Encyclopedia Astronautica
UMPIRE Douglas

UMPIRE Douglas
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned Mars expedition. Study 1964. Unfavorable Manned Planetary - Interplanetary Roundtrip Expedition profiles were studied under NASA Huntsville contracts to General Dynamics and Douglas in June 1963.

The studies looked at manned Mars missions at unfavorable mission opportunities (e.g. 1975, 1977). Douglas believed a nuclear-powered spacecraft, boosted in a single launch of Bono's ROMBUS booster, could take six crew on a 460 day mission to Mars even at unfavorable opportunities.

UMPIRE Douglas Mission Summary:

  • Summary: Nuclear thermal expedition designed for unfavorable launch opportunities.
  • Propulsion: Nuclear thermal
  • Braking at Mars: propulsive
  • Mission Type: opposition
  • Split or All-Up: all up
  • ISRU: no ISRU
  • Crew: 6
  • Outbound time-days: 200
  • Mars Stay Time-days: 30
  • Return Time-days: 230
  • Total Mission Time-days: 460
  • Total Payload Required in Low Earth Orbit-metric tons: 450
  • Mass per crew-metric tons: 75
  • Launch Vehicle Payload to LEO-metric tons: 450
  • Number of Launches Required to Assemble Payload in Low Earth Orbit: 1
  • Launch Vehicle: ROMBUS

Crew Size: 6.

Height: 96.00 m (314.00 ft).
Diameter: 18.00 m (59.00 ft).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Mars Expeditions Since Wernher von Braun first sketched out his Marsprojekt in 1946, a succession of designs and mission profiles were seriously studied in the United States and the Soviet Union. By the late 1960's Von Braun had come to favour nuclear thermal rocket powered expeditions, while his Soviet counterpart Korolev decided that nuclear electric propulsion was the way to go. All such work stopped in both countries in the 1970's, after the cancellation of the Apollo program in the United States and the N1 booster in the Soviet Union. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Nuclear/LH2 Nuclear thermal engines use the heat of a nuclear reactor to heat a propellant. Although early Russian designs used ammonia or alcohol as propellant, the ideal working fluid for space applications is the liquid form of the lightest element, hydrogen. Nuclear engines would have twice the performance of conventional chemical rocket engines. Although successfully ground-tested in both Russia and America, they have never been flown due primarily to environmental and safety concerns. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. 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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