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"A Red World" - The successor to мир


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Over the past few weeks, I've been exploring an alternate history scenario that considers what might have occurred if the USSR had not collapsed and the ISS project had not been undertaken like it has in reality. The primary aim of this thread is to create a coherent archive of all the lore, mission profiles, and screenshots related to this endeavour. I will document almost every mission I undertake in this thread, and I intend to post a mission update at least once or twice per week.

My Inspiration:


  • 1980: Space Station Freedom project study begins
  • 1981: Mir 2 project study begins
  • 1982: NASA requests Western influenced countries to submit module proposals
  • 1993: USA and USSR agree to "International Space Station" Project
  • November 1997: Second Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
  • March 1998: Western influenced countries begin to place sanctions on the USSR
  • May 1998: Reykjavík Summit, talks about withdrawing soviet troops from Afghanistan collapse
  • July 1998: USSR pulls out of ISS project
Edited by DG1
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Posted (edited)

Zarya, 20th November 1998


The new dawn:

As the sun rose over Baikonur, it symbolized a new era for the Soviet space program. They were determined to no longer be in second place and to rely on other nations. Despite facing sanctions from 70 nations, this did not deter the USSR from launching the first module (Zarya) of their new station into the skies. On November 18th, 1998, Zarya was rolled out to the pad without any western insignia. The launch was scheduled for November 20th, 1998, at 0640 local time - coinciding with the beginning of the ISS program.



"10 minutes from launch, all systems nominal. Controllers report go for launch" 



"As Zarya ascends into the sky, so does the Soviet Union's stature as a dominant force in space exploration!"



"Currently passing through Max-Q"



"Successful staging of the first stage booster"



Fairing deployment





Proton once against performs without issue, injecting Zarya into a 400X402km, 51.6 degree orbit



"My fellow citizens of the Soviet Union,

Today marks the dawn of a new era for our nation. The liftoff of the first space station module represents a momentous achievement that speaks volumes about our scientific and engineering prowess. We have overcome numerous obstacles to get to this point, but we have prevailed. We have always been a nation that is driven by a thirst for progress and innovation, and today, we have proved that once again. Our determination and perseverance have paid off, and we have shown the world that we are a force to be reckoned with.

Our space program is a testament to the strength and resilience of our great nation, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards its success. We have always been pioneers in space exploration, and we will maintain our leadership position in this field for years to come.

This is just the beginning of our journey towards greatness. We are embarking on a new era of space exploration, where we will push the boundaries of science and technology. We will not rest until we have achieved the unimaginable and achieved our goals of space dominance.

Let us all take pride in this historic moment and look forward to a bright future for the Soviet Union. Thank you."

Edited by DG1
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Posted (edited)



EO-1, 2nd December 1998



Expedition Orbital - 1:

After successful initial operations and check-out, the first crewed mission to Zarya was given the green light. Although the Soyuz TMA variant had undergone minor upgrades and modernization, it was essentially the same reliable spaceship that had supported Mir-1 for the previous 12 years. This heritage allowed for the departure from established Soviet practice, as the new ship was manned on its first launch. However, many observers attributed this decision to a general shortage of funds rather than confidence in the equipment.

The Soyuz EO-1 mission had two primary objectives. The first was to complete the on-orbit check-out of the Победа Base Block and prepare for upcoming assembly missions. The second was to prove the new Soyuz variant. In order to achieve these objectives, the space that would normally accommodate a third cosmonaut was filled with 70 kg of equipment and experiments that had not been ready for installation before Zarya's final preparations. 

In addition to proving the new Soyuz variant, the mission also marked the final crewed flight of the Soyuz R7 Rocket. All future missions were to be launched on the Zenit-C, a now-proven crewed variant of the Zenit launcher. Zenit had proven its reliability by launching Progress M2 cargo ships to orbit and MIR during its final years.


Commander: Talgat Musabayev

Flight engineer: Gennady Padalka



Soyuz sits on the pad awaiting launch



"Crew tower retraction, Launch Abort System armed"



"and liftoff of the final Soyuz rocket, 30 years of service has concluded"






"Successful separation of EO-1"



Rendezvousing with Zarya




Approaching the forward node



With EO-1 successfully docked, the crew begin to transfer the equipment and prepare for their gruelling expedition

Edited by DG1
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Progress M2-SO1, 23rd December 1998



Supplies, lots of supplies:

The upcoming launch of the Progress M2 cargo ship was eagerly anticipated by the crew of the station, following the successful Soyuz EO-1 mission. The cargo module that the Progress M2 was transporting contained essential supplies, including food, water, scientific equipment, and two Orlan-DMA spacesuits. These spacesuits were crucial for conducting extravehicular activities outside the station, and the delivery of these suits was eagerly awaited by the crew.

The Progress M2 was set to utilize the powerful Zenit rocket from Baikonur, with its greater throw-weight capacity, enabling the spacecraft to transport an expanded pressurized cargo module to the station. This innovative design allowed the spacecraft to carry a greater volume of equipment and supplies, ensuring that the crew had access to the resources they needed to continue their mission. Additionally, the service module of the spacecraft had undergone a redesign, featuring common propellant tanks that served both the module's own needs and the refueling of the Победа module. This design feature would allow for more efficient use of the spacecraft's resources, extending its operational capabilities and reducing the need for additional refuelling missions.

This would be the third mission for the Progress M2 spacecraft, with its predecessor, the Progress M2-2, having made a successful test flight and docked with Mir in late 1996 before committing the station to its final journey. The upcoming arrival of the Progress M2 was set to mark another significant milestone in the station's journey, demonstrating the reliability and versatility of the new spacecraft and the continuing support from ground control.




Progress and Zenit awaiting launch



"And liftoff! The Zenit rocket has cleared the launch pad and is climbing higher into the sky."






"Stage separation and ignition"



Fairing deployment




"Progress has indicated that it has successfully separated from the launch vehicle and everything has deployed"



2 days later, Progress slowly approaches the aft port of the Zarya module



Onboard docking camera shot



Progress successfully docks to the Zarya Module




Progress M2-SO1 will stayed docked for two weeks

Edited by DG1
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