Ceithe photographed during the spacewalk of Ernest Härb (Ceithe 3), 25 September 1989
The insignia of the Ceithe Program
|Launch||7 June 1987|
|Launch pad||LC-100/20, Cayle Space Center, Tainoa, Mascylla|
|Reentry||11 November 2016|
|Mass||19,824 kg (before Ceithe 3)|
28,206 kg (after Ceithe 3)
|Length||16 m (minimum)|
|Width||4.15 m (max)|
|Pressurised volume||90 m³ (minimum)|
|Periapsis altitude||519 km (118.25 nmi)|
|Apoapsis altitude||572 km (150.1 nmi)|
|Orbital inclination||51.6 degrees|
|Orbital period||85.2 minutes|
|Days in orbit||6727 days|
|Days occupied||1025 days|
|No. of orbits||69,176|
|Distance travelled||2,106,297,129 km|
|Statistics as of de-orbit and reentry|
Ceithe with docked Ceithe 4 Science Array Module
Ceithe (Alemannic: Keiht, named after the Aheir god of birds, flight, and the sky) was a space station in low Aeia orbit from June 1987 to November 2016. It was first manned in July 1987 with two crew via the Ceithe 1 mission, and last visited in 1995, by Ceithe 15. Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including 15 manned and 19 unmanned launches in total. Its biggest addition was a scientific research module and a telescope array, installed during Ceithe 4, doubling its size and mass. Its design and technological components were part of the earlier ASU space expolration programme, which were then following the ASU Civil War handed over to the MAOA. It was completed and launched on 7 June 1987 on an Adler rocket from Site 100/20 at the Cayle Space Center in Tainoa. Ceithe was part of the transition from "monolithic" to "modular" space stations, acting as a testbed for docking of additional modules and expanded station operations. It was the xth space station of any kind launched. Ceithe was the first and last space station of the Ceithe Program and the general Mascyllary space station program, which was replaced by the Columbian Space Station as an international effort.
Ceithe was the successor to various ASU space stations, very similar in equipment and capabilities. With new financial opportunities and a potential new strategic advantage to the recently established Vynozhia, it was decided to launch the newly built vehicle. In orbit the station suffered first technical failures though it benefited from the improved payload capacity of the visiting Falke craft, refitted into use by Mascylla too, and the experience of its crews who improvised many solutions (such as a fuel line rupture in September 1988 requiring EVAs by the Ceithe 2 to repair). It was aloft for nineteen years and five months (a record not broken until the Columbian Space Station), during which time it was visited by 15 crews constituting twelve main expeditions and three secondary flights (including Asuran and other international astronauts). The station also saw two flights of Lukas Brennzer, the first Mascyllary astronaut in history, and one EVA by him, also the first Mascyllary to do so. Aside from the many experiments and observations made on Ceithe, the station also tested the docking and use of large modules with an orbiting space station. The modules were called "Large station modules", and remained the largest to be ever docked to other modules until the CSS. They helped engineers develop technology necessary to build the international space station.
It had two docking ports, one on either end of the station, to allow docking with the Falke resupply and astronaut craft, both manned or unmanned, and a wider front docking port to allow safer docking with a Large Station Module. It carried three solar panels, two in lateral and one in dorsal longitudinal positions, but they now had the ability to mount secondary panels on their sides. Internally, Ceithe carried electric stoves, a refrigerator, constant hot water and redesigned seats at the command console (more like bicycle seats). Two portholes were designed to allow ultraviolet light in, to help kill infections. The medical, biological and exercise sections were improved, to allow long stays in the station. The new Science and Experiment Module added during Ceithe 3 featured various spectrical instruments, particularly a x-ray sensor, an optical telescope, new medical, technological, and scientific equipment, a new toilet, and larger radio and telemetry antennas. For some time it also deployed a gamma-ray telescope, but it was damaged during use and later dismantled during Ceithe 10. At the back of the station first outlines of a new docking port were built to make dockings with bigger spacecraft or modules possible, but financial coast abandoned the idea and later the station was deorbited, making no use to the new module.
Crews and missions
Following up the launch of the station assembled three weeks prior, the MAOA launched Falke 67 on 2 July 1987, from a Adler RE-05. It docked with the station on 3 July, and was used by the crew of Ceithe 1. It jettisoned its recovery module on 23 March next year, and re-entered the atmosphere on 25 March. Its follower, Falke 69, was launched on 11 May 1988, docking with the station on 13 May. It did not carry a recovery vehicle, and remained connected to the station for use by the crew of Ceithe 2. Fiveteen Falke TM crews operated in Ceithe. Around four international "guest astronauts" worked in Ceithe. The first attempt to launch Falke 102, the last mission to Ceithe during the Ceithe 15 mission, was aborted on the launch pad when a fire broke out at the base of the vehicle. The payload was ejected, and the crew was recovered safely.
Ceithe had thirteen resident crews and missions.
- The first crew, Lukas Brennzer and Anton Lieblicht, arrived on 3 July 1987 on Falke 67 and remained for 211 days until 23 March 1988 under the Ceithe 1 mission.
- On 11 May 1988, the crew of Wilhelm Specht and Alexander Lechs arrived on Falke 69 and remained for 150 days, until 19 October 1988 under the Ceithe 2 mission.
- On 30 December 1988, Leonard Ketzel, Lukas Brennzer and Franz Altdorf began a 237-day stay, the longest on Ceithe, which ended on 6 August 1989 under the Ceithe 3 mission.
- Peter Dahlbes and Philipp Baumgärtner (Falke 72) arrived at the space station on 27 August 1989 to install the new Science and Experiment Module (SEM) under the Ceithe 4 mission.