There. It was done.
Syrgy Pavylyvych drooped over the typewriter in his office, massaging his temples and trying to will the moisture in his eyes back under control. The staff at the Cosmodrome had so far been... amazingly supportive, but even when people said "there's nothing you could have done," Syrgy knew it wasn't true. He could
have ordered more X-ray photography, more analysis of microscopic features in the heat shield. He could
have diagnosed the problem, and all the other problems. Nothing that had gone wrong was man's skill to correct in principle.If only I were twenty-five years younger, if only I were strong like before...
he shivered, remembering the days at Kylhima. There were simply so many of these endless disasters, the rocket reliability falling apart on him, the capsule gyros- at least he'd gotten that
fixed, and he still didn't know what had been wrong with the prints when he signed off on them.
It is my duty to make an accounting of the life and passing of Captain Ivan Ivanovitch Ivanov, veteran of the First Guards Aviation Division.
During the Great Patriotic Salvation War, Ivanov fought bravely against the Ratzi invaders, battling the enemy behind, above, and in front of the line of battle. He distinguished himself repeatedly for his courage and skill, both of which traits he carried forward into the Jet Age after the war ended, demonstrating his ability at the forefront of Zenobian aviation with ever more complex and sophisticated ZiG and Yakski fighters.
From his first days with the cosmonaut program in 1958, I became convinced that Captain Ivanov was the best possible candidate for orbital spaceflight; if any man could triumph over a strange and unknown environment, Ivanov would be that man. His performance in arduous training supported my conviction, as did his bearing and efficiency during his final mission.
I was privileged to be in radio contact with Captain Ivanov for the majority of his twenty-two hour flight through the heavens. He acted admirably in all respects, particularly in his mastery of his capsule's maneuvering controls during mid-orbit tests, something which Comrade Faaabio had not been able to explore during the much shorter suborbital flight.
Ivanov reported discomfort and disorientation at first, but pressed on through his checklists and kept up a steady stream of reports, many of which were heard on radio frequencies around the world as he circled the globe time after time. He exchanged courteous greetings with Premier Shroomanski after his first orbit as he flew over Zenobian territory at a speed of over seven kilometers per second, and on following orbits transmitted photographs of himself which will hold an eternal place in the annals of Zenobian exploration.
History will record that Captain Ivanov was the first man in the history of civilization to do many things; among them, he was the first to sleep in orbit. After performing a wide variety of tasks and checks, including some which proved quite challenging, which I do not know if a lesser man could have handled, ground control advised the captain to take a rest. He did so, settling in for a long, peaceful slumber while floating in the zero-gravity of his capsule. By his own report, he slept quite well, "like a baby."
After awakening, Ivanov shook off his disorientation, seemingly like a bull shrugging off a bothersome fly, twelve orbits into his mission. He handled the de-orbit burn deftly despite technical difficulties with the retro-rocket pack, and was almost precisely on course for reentry, prior to the failure of the capsule's heat shield as it approached radio blackout. To the last, he was calm and composed.
Comrade Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov was a true hero of the Zenobian people; there is no man I have ever been more proud to know and to work with.
*Author's note: I am basing the events of Ivanov's time in orbit off the historical Vostok 2 mission flown by Titov, which was of comparable duration and thus, I presume, of comparable complexity. Titov did experience space-sickness; since Ivanov's endurance score is equal to that of Titov in-game, I thought it reasonable that Ivanov would experience the same, and handle it as well as Titov did.
That would do for the newsletters. He'd have to rework it somewhat, for the letter he had to write to Ivanov's family, the one that he wished so desperately had been unnecessary, but the substance was there.