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Jonathan McDowell's tweet

Six more debris objects from Transtage 17 cataloged. Here is the Gabbard diagram showing apogee and perigee for each piece - green line is the GEO altitude

led me to various pages about what a Transtage is:

Question: What is the large, conical, separatory funnel-shaped object reaching an apex at the aft of this upper stage? Do more recent upper stages have something similar?

below: rotated, from here.

enter image description here

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It's hard to see in your picture but there are actually two big pointy things on the Transtage.

enter image description here

They are propellant tanks. The one in your picture is the nitrogen tetroxide tank.

enter image description here

Reference

More recent stages do, of course, have propellant tanks, but they usually don't hang down below the stage structure in such an undignified fashion. Perhaps because most upper stages tend to have their tanks "stacked" rather than arranged besides each other.

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    $\begingroup$ Beautiful photos as always! Counterintuitive to see a propellant tank so close to the hot nozzle it would be feeding; that probably deserves a question of its own at some point, by someone else this time. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 27 '18 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I’d be very interested to hear an engineering explanation to that! Presumably the radiant heating just isn’t too bad... I’ll ask the question if you don’t fancy it? $\endgroup$ – Jack Jun 28 '18 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Jack that would be great, please do! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 28 '18 at 10:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Uhoh I've asked a follow up question $\endgroup$ – Jack Jun 28 '18 at 23:12

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