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Logistics of the Manned Mission to Mars. By Josh Levine March 9, 2004. Agenda. The Customer’s Goals and Requirements Orbital Energies and Transfers Pre-manned Mars Mission Various Methods for Reaching Mars Mars Direct ISS Launched Lunar Launched Recap PSA’s.

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logistics of the manned mission to mars

Logistics of the Manned Mission to Mars

By Josh Levine

March 9, 2004

  • The Customer’s Goals and Requirements
  • Orbital Energies and Transfers
  • Pre-manned Mars Mission
  • Various Methods for Reaching Mars
    • Mars Direct
    • ISS Launched
    • Lunar Launched
  • Recap
  • PSA’s
goals from mr bush
Goals from Mr. Bush
  • “The desire to explore

and understand is

part of our character“

  • "We do not know where this journey will end, yet we know this -- human beings are headed into the cosmos"
  • "Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives and lifts our national spirit."
scientific mars goals
Scientific Mars Goals
  • To determine if Mars did, does or could support life.
    • Robotic exploration
    • Initial human settlement
    • Scientific studies
      • Search for life/evidence that there was life
      • Search for liquid water
      • Research organism growth on Mars
    • Permanent Mars settlement
requirements to be established
Requirements to be Established
  • Time frame
  • Cost
  • Payload
    • Weight
    • Volumes
    • Number of crew
  • Safety
  • Willingness/desire to test new technologies in the pursuit of scientific gains
the homan transfer to mars
The Homan Transfer to Mars
  • Launch when Mars is 440 in front of Earth
  • This occurs every 26 months
  • Transfer time: 259 days (8 ½ months)
  • Return window: 322 days (10 ½ mo.) later
  • Transfer time: 259
  • Total time away: 840 days (2 1/3 years)
the rocket equation
The Rocket Equation


  • Initial Mass is held constant
  • Propellant is the same

i.e. 2x as much delta V

~1/7 as much payload

cost analysis
Cost Analysis

What we need: Payload volumes & Masses


Ariane V

unmanned launch vehicle selection14
Unmanned Launch Vehicle Selection

Titan IV

Atlas V Family

mars direct method
Mars Direct Method

"Travel light, live off the land and go on a shoestring budget.”

“It is only by looking at how humans have successfully explored the Earth that we can tell how they can successfully explore Mars.“

-Robert Zubrin

mars direct
Mars Direct
  • Conjunction class launch
  • Return trip propellant made on Mars
    • 6 Tons H2 brought

107 Tons Methane & O2

      • 96 Tons return fuel
      • 11 Tons Mars fuel
  • Energia caliber LV
mars direct18
Mars Direct


  • Inexpensive ($55 billion)
  • Quick (around 10 years)


  • Safety
    • Technology not radiation proven
    • This plan relies on Mars in-situ propellant production
launch from the iss
Launch from the ISS
  • Multiple launches of fuel and supply to LEO (the ISS)
  • Refueling or assembly of HLV at the ISS
  • Mars Launch from LEO

Space Gas Station

launch from the iss20
Launch from the ISS


  • Much more payload to Mars:
    • 13.5 times as much payload as Mars direct
  • Promotes international relations
  • Catalyze the creation of an RLV (i.e. the Stanford SSTO)
launch from the iss21
Launch from the ISS


  • Many LEO launches
    • Complicated
    • Greater chance of failure
    • Potentially expensive
  • Difficult to assemble in space (with only a couple ISS astronauts)
  • Technology not radiation proven
  • Potential for conflict between international partners
moon base with lunar launch
Moon Base with Lunar Launch
  • Establish a Lunar base by 2020
  • Prove that we can colonize the moon
    • Survive outside the radiation belt
    • Mine materials
    • Function normally
  • Fly up necessary payload for Mars launch
  • Manned Mars launch after 2030
moon base with lunar launch23
Moon Base with Lunar Launch


  • Experience living in a hostile, radiation filled environment
  • Provides long (very long) term launch cost reductions
  • Lunar Resources
    • Rocks may be mined for O2
    • Source of He-3 (theoretically a key fusion ingredient)
moon base with lunar launch24
Moon Base with Lunar Launch


  • ~$400 billion
  • ~30 years to get to Mars
  • Moon base milestone is a political escape hatch to Mars exploration
  • Energy inefficient in the near term
    • 35% more Delta V than Mars Direct
    • 250% more Delta V than ISS Launched
  • Mars Direct
    • Fast and cheap
    • Safety unproven
  • ISS launched
    • Large payload mass fractions
    • Space assembly is complicated and difficult
    • Safety unproven
  • Moon Launched
    • Only method that proves safety
    • Expensive and slow
mars finance psa
Mars Finance PSA
    • Cost for different Mars proposals
      • Mars Direct, ISS Launched, Lunar Launched
    • Current NASA budget (0.7% of federal budget) and the percent that would go towards Mars
      • Compare Mars mission to Government programs
        • overall federal budget, health care, defense etc.
      • Compare Mars mission to public


        • Starbucks coffee
        • Pet products
mars finance psa29
Mars Finance PSA
    • previous space exploration technologies
      • GPS, Velcro, plasma TVs, temperpedic beds, weather satellites, batteries, TPS, other materials, Clean Air Return
      • A break down of each industry’s current net worth
    • possible Mars spin-off technologies
      • guestimated potential financial benefits
      • potential financial benefits based off of similar programs’ spin-off technologies
mars finance psa30
Mars Finance PSA
    • Description of potential advertisers
    • Potential profit to be made from space advertising
    • Graph of PhD’s in math and science over time compared to NASA’s budget over time
      • Discuss PhD increase and lunar mission correlation
      • Talk about projected PhD increase with a Mars mission
      • Discuss how a small increase in high-tech industry means a large increase in economy
      • Extrapolate to estimate economic benefit of the Mars mission
mars finance psa31
Mars Finance PSA
    • Mars mission cost
    • Predicted profit from
      • Spin-off technologies
      • Advertising
      • Increase in the high tech industry