In-space transportation for NASA's Evolvable Mars Campaign

Thomas Percy, Melissa McGuire, Tara Polsgrove
2015 AIAA SPACE 2015 Conference and Exposition   unpublished
As the nation embarks on a new and bold journey to Mars, significant work is being done to determine what that mission and those architectural elements will look like. The Evolvable Mars Campaign, or EMC, is being evaluated as a potential approach to getting humans to Mars. Built on the premise of leveraging current technology investments and maximizing element commonality to reduce cost and development schedule, the EMC transportation architecture is focused on developing the elements required
more » ... e elements required to move crew and equipment to Mars as efficiently and effectively as possible both from a performance and a programmatic standpoint. Over the last 18 months the team has been evaluating potential options for those transportation elements. One of the key aspects of the EMC is leveraging investments being made today in missions like the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) mission using derived versions of the Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) propulsion systems and coupling them with other chemical propulsion elements that maximize commonality across the architecture between both transportation and Mars operations elements. This paper outlines the broad trade space being evaluated including the different technologies being assessed for transportation elements and how those elements are assembled into an architecture. Impacts to potential operational scenarios at Mars are also investigated. Trades are being made on the size and power level of the SEP vehicle for delivering cargo as well as the size of the chemical propulsion systems and various mission aspects including Inspace assembly and sequencing. Maximizing payload delivery to Mars with the SEP vehicle will better support the operational scenarios at Mars by enabling the delivery of landers and habitation elements that are appropriately sized for the mission. The purpose of this investigation is not to find the solution but rather a suite of solutions with potential application to the challenge of sending cargo and crew to Mars. The goal is that, by building an architecture intelligently with all aspects considered, the sustainable Mars program wisely invests limited resources enabling a long-term human Mars exploration program. Nomenclature C3 = Escape Energy (km 2 /s 2 ) R = Distance from the Sun V = Propulsive Delta Velocity (m/s)
doi:10.2514/6.2015-4519 fatcat:bpitwkwdi5cyppzr3oqeh76nvm