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Back in the 1960s I read a young adult novel where a teenage Australian boy at a remote sheep station investigates strange goings on at the local meteor craters.

He discovers a secret rocket base and joins the crew in the first trip to the moon if I remember correctly. At one point he makes a space walk and drifts away but is rescued.

I guess it was probably written after World war II and before the space race began about 1960.

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Sounds a lot like Moon Ahead, by Leslie Greener, though in that there were two boys involved.

One of them did have a narrow squeak such as you describe, and on the Moon they had a run in with a rival organisation.

They called the spaceship Shining Rock, because that was what the boys took it for when they first glimpsed it in the Australian desert.

  • From my research Moon Ahead (1951) looks like a good candidate. There can't be too many novels where teenagers blast off from Australia on the first moon flight, and it does seem much closer than Blast off at Woomera. – M. A. Golding Jan 8 '18 at 10:35
  • And I have a feeling that the launch site was located in or beside a meteor crater. Regrettably I no longer have a copy so can't swear to it. – Mike Stone Jan 8 '18 at 10:43
  • The two boys (named Sam and Noel iirc) were radio hams and first got in touch by radio across the Pacific (one was Australian, one American). When discovered on the ship, they talked their elders out of aborting the mission due to their need for a radio operator. – Mike Stone Jan 10 '18 at 13:41
  • Mike Stone - I have decided to accept your answer. – M. A. Golding Jan 21 '18 at 2:17
  • Thanks. One more detail. The organisation behind the mission was called BEAMS (British Empire-American Moon Society) which led one of the boys to make a crack about "moonbeams". – Mike Stone Jan 21 '18 at 15:26
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Blast Off at Woomera by Hugh Walters? It's the first of a series starring a young man called Chris Godfrey. he is chosen to pilot the rocket because he is small and light.

  • According to this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blast_Off_at_Woomera the rocket is not large enough for a man. I believe in the novel I am thinking off there are several people in the crew and they rescue the title character when he drifts off in space. And the protagonist was Australian, not British like Chris Godfrey. Curiously, I seem to have read a later book in the series, Moon Base One, and was thinking of asking a question to identify it. unexa.org/walters/04moonba/index.html – M. A. Golding Jan 6 '18 at 11:50

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