Tolmakian Agency of Aeronautics and Space
Seal of the TAAS
Motto: Du Riach Porthir Veyund
To Reach Further Beyond
Flag of the TAAS
|Formed||July 25, 1976|
|Headquarters||Exeter City, Weslan|
|Annual budget||US$950 million|
The Tolmakian Agency of Aeronautics and Space (TAAS) is a child agency of the Tolmakian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology. It is responsible for conducting and managing programs and projects related to aeronautics, the Earth's atmosphere, and beyond it; specifically, aviation research and space exploration.
Before its formation, both Western Tolmakia and Eastern Tolmakia had their own virtual space agencies during the Split era: the Western Tolmakian Agency of Space and Aeronautics, and the Tolmakian Royal Agency of Space. After the reunification of both Aedan states, the modern Tolmakian Agency of Aeronautics and Space was formed, with the merging of their two separate agencies.
The first Prime Minister of unified Tolmakia, Devin Kashlevin gave his approval for a new national space agency, and a bill that legalized the creation of the TAAS was passed shortly by the Unified Tolmakian Assembly. The agency's first administrator, Corey Maggies was appointed by the Republican Assembly, and its headquarters were established in Exeter Town, Weslan. It was not until 25 July 1976 that it formally started operations, after it was thoroughly restructured and ceremoniously activated by the republican government. The new agency was later assigned the duty of extensive research on aeronautical and aircraft technology, and contributed to Tolmakia's technological capabilities in space.
In 1980, the TAAS made its debut with the launch of its first satellite, the Dulmnakea 1. The satellite remained active until 2005, and after its decommissioning, it became an iconic agency symbol that marked its first achievement in space. Furthermore, the TAAS started reintroducing modern airships in Tolmakia, and simultaneously worked on many fruitful aviation programs. During Tolmakia's golden decade, it partnered up with many major organisations, including the DDE. In the late 1980s, it first interacted with the ESA and other space agencies in joint projects. TAAS scientists also participated in the construction of the International Space Station.
The TAAS supports other space agency's projects, while concurrently conducting its own far-reaching programs, relating to the improvement and development of domestic airships. Other focuses of the TAAS include the exploration of other celestial bodies. In 2017, the TAAS' Red Ares Program was a success, with Mars being the first planet it reached. The agency also collaborates with private partners like Good Blimp Incorporated in some projects, such as the LUSH. It is also responsible for the maintenance of the nation's satellites.
- 1 Creation
- 2 Spaceflight programs
- 2.1 Manned space programs
- 2.2 Unmanned programs
- 3 Earth science
- 4 Leadership
- 5 Assets
- 6 Budget
- 7 Current notable missions
- 8 Notable planned missions
- 9 See also
During the split period (1965 – 1975), both Eastern and Western Tolmakia established their space agencies. Their creation started, when Western Prime Minister Konan Danishwire commissioned an agency to study astronomy and aeronautics. Hence, the Western Tolmakian Agency of Space and Aeronautics was established near Exeter Town. On learning about this new space agency, Princess Anna Marina responded by creating Eastern Tolmakia's own space agency. Under a royal decree, the Tolmakian Royal Agency of Space was formed and based in Oxfordshire.
The Royal Agency of Space was considered the more advanced of the two, even after the reunification. It was more committed to expensive and extremely experimental research programs, and even created some aircraft in joint activities with the Eastern Tolmakian Defense Industries. Despite this, neither space agency ever bothered to make an effort to obtain the necessary aptitude to launch spacecraft, and study space itself. They both heavily relied on any available piece of archived data that was collected by the era's superpowers.
Instead of trying to reach space, both agencies focused their attention to studying Earth science, learning aeronautics, and doing astronomy from the ground. Both agencies laid down a structural plan, so that once they had enough funds, they could execute these, and transition smoothly into full-blown space agencies. Although the Royal Agency of Space managed to gather more useful data, the Western Tolmakian space agency benefitted from the thriving national economy throughout the split's second half. But before the Western Tolmakian Agency of Space and Aeronautics was able to develop its first rocket, Princess Anna Marina abdicated, and the nation reunified.
