Premise

Little Joe II at the New Mexico Museum of Space History

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 20, 1969. Suppose Grand Fenwick was there also? Through a detailed timeline of the Apollo 11 events, Grand Fenwick activities are intertwined without changing the historical facts. The plot uses seldom-known incidents about the Apollo flight.

In 1964, the Prime Minister Mountjoy, of the Dutch of Grand Fenwick, asks the US for a loan to fund rocket development to fly to the moon. Actually he wanted to install indoor plumbing so that he could have a hot bath. The US views this as a inexpensive way to show support for joint space development as per President Kennedy’s UN speech. Mountjoy is shocked to discover Professor Kokintz has invented an atomic motor fuelled by Grand Fenwick’s premier wine and believes he can fly to the moon.

Kokintz asks for a surplus Apollo Little Joe II rocket. This is a small solid-fuel rocket booster designed to test the Apollo capsule Launch Eject System. There were three surplus rockets made. Vehicle 12-50-4 did go missing.

The Little Joe II was only 55 feet high without the ejection tower. It weighed only about 50 tons and had 2 levels, one for the capsule, one for the lunar module. The rocket could also be easily taken apart and shipped.

An interesting piece of history is the Apollo 11 countdown went as planned. It started on July 10, 1969 with a launch July 16 and a landing on July 20. The target time for Fenwick to fly to the moon was 10 days, so Kokintz realizes if he launches on the same day the Apollo countdown starts they will both reach the moon at the same time.

The US and other countries ignore the Fenwick launch. Fenwick aims for the Sea of Tranquility like the US. When the Eagle was landing, Armstrong realized they were not in the correct position and landing in a boulder field. He took over manual control and flew about 4 miles before touchdown. Fenwick does descend to the correct coordinates, so once both are on the moon, they are about 6 miles apart with no line-of-sight view of each other.