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Arkbird (OV-4)
Arkbird01
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Orbital Vehicle designation

4

Country

Republic of Adana

Owner

Talley Space Organisation

Operator

Talley Space Organisation

Manufacturer

Alexander Aerospace Technologies
Talley Space Organisation

Launch

2005-2008

Crew

2-14+

Length

152.4 metres

Width

51.8 metres

Height

29.9 metres

The Arkbird is a privately developed super-large spaceplane. On-orbit construction of the craft began in 2005 and was completed in 2008. It is expected to remain in operation until at least 2028; however, the method of recovering it from orbit is still highly questionable. Like many artificial satellites, Arkbird can be seen from the ground with the naked eye, and is one of the brightest artificial objects in the sky. It has the capacity to serve as a research laboratory, with a controlled-gravity environment in which crews can conduct experiments in several fields. The station has a unique environment for the testing of the spacecraft systems that could be used for missions to the Moon or beyond.

DesignEdit

HistoryEdit

The Arkbird was leased to the Adanese government during parts of 2011 and 2012, mostly to study microgravitational physics for application by the Department of Defence. It has been continuously staffed since 9 October 2008, and as of October 2014, the craft is operated by crew TO4-CP12, the fourteenth crew overall.

FutureEdit

The TSO's initial press releases gave a projected de-orbit date of 2028 for the ship, but its imposing construction cost and great versatility will likely add to its longevity.

RecoveryEdit

After the Arkbird is retired, what will be done with its hulk has remained unclear. One suggestion is to disassemble the ship, bring it back to earth, and reconstruct it as a monument or museum in Adana. As part of another suggestion, a report was issued by TSO engineers stating that Arkbird is capable of both withstanding a belly landing on water and then floating, meaning that it could be piloted in a controlled descent to reenter the atmosphere and then landed in the ocean, to be towed to shore. There have also been talks of performing extensive renovations to convert it into an orbiting hotel.

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