HISTORY OF THE ANSA ARROW IV HEAVY LIFTEREasily recognized for the shape which gave this mighty vehicle its namesake, the Arrow IV stands erect on Launch Complex 39 at Cape Kennedy, almost seven stories taller than the Statue of Liberty on her pedestal and weighing almost fifteen times as much as that easily recognized symbol of freedom. The Arrow IV is poised to become the new symbol of freedom for America, and the light from the torch of freedom that this symbol of America generates will be seen among the stars as well as by every man and woman on the planet Earth. ANSA calls this technological marvel "Arrow IV", and it is the most modern and sophisticated piece of surface to orbit and beyond hardware on the planet. The deep space / deep interstellar explorer vessel "Icarus" sits atop the Arrow IV heavy lifter booster, attached to its Daedalus fusion pulse drive which will take it far out of our solar system and to Alpha Centauri on a historic ten year long flight. ANSA puts a rich sense of history behind their namesake vehicles and propulsion systems, drawing heavily on ancient Greek mythology to give a sense of adventure and excitement; Daedalus and "Icarus", escaping from this planet for freedom among the stars. The late President John F. Kennedy committed ANSA and the nation to this great project on May 25, 1961:
"Now is the time to take longer strides, farther strides, time for a great new American enterprise, time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement and deep space exploration. A role which, in many ways, may hold the key to our future on Earth."The Arrow IV, towering over 500 feet in height with the "Icarus" command module and the EERS (Emergency Escape Rocket System) in place, generates enough chemical reaction thrust to place a 300 ton payload into a 150 nautical mile circular Earth orbit, carry 100 tons to lunar orbit, or boost a smaller sized payload to any planet in the solar system. The thrust of the four primary boosting stages range from more than 10 million pounds for the primary dual chemical booster to more than 2,300,000 pounds for the "Daedalus" nuclear fusion pulse drive equipped fourth stage at operational altitude and range. The Arrow IV is a five stage multi-segmented heavy lifting booster designed to insert the newest of ANSA's far interstellar space explorer class vessels, the "Prometheus" and later, the "Icarus" and the "Atalanta" into Earth orbit and onward to their missions far beyond our own solar system. The Arrow IV is a parallel development of the Saturn V lifting booster which took man to the moon in 1969. The Arrow IV with its much larger lifting capacity was instrumental in beginning construction of "Freedom", America's largest and most heavily populated permanent L-point space station, in 1976, a colony that followed on the research of the Skylab project.
At the end of the "Prometheus" / "Icarus" interstellar flights, the newer model of heavy lift booster, termed Arrow V, scheduled to enter service in 1973, will begin lifting modular components to the surface of the moon in preparation for construction of America's first lunar colony "Hope" in 1979 AD. Twelve flights are planned over a period of two years in order to establish "Hope" near the original landing site obtained in 1969. ANSA is committed to having the "Hope" lunar base fully constructed and operational by 1984.
The entire vehicle consists of thousands of intricately wedded components, created and assembled by the world's best engineering minds and skilled craftsmen, all working towards a single dream- to send man to another star, to let man step away from his celestial home, and explore other worlds orbiting another sun.
"Icarus" was already an advanced interstellar exploration program more than a full year before the late President John F. Kennedy, on May 25, 1961, committed NASA, ANSA, and the entire nation to the national goal of space exploration. It was President Kennedy's foresight that put both the Apollo Project and the Icarus Project on the road as the greatest engineering efforts of all time. Efforts which would involved hundreds of thousands of people and many billions of dollars. Ironically, like the tragic death of President Kennedy, both Apollo and Icarus would endure disaster and trial by fire before soaring off to conquer the heavens. America had to immediate goals; the Moon and beyond. While NASA turned their eyes toward conquering the moon, ANSA turned its attention to the stars, Alpha Centauri in particular, the closest star to our own.
First announced by ANSA as a prototype program at an industry conference on July 29, 1960, Project Icarus presented a major challenge without precedent- no one short of the science fiction authors had ever designed a working starship before. Most science fiction depictions of starships were powered by chemical rockets or mysterious fields. By January, 1961, it became clear that more than simple chemical propelled rocket motors would be required to take man beyond this solar system and to the next, at least in one lifetime.
At that time, a number of large aircraft firms began feasibility studies to determine what a starship should look like. John M. McPhereson, assistant program director for Centaur, the nations first hydrogen powered space vehicle at General Dynamics / Astronautics, conceived of the tubular shaped, multi-stage surface to space boost capable vehicle lifting the starship into orbit. Power beyond the atmosphere and for the trip would be provided by an onboard nuclear reactor and a high capacity nuclear plasma drive in the two or three million pounds of thrust range of operation.