On February 18 1976, persistent officials from the Royal Agency of Space met up with the leaders of the Tolmakian Agency of Space and Aeronautics (TASA). Though they were inclined to merge the no longer recognized agency with the TASA, they repeatedly refused. Eventually, they were persuaded, and the two agencies merged together in July 1976. The TASA was also renamed the Tolmakian Agency of Aeronautics and Space (TAAS).
In the same year, Tolmakia was now able to actively pursue its desire to reach space, thanks to the combined resources of its former space agencies. The headquarters of the united space agency was moved to Exeter Town, which also housed the TASA base. The old base was retired, and a new one was built beside it. Today, the TASA headquarters is a memorial and warehouse. Fresh facilities were established in Cornwall and in Meddli City. It took some time for the components of both former agencies to be incorporated into one coherent organization, and 5 years for the TAAS' facilities to be completed. In the following decade, the TAAS procured launch sites in Central Asia. It also developed its first disposable launch systems.
In 1989, the Tolmakian government considered joining the European Space Agency. In the long run, it elected to maintain the TAAS and its financed programs, but still wanted to work with the ESA. As a result, it opted to become an associated member. While the TAAS and ESA began working together afterward, it was only in 1997 that Tolmakia was granted the status of an associated member. Even today, there are discussions on whether to make Tolmakia a full ESA member.
Since the 1980s, the TAAS has managed many spaceflight programs, a large amount of which are unmanned. To the agency's planners, unmanned programs are generally more favorable than manned ones, hence why they are conducted by the TAAS on a regular basis, compared to the latter. Throughout its years, the TAAS has managed to send Earth-orbiting satellites or atmospheric probes with a high percentage of success. Three decades after marking its first achievement with the Dulmnakea 1, it marked another major achievement when its first lunar probe, the LUSH successfully flew to, and entered the orbit of the moon.
Manned space programs
Though the TAAS is capable of spaceflight operations, it lacks the ability to safely and properly send humans into space unassisted. For manned orbital operations, it usually relies on other nations for assistance. Most of its manned spaceflights are either suborbital (attributed to aircraft flying scarcely above the spaceflight altitude), or done through cooperative space missions with more able space organizations, namely NASA, CSA, and ESA.
Nonetheless, the TAAS is still keen on making orbital spaceflight for itself comfortably possible. In the 1990s, it conducted Project Hiabin with its own resources. In 2010, it was reportedly researching on creating a possible spaceplane, similar to the space shuttle. In 2015, a pair of suborbital test aircraft called the Skybrushes were developed as testbeds. One aircraft, TSP Haery was flown in January by Riyuna Kovan above the Karman line, and landed safely. Since then, they have been conducting infrequent flights just shy of reaching the boundary.
So far, a total of 7 Aedans have been to space (17, if counting suborbital flights). The seven who have been to orbit are: Sgt. Reagan Harold Royals (the first Tolmakian man in space), Sgt. Janice Milla Chatterton (the first Tolmakian woman in space), Violet Beaujolai (the first Tolmakian civilian in space), Prof. Tsubasa Hannah Willson, Prof. Benny Willson, Lt. Col. Beatrice Lynn, and Engr. John Louis Krankwell "Lucky" Redson. Out of these 7 people, 2 flew aboard the Hiabin space capsules; 3 flew aboard NASA's Space Shuttles, Explorer and Discovery; and the remaining 2 flew aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS. Out of the TAAS' 10 suborbital flights, 7 were done by Sera pilots, while the rest were by Skybrush pilots.
The TAAS maintains the small Tolmakian Astronaut Corps unit, which currently has less than 20 members. Its members, Tolmakian astronauts are sometimes called "Tolstronauts." Only 3 of the mentioned Aedans were not part of the TAAS' astronaut corps when they flew to space.
In July 1992, the TAAS conducted its first orbital spaceflight mission by launching a one-man capsule, Hiabin 1. Hiabin 1 was carrying Tolmakian Air Force Sergeant Reagan Royals. The flight began at midday on 19 July, and was completed after 10 orbits. It was declared a success, after Royals landed in the Atlantic Ocean safely. Reagan Royals was later awarded the first TAAS Space Medal.
