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Where I Wasn't Going   By: (1911-1996)

Where I Wasn't Going by Leigh Richmond

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction October and November 1963. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.


"The Spaceman's Lament" concerned a man who wound up where he wasn't going ... but the men on Space Station One knew they weren't going anywhere. Until Confusion set in....




I studied and worked and learned my trade I had the life of an earthman made; But I met a spaceman and got way laid I went where I wasn't going!


Making his way from square to square of the big rope hairnet that served as guidelines on the outer surface of the big wheel, Mike Blackhawk completed his inspection of the gold plated plastic hull, with its alternate dark and shiny squares.

He had scanned every foot of the curved surface in this first inspection, familiarizing himself completely with that which other men had constructed from his drawings, and which he would now take over in the capacity of chief engineer.

Mike attached his safety line to a guideline leading to the south polar lock and kicked off, satisfied that the lab was ready for the job of turning on the spin with which he would begin his three months tour of duty aboard.

The laws of radiation exposure set the three month deadline to service aboard the lab, and he had timed his own tour aboard to start as the ship reached completion, and the delicate job of turning her was ready to begin.

U.N. Space Lab One was man's largest project to date in space. It might not be tremendous in size by earth standards of construction, but the two hundred thirty two foot wheel represented sixty four million pounds of very careful engineering and assembly that had been raised from Earth's surface to this thirty six hour orbit.

Many crews had come and gone in the eighteen months since the first payload had arrived at this orbit but now the first of the scientists for whom the lab was built were aboard; and the pick of the crews selected for the construction job had been shuttled up for the final testing and spin out.

Far off to Mike's left and slightly below him a flicker of flame caught his eye, and he realized without even looking down that the retro rockets of the shuttle on which he had arrived were slowly putting it out of orbit and tipping it over the edge of the long gravitic well back to Earth. It would be two weeks before it returned.

Nearing the lock he grasped the cable with one hand, slowing himself, turned with the skill of an acrobat, and landed catlike, feet first, on the stat magnetic walk around the lock.

He had gone over, minutely, the inside of the satellite before coming to its surface. Now there was only one more inspection job before he turned on the spin.

Around this south polar hub lock, which would rotate with the wheel, was the stationary anchor ring on which rode free both the stat walk and the anchor tubes for the smaller satellites that served as distant components of the mother ship.

Kept rigid by air pressure, any deviation corrected by pressure tanks in the stationary ring, the tubes served both to keep the smaller bodies from drifting too close to Space Lab One, and prevented their drifting off.

The anchor tubes were just over one foot in diameter, weighing less than five ounces to the yard gray plastic and fiber, air rigid fingers pointing away into space but they could take over two thousand pounds of compression or tension, far more than needed for their job, which was to cancel out the light drift motion caused by crews kicking in or out, or activities aboard... Continue reading book >>

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