A fellow engineer, Anthony Smith, conceived of the advanced crew module, an elegant dart shaped aerodynamic vehicle which would serve not only as the command module, but also the recovery capsule at the end of the flight. General Electric submitted an alternate design of a more glider-like recovery capsule, with a lander assembly attached so that the astronauts might touch down on a planet in the Centauri system for surface exploration. As the design was sound, and General Dynamics' design looked to be the more practical, GE and GD entered into a joint venture to design variations of the "Icarus" command module, among the designs was a tripod orbit to surface to orbit lander vehicle.
Martin Aerospace stressed the fact of a highly automated system, using the latest in technology and computers to handle the flight, a flight where the astronauts' main roles would be of reliability, maintenance, control and decision-making. All other aspects of the flight would be left to the computers.
Douglas Aerospace engineers saw no reason why a nuclear powered vehicle couldn't carry man to another star and return in a reasonable time of a decade or less. Provisions for such a long flight as well as crew mental and physical stability would be of paramount concern. Douglas Aerospace was the first firm to suggest suspended animation as a viable solution to the long flight time.
All of these concepts remained just speculation until President Kennedy's challenge to the industry woke America up to the dream of space exploration as a national goal. The Icarus Project was kick started by a team from North American Aviation who considered the Project to be their priority, a team that included the likes of men such as Charles Feltz, an engineer who had won attention the world round for his design of the NASA X-15 and ANSA X-21 rocket planes which had taken man to the edge of space. Over 250 engineers pitched in to design the Icarus starship and on October 21, 1961, North American Aerospace was awarded the Icarus contract, beating out fifteen other contractors. By January 1962, the race for space was on. Russia was already the most likely to go to the moon first, but America wanted to go beyond. If America was going to win the space race, lights would have to be burned long into the night for years to come.
As originally proposed in the initial requests for concept proposals, ANSA wanted a starship that could be boosted by a Arrow series rocket into orbit. The design of the starship had to be such that it fit on current technology lifting bodies and it had to be surface to orbit boost capable. The Arrow IV Series VII heavy lifting body was fresh from the drawing boards, having thirty percent more capacity and performance than the Series V vehicle it was destined to replace, the new Series VII vehicle allowed the engineers much more lee-way in their design and a greater margin in which to work.
The main components of the lifting vehicle were secured in design by late 1962 and would see only minor changes in initial design until its introduction in 1968, these changes were required to keep up with the demands of the Icarus project as it grew and as technology advancement dictated. The Teledyne Rand Corporation provided the initial winning design of the nuclear power source for the starship, a circular core fast breeder type reactor. Rand also provided the winning contract for a gravity field drive, a design which set the world on its ear when it was first unveiled.
The gravity drive was based upon the Biefield-Brown Effect. In the 1930's, a young scientist by the name of Townsend Brown accidentally discovered a propulsion system while experimenting with X-rays. Brown, with the help of fellow colleague Biefield, demonstrated the Biefield-Brown effect, effectively a form of anti-gravity. Townsend Brown's experiments developed into Project Winterhaven, which demonstrated to the U.S. military that antigravity was a reality and a viable form of propulsion. The Pentagon rapidly accepted Brown's work and allocated resources and laboratories for his continued research. During World War II, Brown worked directly for the naval research technology center (NRTC) in Virginia where he perfected much of his technology, though little of its application saw any military use during the war. During the '50's, Brown carried out much of the core of his anti-gravity research at Cleveland and in 1960, after working with a French aircraft company, Brown formed Rand International, a major industry leader which would pioneer the use of anti-gravity in spaceflight.
Brown's technology involves the use of voltage to dielectrics. Dielectrics are materials capable of absorbing electricity without discharging the electricity. Applying direct current at tremendously high voltages and high rates resulted in motion in the dielectrics. Townsend had produced the first viable and efficient near light drive system. Advances in dielectrics and power sources worked to negate the inertial mass of the vehicle, allowing not just anti-gravity travel, but also velocities approaching that of the speed of light. The drawback to this kind of drive system was that it required very large amounts of power to be used, in theory, only a nuclear reactor could supply that amount of power. Teledyne Rand also worked to produce such a compact reactor, alongside the Biefield-Brown Effect drive system. The two were mutually inclusive, that is, both were part of the same package and saw development teams working together on both projects at the same time. Teledyne Rand would give ANSA the key to the stars in the form of their anti-gravity drive system.
At North American's Space and Information Division at Downey, California, a final assembly line was set up to turn out the vast number of Icarus command modules needed for the huge program. There had to be boilerplate models for ocean drop tests and recovery training; mockups to lay out the maze of life support and test fit the suspended animation chambers inside the command module; test capsules to undergo heat and cold torture tests and the incredible stresses to insure that the final product would survive the long journey through the hostile environment that was interstellar space.