In August 1997 (almost exactly 5 years after Hiabin 1's flight), the TAAS launched its second and last space capsule; its last orbital spaceflight for the decade. Hiabin 2 was launched at 3:00 PM (Tolmakian local time), carrying Sergeant Janice Chatterton. The capsule completed 20 orbits, twice as much as the first one. This time, the capsule experienced some minor ventilation problems. The cause was later found to be insufficient structuring on part of budget cuts. Sergeant Janice exited the capsule safely, but was rushed to the hospital immediately just to be assured. This issue, combined with the 1998 financial crisis caused a protracted pause in the TAAS' research on orbital manned spaceflight. Project Hiabin, however, was completed as planned, and the results were satisfactory.
Later in the 21st century, Project Hiabin's flights were formally dubbed the "E Riachid Hiabin" flights (literally "I reached Heaven"), or just the "Hiabin Flights." A documentary entitled Major Tom was broadcasted by the Tolmakian Broadcasting Center in 2011. Both pilots were interviewed in this film.
From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, the TAAS conducted many suborbital and nearly-suborbital flights, with hypersonic rocket aircraft. These aircraft were referred to as "Seras" (from their designation by the TAAS, "XRA"), and were rather similar to the X-15. The objectives of the aircraft were to "gather experience" for the TAAS; they were also built to explore the limits of the TAAS' expertise. Furthermore, they were used to gather data before major missions, such as Project Hiabin's first flight.
The pilots of these aircraft, the "Dareangels" were selected from a group of seasoned candidate fliers from the armed forces. The now-disbanded "Dareangels" unit is, to some extent, related to the Tolmakian Astronaut Corps. The latter is even considered to be the former's predecessor, and many Dareangel pilots are part of the corps today.
Around a total of 10 test flights were conducted by the aircraft. The Seras normally flew below the thermosphere, and slightly above the Karman line, reaching an altitude of 80 to 100 kilometers at their highest. Flight data was recorded from the aircraft as it operated, and was archived in the National Spaceflight Archives, later to be reviewed, and shared with flight academies. Out of these 10 flights, only 1 fatality occurred. Sergeant Mario Himelton was severely injured when a mishap forced him to abandon his aircraft, his parachute failed to deploy properly, and he crashed at high speed into a mountainside. He was retrieved an hour later and treated immediately, but died the next day from spinal injuries.
In 1998, the XRA Program was declared "accomplished" by then TAAS administrator, Lewis Rauyers. Thus, the Seras flights were officially ended. Only a total of 2 Seras were made. 1 more incomplete airframe remained in Storage One. All aircraft frames were saved and 2 are currently displayed, in the National Museum in Meddli and in the TAAS Flight Building in Weslan, respectively. The third frame was sold to Jonathan Marliton, a business tycoon who sponsored the second Hiabin Flight, uncredited. He succeeded in refurbishing the airframe, but could not make it airworthy.
By 2005, the XSC-1, a replacement for the Seras was already being developed. While the XRA Program commissioned only 2 aircraft, 4 XSC-1 aircraft were planned to be in service. Unlike the Seras, these new aircraft would not be rocket-powered, but will be able to launch from the ground to the Karman line with additional fuel tanks. In 2010, the first of these aircraft was almost completed. Unfortunately, a fire in the facility where it was being built destroyed the partially-finished vehicle, along with another frame.
Once again, budget issues delayed the completion of the two remaining proposed units. In 2012, funds were allocated to have the third XSC-1 built. In late 2014, after both aircraft were completed, the XSC-1 was given the name "Skybrush." The two Skybrushes underwent quick, but rigorous and thorough trials. In January 2015, one of the aircraft triumphantly flew over the Karman line, resuming the TAAS' series of suborbital flights since 1998. Afterwards, two more flights were subsequently made.
According to a comment by a TAAS spokesperson in a report by the Tolmakian Times, the Skybrush will be flying less, compared to the Sera aircrafts. Unlike the Seras which were flown for gathering flight information, the Skybrushes will be in the air infrequently as a testbed, and help yield useful information to aid the TAAS in developing a reusable orbital spacecraft.
