Direct cargo mission

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This article describes a direct cargo mission.

Non reusable cargo mission

Mission plan

  • An Ares V class rocket launches the cargo on a Hohmann Transfer trajectory to Mars using an EDS (Earth Departure Stage).
  • At Mars, the lander detaches from the orbital module and enters the atmosphere. It deploys a parachute, then uses retrorockets (Not mono-propellant rockets like on previous landers, but more powerful bi-propellant rockets.) to land on the surface. A crushable section, in the place of legs, cushions the landing.
  • The orbital module aerobrakes into orbit to become a communication/global positioning satellite.


  • Bi-propellant retrorockets have not been tested on Mars.
  • The heat-shield will have to detach first
  • Large payloads have not been landed on Mars before.

This article reflects the personal position of T.Neo

Reusable cargo mission, SpaceX

Mission plan

  • A pair of SpaceX Starships launch towards Mars on a rapid transfer orbit.
  • At Mars the Starships aerobrake and uses supersonic retropropulsion to achieve a soft landing.
  • The ships offload a fuel production plant and a large number of solar arrays, that refuel the ships. They also unload exploration vehicles and other cargo.
  • After two years on Mars, the ships take off from Mars as SSTO vehicles and return to Earth.
  • Using high velocity direct entry the ships aerobrake and return to their launch sites for re-use.


  • The flight path is unproven.
  • The re entry conditions may be too severe.
  • In situ preparation of propellant may fail.
  • The equipment may not re-start when required.
  • CO2 condensation on the propellant tanks must be accounted for.
  • Landing on an unprepared site may damage the engines or the ships.