From the top down, Icarus evolved as a strikingly beautiful and highly sophisticated starship, perhaps the most ingenious device ever invented by man, and certainly the most complex. From the Q-ball atop the Tower-Jet emergency escape rocket system to the huge bell shaped exhaust nozzles for the lifting rockets, everything essential to a trip to another star and back was there, the product of hundreds of subcontractors in every state who poured their skills in energies into what would become the grandest national effort in the history of mankind.
Icarus consists of three major components; the command module, the service module, and the drive module-topped by the tower-jet EERS system for all missions. Two models of Icarus were designed, the Block I model for in-solar system missions and the Block II model for the trip to Centauri. The heart of Icarus is the stylized command module, providing direct flight command systems and suspended animation chambers for the four astronauts aboard. The command module consists of two shells; a honeycomb sandwich of stainless steel covered with advanced ablative material making up a heat shield and an inner shell of aluminum honeycomb between aluminum alloy sheets. Each layer is separated by triple layer of micro-quartz and synthetic diamond filament monofiber insulation. This double shell is both light and rugged and provides increased space per astronaut over and above the more compact Apollo design.
The interior is climate controlled to a comfortable 75 degrees, providing a short sleeve environment for the crew when they so choose. A complex system of two gasses, oxygen and nitrogen, are used for life support. The command module contains simplified controls for flight, test equipment to monitor the flight systems, television, telemetry, and tracking equipment and two way radios to stay in contact with earth and among astronauts during any EVA operations. These and other pieces of essential equipment are stored efficiently within the command module.
Though able to move about from one station to another at one earth normal gravity thanks to the artificial gravity system, most of the flight will be spent in suspended animation, at zero gravity to preserve supplies and power. Each individual suspended animation chamber is controlled by its own dedicated computer system and rests on crushable honeycomb shock struts to absorb landing impact forces.
Beneath the Command module is the Service Module (SM), housing the main living and working environment of the astronauts. The Service Module contains such necessary services as office work area, extensive laboratory, radio station, stellar observatory, main computer interface, data storage, external airlock, EVA equipment storage lockers, kitchen, non-suspended animation sleeping facilities for four, comprehensive media and entertainment center, equipment storage lockers, emergency supplies, bathroom, and shower with zero-G capacity in the event that the primary gravity system fails. The Service Module is also maintained at a comfortable 75 degrees and enjoys artificial gravity as well on all levels. The service module contains the main radio and telemetry broadcast systems, including the new ultra-high band S-wave transceiver that will allow communication at interstellar distances between mission control and the crew. Due to the time required for radio signals to reach the flight, the astronauts will be on their own for most of the flight. Telemetry will be sent back automatically by the computers aboard the Icarus and will be monitored in real time by mission control on Earth.
The third module is the Engineering / Drive Module and contains the primary components of the Daedalus nuclear pulse drive, the Teledyne-Rand nuclear reactor, and the Teledyne-Rand artificial gravity generator or TRAGG. The drive module is constructed from a variety of aluminum alloys and advanced material sandwiches and is designed to be totally self contained during the mission flight. Maintenance access ways are designed into the Engineering / Drive Module to allow limited access to the core components but other than routine visual inspection, these are not designed to be used by the crew in flight or while the drive is in operation. Failure of any of the onboard integral components of the Engineering / Drive Module would be catastrophic to the mission and flight, and would be beyond the capacity of the crew to repair in most cases. As such, more space was allocated to automated backup systems and emergency response hardware rather than to access space for the crew to move around the components. Byproduct radiation and generated gravity field flux effects are not healthy for long term exposure by the astronauts so anytime that the astronauts use the internal access ways, the reactor and drive systems are shut down. Backup rescue systems were also on the drawing board, again utilizing existing Icarus project components, to be used in case of the astronauts being stranded in space or at their destination.
The design of the Icarus series starship was beautiful on the drawing board and all systems checked out perfectly during the long months of engineering and fabrication and testing, but would they all work together in space? The way to find out was to send an unmanned Icarus spacecraft up and see what happened.
No crash program such as Icarus runs entirely smoothly and while American ingenuity brought the project along more rapidly than had ever been hoped for, setbacks plagued both Apollo and Icarus from the start. On October 9, 1963, Icarus Command Module BP-5 was destroyed during recovery tests at El Centro, California when the onboard 'soft land' anti-gravity generator failed to activate resulting in catastrophic vehicle deceleration trauma with the impact target surface.
