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Launching rockets and small satellites from the lunar surfaceScientific payloads and their propulsion systems optimized for launch from the lunar surface differ considerably from their counterparts for use on earth. For spin-stabilized payloads, the preferred shape is a large diameter-to-length ratio to provide stability during the thrust phase. The rocket motor required for a 50-kg payload to reach an altitude of one lunar radius would have a mass of about 41 kg. To place spin-stabilized vehicles into low altitude circular orbits, they are first launched into an elliptical orbit with altitude about 840 km at aposelene. When the spacecraft crosses the desired circular orbit, small retro-rockets are fired to attain the appropriate direction and speed. Values of the launch angle, velocity increments, and other parameters for circular orbits of several altitudes are tabulated. To boost a 50-kg payload into a 100-km altitude circular orbit requires a total rocket motor mass of about 90 kg.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Proceedings
Anderson, K. A.
(California Univ. Berkeley, CA, United States)
Dougherty, W. M.
(California Univ. Berkeley, CA, United States)
Pankow, D. H.
(California, University Berkeley, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1985
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Space Vehicles
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
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