Tuesday, September 20, 2005

NASA's moon plan

Spaceref reports about Michael Griffin's new shiny plan of future for NASA. In quick generalizations, the main components are:
  • CEV - it would be a somewhat Apollo-like capsule that would fly first at around 2013. Landing on land.
  • "stick" - a 25 t launcher created from the current space shuttle's solid rocket booster and a mostly new second stage.
  • SLV - a heavy (>100t) launcher created from the shuttle's main tank and two solid rocket boosters plus a new upper stage.
  • A lunar module that takes 4 guys to the surface of the moon for a week.
  • Then you need a stage to push the stack out of earth orbit to moon.
Moon missions would have a big SLV launch with the translunar stage and lunar module, and the crew would arrive with a stick-CEV later and dock with the stack in earth orbit. Then it's off to lunar orbit, from where four astronauts would land with the lunar module (use descent stage here), spend a week down there, come back up (ascent stage), dock with the stack and head back to earth. Some forward compatibility for Mars missions will be designed into the hardware. I'll post my personal thoughts on this whole thing later, but it seems surprisingly sober on first hand. Oh, the pricetag? 100 billion dollars.

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