Surge launch for Mars

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j05h

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We've been discussing "Mars 9 tons at a time" on Space Biz & Tech. One possibility is surge-launching a "flotilla" of spacecraft each 26-month window. This raises the question of what the total launch capability of Earth to Mars would be? This would be within a single 1-3 month opportunity during the Mars-Earth opening for a Hohnmann transfer. How many rockets of which type could reasonably launch in one window? <br /><br />My main interest is the heavier ELVs - Delta, Atlas, Ariane, Proton. How many of each type could get off the pad within that window? <br /><br />Assume payloads fitted to each rocket type. Insurance, regulation and money issues are already dealt with.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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And of course elimanting any other launches during that time period <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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j05h

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<i>> And of course elimanting any other launches during that time period</i><br /><br />It's only for a couple of months per cycle. Easily scheduled around for the launch providers. If it happened, it'd be a recurring event, mega cash-cow for the providers. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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keermalec

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From a signle launch pad? I suppose the rate would be one every few days. But you can build several launch pads... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>“An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” John F. Kennedy</em></p> </div>
 
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rybanis

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It takes more than a few days to reconfigure a pad, especially when most payloads are mounted on location (at least in the US). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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j05h

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<i>> From a signle launch pad? I suppose the rate would be one every few days. But you can build several launch pads...</i><br /><br />worldwide, unless you can figure out how to launch a Delta and Proton from the same pad. <br /><br />How fast can the pads be processed? Soyuz is easiest, but way under-powered. Delta can spend just a few days (realistically 2 weeks on-pad each). Preferably, no building of new pads, I'm interested in what could be done now.<br /><br />josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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jimfromnsf

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For the 2009 opportunity, it was going to be MTO and 2 MSL's. We were trying to do exacting what you are asking. We even were looking at west coast launches. <br /><br />It looked like 2 from each EELV pad on the east coast per opportunity
 
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PistolPete

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If that number is applied to the rest then the number of launches possible would be 12: 2 from the Atlas V pad, 2 from the Delta IV pad, 2 from the Ariane 5 pad, and 6 from the 3 operational Proton pads (although only 2 are configured for the Proton M/Briz-M, the other is still configured for the older Proton K/Block DM, and the 4th is currently unserviceable). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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gunsandrockets

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Soon enough we might add these to your listing...<br /><br />The SpaceX Falcon 9 heavy, the Chinese Long March 5 heavy and the Russian Angara 5A.
 
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kelvinzero

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I find it amusing that even if nations were not cooperating they might well end up in the same launch window. If for some reason america, russia, china, india and japan did take out all the breaks it could be like a very expensive 'those magnificent men in their flying machines' <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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JonClarke

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With those and a recomissioning of the 4th Proton pad we could have up to 20 launches. Enough to put conservatively 100 tonnes on the surface of Mars per window. <br /><br />Isn't there an Indian launcher in this class in the offing as well?<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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We have had that already. In 1971 there were two Russian and one US spacecraft at Mars. In 2003 there were 2 US, one Japanese, and one European spacecraft. All being well in 2011 there will be one US, one Russian, and one Chinese spacecraft.<br /><br />Jon<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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PistolPete

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The GSLV can only carry about 5 metric tonns to LEO. The GSLV III, which is still in development, is supposed to carry 10 tonns to LEO, the same goes for the Japanese H-2A. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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gunsandrockets

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<The GSLV III, which is still in development, is supposed to carry 10 tonns to LEO, the same goes for the Japanese H-2A.><br /><br />The Japanese H-IIB is a growth version of the H-IIA with 70% more payload to LEO. The 16 tonne HTV cargo vehicle for ISS resupply is supposed to launch on the H-IIB.<br /><br />The H-IIB is not quite in the same class as a Proton, but its getting close.
 
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j05h

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20 launches and 100tons on/around Mars per cycle is a great set of numbers. Using the most conservative numbers, that is still under $5G per cycle for launch - probably less than $2.5G (since I know Proton isn't $250M). The costs would go down with repeats or bulk purchase, too. <br /><br />The Delta IV pads are designed for short pad-times. Would it be reasonable to get 3 or 4 launches from them? This probably only applies to CCAS pad, not Vandenberg. <br /><br />Which launch providers would participate in this sort of system? With some of the payloads (food and other storables), the launch providers would have the option of throwing as many as they could - so if they succeed in getting #4 on course they make that much more. There would also be a lot of time to prepare, practice and stockpile for the brief, intense launch campaign. <br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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