Much like how I intend all of my urban fantasy books to take place "in the same world", whether they're cognizant of if or not, I also intend for my space scifi to take place in its own world. I'm not entirely sure I want these two worlds to be the same. Werewolves in space may not be my thing, savvy? Or, it might be just what we need. Hrm. But I digress. I have to build the culture, and the history, of how my humanity has become spacefaring. I need to decide what's run of the mill for them, and what's out of the ordinary. So I need to build a timeline, and to build a timeline, I need to know what the "real" one is, from V2 rockets on up.
(the Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle)
Also, because getting things wrong drives me nuts, I've been trying to absorb a good deal of space history and also science. I'm not a rocket scientist, I never intended to be, but it's important to me to not build my space cowboys or rocket jockeys or whatever slang term I'm going to come up with on faulty assumptions. I don't want to say stupid things. There's also only so "crunchy" I want my scifi to be. I don't want the science to get in the way of the fiction (Michael Crichton, I'm looking at you....[God rest your soul]). But hey, I found this really cool solar system simulator thing that I'm not really smart enough to use. I don't really need to use it, I intend to stay pretty close to home.
It's funny, because of how much time I spend on Absolute Write, and on Janet Reid's blog(s), I spent time thinking about how query letters should be for each of my novels (the files on my computer are a testament to how bad I feel my query letters are. /shudder). Some agents, though not all (read their submission guidelines!), request that you include bio info in your query. If Untitled Moon/Space Novel 2 ends up being the one I query (or even if Untitled Moon/Space Novel 1 is), I can always say "And when I was six, I met an astronaut.)