In 2016, the Skybrushes successfully began their operations, with approximately one spaceflight per four months, since June.
Joint programs and missions
According to the National Spaceflight Archives, the TAAS was already opting to enter joint space programs with other space agencies in as early as 1989. It has signed cooperative agreements with Argentina, Brazil, China, the ESA, India, Japan, Russia, and the USA. Tolmakia has been a part of the ISS program since 1998.
In 2006, Violet Beaujolai, an experienced correspondent from The Tolmakian Star Bulletin flew to space, as a guest on board one of NASA's space shuttles, Atlantis. She later wrote an article about it in the bulletin, and was featured in the headlines of the year's August issue.
Later in the year, two more Tolmakian guests, Benny Willson and Tsubasa Willson flew aboard the Discovery, this time to the ISS. The couple were professors from the Meddli Metropolitan University (MMU) and the TAAS itself. After months of rigorous training, both doctors qualified for a spaceflight, and to stay aboard the ISS. Once there, they helped conduct experiments. After their return, they were featured in the MMU magazine. In 2007, the couple were inducted into the TAAS Hall of Honourable Staff.
The Dulmnakea 1
In 1976 (with some assistance from foreign organizations), the TAAS designed its first satellite, the Dulmnakea 1. The Dulmnakea 1 was a communications satellite. A prototype, Tolmakia 1 was initially created, but abandoned due to the obsolete technology it had implemented then. Instead of naming its second satellite project Tolmakia 2, the TAAS renamed the Tolmakia 1's successor Dulmnakea 1 for unknown reasons. The satellite's launch would be conducted by another space organization, and it would operate for more than 30 years before being decommissioned. Its successful insertion to orbit marked the TAAS' first achievement, and the agency's debut in the international community.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the TAAS focused most of its attention to the Earth and the Sun's effects on it. The agency launched at least 7 satellites, 3 of which were for weather. These satellites were part of its communications and meteorology projects; some had atmospheric probes attached to them. In 1987, the Konan Space Telescope was successfully launched, becoming the first Tolmakian space telescope. The then experimental spacecraft was the first of its kind, until it was surpassed by the more superior Hubble Space Telescope three years later. It continues to operate to this day, and is planned to operate until 2020.
In 2005, a disclosed document released by an ex-official, with consent of the Tolmakian government stated that the TAAS collaborated with the DDE and the TAIL to launch the nation's first reconnaissance satellite in 1989. This satellite would later lead to the creation of the so-called "Tommy Eye Network," or TEN, an alleged network of special reconnaissance satellites operated by the TAIL. It is unknown whether the satellite is still operational or defunct. The satellite was designated DS-3 (named Iyish, or "Eyes").
Red Ares Program
When the 2000s began, the TAAS sharply shifted its attention to the Earth's neighbouring celestial bodies: the planets of the inner solar system (specifically, Mars and Venus), and the nearest Jovian planets. Before reaching Mars, their first target planet, the TAAS made the Moon its first celestial target to go to. Thus, the LUSH Program would be launched. But as the LUSH was in progress, the TAAS' Martian program, "Red Ares" was already underway. It had started in 2003, 3 years before the LUSH Program was even formally commissioned. The program has been the most expensive program of the TAAS, so far. The program is also one of the agency's first ones relating to interplanetary research.
Initially, the Red Ares Program only involved a low-budget orbiter. Later, excess resources and the launch of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers influenced the TAAS to have a minuscule rover added. The Red Ares program now includes the MORE (Martian Orbiting Reconnaissance Explorer), and the MARS (Mars Adventurer, Rover Scout). Its scheme is to have the MORE serve as a communications relay for the MARS, while simultaneously investigating the traces of carbon, methane, hydrogen, oxygen, and other gases in the Martian atmosphere. It will also have the ability to photograph and analyze the terrain of the planet, and detect energy particles to study. The MARS will explore the planet's geology, its features, and the composition of rocks under the surface, aiming to discover what lies beneath.
