On 15 October 2003 Chinese taikonaut Yang Liwei accomplished 14 Earth orbits in his Shenzhou-5 space capsule. The Peoples Republic of China declared a moon base within ten years. President Bush the Lesser's handlers went bonkers! The US would return to the moon, establish a permanent habitation, and declare Luna United Nations privileges just like Tuvalu. American military advisors would follow forthwith. Anybody wishing to visit thereafter could apply for a visa - locally - having placed full deportation fees in Bank of America escrow prior to arrival.
Vital political messages like having an educator (kindergarten teacher) and a gay American Chinese on the first mission were facile. Children's voluntary donations would place a (slightly used, from the Alabama Supreme Court's rotunda) 5300 pound Ten Commandments monument on the lunar maria. The nuisance physical reality of soft landing a huge bunch of stuff plus survivable people on the moon was rather more noisome. NASA and the Space Scuttle... ha ha ha! Did anybody just wet their trousers while spraying Jolt Cola through their noses all over their display?
The new Department of Outworld Affairs requisitioned (national security!) all two dozen remaining NASA engineers. It turned its back on 23,000 NASA bureaucrats in Houston as it built its own $3700 million DOA complex in an otherwise expendable Dallas suburb. It was to be 24-7 union construction! Overtime billings for studies were brutal as the newly christened Interplanetary Brotherhood of Teamsters abandoned Democrats nationwide. Space City, Texas would arise from Lancaster, Texas and its 33.6% Caucasian White Trash eminent domain ashes.
With almost no money allocated toward engineering concerns unallied with political patronage, certain design expediencies were implicit for the DOA moon base and its transshipment. A quick search of Amazon.com disclosed no heavy lifters or moon bases, nor did The Sharper Image help. DOA engineers finally opened an account on E-Bay and bought a few surplus Saturn MLV-V-3 boosters from NASA for $0.03 on the dollar. Three Space Scuttle liquid engines sum to 1.125 million pounds of thrust. The obsolete Saturn's five F-1A engines summed to 9 million pounds of liftoff thrust - but they had no recycle value.
Space Scuttle solid fuel boosters are pretty good at 2.6 million pounds of thrust each. Being 12 feet in diameter, eight of them would fit around the 33-foot diameter Saturn V with room to spare. The Department of Outworlder Affairs now had a 29.8 million pound thrust heavy lifter (plus credit for not having recycle packages on the SSBs). There was no useless 120 tons of Space Scuttle hogging a pissy 6.3 million pound liftoff thrust to give a crappy 30 ton net payload. 700 tons payload was bigger than 30 tonnes. When you think moon colony, think DOA!
Transportation costs left a pittance for financing the moon base itself. Fannie-Mae and would pick up the slack if none of the astronauts had ever mortgaged a quonset hut. HUD would chip in if one of the astronauts was Black. Leakproof, radiation-proof, total life support, self-powered systems were E-Bay accessible! The smallest class of nuclear submarine is the NR-1 weighing 400 tonnes fully loaded with a crew of 12. The heavy propulsion plant and underwater whatnots could be traded for a water cargo. That, along with a bilge of military MRE rations, was all a moon base crew needed to breathe (electrolysis of the water to oxygen) and function indefinitely. All the compartments already had pressure bulkheads and hatches. Pressure-sealed toilets were standard equipment (and there was no lunar EPA to make loud noises about holding tank black water dumps). Add external airlocks and Bob's your uncle.
The whole thing could be done in three flights: Boost a modified NR-1 nuclear sub and miscellaneous supplies into Earth orbit. Thermal considerations (120°C days and -170°C nights) mandate burying the thing under a few feet of insulating lunar regolith; radiation demands a deeper dig. Explosives dig the hole; Caterpillar donates a self-contained tractor (tanks of liquid oxygen, diesel, and water. Oxidizer, fuel, and coolant working fluid inject into each internal combustion cylinder) for placement and the backfill. Boost the thruster packages for lunar insertion and landing. Assemble, travel, land. The first Loonie astronaut to wonder what in Hell they are doing there goes out the airlock wearing only his skivvies.
We are not quite finished! Anybody familiar with submariners enduring their 6-month submerged missions knows that certain social accommodations materialize in response to hot bunking and testosterone-fired evolutionary pressures. A boomer can set sail with up to 150 crew, returning a half-year later with 75 couples.
"Space City... San Francisco Lunar Base has landed! It is one small step for a man... heck, everybody is mincing around."
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