I will admit to being surprised the International Space Station proved so popular a location for stories submitted to Rocket Science. Not that I can complain, as it led to the three excellent stories set on the ISS I bought for the anthology. One of them was by Nigel Brown:
I was born at the beginning of the Space Age. As I grew up in the Sixties, the news was that of inexorable progress. The Apollo Programme was proceeding apace, and all the technological optimism of the time pointed to a bright and exciting future for any of us interested in manned space-travel. And America was the Future.
Amongst other things, I collected the Brooke Bond Tea Picture Cards series ‘The Race Into Space’ which set out a positive agenda , promising Skylab after Apollo, then a 12-man Space Station, then a nuclear-powered manned flight to Mars by 1982. Alas, it’s been compromise, reduced ambitions and delays all the way since those heady times!
Although the International Space Station isn’t the American Space Station, the USA has had a major part in it, and it appears that, with the loss of NASA’s capability even to put astronauts into low Earth orbit, we’ve reached a nadir in American capabilities. I know that the harness has been taken up by private ventures, but still, it’s a fracture in America’s ambitions as a national entity in Space.
John Campbell, the legendary editor of Astounding Stories, renamed the magazine Analog because he viewed science fiction as a useful way of exploring future worlds as an analog of what was to come, perhaps as a
In that spirit, I considered that the decommission of the ISS could be a key point in America’s Space Programme, and possibly a wake-up call if the emerging nations (India, China) were beginning their own ventures into Space. I wrote ‘Final Orbit’ as a future I didn’t want to see happen. When I heard about Rocket Science, it appeared that my story pushed all the buttons for the anthology. I was delighted that my story was accepted. Now, in the words of the great Bob D: “Senators, Congressmen please heed the call…”