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Reusable Hoppers and Orbiters for Rapid Lunar Transportation and Exploration

8 Sep 2015, 05:51 UTC
Reusable Hoppers and Orbiters for Rapid Lunar Transportation and Exploration
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by Marcel F. WilliamsFor NASA and its future SLS program,  developing  a reusable single staged extraterrestrial  landing vehicle (ETLV) could allow America to send astronauts  to the surface of the Moon, Mars, and even to the surfaces of the moons of Mars. Such an ETLV could be used to conveniently transport astronauts from EML1 (Earth-Moon Lagrange point 1) to the surface of the Moon and back to EML1 on a single fueling of LOX/LH2 propellant. NASA astronauts could reach EML1 and return to the Earth via an SLS launched Orion spacecraft. Eventually, by deploying ETLV derived orbital propellant depots at points of departure and destination, such a reusable spacecraft could also be used as an orbital transfer vehicle, transporting astronauts between LEO and the Earth-Moon Lagrange points. This would allow Commercial Crew vehicles to shuttle NASA astronauts to LEO to dock with an ETLV destined for EML1 or to return astronauts from an ETLV returning from EML1.  ETLV-2 (Extraterrestrial Landing Vehicle)Inert weight with cargo and  crew (8 passengers): 10 tonnesMaximum amount of propellant:  24 tonnes of  LOX/LH2Maximum fueled weight: 34 tonnesSpecific Impulse of LOX/LH2 engines: ~ 450 seconds  Top: ETLV-2 reusable lunar crew lander and lunar hopper; Bottom: CTLV-5B reusable ...

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