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“Solar Storm”


Solar Storm

New author to me and a new series. This one starts off really well although we do have to get an understanding of the political situation in the far distant future. The Earth’s political environment has created several groups that now control most of the activities in space. SINO, an aggregate of Chinese and affiliated national space agencies is one of the large groups, very stand-offish, very self-centered and almost uncooperative. INDOCON is a consortium of Indian space interests and affiliates. Then there’s the NSFN or Non-Spacefaring Nations. These nations don’t want to be left out of the space race, but they have no existing way of reaching space although some are working on doing just that. Then there’s Xilinex, a huge corporation with it’s hands in everything. They want to control everything in space and on the moon for a profit, of course. Lastly, we have FISA, the Federation of International Space Agencies, largely American and largely responsible for keeping space and the moon from turning into a war zone.

FISA was not trying to convene a meeting of all these entities in order to create the New Lunar Accord. It was hoped that this new Accord would finally spell out where everyone stood in relation to colonizing and exploiting the moon. The moon contains a vast amount of resources that the Earth needs and it has been providing such through these various entities, but it was getting to the point that some were stepping on each others toes, so lines needed to be draw or fighting might just breakout and that nobody or almost nobody wanted.

Currently, you’ll find out that Earth has been busy sending many, many things into Near Earth Orbit (NEO) as well as Medium, and Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (MEO and GEO, respectively). All of this “stuff” has and is being tracked by MASTERM, a government organization. They are also now aware of some building solar activity that could have an impact on some of the orbiting satellites and even space station above Earth.

One such orbiting installation is the Axial Luxor, a luxury orbital lunar hotel, where Selene Mene, Associate Director of FISA, is trying to convene the aforementioned New Lunar Accord meeting. She has been told about the impending solar activity, but at this point, she doesn’t see that it has any effect on convening the meeting. Depending on how long the solar flare last, those aboard the orbiting hotel will have to seek shelter in one of the more protected areas that have been designated and built for that purpose. She really needs to get all the players to these meetings if she and others hope to prevent the eventual fighting over lunar resources.

Meanwhile, her nephew, Renton Hicks, is aboard the maintenance ship Aurora attempting to survey an old hunk of Lunar orbiting machinery formerly known as the Lunar Gateway. The survey is being made by remotely controlled drones which he and his fellow engineers are controlling. They also have been informed of the impending solar activity and believe they will be done and back to Earth before that becomes a concern. That is until something unexpected happens. One of the drones has malfunctioned and struck the Lunar Gateway now sending it on a orbit to crash into the moon. The crew Renton works with is going to have to stop that before it happens which will take time.

Back on Earth, the solar activity is becoming something of a concern. It might be much larger than expected and if so, it might last longer and be of greater danger to those not currently on Earth. It could even affect any electrical equipment on Earth and definitely affect orbiting satellites and space stations. As reports keep coming in on the magnitude of this pending solar activity, it gets increasingly worse. While MASTERM can predict when and where 90% of the space objects and junk is in relation to each other, they cannot won’t be able to do much if these objects start crashing into each other if they are killed by the solar activity. This could cascade into catastrophic event if all of these orbiting satellites smashed into each other causing even more space junk to smash into everything else. It eventually could lead to an almost impenetrable shield around Earth that contains hunks of metal moving at 27,000 mph. No one would be leaving or coming back to Earth in that case.

So, now you know the situation, now you can read to see what exactly happens to everyone involved. Most of all, you’ll read about what happens to young Renton Hicks and the maintenance team that got caught up in all this even though they are the ones least informed of what was happening. Space is pretty unforgiving and humans can’t exist for very long unless they have made plans to do so, but could anyone live for maybe two years or even ten?

The second book, “Resource Control”, is available for pre-order on Amazon and should be available o/a 30 June 2023. I’ll be adding it to my reading list.

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