The novel “High Vacuum” by Charles Eric Maine was published for the first time in 1956.
The Alpha rocket has reached the Moon with the first astronauts but something goes wrong with the engine burn that is supposed to start the braking, and the landing is too violent. Of the four astronauts on board, one dies and another is seriously injured.
Surviving until help arrives is the only priority but the situation is at the limit of the impossible. Repairing the radio will allow the survivors to ask for help but, even in the best-case scenario, it will take who knows how long for a rescue expedition to reach the Moon. The main problem is the available oxygen, and the situation turns out to be even worse than expected when the astronauts discover the presence on board of a stowaway, a woman.