I've uploaded over 30 new graphics to the Upper Stages page. Included is a graphic showing 28 upper stages drawn to scale. I have also created artwork showing several payloads with their upper stages.
Upper stages propel payloads on interplanetary trajectories, or into orbits higher than could otherwise be reached using a rocket booster.
Often, upper stage engines can be restarted several times while in space.
Some upper stages remain attached to their payload and provide services long after reaching their initial orbit. Many early American intelligence spacecraft, for instance, remained attached to their Agena upper stage throughout their operational life. The Agena would provide the spacecraft with power, communications, and attitude control, as well as providing orbital maneuvering as needed.
Several upper stages have seen service on more than one booster. For instance, Agena was used on various Thor, Atlas and Titan rockets. Centaur and IUS also served on multiple families of launchers. Although periodically upgraded, upper stage families tend to remain in service for long periods of time. The Agena stage, first flown in 1959, would fly over 360 missions before being retired in 1987. Centaur, 50 years after its first flight in 1963, still sees frequent use on Atlas 5 boosters.
Posted 11 April 2013
Below are some new graphics I'm adding to Historic Spacecraft.
Posted 28 February 2013
Spacecraft Currently at the International Space Station
|Country or |
|31OCT2012||Progress M-17M||Soyuz-U||Russia||Cargo delivery to ISS.|
|19DEC2012||Soyuz TMA-07M||Soyuz-FG||Russia||Crew transport to ISS.|
|11FEB2013||Progress M-18M||Soyuz-U||Russia||Cargo delivery to ISS.|
|28MAR2013||Soyuz TMA-08M||Soyuz-FG||Russia||Crew transport to ISS.|
Upcoming Interplanetary Mission Launches
|12AUG2013||LADEE||Minotaur V||NASA||Launch of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).|
|November 2013||MAVEN||Atlas V 401||NASA||Launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN).|
Updated 11 April 2013
I've updated the website with illustrations of around a dozen new rockets.
For the European rockets page, I have added the French Diamant series of rockets, the British Black Arrow and Blue Streak, and the Europa launcher. The Chinese rockets page now includes a Long-March 1 illustration. The Russian rockets page has finally been updated with illustrations of the N-1 and Energia rockets. Illustrations of the Israeli Shavit, Iranian Safir-2, and North Korean Unha rockets have been added to the Other Nations Rockets page.
Posted 22 January 2013
23 Jan. 2013
A list of upcoming space missions has been added.
22 Jan. 2013
Illustrations of N-1 and Energia rockets have been added to the Russian rockets page.
20 Jan. 2013
The timeline page has been updated with 2012 missions.
18 Jan. 2013
The European Rockets page has been updated with information about Diamant, Black Arrow, and Europa launchers.
A Vision of the Human Future in Space
by Carl Sagan.
Pale Blue Dot
by Carl Sagan.
By Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox.
Failure Is Not an Option
Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond, By Gene Kranz.
Spacecraft Films Wave 1 Megapack
(Apollo 11 / Apollo 8 / The Mighty Saturns / Project Gemini)
The Mighty Saturns
Saturn I and IB