Space Exploration Now

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by superluminal, May 7, 2010.

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  1. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    OK. Can someone help me with this?

    The US had a program called "Constellation" which included a heavy-lift rocket, and a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV, otherwise known as Orion) launch vehicle. This is back again in some form as I understand it. That's not the issue. The issue is that this is presented (as far as I can tell) as our way to the Moon and Mars.

    While I think that the design of these vehicles has an elegant simplicity and is inherently much safer, cheaper and reliable than Shuttles, how is anyone going to Mars in a 15 foot diameter cone? Maybe going to the moon in it is fine, but there is no mention of what I see as the key approach to extended space travel in the solar system. That would be that the Orion is an Earth-to-LEO crew vehicle. That's it. And the Ares V is a heavy component and fuel transport, also to LEO.

    The key is, you build your REAL spacecraft in LEO from as many components as you need as launched by Ares V. You transport construction crews and the final exploration crew to your heavily fueled, nicely sophisticated Mars exploration spacecraft.

    Why is this not at all mentioned by NASA? You will never go "direct" to Mars with a vehicle launched from earth's surface. That's stupid. What's going on here?
     
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  3. draqon Banned Banned

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    NASA is no longer in need for a Space Race. The Cold War has dissipated. All that is left now are remnants of space technology dragging future aspirations. If you want to see people on Mars than see someone other than NASA getting us there, someone like ScaledComposites and Roscosmos.
     
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  5. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    And just what profit motive is there for a private corporation to send anything into space unless it's a tourist?
     
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Raw materials.
    But you'd need a corporation with a very long-term view.
     
  8. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

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    I thought that corresponded to NASA's plans (ie Mars shot built and launched from LEO)... but I'm not sure. I'll se what I can find.
     
  9. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

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    It looks like even Lunar missions will use two vehicles - the Orion capsule will launch from Earth to LEO on an Ares I, then dock with a second vehicle launched to LEO on the Ares V, before proceeding to Luna.
    Details of Mars missions are fuzzy, but seem to involve sending a habitat on an unmanned vehicle, followed by crew who will proceed in a similar way to the lunar missions. I can't find any info of proposed LEO-to-Mars vehicles, except for a brief Wikipedia mention that the Lunar EDS might be used for Mars as well.
     
  10. TBodillia Registered Senior Member

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    It has been addressed by NASA. Their plans all along have been to build the astronaut carrying spaceship in LEO. But it would also send (a) cargo carrying rocket(s) ahead of the astronauts. The rocket(s) would carry the supplies needed to stay on Mars, the living quarters to stay on Mars, and in some plans, the processors needed to manufacture the fuel needed for the return trip or simply the fuel needed to return.

    Werner Von Braun imagined launching almost 1000 multi-stage rockets into LEO carrying the supplies needed to build the Mars launch vehicles and all the supplies needed for the journey. He did imagine sending 10 ships with 70 people though. Later on, he envisioned using "nuclear powered ion propulsion" and trimmed that 1000 down quite a bit.

    The quickest route to Mars is 214 days, but that is a once every 25 month window. One estimate says a crew of 6 would need 3,000,000 pounds of supplies for a 9 month journey. That 3,000,000lbs is greater than the total cargo capacity of all the space shuttle flights, to date, combined.

    Until something better than a chemical rocket comes along, there is no reason to attempt a journey to Mars. When they can make the trip in days, not months, then we can make plans to send people to Mars.

    NASA: Manned Mission to Mars in 2019
    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/382362main_40 - 20090801.1.mars2019.pdf
     
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