Royal Cryrian Space Agency
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|Purpose||Military and Commercial|
|Royal Cryrian Air Force|
The Royal Cryrian Space Agency (RCSA) is a governmental body under the Royal Cryrian Air Force which coordinates all military and commercial space activities for the Kingdom.
The Agency was founded in 1975 when the Cryrian Defense Forces voluntarily dismantled their ballistic missile program and repurposed the technology for satellite launch purposes. The RCSA makes Cryria one of the smaller countries in the world with an independent space program and indigenous launch capabilities, a limitation which has extensively shaped the RCSA's operations and activities. For instance, while the RCSA is active in Urth's orbit, it has yet to conduct an independent manned mission or to invest heavily in further space exploration.
Cryrian interest in space exploration dates back to the 1950s, and was initially largely academic in nature. Beginning in the 1960s, the Cryrian Defense Forces began funding research in order to support a national ballistic missile program. These efforts came to a halt when the country opted to maintain a policy of nuclear latency as opposed to pursuing an arsenal of its own. As the missile technology of the time was deemed inadequate for delivering conventional warheads, the ballistic missile program was also scrapped in 1974. At the advice of faculty at the University of Talvere, the technology, funding, and launch sites were instead invested towards developing a genuine space program as an autonomous branch under the umbrella of the RCRAF.
The RCSA was initially limited in scope and support, but witnessed renewed interest in the 1980s as developing satellite technology offered considerable economic and security benefits. The RCRSA conducted its first successful independent orbital launch in 1988. Since then it has become increasingly important in both the military and commercial field as its satellites offer a wide range of observation, communication, and navigation services. In the 21st century, the RCSA has regularly partnered with both academic institutions and private industry to continue developing its orbital presence and to facilitate the utilization of space by Cryrian institutions.
Space Debris Crisis
Like the rest of the world's space programs, the RCSA was subjected to a three-year moratorium when a botched Vakari launch resulted in the Space Debris Crisis. During this period, much of the RCSA's annual budget was temporarily reallocated towards keeping private space enterprises afloat during the dry period. This was particularly important for the continued solvency of Ocean's Wave.
The RCSA's satellite support program broadly falls into four series in the 21st century. RCSA equipment is commonly named after ancient Talveri myths and deities, in homage to the University of Talvere's long and prestigious history as well as the role it played in Cryria's early space efforts. Much of the equipment used by the RCSA is designed and built in cooperation with the Cryrian defense industry, particularly aerospace manufacturer Örn AB.
Mhuilka Satellite Series
The Mhuilka series of satellites was first launched in 2013 and is the current flagship program of the RCSA. The geosynchronous constellation provides an autonomous regional satellite navigation system with accurate real-time positioning for military and commercial purposes. In that regards, it is similar to the Global Positioning Systems developed and utilized by other countries, but it reflects far more focused Cryrian interests in that it only covers Novaris, Eastern Yasteria, and the North Pacific. Various Cryrian institutions have expressed interest in conducting additional Mhuilka launches to give the program worldwide reach, but as of yet funding has not been allocated for this.
Mhuilka is primarily used by the Cryrian Defense Forces, as the satellite network covers most of the limited regions the CDF concerns itself with. The system's commercial navigation services are also used within the Kingdom, though this is once again limited by its lack of a truly global reach. Mhuilka's higher orbit protected it from the Space Debris Crisis, though further planned launches were delayed.
Vhioge Satellite Series
The Vhioge series of satellites was first launched in 2003. Unlike Mhuilka, it is purely for military gathering purposes. Vhioge is a Low-Urth Orbit constellation of reconnaissance satellites that debuted due to the growing need for improved regional intelligence gathering systems amidst the highly fluid Volscine Civil War. As such, it marked the RCSA's turn from a research and development focus to military support. The original system has since seen significant advancements and subsequent launches. While precise capabilities remain classified, some variants have been stated to utilize optical imaging, while others are equipped with advanced synthetic-aperture radars. Vhioge suffered serious disruptions due to the Space Debris Crisis, but has since been replenished.
Griot Satellite Series
The Griot series of communication satellites was first launched in 1996, and is named for the travelling Talveri priesthood of old. The geosynchronous constellation facilitates military and commercial operations. Access to the system's capabilities have notably been purchased by the government of Älemsi Negdel in order to support communications across the vast and underdeveloped nation, and this move heralded the RCSA's increased openness to providing its capabilities to foreign governments and organizations in order to defray costs and build relationships.
