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Space Vehicle ConceptsThis paper presents several concepts of chemical-propulsion Space Vehicles (SVs) for manned Mars landing missions. For vehicle sizing purposes, several specific missions were chosen from opportunities in the late 1990's and early 2000's, and a vehicle "system" concept is then described which is applicable to the full range of missions and opportunities available. In general, missions utilizing planetary opposition alignments can he done with smaller vehicles than those utilizing planetary opposition alignments (reference I) The conjunction missions have a total mission time of about 3 years, including a required stay-time of about 60 days. Both types of missions might be desirable during a Mars program, the opposition type for early low-risk missions and/or for later unmanned cargo missions, and the conjunction type for more extensive science/exploration missions and/or for Mars base activities. Since the opposition missions appeared to drive the SV size more severely, there were probably more cases examined for them.

Some of the concepts presented utilize all-propulsive braking, some utilize an all aerobraking approach, and some are hybrids. Weight statements are provided for various cases. The aerobraking cases have significant advantages in size and weight. Cryogenic propellants were used for the main propulsive elements in all cases, due to their significant weight advantage over storable propellants (reference 1). Extensive use is made of existing propulsive elements and other systems.

Most of the work was done on O-g vehicle concepts, but partial-g and 1-g concepts are also provided and discussed. A recommendation is added that efforts be made to find ways to offset the long-term O-g effects on the crew, other than providing a g-field for the total SV or spacecraft, since this causes significant design and operations impacts.

Several options for habitable elements are shown, such as large-diameter modules and Space Station (SS) types of modules. The latter were used as a reference because of their cost advantage as existing elements Several options are shown for the Mars landing vehicle, and a landing "system" is recommended which makes use of a large aeroshell to allow landing of payloads of various sizes and shapes over the course of a multi-year program.

Because of the large size and weight of the SV it will be necessary to launch individual elements and assemble them in low Earth orbit (LEO). A configuration of one potential assembly concept is provided.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Michael Tucker
(Marshall Space Flight Center Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, United States)
Oliver Meredith
(Marshall Space Flight Center Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, United States)
Bobby Brothers
(Marshall Space Flight Center Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1986
Publication Information
Publication: Manned Mars Missions Working Group Papers: Volume 1, Section 1-4
Publisher: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Manned Mars Missions Workshop
Location: Huntsville, AL
Country: US
Start Date: June 10, 1985
End Date: June 14, 1985
Sponsors: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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