By April 2015, the MORE craft was almost finished with its developing phase. In 2016, the MORE was launched, and reached the planet by early 2017, making Tolmakia one of the few nations to reach Mars. The MARS was successfully deployed to the surface.
Thomas and Oracle space telescopes
In 2001, development began for the Oracle Observatory, another space telescope. The goal of the Oracle Program is to survey, and even predict the paths and trajectories of distant and nearby space objects, particularly comets, asteroids, and other visible space debris. The telescope would be able to observe these objects, and map out patterns from their movements. Another function the Oracle was designed to fulfill was to observe the constellations, the planets, and the passages of neighbouring stars, and envision their forms in the future. These predictions would be used to foretell astrological effects on future Earth.
In 2005, the TAAS launched the Thomas Telescope, its second successful space observatory. The telescope was better improved than the somewhat experimental and primitive Konan. It had a more up-to-date design, and featured modern advanced electronics and computer software. It was actually based on one of the Konan's spare frames, and work began on said frame after the Hubble Space Telescope was launched. The Thomas Telescope's purpose would be to observe extrasolar planets and their star systems. While Konan generally observed interstellar features and starlight, the Thomas observed planetary bodies and "good-sized chunks of alien worlds." The Thomas was also one of the TAAS' independently launched missions, it being the second spacecraft to be launched from the PLOT TAAS Station.
In 2010, developments for the Oracle Observatory were completed, and all its instruments and onboard systems were installed. Preparations for the Oracle Observatory were underway in April, 2011. In July 2014, the Oracle Telescope was shipped and delivered to the PLOT TAAS Station, under the heavy guard of the Tolmakian Military Forces. By this time, the Second Pejite War had already ended in the previous month, and the PLOT was declared safe and secure. On October 30, the Oracle was launched.
The LUSH Program started in 2006, alongside the Oracle Space Telescope. An initial budget of $300 million was allocated for the program, but was eventually reduced to just $200 million. In the following years, additional funds from the governments and its sponsors enabled the spacecraft to be developed even further. Instead of carrying a few cameras and simple basic communications equipment as planned, the LUSH could now be fitted with some scientific instruments. Aside from government-manufactured equipment, Tolmakian and British universities donated some instruments, including the Electromagnetic Instrument (EMI). By 2007, the development of the LUSH went from trying to send a probe to the moon to developing an advanced spacecraft to test out the TAAS' technological limits.
Manufacturing of the spacecraft and its equipment began in 2007, and was completed by 2010. With every procedure done throughly and no major issues delaying the scheduled phases of the LUSH program, the LUSH itself was moved from the Wescourt Agency Construction Facility to the Wescourt Military Airfield. The orbiter was launched on 13 June 2014, carried by a Delta II launch system (a rarity for the TAAS). It arrived within the selenocentric orbit on 17 June, after approximately four days (specifically 108 hours). On 23 June, the LUSH began its scientific phase and objectives. The orbiter was fitted with equipment to observe and chiefly image the moon's features. However, the primary objective of the LUSH program was also to test the TAAS' abilities on whether it could send a moon orbiter.
The LUSH remains in current operation as of the present. Its main objectives are to observe the moon, its surface characteristics and its other physical traits. The LUSH program is managed by the Exeter Mission Control, by the Lunar Programs Directorate. The orbiter is expected to last until 2019.
On 15 June 2015, the SUNSaT, or Sun Observatory Near-Infrared Solar Satellite was launched, joining Tolmakia's 3 other space observatories in service. Shortly after its launch, it entered heliocentric orbit, becoming the second TAAS spacecraft to fly beyond Earth's orbit. SunSaT was supposed to launch a month earlier from the PLOT, but this was aborted because of the regional conflict.
Future unmanned space programs
The TAAS plans to achieve its first planetary "visit" by 2020. Aside from Mars, it has targeted Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter as possible candidates for interplanetary missions. There are already proposed missions for Venus and Mercury, with the Venus mission (Aphrodite Program) involving an orbiter. It also plans to manage more missions to the moon, and is considering exploring the properties of some asteroids and comets. Aside from these, the TAAS has around 8 more satellite launches planned for the years 2015 until the early 2020s.
