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Conventional and Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) Artificial Gravity Mars Transfer Vehicle Concepts
NTRS Full-Text: Click to View  [PDF Size: 2.2 MB]
Author and Affiliation:
Borowski, Stanley K.(NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH United States);
McCurdy, David R.(Vantage Partners, LLC, Brook Park, OH, United States);
Packard, Thomas W.(Vantage Partners, LLC, Brook Park, OH, United States)
Abstract: A variety of countermeasures have been developed to address the debilitating physiological effects of "zero-gravity" (0-g) experienced by cosmonauts and astronauts during their approximately 0.5-1.2 year long stays in LEO (Low Earth Orbit). Longer interplanetary flights, combined with possible prolonged stays in Mars orbit, could subject crewmembers to up to approximately 2.5 years of weightlessness. In view of known and recently diagnosed problems associated with 0-g, an artificial gravity spacecraft offers many advantages and may indeed be an enabling technology for human flights to Mars. A number of important human factors must be taken into account in selecting the rotation radius, rotation rate, and orientation of the habitation module or modules. These factors include the gravity gradient effect, radial and tangential Coriolis forces, along with cross-coupled acceleration effects. Artificial gravity (AG) Mars transfer vehicle (MTV) concepts are presented that utilize both conventional NTR, as well as, enhanced "bimodal" nuclear thermal rocket (BNTR) propulsion. The NTR is a proven technology that generates high thrust and has a specific impulse (I (sub sp)) capability of approximately 900 s - twice that of today's best chemical rockets. The AG/MTV concepts using conventional NTP carry twin cylindrical "ISS-type" habitation modules with their long axes oriented either perpendicular or parallel to the longitudinal spin axis of the MTV and utilize photovoltaic arrays (PVAs) for spacecraft power. The twin habitat modules are connected to a central operations hub located at the front of the MTV via two pressurized tunnels that provide the rotation radius for the habitat modules. For the BNTR AG/MTV option, each engine has its own "closed" secondary helium-xenon gas loop and Brayton rotating unit that can generate tens of kilowatts (kW (sub e)) of spacecraft electrical power during the mission coast phase eliminating the need for large PVAs. A single inflatable "TransHab-type" habitation module is also used with multiple vertical floors oriented radial to the MTV spin axis. The BNTR MTV's geometry - long and linear - is naturally compatible with AG operation. By rotating the vehicle about its center-of-mass and perpendicular to its flight vector at approximately 3.0 - 5.2 rpm, a centrifugal force and AG environment corresponding to approximately 0.38 - 1.0 g can be established to help maintain crew fitness out to Mars and back. Vehicles using NTP/BNTP can more readily accommodate the heavier payload mass and increased RCS propellant loading associated with AG operation, and can travel faster to and from Mars thereby reducing the crew's exposure to galactic cosmic radiation and solar flares. Mission scenario descriptions, key vehicle features and operational characteristics for each propulsion options are presented using the lift capability and payload volumes estimated for the SLS-1A and HLV.
Publication Date: Jul 28, 2014
Document ID:
20140017461
(Acquired Feb 02, 2015)
Subject Category: AEROSPACE MEDICINE; SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND POWER
Report/Patent Number: AIAA Paper 2014-3623, GRC-E-DAA-TN16571
Document Type: Conference Paper
Meeting Information: AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference ; 50th; 28-30 Jul. 2014; Cleveland, OH; United States
Meeting Sponsor: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Reston, VA, United States
American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Naperville, IL, United States
Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.; Warrendale, PA, United States
American Society for Electrical Engineers; United States
Contract/Grant/Task Num: NNC12BA01B; WBS 279585.04.02.22
Financial Sponsor: NASA Glenn Research Center; Cleveland, OH United States
Organization Source: NASA Glenn Research Center; Cleveland, OH United States
Description: 31p; In English; Original contains color and black and white illustrations
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright; Distribution as joint owner in the copyright
NASA Terms: MANNED MARS MISSIONS; NUCLEAR PROPULSION; NUCLEAR ENGINE FOR ROCKET VEHICLES; ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY; ROTATION; SPACECRAFT DESIGN; SPACECRAFT MODULES; MANNED SPACECRAFT; ORBIT TRANSFER VEHICLES; CREW EXPLORATION VEHICLE; PAYLOAD MASS RATIO; LOW EARTH ORBITS; CORIOLIS EFFECT; CENTRIFUGAL FORCE; ROVER PROJECT; GRAVITATIONAL PHYSIOLOGY; WEIGHTLESSNESS; LONG DURATION SPACE FLIGHT
Other Descriptors: NUCLEAR PROPULSION; ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY; MARS SPACECRAFT
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