The operational period of the first generation of dedicated Space VLBI (SVLBI) missions commenced in 1997 with the launch of the Japan-led mission VSOP/HALCA and is coming to closure in 2019 with the completion of in-flight operations of the Russia-led mission RadioAstron. They were preceded by the SVLBI demonstration experiment with the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) in 1986–1988. While the comprehensive lessons learned from the first demonstration experiment and two dedicated SVLBI missions are still awaiting thorough attention, several preliminary conclusions can be made. This paper addresses some issues of implementation of these missions as they progressed over four decades from the original SVLBI concepts to the operational status.
- Radio astronomy