The TAAS is reflecting on the possibility of sending a man to the moon by 2025 or 2035. Even more ambitiously, it is exploring the possibilities for a Lunar establishment, and to create a national space station to "lead" its soon-to-be extensive satellite network by the time ISS de-orbits. In as early as 1991 and until recently in 2014, the TAAS drafted 5 different plans for a small space station. However, these plans came under scrutiny, and there was much doubt on part of the TAAS administration if the maintenance and funding of the space station was ever conceivable. Instead, the space station plans were shelved, and the TAAS opted to continue contributing funds for the International Space Station and its plausible successor. It was projected that Tolmakia will have all the requirements to build a space station and operate it regularly by 2028.
According to its manifesto, the TAAS' Earth-related objectives are "to better understand the planet, its unique properties, and mysterious unseen traits."
Most of the TAAS' minor atmospheric projects are carried out with balloons. A number of probes have been launched into low Earth orbit, carried as the "experimental payloads" of satellites. These generally study the atmosphere, any energy particles present in it, its chemical composition, the underlying geography, and their relations with each other.
The Chom satellite series' probes used scientific data, along with the numbers and patterns that they gathered during their operations to create complex algorithms. These algorithms accurately predicted weather changes, and even calculated what the features of the underlying terrain and how the sky would be like in the future. Only 1 probe remains operational today, and its series has largely been replaced by the NTS Probes.
Another example of one of the TAAS' larger atmospheric programs is the Low Orbit Observatory Program or LOOP, ongoing since 1991. The LOOP is actually the TAAS' primary weather data-collecting program. The agency shares its collected data with both foreign and local weather companies, and geological research groups registered in the LOOP.
Some of the TAAS' aeronautical feats include making Tolmakia famous for its airships, and being one of the few states in the world to develop a practical spaceplane.
By the 2000s, the TAAS was collaborating tremendously with Good Blimp Incorporated. They both had similar objectives: to succeed in developing modern airships as an alternative eco-friendly way of transport, useful in speed, and for both short and long distances. Aside from eco-friendly airships, the TAAS is considering the possibility of creating a space balloon. Both organizations also prominently employ balloons, and had connections since 1979, when Good Blimp Incorporated created the first Tolmakian airship, and was founded.
Aside from Good Blimp Incorporated, other government ministries (such as the Ministry of Transport and travel) and agencies (those of its parental ministry) have involved themselves with the TAAS' airship programs. In 2005, the Ministry of Transport and Travel pledged financial support for the TAAS.
The joint airship projects of the TAAS and Good Blimp Incorporated have resulted in varying success. Thanks to their efforts, airships have been recognized as formal modes of transport in the republic, mostly in Weslan. However, these airships still need to be modified to improve their speed and convenience, to make them suitable for daily use. The few airships in service can only transport up to 10 people, and are mostly used for non-transport roles instead. To add to this, some joint projects were delayed by the 2008 recession, and have only recently began working up to speed.
The TAAS is instrumental to the development of aircraft for the Tolmakian Air force. Aside from conducting aeronautical tests with experimental aircraft for civilian purposes, it has sent some of its advisers to help plan and manufacture Tolmakia's domestic aircraft, particularly its fighter jets.
The TAAS is well-known for its clean aeronautical projects, and its eco-friendly Earth-related programs. As said above, one of its programs is even researching the use of green airships, as well as biofuels for aircraft. However, in the case of its space exploration missions, it does have its issues, as its disposable launch systems have done some impact on the environment.
In 2005, a study found that the air around the homes of both humans and wildlife, kilometers away from agency's launch facilities were contaminated by minute amounts of toxic chemicals that were used to manufacture rockets, and carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere during the operation of these rockets. In 2007, the TAAS addressed these concerns by implementing some methods to reduce toxic chemicals and CO2. These methods included launching rockets "sparingly." It is taking it further by researching for feasible substitutes to the fuel used, and a reusable launch system, as a part of its many programs.