On January 8, 1964, President Johnson reiterated the late President Kennedy's call for "an expedition to Alpha Centauri in the next decade, in cooperation with others powers if possible, alone if necessary."
It did not prove politically possible to share space with Russia, hence America continued with both the Apollo and Icarus projects and by mid-February, a boilerplate Icarus command module IBP-15 was shipped to Cape Kennedy for the first space test. IBP-15 flew on May 15, 1964, the first Icarus vehicle to see space flight.
From that day forward, Icarus test vehicles went up with increasing regularity from Cape Kennedy and from White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. Several models were stress tested by being dropped from modified B-52 bombers for reentry and glide effect tests. All of these vehicles were either mockup or boilerplate command modules, until on August 18, 1965 the first actual Icarus, ICM-007, was accepted from North American by ANSA and shipped off to the spaceport in Florida.
On January 19, 1966 ICM-007 was lifted from surface to space atop a Arrow III launch vehicle, the first flight of an unmanned Icarus command module, to check its ability to withstand reentry extremes and temperatures. Two months later, Icarus command module 9 roared into space on a second test of reentry and gravity landing systems with a improved reentry guidance package and notable changes to the Teledyne-Rand gravity field generator. The time was drawing near when the Icarus command module would be crew-rated. All seemed to go well until at 0200 universal time on January 11, 1967, nature herself struck without warning. At that moment, a monstrous flare erupted from the sun, sending toward Earth the most violent interplanetary storm ever recorded. Five orbiting scientific satellites reported the approach of the solar wind's shock front as it distorted the earth's magnetosphere to the lowest altitude ever recorded. Scientists around the world began to ask the question: could any astronauts survive such a storm in space?
Sixteen days later, tragedy struck the sister Apollo program with devastating suddenness, not in space, but on a launch pad at Cape Kennedy during a routine ground test. Fire erupted inside the moonship, taking the lives of NASA astronauts Lt. Colonel Virgil Grissom, Lt. Colonel Edward H. White and Lt. Commander Roger B. Chaffee. A thorough review of Project Apollo caused a six-month time delay in the tight launch schedules of both projects and resulted in extensive redesign and modification of both Apollo and Icarus command modules, including the escape hatches, materials, reentry and landing systems, and protective coverings for critical plumbing and wiring harnesses. By November 7, 1967, both programs were again on schedule and moving toward completion and on that day, Apollo 4 was launched aboard the first use of the Saturn V booster. Three weeks later on November 28, 1967, Icarus ICM-010 was launched into space aboard the Arrow III booster, carrying ANSA astronauts Lt. Colonel Gill Sheppard, Lt. Colonel Neil Marks, Lt. Commander Wayne Smith and Lt. Commander Darcy White aboard for a one week flight out into deep space and back to check celestial navigation systems. The flight was a tremendous success and drew the praise of both the NASA and the nation with the return of the astronauts to earth.
On January 12, 1968, the first test of the Daedalus nuclear drive was conducted aboard Icarus ICM-010 again by ANSA astronauts Lt. Colonel Gill Sheppard, Lt. Colonel Neil Marks, Lt. Commander Wayne Smith and Lt. Commander Darcy White. The test proved an exercise in minor problem correcting and ultimately led to a complete six month long redesign of the onboard fuel controller system and the inertial flight master navigation subsystem. This flight completed the second manned Icarus mission into space.
In 1969, as Apollo was facing its final phases in anticipation of putting an American astronaut on the moon, Icarus was also nearing some of its final steps in placing American astronauts beyond the solar system. The target launch date for Icarus was moved back to January 1972 in order to comply with certain contractors. This date would place the launch of America's first interstellar mission some three years after the successful execution of the Apollo program. As history clearly shows, Project Apollo was a huge success, and America won the space race against Russia. Several additional Apollo flights would go to the moon for follow-up missions and experiments as Icarus neared its completion.
In seven short years, America had accepted the challenge of conquering not only orbit and the moon, but also the nearest star, Alpha Centauri. In December 1971, it was time for a final checkout of the Icarus command module for the historic flight in January 1972. The entire vehicle was disassembled, checked, and then reassembled piece by piece on the launch assembly station.
In late December, 1971, the vehicle was moved by crawler to its launch pad at Kennedy and final flight preparations were made. Icarus was scheduled for a New Year's Day launch in 1972, however, severe weather delayed the flight for over a week. A much needed break in the winter storm front allowed ANSA to commit to a January 8 launch and at 10:22AM, ANSA astronauts Mathew Dodge, Robert Landon, Catherine Stewart, and George Taylor left Earth for a historic decade long round trip flight to Earth's closest neighboring star, Alpha Centauri.
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