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Selenian Boondocks

Mars Barges

2 Jul 2017, 10:36 UTC
Mars Barges
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

One of the incredible mentions in the Elon Mars concept was a thousand spacecraft in orbit ready for the Mars launch window to open. I’m not sure how many launch windows down the road this would be, I assume several decades. Whether it is next decade or next century though, an expensive asset like a spacecraft that is only capable of being used once every other launch window is a massive investment that is mostly idle.
I suggest an alternate concept for having a thousand vehicles heading toward Mars during one launch window. Each vehicle is an inert barge with a homing beacon and barely enough structure to house the cargo during thrust and coast. No engines, electricity, shielding, or other frills. These barges carry only items that store well. Machinery, provisions, propellant, clothing, etc.
The orbital gathering place for these barges is a high Earth orbit above the radiation belts but below Lunar orbit. The storage orbit keeps however many barges are heading out during each launch window in parking lot adjacent to a refueling facility that is stocked up between launch windows. The third item is skeletal booster tugs with no frills like ability to reenter or handle ...

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