Picture, if you will, and alternative history, where the mythological Amazon society is real, and existed all the way to present day.
In 1969 the United States landed the first human on the Moon. With the race to the Moon all but lost, the Soviet Union abandoned its failing lunar manned spaceflight missions. In 1972 the last American manned lunar mission was completed, and further ambitious plans to send people back there and to Mars were set aside in favor of the Space Shuttle program, the ISS and other mucking about in low-earth orbit. With no international competition it seemed like humanity’s exploration of other worlds would come to a swift halt.
What the world didn’t count on was the Themysciran Space Program. The Amazons had always been quick to adapt to new ways of war, and when the race for rockets became the new arms race, they wasted no time in catching up. Just as in the USA and USSR, the greatest rocket scientist in Themyscira had dreams greater than just launching warheads on other countries. Inspired by Verne and Méliés, she dreamed of sending women into space. And like Korolev and von Braun, the Amazons got an idealistic dreamer to lift them to the stars.
In 1964 Themyscira launched the second woman out into orbit. Following that the missions in space continued, always trailing behind their larger US and Russian counterparts, but nevertheless keeping the pace just behind. A crew of two women flew around the Moon in 1971, and in 1974 woman set foot on the Moon for the first time in history. While other nations abandoned their lunar programs in favor of low-earth orbit and un-crewed deep space probes, the Themysciran Program kept returning to the Moon, performing a new landing once every year, creating a small orbital outpost by 1982, and the first functional surface base by 1991. Today, the Amazons operate the only spacecraft capable of performing returning lunar flights, and became the number one way to get to space after the Space Shuttle was discontinued in 2011, with private companies only now starting to catch up. The Amazons are currently performing annual test flights of their interplanetary vessel, aimed at making a return trip to Mars next year.
This picture shows one of the reusable Moonships, the Telepyleia (Τελεπψλεια) on its way to the Moon. The ship has a crew capacity of 10, and is equipped to land on the Moon and return without the need for refueling in orbit. Two of the four astronauts visible in this image are on their first trip, while the other two are experienced spacewomen, one of whom is about to complete her third lunar landing. Can you guess which is which? 😀
Link on DeviantArt here.