Deimos - MEM Docking
Status: Study 1964.
Separate Mars landers would bring crews to explore the Martian surface.
Phil Bono's second major objective was the manned exploration of Mars. Although an Apollo-type expendable spacecraft was considered, Bono felt a modified ROMBUS would be cheaper and safer although the less optimal single-stage design inevitably would translate to a 3.5 x higher launch mass in Earth orbit. The Mars-bound vehicle would weigh 3,965,758 kg in its 323-kilometer parking orbit. The trans-Mars injection (TMI) burn was planned for in May 1986. The four TMI propellant tanks (now empty) were jettisoned. After an interplanetary cruise period of 200 days, the ROMBUS spacecraft fired its engines to enter a 555-km parking orbit around Mars. The mother craft now had a mass of 984.75t after jettisoning two more empty fuel tanks. A conical 25-metric ton Mars Excursion Module (MEM) then departed with a landing crew of three astronauts.. The MEM's relatively cramped crew quarters and life support systems would only permit a relatively limited 20-day stay on the Martian surface. However, future missions would spend up to a year on Mars thanks to the unmanned cargo delivered by previous unmanned flights.
Mars Excursion Module Weight Summary
The crew would return to the waiting mother craft in an 11,475-kg Mars ascent vehicle that separated from the empty MEM landing module. Its RL-10 rocket engines consumed 7620kg of oxygen & hydrogen propellant during the 4572m/s ascent burn. Finally, 280 days after entering Mars orbit, the ROMBUS spacecraft fired its engines to return to Earth. The remaining two fuel tanks were then jettisoned after the final 3749m/s trans-Earth injection maneuver. The empty 340,194 kg vehicle landed on Earth 330 days later. The total round-trip travel time was 830 days. The "Deimos" mission would naturally have required some modifications to the basic ROMBUS design, including the addition of two SNAP-8 nuclear reactors for auxiliary power. The 6-crew would have lived inside a toroidal Command Center module which also housed 6300kg of food, oxygen & water (1.27kg/day/person).
Project Deimos Mission Summary:
Project Deimos Lunar Base
|Deimos - MEM Descent|
|Deimos - MEM Ascent|