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One Variant of Manned Mission to Mars with a Nuclear Electric Propulsion

M. S. Konstantinov, H. W. Loeb, V. G. Petukhov and G. A. Popov
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M. S. Konstantinov: Research Institute of Applied Mechanics and Electrodynamics, Russia
H. W. Loeb: Giessen University, Germany
V. G. Petukhov: Research Institute of Applied Mechanics and Electrodynamics, Russia
G. A. Popov: Research Institute of Applied Mechanics and Electrodynamics, Russia

International Journal of Space Technology Management and Innovation (IJSTMI), 2011, vol. 1, issue 2, 1-17

Abstract: In this paper, one possible way for implementing a manned mission to Mars is examined. Typical peculiarities of the mission are as follows: the nuclear electric propulsion; relatively low mass of the spacecraft at a low Earth orbit (200 tons) and the crew time in flight is high (900-1000 days). Space mission analysis of the chosen variant is performed. As an optimization criterion, the authors chose the fuel mass required for the flight. Under examined problem definition such mass minimization is equivalent to maximal final mass of the spacecraft and maximal permissible total mass of power and electric propulsion systems. The authors show that to implement the examined manned mission, it is necessary to create the nuclear electric power and electric propulsion systems with a specific mass lower than 12.5 kg/kW under propulsion efficiency of 0.8, specific mass of the system for propellant storage of 0.05 and manned spacecraft complex mass of 52.1 tons. Under propulsion efficiency of 0.7, specific mass of power-propulsion should be lower than 10.9 kg/kW.

Date: 2011
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