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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 001, Sur Two, Wednesday, Sol 14 (001.2.14)  06:33 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Friday, 18 March 2016  2:00 PM PDT
  • Distance traveled:  76,604,040 kilometers   Time Delay:  3 mins 16 secs
  • Distance to Mars Rendezvous:  315,805,712 kilometers

The Command team had gathered in Jenna’s quarters for the morning briefing from Megan. Morning shift did not begin until 8:00 AM NST, but because Jenna was now the ESEP Director, they had to be ahead of the Earthside ESEP administrators, so the day now started at 6:00 AM for her team.

Megan was going over the status updates she had received,

“The target date for launch of the Mars Computer Complex is now Sol 51 of this month. All three segments will be launched on that day. Earth Prime’s Computer Complex will go up five days later. Claude told me yesterday that they will have the ship ready to leave orbit by Sol 58. It will arrive at Mars at Sol 4 of Sur Four, or July 7th.

Because they need to follow human stress protocols for the G-load of the computer systems, that ship will have a crew. Claude is working with the engineers on the configuration, but it looks like the ship will be about the size of the QE II. The name of the ship?…are you ready for this?…it is to be called Data…after the Star Trek android character. 

On board the Data should be most of the replacement and administrative personnel you’ll need. They won’t have much time to train.

As for my personal assistant staff, thank you. It’s going to take some time to get used to, and I still think this is a revenge thing on your part, Jenna, but I suppose it is necessary. I’ve never felt so safe or pampered.

Regarding the new Mars schedule, Earthside seems to be in agreement that everything on the accelerated plan can be done on time. The target date for the next mission is now Sol 2 of Sur Four or July 5th. We are now looking at an early or mid-August launch for the 4th mission, and an 5th mission in late October or early November.

This is pushing our launch facilities up to capacity with two to three launches per day. Chile is moving forward to building two more launch pads and we are about to break ground on our Nippon launch facility.

Quill manufacturing is ramping up. Our biggest problem has been the American-owned, investor-run, companies. We are fortunate that the former Director established a policy of minimizing our relationships with investor-run companies. Fortunately, our suppliers in France, Germany, Spain, Nippon, Great Britain, and Korea have stepped in to pick up the slack.

Earth Prime has been using the new procedures in assembling the ships and it is shaving months off the schedule. Claude is very happy.

Elon Musk is upset about your SpaceX remarks on Charlie Rose. Apparently, your point that his entire program is based on reinventing thirty-year-old space technology sent his stocks into free fall. I think he’d like to come up and give you a good lecture…if he had a craft that could get out of low Earth orbit.

NASA is not too happy with you either, but I suspect their employees know that your analysis of their program is spot on.

That’s all for now. I’ll talk to you later this morning, unless you have something more urgent. Have a great day!”

Ken looked at Jenna and said, “We need to talk about Musk.”