13

Probably from the 70s or earlier. Paperback in English.

Space craft with a new drive that should be able to travel to other planets in solar system almost instantly, is over budget and behind schedule.

Corporate head office assigns a new brash PR flunky type to take over and get the project on schedule. (He may have been there to secretly shut it down. Too expensive) This is not a choice assignment, but he is determined to make the best of it.

Since the drive does work, he orders a a test flight (despite all the scientists/techs in the crew trying to tell him they haven't quite worked out some major bugs in the drive/control systems) with a camera crew onboard to record the results.

When activated the ship jumps, but NOT to Venus/Mars(?) as expected, but to another star - and the scientists/techs are not quite sure which one it is, or how to get back.

Since they still have communications with Earth, the PR flunky organizes the camera crew, who were supposed to record the planetary jump results, to broadcast a "travelogue type, wow look what we found, what will we find next" 1 hr TV show.

I am pretty sure they do not tell people they are lost on the TV show. Meanwhile behind the scenes, the PR flunky is contacting corporate to hire more astronomers and scientists to get involved with finding out where they are and how to fix the drive controls.

They then proceed to jump to several different stars, while the scientist/techs continue to try to figure out how to control the jumps.

Meanwhile they continue to broadcast the 1 hr TV show which become more campy. "Oh no, this planet looks dangerous, how will we survive/overcome the problem? Tune in to our next episode to find out."

The show is a HUGE success back home, with the advertisement revenue paying for the over budget expenses many times over.

At one point the PR flunky gets stranded with a female (crew member? assistant?) on a planet by themselves, when the ship has to jump before they can return. Figuring they will be stuck there forever, they become romantically involved.

Eventually the scientists/techs figure out how to control the jumps, and return to rescue them, and then jump back to Earth, where the PR flunky can get whatever he wants from corporate. (He was more or less the "star" of the show.)

The characters were very stereotypical. The infatuated wide-eyed clueless female, the nerdy bumbling scientist, the adventurous camera crew, the ambitious take charge "I know what I am doing" PR flunky.

14

That is Murray Leinster's Operation Outer Space.

The main character is Jed Cochran who is an advertising executive at Karsten, Karsten, Hopkins and Fallowe for The Dikkipatti Hour -- the story unfolds as you describe with the set of stock characters you describe. About the only deviations I spotted is that the PR-type is sent to the Moon because Dabney, the discoverer of the FTL effect, is married to his boss's daughter and the boss wants to make his son-in-law famous. And the lead up to the ship taking off occupies the whole first half of the book.

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