Spaceflight Chronology 2001-2025 Generally, I've thought that I'm genial, forgiving and flexible; willing to suspend my disbelief. Yet for some reason as I made my way through the second section of the timeline covered by the Spaceflight Chronology, I found myself inexplicably nitpicking more than I am used to. I found it difficult to gauge whether some of the things that caught my critical eye were reasonable or not. I still enjoyed going through it and mulling over the implications of each entry chronicling the alternative evolution and development of the Star Trek universe. Overview So I know that with the timeline being shorter and setting TOS much much earlier than was later established, there is going to have to be rapid progress for the human race as they venture into space. I got the impression that the first segment of time has us skip a major space station as a stepping stone, and establish a colony on the moon. There is the Power Transmission Satellite, which made me think because it's being called a satellite, it is unmanned; but maybe it is? Well, so the overview for this 25 year segment talks about L-5 “Industrial Complexes”, which I had to bounce around a little to find out that these are space-cities orbiting Earth. And then I got distracted trying to flip back and forth and see if these constructs had any artwork to illustrate what they were supposed to look like, and nothing jumped out, until I resumed reading the book properly, left to right...and lo and behold I eventually reached the log entry for the opening of the first L-5 orbital city. I marvelled at how quickly the moon opened up additional colony complexes, and then Mars had it's initial colony established; and generally the work of colonizing the solar system is just plowing ahead at full steam! All this is within a 25 year space of time that we are in the middle of right now, in real life. I got confused about the description of how proof of extraterrestrial life is discovered, when there are two separate discoveries about a year or two apart. I'm not sure if it's the way it is worded, or I'm misunderstanding it willfully. There's Shaun Christopher's expedition in the Lewis and Clark finding evidence of mining patterns on two of Saturn's moons, but there's also the physical discovery of fossilized insect-like life on Mars, long dead. The overview left me with this weird impression that credit for the discovery was oddly placed, but then again I still can't account for why I was on the warpath to nitpick. The overview announces the first birth in space, and the first death in space; and also recounts a major tragedy. Also, homesteading for the solar system is kicked off. Honestly, there's so much going on here, it seems like there's too much going on in such a short 25 year period. Timeline and Ships Although I felt a little impatient making my way through the first segment of time, it proved it's worth by providing an important baseline in an unexpected way. When I started to peruse the new ships, I found myself wondering about the length measurements at one point, so the payoff was being able to reference the size measurements of ships that exist in real life with these fictional ships. The Space Ferry isn't my favorite design, and it isn't helped by artwork showing it from a different angle in the ship profile section, but I was quite surprised to learn the size of it, compared to say the U.S space shuttles. A random observation, here, although I quite like the DY Ships, aesthetically speaking my favorite of the new ships is the Aventeur-class ships, I really like the look. The timeline provides enough fragments of the continuing developmental history of the DY-series ships, they just really didn't have the luck in a sense. They wanted to replace the DY-100's with a 300 series, and the 300's just flunked out. So...they brought the 100's home and upgraded them into the 500 series. And then one of those 500s had a catastrophic incident that showed that there were still problems in the end, anyway. I like the tidbit about how the DY-500's started doing 3-year exploratory missions just outside of the solar system to test human crews' capability for long voyages. It makes me think of the Enterprise receiving one of it's major upgrades before going on a 5 year mission. Ship Profiles I don't know if I have much more to comment on, regarding this section. I like the Aventeur-class ship, and some of my research on the class, and the Lewis and Clark, lead me to Greg Cox's TOS novel The Rings of Time; I shall look forward to reading that in the future. I had a bit of a chuckle about how the ships of this era are using something called Magnetohydrodynamic generators to generate power for their systems. All I could think about was the fictional Russian submarine Red October. Log Entries I almost neglected commenting on the documentation about the space initiative; which foreshadows the space homesteading initiative that comes hot on its heals. It also establishes the ships of the human race as the