In the nose cone of a three-stage rocket, a man lies on his back with his knees drawn up, waiting for the explosion that -will thrust him into space. Blastoff. The roar swallows him; intense vibration courses through his shackled, layer-enveloped body. He is hurtling into the inky empyrean where the sun's rays give no light, where there is no such thing as height, where there is no up and no down -where, if he drops his guard for an instant, the irresistible forces of the cosmos will destroy him.

The drag of gravity...

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