Manned resupply mission
A manned resupply mission for a semi-autonomous colony is described here.
- One launch atop a Ares V class rocket puts the habitat, tether, etc into LEO.
- One launch of an Orion CEV. The CEV docks with the habitat.
- One launch of the Earth Departure Stage (EDS), derived from lunar missions. The EDS is docked with the habitat module, on the other side of the CEV.
- The EDS burns and places the Habitat/CEV on a free-return trajectory towards Mars.
- After the burn has ended, The tether unfolds and spins up the habitat to Martian gravity, using the spent EDS as a counterweight. The habitat is inflated and "flat pack" walls and floors are set up inside. Hopefully the CEV LIDS dock can withstand 0.38g.
- Upon Mars arrival, the EDS is reeled back to the Habitat and the whole arrangement aerobrakes into Mars orbit. (It would be easier to cut the EDS loose, But I am thinking that some fuel might be left inside, useful for Trans Earth Injection.)
- A lander is launched from the colony to meet up with the Habitat. Fuel from the lander is pumped into holding tanks and/or the EDS. The lander lands near the colony, and the scientists meet up with the colonists and explore Mars.
Cargo is unloaded and utilized by the colony.
- After two years, the scientists launch back to the Habitat. They ignite either the EDS or another engine, and fly back to Earth, again using the EDS as a counterweight.
- Upon return, they cut loose the EDS and aerobrake into Earth orbit. The CEV returns the crew to Earth while the Habitat awaits a new mission.
- Subsequent missions only need a new EDS and CEV, with expenditure the same as a lunar mission.
Transfer craft Design
The core of the transfer craft is the habitat module. It is inflatable, and contains all life support for the crew of six aboard. Life support systems are regenerative, and all water and air aboard is recycled. It also contains solar panels for power generation, radiators, communications antennas and micrometeorite protection. It is connected by a tether in a "bolo" arrangement to the EDS. The EDS is used up on each mission, and is used for Trans Mars injection and Trans Earth Injection. It is used as a counterweight during the cruise phase of the mission. The CEV is used primarily to transport the crew from Earth to the Habitat and from the Habitat back to Earth. It is also used for "spin up" and "spin down" maneuvers, and course corrections. The lander is maintained and fueled on Mars, and is used to transfer fuel to the EDS and transfer the crew to and from Mars itself. A Cargo CEV is used periodically to replenish the Habitat.
- What is the financial effort estimation of such a mission?
- What is the advantage of such a mission over a research contract between terrestrial scientists and Martian colonists, where only the scientific gauge is physically shipped to Mars, and the colonists take the measurements?
- How does the lander work?
- What parts of the lander are reusable?
- How much fuel is required to launch/land the lander from/to the colony?
- How many persons are required to maintain the lander after the operation? How long would that take?
- How much energy is required for the life support systems on the transfer craft? It must be able to counteract the metabolism of the crew.
- What is the mass of the transfer craft, including radiation protection and energy generation modules?
This article reflects the personal position of T.Neo