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The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir

Author:Andy Weir [Weir, Andy]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi, azw3
Tags: Fiction, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Hard Science Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense
ISBN: 9780804139021
Google: 2q8gnQEACAAJ
Amazon: 1927628091
Publisher: Crown
Published: 2014-02-11T06:00:00+00:00


•••

“DO YOU believe in God, Venkat?” Mitch asked.

“Sure, lots of ’em,” Venkat said. “I’m Hindu.”

“Ask ’em all for help with this launch.”

“Will do.”

Mitch stepped forward to his station in Mission Control. The room bustled with activity as the dozens of controllers each made final preparations for launch.

He put his headset on and glanced at the time readout on the giant center screen at the front of the room. He turned on his headset and said, “This is the flight director. Begin launch status check.”

“Roger that, Houston” was the reply from the launch control director in Florida. “CLCDR checking all stations are manned and systems ready,” he broadcast. “Give me a go/no-go for launch. Talker?”

“Go” was the response.

“Timer.”

“Go,” said another voice.

“QAM1.”

“Go.”

Resting his chin on his hands, Mitch stared at the center screen. It showed the pad video feed. The booster, amid cloudy water vapor from the cooling process, still had EagleEye3 stenciled on the side.

“QAM2.”

“Go.”

“QAM3.”

“Go.”

Venkat leaned against the back wall. He was an administrator. His job was done. He could only watch and hope. His gaze was fixated on the far wall’s displays. In his mind, he saw the numbers, the shift juggling, the outright lies and borderline crimes he’d committed to put this mission together. It would all be worthwhile, if it worked.

“FSC.”

“Go.”

“Prop One.”

“Go.”

Teddy sat in the VIP observation room behind Mission Control. His authority afforded him the very best seat: front-row center. His briefcase lay at his feet and he held a blue folder in his hands.

“Prop Two.”

“Go.”

“PTO.”

“Go.”

Annie Montrose paced in her private office next to the press room. Nine televisions mounted to the wall were each tuned to a different network; each network showed the launch pad. A glance at her computer showed foreign networks doing the same. The world was holding its breath.

“ACC.”

“Go.”

“LWO.”

“Go.”

Bruce Ng sat in the JPL cafeteria along with hundreds of engineers who had given everything they had to Iris. They watched the live feed on a projection screen. Some fidgeted, unable to find comfortable positions. Others held hands. It was 6:13 a.m. in Pasadena, yet every single employee was present.

“AFLC.”

“Go.”

“Guidance.”

“Go.”

Millions of kilometers away, the crew of Hermes listened as they crowded around Johanssen’s station. The two-minute transmission time didn’t matter. They had no way to help; there was no need to interact. Johanssen stared intently at her screen, although it displayed only the audio signal strength. Beck wrung his hands. Vogel stood motionless, his eyes fixed on the floor. Martinez prayed silently at first, then saw no reason to hide it. Commander Lewis stood apart, her arms folded across her chest.

“PTC.”

“Go.”

“Launch Vehicle Director.”

“Go.”

“Houston, this is Launch Control, we are go for launch.”

“Roger,” Mitch said, checking the countdown. “This is Flight, we are go for launch on schedule.”

“Roger that, Houston,” Launch Control said. “Launch on schedule.”

Once the clock reached −00:00:15, the television networks got what they were waiting for. The timer controller began the verbal countdown. “Fifteen,” she said, “fourteen…thirteen…twelve…eleven…”

Thousands had gathered at Cape Canaveral, the largest crowd ever to watch an unmanned launch. They listened to the timer controller’s voice as it echoed across the grandstands.



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