The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

VOC... in space!

The first Dutch satellite was launched into orbit in 1959. This was two years after the first satellite. VOC Communications saw the potential in satellites. Using the mathematics of a British engineer, Auther Clarke, VOC Communications aimed to establish a communication network in orbit of Earth. Over the space of several years, starting in 1963, the VOC began to launch its own constellation of communication satellites into geosynchronous orbit. This first network was completed in 1967, and allowed for wireless communication anywhere in the world. The first network was decades ahead of the Information Age, and it was not until the 1990s, that communication satellites were exploited to their fullest.

In order to reach orbit, the VOC established its VOC Stars department. VOC Stars developed and built launch vehicles, satellites and even space capsules. Most of its assets were sunk into unmanned launches, with it flagship rocket, Griffon. Hundreds of Griffons were constructed, and not only used by the Company, but VOC Stars was also under contract with other communication companies for launches. Companies like Bell and Greison found dealing with the VOC a lot easier, and with a lot less red tape, than contracting launches to their own national space programs or aerospace giants.

VOC Stars also built the Capricorn space capsules, a three-man orbital spacecraft, which were purchased by both Commonwealth and British Space Agencies. Though the Capricorns were cheaper than anything produced in the United States, Germany, or Sweden, these other spacefaring nations refused to go beyond their own borders to purchase spacecraft. Italy cooperated with both German and American programs, Italian Astronauts hitching rides on either, while the French struggled to keep in space with the other World Powers.

During the 1980s, the VOC help fund Fort Recife, the first Dutch outpost on the moon. The VOC’s interest in Luna was no geological or astronomical, but rather in researching the practicality of extracting Helium-3 from the Lunar Regolith, and the economy of exporting it back to Earth for use in future fusion reactors.

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