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MW-Class Electric Propulsion System Designs for Mars Cargo Transport
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Author and Affiliation:
Gilland, James H.(Ohio Aerospace Inst., Cleveland, OH, United States);
LaPointe, Michael R.(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States);
Oleson, Steven(NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, United States);
Mercer, Carolyn(NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, United States);
Pencil, Eric(NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, United States);
Maosn, Lee(NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, United States)
Abstract: Multi-kilowatt electric propulsion systems are well developed and have been used on commercial and military satellites in Earth orbit for several years. Ion and Hall thrusters have also propelled robotic spacecraft to encounters with asteroids, the Moon, and minor planetary bodies within the solar system. High power electric propulsion systems are currently being considered to support piloted missions to near earth asteroids, as cargo transport for sustained lunar or Mars exploration, and for very high-power piloted missions to Mars and the outer planets. Using NASA Mars Design Architecture 5.0 as a reference, a preliminary parametric analysis was performed to determine the suitability of a nuclear powered, MW-class electric propulsion system for Mars cargo transport. For this initial analysis, high power 100-kW Hall thrusters and 250-kW VASIMR engines were separately evaluated to determine optimum vehicle architecture and estimated performance. The DRA 5.0 cargo mission closed for both propulsion options, delivering a 100 t payload to Mars orbit and reducing the number of heavy lift launch vehicles from five in the baseline DRA 5.0 architecture to two using electric propulsion. Under an imposed single engine-out mission success criteria, the VASIMR system took longer to reach Mars than did the Hall system, arising from the need to operate the VASIMR thrusters in pairs during the spiral out from low Earth orbit.
Publication Date: Sep 27, 2011
Document ID:
20120001636
(Acquired Feb 07, 2012)
Subject Category: SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND POWER
Report/Patent Number: M11-1074
Document Type: Conference Paper
Meeting Information: AIAA SPACE 2011 Conference and Exposition; 27-29 Sep. 2011; Long Beach, CA; United States
Meeting Sponsor: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics; United States
Financial Sponsor: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Huntsville, AL, United States
NASA Glenn Research Center; Cleveland, OH, United States
Organization Source: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Huntsville, AL, United States
Description: 15p; In English; Original contains color illustrations
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright; Distribution as joint owner in the copyright
NASA Terms: ELECTRIC PROPULSION; MARS MISSIONS; NUCLEAR ELECTRIC PROPULSION; PAYLOADS; PROPULSION SYSTEM CONFIGURATIONS; PROPULSION SYSTEM PERFORMANCE; SPACECRAFT PROPULSION; CARGO SPACECRAFT; HALL THRUSTERS; ION ENGINES; CARGO
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