Real Space: The Missions

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“The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of
cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's
no good reason to go into space - each discovered, studied, and
remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision.”

― Randall Munroe



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Pop Chart Labs




Join us, @DiscoSlelge, @HooHungLow and me in a journey trough the history of man's space exploration!!


This is a series about real space exploration missions complemented with their history, objectives and details about the boosters who launched them.

Missions from the past, present and future are planned, always trying to be accurate but without exhausting details, and also keeping  stock-alike aesthetics.




Chapter 1

  • LEO communications - the TDRS Network 





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The TDRS Network



Not exactly an exploration mission, the Tracking and Data Realy Satellite network of communication satellites  brings connectivity to several key components for NASA and various US agencies.

Constituted by 10 operational spacecraft across 3 Generations, the TDRS Network operates in S, Ka and Ku bands supporting basic telemetry and data relay, high speed internet access and basic navigation.

Satellite Generations:

  • First Generation TDRS: models A to G - Launched by the Space Shuttle
  • Second Generation TDRS: models H to J - Launched by the Atlas IIA
  • Third Generation TDRS: models K to M - Launched by the Atlas V 401


The Missions:


Launched by: Space Shuttle Atlantis  + IUS (inertial upper stage) on STS-70

Launch date: 13 July 1995

Launch site: KSC LC-39B



Discovery lifts off at 13:41:55 UTC



Shuttle's ET (external tank) separates from the orbiter and will re-enter the atmosphere being destroyed


Discovery cargo bay opens revealing its payload


The TDRS+IUS payload is released and separates from the orbiter


They will slowly separate before igniting the IUS first stage engine


About an hour later, IUS ignites, raising its payload to GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit)


IUS second stage takes over


TDRS-G separates from the truss attaching it to the IUS


The Satellite deploys its solar panels and antennas


Afters it commissioning period, the satellite  became fully operational







Launched by: Atlas IIA

Launch date: 30 June 2000

Launch site: KSC SLC-36A


Lift-off! of Atlas IIA Carrying the TDRS-8 Satellite


1 vacuum optimized engine + 2 sustainers powers the Atlas IIA



Like all its predecessors before it, the Atlas IIA 1 and a 1/2 stage detaches leaving its main engine alone


Also, like a great part of the Atlas family, the centaur upper stage takes over making the payload orbit insertion


Twin RL-10 cryogenic engines power the high energy Centaur


The second-gen TDRS satellite deploys panels and antennas


and enters service after it commissioning period







Launched by: Atlas V 401

Launch date: 31 January 2013

Launch site: KSC SLC-41


No so different than the last one, so I'll only cover some differences.


The NPO Energomash powered Atlas V



MECO (Main Engine Cut-Off) and retro-fire


The TDRS satellite firing its own engine to circularize its orbit





Well, see you next mission time!!



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Mars and phobos obersavtion

Phobos 2

Mission purpose : investigate on Mars atmosphere gaz composition and mars's moon.

Launch date : 12 july 1988

Launch site and launch vehicle : Baikonur; Proton K.


Proton K ready to launch.


At 17:01 Proton rises


Minutes after the launch the third stage enters in action.


LOK last stage kicks Phobos 2 on way to Mars !


The 29 January 1989 Phobos 2 enters in orbit around Mars and makes a quick fly by uppon Phobos


See you next time !


Edited by DiscoSlelge
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Operation Paperclip: The German Connection



During World War II the V-2 rocket was amongst the most advanced weapons produced by Naz!-Germany. Hundreds of V-2 Rockets were launched against Allied targets. Near the end of the war the United States and Soviet Union rushed to confiscate and reverse engineer the Naz! technology as a means to produce even more sophisticated weaponry for wars to come. In order to stifle the efforts of the Soviet Union, the United States launched Operation Paperclip, a secret program that recruited German scientist and engineers, such as former SS-Sturmbannführer Wernher von Braun to work for the US Military. With the help of von Braun, the US captured 100 V-2 rockets to the recently established White Sands Missile Range. From 1946-1951 the US Army fired 67 V-2 rockets from the site. 

The Missions:

V-2/A4 Testing

Launched by: US confiscated V-2 Rockets

Launch date(s): 1946-1951

Launch site: Launch Complex 33, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA



Edited by HooHungLow
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