This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.
04 January 2010
Charts from Lockheed Martin on their Human Asteroid Mission design ("Plymouth Rock: An Early Human Asteroid Mission Using Orion") are now available on the corporate website. This design study was was presented at the Small Bodies Assessment Group meeting in November 18–19, 2009 in Boulder, Colorado. Josh Hopkins and Adam Dissel from Lockheed Martin Space Systems presented the study.
The architecture utilizes two ETO launches: an Ares V with an unmanned Orion CEV + EDS and an Ares I with a manned Orion CEV. Thus the dual-Orion in-space configuration that has been talked about in the media. For an initial target 2008 EA9 was chosen for a 2019 opportunity (total mission DV = 4.9 km/s, total 205 Day mission duration).
Some quick observations from the study:
* Six months appears to be the upper limit of feasible mission durations using dual Orion (for two people)
* Repeat opportunities with a specific asteroid are usually decades apart
* At the current asteroid discovery rate, the number of known mission opportunities in this time frame may double by 2015
* Orion-based asteroid missions require launch of about 46 tons to C3 = +1 to +4 km2/s2 (slightly faster than escape velocity)
* This is roughly equivalent to launching 50-65 mt to translunar injection (C3 = -1.8 km2/s2) depending on the launch approach, the planned Ares V capability has margin for this mission
Link: Lockheed Martin Human Asteroid Mission Presentation Charts (NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group meeting, November 2009)
Link: General Lockheed Martin Orion Corporate Page
Posted by A.C. Charania at 19:04
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