mission was led by Colonel George Taylor. He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1941 and served in World War II and the Korean War, where he became an ace fighter pilot in both conflicts. Later, he became the first ANSA astronaut candidate. Lieutenant John Landon was the navigator; he had previously flown on a Juno mission to Mars, also as the navigator. Lieutenant Thomas Dodge was the science officer, who hoped to find intelligent life. The 35-year-old African-American is a professor of organic chemistry at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. Rounding out the crew is 33-year-old Lieutenant Maryann Stewart, a career astronaut serving as the pilot, who flew in the both the Apollo and Juno programs.

After communication with Liberty 1 was lost, a rescue mission was hastily drawn up. Two of the new Liberty faster-than-light variants, with room for three crew each, were launched in June of 1972 along the same flight path as Liberty 1. One was flown by Colonel Donovan Maddox, 38, and head of the combined rescue mission; the other was flown by Lieutenant John Brent, 34. Communications were also lost with the rescue vehicles. After the apparent failure of this mission, Hasslein resigned from ANSA and became the President's Science Advisor. Brent's vessel eventually returned in April of 1973, rescued off the coast of California, with three strange passengers, intelligent chimpanzees who could speak English, apparently from the far future, nearly 2000 years later.

Shaking off these problems, work continued on the new FTL Liberty variants. A crew was launched to Alpha Centauri in March of 1981. Led by Colonel Alan Virdon, the other crew were Major Peter J. Burke and 'Jonesy' Jones. Contact was lost with the vessel after it reached Alpha Centauri. Another mission was launched, but information is not available about it.

These missions are part of the Planet of the Apes Timeline 1, comprising the five original films and live-action television series.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Celebrating My Birthday With NASA

Today is my birthday. And while numerous space missions were taking place on my birthday (for example, the current ISS Expedition 28), there hasn't been a lot on this day.

NASA Astronaut David C. Burbank was born today in 1961. He is the second astronaut from the United States Coast Guard. He flew on Atlantis twice, in September 2000, on STS-106, and in September 2006, on STS-115, and is scheduled to launch for six months in September 2011, for ISS Expedition 29/30.

On this day in 1972, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was born. He would become the first Malaysian to go into space, launching on October 10, 2007 and returning October 21. He launched as part of the Soyuz TMA-11 crew (who were comprising ISS Expedition 16) and returned as part of the Soyuz TMA-10 crew (ISS Expedition 15). He is an orthopedic surgeon and spent 18 months training in Russia. While he is officially designated a 'spaceflight participant' by English-language materials put out by NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency, he did perform some medical experiments on liver cancer and leukemia cells and microbes; a Russian ambassador called him a 'fully-fledged cosmonaut', while now-retired NASA astronaut Robert Gibson said he was fully qualified as an astronaut and should be called one. The distinction is because Malaysia arranged his flight as a trade for buying 18 Russian fighter jets under the Angkasawan

On this day in 2005, NASA grounded the shuttle program for the third time, after the Challenger and Columbia disasters, and this was because on the launch of STS-114 the day before, debris from the external tank separated from it and hit the shuttle Discovery--the same thing that happened to Columbia. This was the first 'Return to Flight' shuttle mission after the loss of Columbia, and while the mission was a success and returned safely, this grounding lasted until July 4, 2006. (Ironically, Discovery had also been the first shuttle to fly the 'Return to Flight' mission after the Challenger accident.)