Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Mars Mission Systems Analysis and Requirements DefinitionThis paper describes the Mars transportation vehicle design concepts developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Advanced Concepts Office. These vehicle design concepts provide an indication of the most demanding and least demanding potential requirements for nuclear thermal propulsion systems for human Mars exploration missions from years 2025 to 2035. Vehicle concept options vary from large "all-up" vehicle configurations that would transport all of the elements for a Mars mission on one vehicle. to "split" mission vehicle configurations that would consist of separate smaller vehicles that would transport cargo elements and human crew elements to Mars separately. Parametric trades and sensitivity studies show NTP stage and engine design options that provide the best balanced set of metrics based on safety, reliability, performance, cost and mission objectives. Trade studies include the sensitivity of vehicle performance to nuclear engine characteristics such as thrust, specific impulse and nuclear reactor type. Tbe associated system requirements are aligned with the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) Reference Mars mission as described in the Explorations Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) report. The focused trade studies include a detailed analysis of nuclear engine radiation shield requirements for human missions and analysis of nuclear thermal engine design options for the ESAS reference mission.
Mulqueen, Jack (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Chiroux, Robert C. (Science Applications International Corp. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Thomas, Dan (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Crane, Tracie (Qualis Corp. Huntsville, AL, United States)