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Human Lunar Mission Capabilities Using SSTO, ISRU and LOX-Augmented NTR Technologies: A Preliminary AssessmentThe feasibility of conducting human missions to the Moon is examined assuming the use of three 'high leverage' technologies: (1) a single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) launch vehicle, (2) 'in-situ' resource utilization (ISRU)--specifically 'lunar-derived' liquid oxygen (LUNOX), and (3) LOX-augmented nuclear thermal rocket (LANTR) propulsion. Lunar transportation system elements consisting of a LANTR-powered lunar transfer vehicle (LTV) and a chemical propulsion lunar landing/Earth return vehicle (LERV) are configured to fit within the 'compact' dimensions of the SSTO cargo bay (diameter: 4.6 m/length: 9.0 m) while satisfying an initial mass in low Earth orbit (IMLEO) limit of approximately 60 t (3 SSTO launches). Using approximately 8 t of LUNOX to 'reoxidize' the LERV for a 'direct return' flight to Earth reduces its size and mass allowing delivery to LEO on a single 20 t SSTO launch. Similarly, the LANTR engine's ability to operate at any oxygen/ hydrogen mixture ratio from 0 to 7 with high specific impulse (approximately 940 to 515 s) is exploited to reduce hydrogen tank volume, thereby improving packaging of the LANTR LTV's 'propulsion' and 'propellant modules'. Expendable and reusable, piloted and cargo missions and vehicle designs are presented along with estimates of LUNOX production required to support the different mission modes. Concluding remarks address the issue of lunar transportation system costs from the launch vehicle perspective.
Document ID
19960002345
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Borowski, Stanley K. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 1995
Subject Category
SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND POWER
Report/Patent Number
AIAA PAPER 95-2631
NAS 1.15:107095
NASA-TM-107095
E-9973
Meeting Information
Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit(San Diego, CA)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 242-10-01
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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