T – 2 days and counting… (sneak peek time)

Just two more days to go until the relaunch of Out of the Cradle. We’re nearly there. I don’t think I’m going to be sleeping much between now and then, but it’ll be worth it.

Since it’s getting so close to the launch, I think it’s probably time to give you a bit of an idea what’s coming.

Insider Interviews

Back in October of 2005 when the site first got under way, it kicked off with a number of interviews with some interesting people in the space industry. We’re heading back to those roots, with a whole lot of new and interesting folk being interviewed.

For Monday we have two interviews lined up and ready to go: I will be talking with Jeff Krukin, the executive director of the Space Frontier Foundation, and also with Sam Dinkin who incidentally was OotC’s first victiminterviewee when we launched originally. Sam will be updating us with the latest goings-on at his company Space-Shot, and Jeff and I have a wide-ranging and very interesting conversation about NewSpace, NASA and more.

Original NewSpace Fiction

From going back to the site’s roots with the interviews, this one takes it in a whole new direction altogether!

I’m starting a serial novel, published here a chapter a month. It doesn’t have a name yet (the working title is – rather unoriginally – “Out of the Cradle Serial Story”), but it’s set in the very near future (2014-2018) and it has a strong NewSpace focus. Because it is coming out as a serial, you will have the opportunity to comment on it as it unfolds, and maybe even influence the outcome of events in the story. I’m trying for a believable very-near-future scenario, so if you’re a rocket engineer and you spot something that’s not quite right, I want to hear about it!

Hears a sneak preview of the first couple of paragraphs to whet your appetite:

Suiting up for spaceflight is a long and methodical process. Clambering into the bulky pressure garment is only the beginning; there follows a drawn-out period of fit checks, leak checks, and other testing to ensure that the space suit is ready to save its wearer’s life in an emergency. The astronaut stands or sits patiently while technicians work through their procedures with deliberate, unhurried care.

These activities place few demands on the astronaut’s attention, requiring more than anything that he act in the capacity of a highly trained garment stand. With little to do but watch as others prepare the suit around him, his mind is free – perhaps for the first time in weeks or months of intensive training – to think on the meaning of the flight to come.

This is typically when it all becomes real: This is not another rehearsal; today is launch day. That realization is enough to send a thrill of anticipation through the gut of even the most jaded of astronauts. For those rookies looking forward to their first flight, the sensation is almost unbearable.

“Hey – you’re on TV!”

Nicholas looked up at the monitor to see a pair of technicians fussing over an unfamiliar astronaut in a bright orange launch and entry suit. He watched the other astronaut gaze thoughtfully at something off-camera until he realized with a start that he was looking at himself. How could this mythic-hero astronaut figure be Nicholas Cook?

But that’s enough for now. More on Monday.

New Book Sections

We’re complementing the Lunar Library with two additional space-themed book collections: the Asteroid Archives and the Martian Manuscripts. These will be built up over time as Ken and I search out more good new and old books on the Moon, the asteroids, and Mars.

The NewSpace Status Board

This is a place where you will be able to see the current status and activities of each of the main NewSpace companies (at least to the extent that their activities are public). My prototype for this probably wont make the Monday launch, but it should be available by the end of the month.

Lots of interesting new stuff

As you can see, there are heaps of exciting new things in the works. Just two days to go until this all takes off, on Monday!

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