Hi to all! Long time lurker, sometime member, larger than average and overall straight guy. This is my first attempt at posting an LPSG themed story. Its a fledging effort and very much tongue in cheek so I hope you like it. Very much on the outer border of my imagination but I hope meets with everyones approval! Danny. Explosive Decompression- the beginning. Sam Harrison had been in the programme now for over 3 years. $10 billion in development across three continents involving 30 different countries and now the first test flight for the prototype ground launch low orbit delivery craft was going ahead. Four crew would be involved in the first flight: the lead pilot, Commander Scott Fellows, long experienced as a US Naval fighter pilot and a previous shuttle pilot instructor, Dr Gillian Robinson, the programme medical officer, Lieutenant Dawn Williams the second in command, and lastly Sam, the programme associate chief engineer. The last 6 months had involved simulator training for what would be the first low orbit test flight with a planned flight path taking the experimental craft, the Intrepid, to the very edge of the Earths atmosphere and then back to the launch site. The whole flight would only last three hours but would test all the aircrafts vital systems and protection devices. The last few days had been the agonising wait for the right weather conditions to launch. And today was that perfect clear sky day. Standing on the launch deck, the craft was like a wider version of the old shuttle design but with a revolutionary double delta wing shape. The three engine systems were designed to lift the craft like a conventional airliner into the upper atmosphere then a series of jet propulsion systems would take the craft into space. Highly specialised modulated heat shielding enabled the craft to withstand the enormous pressures of return to the atmosphere, one of the main engineering challenges to be surmounted. That was the reason for Sams presence, not usually a astronautics-trained post, he had undergone selection and training from the engineering team to join the flight to ensure the new systems were working properly and to ensure any problems could be rectified mid-flight. He was a little nervous but excited to be part of a historic event such as this, that could be the first step to regular taxi trips into space at a fraction of the previous cost and with larger payloads. The countdown completed the jets roared into life and the craft lifted gracefully into the clear night sky. The pilots efficiently brought the craft up to the second stage ignition altitude and Sams job began. Control, approaching second stage altitude, Scott spoke into his radio. Acknowledged Intrepid, you are good to go second stage ignition. Control Roger Ok guys, everything good to do?, Scott asked the team. Yep, all readings are within limits replied Sam. Check your electrode connection please Scott, said Gillian, youve got a loose connection All the team were dressed in full pressure suits. Although the craft was compressed to atmospheric conditions the test flight was set up to prevent any serious injury if there was a problem. Any loss of pressure would not be harmful to the crew in their suits. The medical officer was monitoring all the vital signs to ensure there were no surprises. Scott adjusted his electrode connection, it had wobbled clear a little in the vibration from lift off. He clicked it back into place. Thats better thanks, said Gillian, all signs are fine, Sam, breathe more slowly youre resp rate is a bit quick. You feel ok? Im fine thanks, just a bit excited I guess replied Sam. Ok guys, were doing well, lets run it by the book weve done this a thousand times in the sim, said Dawn. Everyone breathed deeply, even though their suits were perfectly acclimatised they all felt a little shudder of excitement. In Scott and Dawns hands they were as safe as possible. No pilot pairing had done more hours in the sim ever before. Sam breathed more easily and prepared the ignition sequence. 5 4 3 2 1 ignition go. Sam calmly spoke into the intercom. With a roar the second stage engines kicked into life, the perceptible increase in thrust pushed everyone back into their seats. The first stage engines whined to a halt as the craft accelerated and lifted higher into the sky. All the necessary checks completed it was time to lift into low Earth orbit, skirting on the edge of the atmosphere involved some tricky manipulations to the shielding and delaying the third stage procedure would test the shielding very effectively to its operational limits. The pressure outside the craft was now near space-like in this zone and the relative stability of the inner orbit zone would be much safer. However, this was the system that needed testing very carefully and the future of the programme depended on success at this stage. To do so would mean moving into the rear section of the craft. Preparing to leave control cabin to payload area and engineering station. said Sam. Roger that Sam, careful how you go replied Scott. Ill continue monitoring you from here said Gillian. Ok Sam, take care said Dawn. Sam unbuckled from his seat and stepped cautiously in his bulky suit to the airlock door between the pressurised cabin and the rear section. The design allowed the pilots to move around in a zero-G environment without suits in the cabin but the safety procedures called for suits in the rear section as it would be used for payload delivery. Usually the team would change in the large airlock section between the two. As he stepped through to the airlock and closed the door behind him, Sam thought of the last few months of training and how he and Dawn had found in each other a kind of companionship that he had warmly welcomed and they had luckily taken forwards. Sam was in his early thirties and Dawn was slighter younger, and an ambitious pilot with a great future. They had talked long about the programme and the likelihood of being separated for long periods of time but had decided they would keep seeing each other. The rest of the team didnt know, in case it created tensions, so they had kept seeing each other. Quite apart from their friendship, the sex was fantastic. Sam smiled to himself. He had been a kind of geeky loner through school and university but had had a few lovers. Nothing like Dawn though - ambitious, fit and exceptionally highly sexually driven she had really shown him how to enjoy sex for the first time. An in-joke between them had been the size of his penis. She had laughed when she first saw it, asking if all the engineers had to have big rockets to work for NASA. He was surprised, as he had received the occasional flattering comment about it but was by no means huge, just under 9 inches when erect, and had found her passion for his larger than average cock very much a turn-on. Either way, they both enjoyed a very good life together and he was glad he had made the team for that reason. He tried to put such thoughts away as he proceeded to move into the rear section, trying to concentrate on the job in hand. Now he was locked into the rear section he began the slow process of testing each of the shielding systems one by one. Painstaking as it would be, the process was vital to ensure the craft could be repeatedly moved between orbit and atmosphere without endangering the crew or payload. About an hour later he had almost finished the tests. So far everything had gone to plan perfectly. Bouncing along the atmospheric edge had been successful and now it was almost time to take the third stage to the low orbital point and then return to Earth according to the planned flight path. All shielding tests read AOK, Intrepid ground reported, The results have been run through the computers here and look great. Well done Sam. Thanks, Im ready to return to the cabin. Sam said. OK Sam, come on through, said Scott.