The TAAS is led by the Administrator, its highest-ranking official. The administrator directs its internal departments, and serves as the senior science adviser for space to the Prime Minister of Tolmakia. The Deputy Administrator is the second highest-ranking official of the agency. The deputy may substitute the primary administrator, and act on the latter's behalf as the Prime Minister's senior science advisor for space, whenever the administrator is unavailable. The deputy is also a candidate for the next administrator. The TAAS Administrator and deputy reside in the administrational office, which is located in the TAAS HQ in Exeter City, Weslan.
So far, the TAAS has had only 7 administrators and 10 deputy administrators. The first administrator was Corey Maggies, who was appointed by Prime Minister Devin Kashlevin and the Republican Assembly. Corey Maggies was a doctor, and one of the Meddli Metropolitan Academy's first professors, becoming one of Tolmakia's notable people after its independence. He was also famous for his shoe phobia.
The average term of a TAAS Administrator is 6 years. After the end of their term, the administrator is replaced by the deputy or any other candidates voted into the position. The longest term ever held by an administrator was 8 years, which was served by Prof. Dr. Lewis Rauyers (1998 – 2006). His term was extended by both legislature, and popular vote within the agency. According to many TAAS employees, he was a remarkable man and the best TAAS leader to date. One of his achievements was making the establishment of the agency's first launch facility in the PLOT possible. His longer term was also due to the lack of candidates for filling in as the next administrator, along with an empty deputy position. The deputy position was eventually filled in by Richmond Beige.
In 2012, Prime Minister Madd Daneili nominated Lucas Timothy as the TAAS's 7th administrator. Lucas Timothy was notable for his service in the Tolmakian Air Force, and his career as a New Oxford University professor in aeronautics. He was also famous for reviving several eco-friendly airship programs, proposing the agency's first space glider projects, and heading the agency's LUSH project. In 2018, one of Lucas' closest associates, Mirabai Unifer became the 8th administrator of the agency. Mirabai is a professor from the Exeter Academy of Aeronautics, and an astronomer in the Tolmakian Institute of Science and Innovation.
At present, the TAAS has 3,000 employees. This figure includes all maintenance personnel, technical crews, scientists, and engineers. Agency employees are required to be naturalized or born citizens of the Republic of Tolmakia, although there are a few exceptions to this policy. These exceptions apply to those who are foreign representatives from other external space organisations, or citizens who have dual citizenship.
The agency staff form and serve under 5 major departments: the Maintenance and Launch Department, the Operations department, the Engineering and Manufacturing Department, the Finance and Organization Department, and the TAAS Executive Department.
During the time after it was ceremonially inaugurated, the TAAS had 750 employees. This number grew to 1,500 in the late 1980s, and to 2,500 by 2000.
List of senior administrators
|1976||1982||Prof. Dr. Corey Maggies|
|1982||1988||Prof. Dr. Lida Markes|
|1988||1994||Prof. Dr. Ben Shaki|
|1994||1998||Prof. Dr. Niko Armada|
|1998||2006||Prof. Dr. Lewis Rauyers|
|2006||2012||Prof. Dr. Soirsha Rhodesus|
|2012||2018||Prof. Dr. Lucas Timothy|
The grounds of the TAAS' headquarters (MB-1) house at least 5 primary facilities, several storehouses, and research buildings. One of these 5 major facilities is the Agency Rocket Building (MB-3), where Tolmakia's first rockets and illicit nuclear weapons were developed. At present, the facility serves as a test and flight simulation building. Another major facility is the former TASA headquarters, which is now the Memory Lane Building (MB-5).
Further away from the grounds of the headquarters is the small Oriana Airfield with three runways, solely created for the agency's use. This airfield also has a small railroad network, which is sometimes used to bring heavy equipment to the site from Storage One (S-1), one of the designated storehouses back at the headquarter's grounds. Storage One is where the railroad network begins at. Aircraft operating in Oriana Airfield communicate with the Tower of Control, or TOC (MB-2). The TOC has a smaller wing, which communicates with distant TAAS establishments.
The TAAS manages 9 more primary facilities around the world. Most of these are large research and communications centers, facilities for the construction and testing of technology, and storage buildings. The rest are launch pads in Central Asia and North America.
