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Explorer Chapter one

Posted 05-17-2012 at 10:43 PM by mojoey
Updated 05-17-2012 at 10:54 PM by mojoey

So, hit a bit of a block with my 'Galata Enterprises' story, so...I dug into my brain and picked out this one. Nice change of pace for me...but probably not for you darn you SEP! Hope you enjoy.
Looking back, this is way too long. I really do appologize.

I stood in the bathroom, splashing water on my face. My mind was racing, and I was hungry. God I was hungry. My foundering train of thought was interrupted by Jack Baren.

"You alright?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah. I'm just tired."

I turned to the mirror and observed the condition out loud.

"I look like death warmed over."
"No you don't. You like like you're about to ride a controlled explosion. The Shuttle flyboys had it all the time."

I rolled my eyes, and feigned a look of gratitude. I walked back into the main room, grabbed the onesie red jumpsuit and slipped into it. It was a bit rough, but then again, they weren't really concerned with comfortability. I turned back to Jack and asked him how I looked.

"You won't win any fashion awards, that's for sure." He replied. We both chuckled and I sat down on a chair and looked down at my watch.


"Hey Jack, it's six forty five. We should probably get going."
"You're right, the man of the hour doesn't need to be late."

I got up and we both walked out of the room and into the grey hallway. Turning left, we walked an exited the building. We made our way across the courtyard and into the cafeteria. I recognized a few people, but the rest were fresh faces. I sat down at the head table and poured a cup of coffee. Someone walked over and put in front of me a plate of Steak, Eggs, and Toast. I munched on the toast, all the while running over the checklist in my head. After about a half hour, I had finished my breakfast, and stood up. I wiped my mouth, and audibly cleared my throat.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I must say, whoever ordered the delicious breakfast for me is going to get a raise."

I paused a a collective laugh flowed through the crowd.

"On a serious note though, we've worked for today for a long time. We've taken on every problem head on, and overcome them. Every last one of you played a major part in putting today together. Provided Murphy doesn't make a last second appearance, today will be talked about for years."

I raised my cup of coffee and continued.

"Here's to all of you, and to the Explorer!"

We toasted each other, and sat back down. I felt like my legs were turning into jelly. After I finished my coffee, Jack nudged me on the shoulder.

"Hey, time to suit up."
"Let's do it."

We both stood up, I thanked everyone once again, and followed Jack to the suit up room. I sat down in a rather comfy chair as the suit technicians laid out the various parts of the ACES MK2 suit. A blue suit, somewhat similar to the Pumpkin suits of the Shuttle days with a F1 looking helmet. I slipped into the suit piece by piece. Finally, after I was suited up and the pressure test came back looking good, We made our way to the transport van. Walking outside, I was met with an array of cameras, and reporters. So many reporters. One question that was shouted caught my attention.

"How do you expect today's launch will go?"

I turned with a smile and replied, "Up."

They laughed as I climbed into the van, met by Jack, and Mike Petersen.

"You look blue Matt."
"Ha. Funny Mike. How's everything holding up on the pad?"
"Eh, same old same old. We got put behind a bit when we found some frost on the starboard window. We've been working twice as hard to get back on schedule."
"Do what you need to do. Lord knows I don't want to get blown straight to Mars."

We all chuckled and settled in. Mike was a good guy. He was closeout chief, and only answered to Jack, who ran pad operations. What seemed like forever passed as the transport van rumbled to the pad. Soon enough, we jolted to a stop as we arrived at the gantry tower's elevator. I hopped out, and walked over to the elevator. I got on with Mike and waved to Jack as the elevator whined to life and lifed us 250 feet into the sky. Sitting atop the Edge III Launch Vehicle was the SCPN-1, Explorer. Some of us had lobbied for her to be named Enterprise, but that didn't go over too well. We had settled on Explorer as a suitable choice. It was a rather spacious capsule, for only one man. I had spent enough time in a simulated mock up to practically memorize the panels.

The elevator jolted to a stop as we reached the level where the CAA was located.

"After you Matt."

We stepped off the elevator and walked towards the CAA. Our footsteps clanked as we made our way across and into the White room.

"Ready to rock and roll?"
"Yes. Wish me luck?"
"If it makes you feel better."
"It would Mike."
"Good luck Matt. See you in a few days. Tell the ISS crew hi for me."
"Thanks, I will."

With that, I slid into the capsule, and centered myself on the seat. One of the closeout crewmembers handed me my helmet, and helped me put it on. I gave a thumbs up signaling that I was ready to put on the harness. After a few moments of fiddling with the harness, it was hooked together, and the technician tightened it. Giving another thumbs up. I shook his hand and another tech closed the hatch and secured it. I suddenly felt alone. Locked into my little cocoon of safety. I reached over to a velcro covered checklist and pulled it off of the patch holding it to the wall. About that time, the CAPCOM contacted me.

"Alright, comms check. Explorer, how ya holding up?"
"A-Ok Capcom."
"Good to hear. Alright, let's start on page two of the prelaunch checklist. Uhh, number 15 is where we need to start."
"Roger, number 15 on page two. Cabin lights on. MFD screens on. MFD backlights on."
"Alright. That's number 15 out of the way."

We continued on down the checklist.

"Explorer, be advised. Thirty minute hold in five minutes. Need to check the weather."
"Roger, thirty minute hold in five minutes."

I watched the clock slowly elapse through the thirty minute hold. Waiting for either the clear to proceed call, or the not today call. I didn't have to wait long.

"Explorer, Range weather is in the green. Coming out of the hold in two minutes."
"Roger, weather is go. Two minutes."

The count resume count came and went. We settled back into the checklist, and continued through the bullet points. We reached T-10 minutes faster than I thought.

"Explorer, LRC hold. Stand by."
"LRC hold acknowledged."

I waited as the various mission control stations were polled.

"Explorer, Go, no-go for launch?"
"Explorer is Go for launch."

Im gonna stop here, things have gone on far too long. Watch for chapter two soon
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