Encyclopedia Astronautica
1956 Von Braun Passenger Ship

1956 Passenger Ship
1956 Von Braun Passenger Ship
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned Mars orbiter. Study 1956. The 1956 version of Von Braun's Mars design was slashed by 50% in mass, while the number of passengers was increased from 10 to 12.

The passengers would be housed in a 7.9-m-diameter sphere during the 963 day mission to Mars, in Mars orbit, and back to earth. The Passenger Vessel would perform four major maneuvers: Trans-Mars Injection, Mars Orbit Insertion, Trans-Earth Injection and Earth Orbit Insertion.

The crew quarters were divided in three decks: an upper control deck, with a transparent dome for the navigator to take star sightings; and two decks of living quarters. A fireman's pole ran through the center for use by the crew in getting around the ship in zero gravity. At the bottom of the passenger sphere was an airlock for access to space. The internal atmosphere would be oxygen/helium, at 0.54 atmospheres pressure.


Crew Size: 12. Spacecraft delta v: 9,000 m/s (29,500 ft/sec).

Gross mass: 1,700,000 kg (3,700,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 60,000 kg (132,000 lb).
Height: 37.00 m (121.00 ft).
Diameter: 7.90 m (25.90 ft).
Thrust: 3,530.00 kN (793,570 lbf).
Specific impulse: 297 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Von Braun Mars Expedition - 1956 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1956. Von Braun's Mars expedition presented in the 1956 book he co-authored with Willy Ley, The Exploration of Mars, was vastly reduced in scope from the 1952 version. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Von Braun American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Von Braun, USA. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Nitric acid/Hydrazine Drawing on the German World War II Wasserfall rocket, nitric acid (HNO3) became the early storable oxidiser of choice for missiles and upper stages of the 1950's. To overcome various problems with its use, it was necessary to combine the nitric acid with N2O4 and passivation compounds. These formulae were considered extremely secret at the time. By the late 1950's it was apparent that N2O4 by itself was a better oxidiser. Therefore nitric acid was almost entirely replaced by pure N2O4 in storable liquid fuel rocket engines developed after 1960. Hydrazine (N2H4) found early use as a fuel, but it was quickly replaced by UDMH. It is still used as a monopropellant for satellite station-keeping motors. More...

  • Miller, Ron, The Dream Machines, Krieger, Malabar, Florida, 1993.
  • Portree, David S. F., Humans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950 - 2000, NASA Monographs in Aerospace History Series, Number 21, February 2001.

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