- Conference date: 2-5 February 2003
- Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA)
A revolutionary interplanetary rapid transit concept for transporting scientists and explorers between Earth and Mars is presented by Global Aerospace Corporation under funding from the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) with support from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and others. We describe an innovative architecture that uses highly autonomous, solar‐powered, xenon ion‐propelled spaceships, dubbed Astrotels; small Taxis for trips between Astrotels and planetary Spaceports; Shuttles that transport crews to and from orbital space stations and planetary surfaces; and low‐thrust cargo freighters that deliver hardware, fuels and consumables to Astrotels and Spaceports. Astrotels can orbit the Sun in cyclic orbits between Earth and Mars and Taxis fly hyperbolic planetary trajectories between Astrotel and Spaceport rendezvous. Together these vehicles transport replacement crews of 10 people on frequent, short trips between Earth and Mars. Two crews work on Mars with alternating periods of duty, each spending about 4 years there with crew transfers occurring about every two years. We also discuss the production of rocket fuels using materials mined from the surfaces of the Moon, Mars and the Martian satellites: the use of aerocapture to slow Taxis at the planets; and finally the life‐cycle cost estimation.
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