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Title: Austere human missions to Mars
Authors: Price, Hoppy
Hawkins, Alisa M.
Tadcliffe, Torrey O.
Keywords: Design Reference Architecture 5 (DRA 5)
austere mission architecture
Mars Transit Habitat (TransHab)
entry, descent, and landing (EDL)
Issue Date: 16-Sep-2009
Publisher: Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2009.
Citation: AIAA Space 2009 Conference, Pasadena, California, September 16, 2009.
Abstract: The Design Reference Architecture 5 (DRA 5) is the most recent concept developed by NASA to send humans to Mars in the 2030 time frame using Constellation Program elements. DRA 5 is optimized to meet a specific set of requirements that would provide for a robust exploration program to deliver a new six-person crew at each biennial Mars opportunity and provide for power and infrastructure to maintain a highly capable continuing human presence on Mars. This paper examines an alternate architecture that is scaled back from DRA 5 and might offer lower development cost, lower flight cost, and lower development risk. It is recognized that a mission set using this approach would not meet all the current Constellation Mars mission requirements; however, this “austere” architecture may represent a minimum mission set that would be acceptable from a science and exploration standpoint. The austere approach is driven by a philosophy of minimizing high risk or high cost technology development and maximizing development and production commonality in order to achieve a program that could be sustained in a flat-funded budget environment. Key features that would enable a lower technology implementation are as follows: using a blunt-body entry vehicle having no deployable decelerators, utilizing aerobraking rather than aerocapture for placing the crewed element into low Mars orbit, avoiding the use of liquid hydrogen with its low temperature and large volume issues, using standard bipropellant propulsion for the landers and ascent vehicle, and using radioisotope surface power systems rather than a nuclear reactor or large area deployable solar arrays. Flat funding within the expected NASA budget for a sustained program could be facilitated by alternating cargo and crew launches for the biennial Mars opportunities. This would result in two assembled vehicles leaving Earth orbit for Mars per Mars opportunity. The first opportunity would send two cargo landers to the Mars surface to preposition a habitat, supplies, and exploration equipment. The next opportunity, two years later, would send to Mars orbit 1) a lander with a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) and 2) a crewed Mars Transit Habitat with an Orion CEV for Earth return. The following opportunity, two years after the first crew, would go back to cargo-only launches. This alternation of cargo and crew opportunities results in a sustainable launch rate of six Ares V launches every two years. It is notable that four of the six launches per Mars opportunity are identical, build-to-print, Tran- Mars Injection stages. This type of production rate could lend itself well to a COTStype service provider, and would make it feasible to have a live spare in place in the event of a single launch failure.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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