Mizurc Satellite Series
Mizurc is a purely commercial variant of the Vhioge series built independently by Örn AB and launched in 2006. It is used for general Urth-observation purposes, and like Vhioge the program suffered significantly from the Space Debris Crisis. The system garnered some further controversy when imaging was purchased from private operators by the government of Serramal to target insurgent bases within the country.
National Space Observatory Center
The National Space Observatory Center(NSOC) is a facility owned and operated by the University of Talvere, though it receives some funding and support from the RCSA. Initially founded in 1970, it is in many ways the birthplace of the Cryrian space program. It houses a total of three telescopes, and today is primarily used to study Near-Urth Objects and minor planets. NSOC has been credited with the discovery of over twenty asteroids in the Teplar system. The observatory also has ongoing projects to monitor Active Galactic Nuclei and star formations, as well as continuing searches for supernovae and extrasolar planets.
Lielsta Cosmic Radiation Station
The Lielsta Cosmic Radiation Station(LCRS) was established in 1997 and is a facility directly owned and operated by the RCSA, though it has close ties to the University of Talvere. It is utilized to monitory meteorological and space phenomena. This includes solar flares and magnetic storms that can pose potential hazards to the satellite program. LCRS is based in the Cryrian Highlands.
The University of Talvere is a leading institution in the research and development of small satellite projects. The RCSA and its industry partners have provided considerable support in this regard, and the potential to develop low-cost launch options to precisely place functional microsatellites in orbit has garnered much attention. While these projects have benefitted from continued advances in miniaturization and other related developments, Cryrian microsatellite systems are still in their relative infancy and primarily of academic interest. The RCSA and the University of Talvere jointly developed and launched their first experimental microsatellite in 1994.
Ezethla's Arrow Launch Vehicle
Ezethla's Arrow is a series of launch vehicles that serves as the primary workhorse of the RCSA. Initially a variant of Cryria's cancelled ballistic missile program, Ezethla's Arrow has since developed considerably and is the RCSA's independent means of placing objects in orbit. All variants of the launchers have developed and assembled in the Kingdom by Tarva Defense Systems, and most of the RCSA's launches have been conducted utilizing Ezethla's Arrow. Ezethla's Arrow has also been made available for commercial and experimental launches facilitated by the RCSA.
Prince Stefan Air Station
Prince Stefan Air Station is the main headquarters and spaceport of the RCSA. The site is located on the Valngi Peninsula. Though Prince Stefan remains a functioning military site with an RCRAF presence, the facilities are also available for commercial launches.
The RCSA also operates a second, much smaller spaceport near Karlin. This location was originally home to the CDF's ballistic missile projects, and has since been converted for the space program's use. Due to its very high latitude, Karlin Spaceport is useful only for high inclination and Rotantic orbits. These Molniya orbits offer longer dwell times over the hemisphere of interest, and as such Karlin remains in use for a variety of programs.
Ocean's Wave, Inc. is a company founded in 1995 to provide orbital launch services. The Tarva-based corporation is majority-owned by the Cryrian government, and distinguishes itself by using a mobile maritime launch platform to facilitate optimal launches for countries and entities that otherwise lack direct access to sites to regions of interest.
Ocean's Wave began as a subsidiary project launched by the Cryrian shipping giant Marlberg AB, and it conducted its first demonstration launch in 1999. The company uses a customized sea-launch variant of Ezethla's Arrow known as Ezethla-S to conduct launches from a repurposed mobile oil drilling rig that was purchased secondhand from Royal Cryrian Oil. These rockets are stored and prepared in Vesterholm, before being sailed out and assembled on a command ship that accompanies the launch platform. Ezethla-S can then be moved onto the platform and launched from an optimal position in international waters, typically at the equator. Military launches are typically shadowed by RCRN elements, and a special unit of Naval Infantry is deployed on the vessels as a security measure.
Ocean's Wave was used for a variety of commercial and military launches, but suffered from high expenses and was hit hard by the Space Debris Crisis and subsequent moratorium on launches. Unwilling to pour in further capital to keep the project afloat, Marlberg AB elected to sell 60% of the company's shares to the Cryrian government. Ocean's Wave was seen as a vital part of the nation's space launch infrastructure, and as such the sale was accepted. The company made its first post-crisis launch in 2021, marking a return to activity.