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Robust, affordable, semi-direct mars mission

Imported: 06 Jun '16 | Published: 02 Jun '16

Jean-Marc Salotti

Acta Astronautica

Abstract: A new architecture is proposed for the first manned Mars mission, based on current NASA developments (SLS and Orion), chemical propulsion for interplanetary transit, aerocapture for all vehicles, a split strategy, and a long stay on the surface. Two important choices make this architecture affordable and appropriate for the first mission. The first is splitting the Earth return vehicle into two parts that are launched separately and dock in Mars orbit. This is necessary to make aerocapture feasible and efficient, which considerably reduces mass. The second is reducing the crew to 3 astronauts. This simplifies the mission and reduces the SLS payload mass under the 45-metric ton limit for a direct... Read More

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