AAS 99-101

A Viable Chemical/Aerobrake Architecture for Human Exploration of Mars

M. Cupples*, C. Kluever**, R. Kirchmyer***

*DESE Research, Inc, ** U. Missouri,** NASA MSFC


The architecture is based on a split mission approach, nuclear electric ground power, and chemical propulsion utilizing an aerobrake for Mars orbit capture and Earth return. First, a 2 stage Trans-Mars-Injection (TMI) is employed, utilizing two periapsis burns for TMI. Second, the architecture is optimized around launch vehicle performance minimizing mass in LEO. Additional mass is transferred to the human stack at crew delivery to transfer habitat. The architecture utilizes off-the-shelf RL-10 propulsion technology and minimization of ascent, decent stage development through commonality and modularity. Vehicle performance data and detailed mission manifests are provided.