Following the the acquirement of the PLOT, the TAAS was allowed to create an establishment in the overseas territory. Work began on its lone facility in the territory immediately, and was completed a year later. A launch site, the PLOT TAAS (also nicknamed "Petey") Station was quickly built, further away from the populated bases of the PLOT. For 10 years, Petey Station was the first wholly Tolmakian-built launch site in operation, and launched some satellites, including the LUSH spacecraft. After the PLOT was transferred to the British, Petey Station's launch pad was dismantled, and the TAAS office there was closed.
The TAAS maintains several "fleets," composed of both aircraft and spacecraft:
- Air Logistics Fleet
- Heavy Transport Wing (HEW) - responsible for transporting heavy payloads across distant sites. The agency actually owns only one plane, a C-17. The rest are leased from the Tolmakian Air Force.
- Medium-to-Light Transport Wing (MELT) - responsible for transporting personnel and smaller payloads. These include private jets, and utility helicopters like the MH1 Gonkchuffir.
- Active Aircraft Fleet
- Aeronautical Fleet - made up of the TAAS' "second generation spaceships," the Skybrushes. The craft serve a training and research function.
- Lighter-than-Air Fleet - the TAAS' prototype airships and balloons.
- Experimental Fleet - modified aircraft, which include jets, airplanes, gliders, and drones.
- National Spacecraft Fleet
- Satellite Fleet - composed of all Tolmakia's geocentric satellites. Private satellites are required to register as part of the fleet.
- Probe Fleet - composed of spacecraft beyond Earth orbit. The LUSH and the SUNSaT are currently the only spacecraft in this envisioned fleet. They are soon to be joined by the MORE, the Aphrodite Orbiter, and a Mercury orbiter in the near future.
The TAAS has a small inventory of launch vehicles that are currently in service. Most of these are exported or provided by other foreign space agencies, along with the service of launching them. These include rockets from the US, India, the USSR/Russia, and France; particularly the American Atlas and French Ariane series, the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), and the Soviet/Russian Soyuz-U.
The DLBSH was the first indigenous disposable launch system developed by the TAAS. It was a prototype of the later TLVS rocket and its variants, and launched the nation's second satellite. The TLVS-1 also had a heavy variant, the TLVS-1H. In 1993, the TLVS-2 was developed, and replaced its predecessor as the TAAS' primary disposable launch system. In 2009, development for the TLVS-3 started. Other domestic rockets in use with the agency have been developed, but by private organizations. Some of these are the Tosprey and Paravay series.
The budget of the TAAS has always been approximately less than 0.1% (~$1 billion) of the Tolmakian government's budget. During the 1980s, the budget took up 0.09% of the government's expenditures, from a mere previous 0.001% during the previous decade. In the 1990s, the TAAS budget rose up to an extent similar to current levels, and hit its peak in 2002, when it reached 0.5%. As part of its progressive ideals, the government is entitled to provide sufficient funds for the TAAS, when always possible. The same can be said for when the agency requests for additional funds. Being a semi-autonomous child agency of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, its funds are usually provided through the latter.
Moreover, the TAAS is not entirely limited to national funding. It benefits from many of its sponsors; private companies and organizations, who also provide rockets for the agency. Through these sponsors, the agency is able to fix much of its financial shortcomings, and to a certain degree can independently procure its own funds. Funds collected from its private backers may form a minimal amount of $100 million (~10% of its budget) or as much as $500 million (~%50), in addition to its yearly government allowance.
Taking into consideration its government allowance and the average funding from its private backers, the TAAS has an annual budget of $1.3 billion. Minus yearly salaries and other smaller financial obligations, its real budget would be $900+ million.
Current notable missions
- LUSH Program (Lunar orbiter)
- Oracle Observatory (Space telescope)
- Thomas Program (Space telescope)
- Konan Program (Space telescope)
- SUNSaT Program (Space/solar telescope)
- International Space Station (contributor)
- Low Orbit Observatory Program/LOOP
- Red Ares Program (Mars mission)
Notable planned missions
- Aphrodite Program (Venus orbiter and probe)
- Mission to Mercury
- Mordecai Space Probe