Solar Fleet. The entry about the first child born in space just made me worry a lot for this poor kiddo. Jules Ashworth is born on the moon in low gravity, and the medical Doctor proudly announces this historic first and commends the parents for bravely making the decision to remain at the moon colony. Too bad the poor kiddo doesn't get a say in this. I have no idea if this book will give any follow up for what Jules' future holds for him, and I'm not trying to be cynical but he's got a lot on his plate. The history books have carved out his place in history, and I wonder how he eventually would feel about that as a person who has a life to live without the baggage of being a living, breathing historic first. Also in the back of my mind are the studies of the rigors of zero-G and low gravity effects on humans over long periods of time, even with specialized exercise equipment to try and minimize problems like muscular atrophy. To say nothing of speculative exploration on a human's development in low gravity in a novel like Leviathan Wakes, where troubling new health problems become apparent. Welcome to the final frontier, kiddo! Having teased at the beginning of homesteading the solar system, the ambitious programs kicks into gear. People have to go through a 5 year training or residency, and get a ticket to travel out to whatever place they claim. I wish there was more information about some of the individuals and groups that went for it. I imagine that a single individual has his or her hands full just with the training program, and making sure to accumulate all the equipment and resources necessary to colonize space. I'm thinking that small communities were formed on Earth, before they even set out. I'm sure that each individual would have to be very self-sufficient, but I'm imagining that colonizing space requires cooperation with other colonials no matter how multi-talented any one of them was. The log entry for the Lewis and Clark's expedition to Saturn is an exciting and eerie one, had a feel that made me think of 2001: A Space Odyssey. They find evidence of mining on Saturn's moons. I wonder if this is left a mystery, or if it's followed up on later in the Chronology...although I think I prefer it as a mystery. I am reminded of how TNG has a scene where it is explained that the Federation blocks off local planets, moons and systems that are in close proximity to intelligent life that might eventually become capable of space travel; so resources of those local planets are preserved for mining and colonization and so forth. It's a bit anachronistic to apply that concept to the situation here in the Chronology, as part of material for a TOS only version of continuity; yet at the same time it makes me wonder about those aliens who mined the moons of Saturn. Is that characteristic of their ethics, or did they visit before humans existed; or did they have to mine for resources for emergency purposes? And then we get to the entry where hard evidence of life is found on Mars. But again it's confusing, because the entry for the Lewis and Clark's expedition is the entry right before this one. I'm not sure if I'm just having difficulty understanding the meaning behind the wording of these two entries; if they are more precise that I'm able to interpret them. The final entry I will comment on is the tragedy of the UNSS Courageous. The DY-300's didn't work out because of design flaws; so they upgraded all the DY-100's into DY-500's. But here we see that there are still very severe safety problems, that costs the lives of the Courageous's crew. Actually, that gets back to something of the critique that I see. Why was I in a nickpicking mood for this section? I still can't figure that out. This entry qualifies it as the worst tragedy in spaceflight and space travel up to that point. Which implies other previous ones that aren't included or chronicled. I can understand the problems of leaving room within the book for entries that cover new material and new situations, and the first section that covers the first 43 years necessarily had to be packed and abbreviated for how much it had to cover. Yet I wondered about the exclusion of an early real life spaceflight-related tragedy, such as the Apollo 1 fire. I'm not arguing in favor of a version of the SFC that is doom and gloom; but tragedy in the course of space exploration is one of the aspects of Star Trek's optimistic future. So this second section of SFC leaves off with the hint that interstellar travel is already in the works, with unmanned probes exploring the void as a seeming prelude to manned flights, as well as the manned duration missions to gauge humans ability to cope with long space voyages. All this within 25 years. I kept thinking to myself that it almost seems like a clockwork chronology, running to the timing and pacing necessary to get to a specific point in the right amount of time. It raised questions for me about the realities of setbacks that delay hazardous and expensive programs for decades or more.