GUADALAJARA /Mexico/, September 28. /TASS/. The method of delivery of people and cargo to Mars, proposed by the American company SpaceX, will be the basis for future interplanetary travel within the Solar system. Such plans said on Tuesday held here the Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, the head of SpaceX Elon Musk.
“We’re talking about interplanetary transport system. It will allow anyone to travel anywhere, to any planet of the Solar system,” said entrepreneur and inventor. According to him, such “freedom of movement” in some cases will not even be limited to such a limiting factor as the lack of reserve fuel to refuel space ships.
Fly to Mars in two steps
Musk plans to send to the Red planet spacecraft, upper stage which will be able to return to Earth and be used several times by filling and installation of the new capsules with the cargo and living compartments. The capsule is invited to refuel in Earth orbit or the moon, to make it possible to overcome the distance to Mars. Moreover, according to the businessman, to stock up on fuel for the return vehicle to Earth is impractical. It is much wiser to place filling stations in Earth orbit and on the surface of the red planet during its development.
“We showed you a demo video which you have created using simulator in the laboratory. However, I want to emphasize that the video is quite realistic picture, which is not embellished,” said Musk. In fact, since 2012, SpaceX has already several times successfully delivered cargo to the International space station (ISS) with cargo spacecraft Dragon. As planned, after two or three years he will be able to take on Board and people.
the Company uses for withdrawal of the apparatus into Earth orbit the launch vehicle Falcon 9. SpaceX was four times able to carry out a controlled descent of the lower stage carrier on a sea platform in the Atlantic ocean and one to ground her back to the spaceport. The company believes that reuse of the first stage will significantly reduce the cost of commercial launches.
According to the Mask, equip boosters “can be quite often, given the fact that the return stage of the rocket) to Earth takes 20 minutes.” This will require a larger spacecraft than SpaceX developed the sample with a height of 122 meters with a diameter of the booster unit 17 meters and a capsule diameter of 12 meters.
for future missions designed pad 39A, which is currently being built on site air force base near the spaceport at Cape Canaveral (Florida). Boosters should be able to take loads up to 450 tons. Specific weight will depend on the number of refuelings on the way to Mars. As the engine selected prototype Raptor. Its specific impulse (a measure of efficiency of a jet engine) during a recent test was 382 seconds, and pull three meganewton.
it is Planned that the upper stage reusable is equipped with a 42 cryogenic Raptor. According to the inventor, SpaceX will be able to annually produce about 300 of these engines.
Terms of development and number of flights
According to forecasts of the Mask, to colonize Mars we for 40-100 years, if you send to the Red planet 100-200 people at a time. “We presume that the space (ship) for the crew it will be necessary to significantly increase”, – he noted, adding that the first step was to seek the possibility to send into space more people at one time to then be able to transport to Mars 100 and 200 people”.
the duration of the flight will be from 80 to 150 days depending on the time of year. “In the long term, we hope to reach the target of 30 days,” said the inventor. To create a settlement on the planet, perhaps by 20 to 50 flights. “We believe that to achieve the levels required for Mars exploration, will require from 40 to 100 years,” – said Musk, adding that he understood the term “fully self-sufficient colony,” a settlement population of 1 million people.
Musk promises cheap travel
SpaceX currently estimates the cost of delivery in the future one man on Mars in 10 billion dollars and wants to reduce this unprecedented high amount up to 200 thousand dollars. “We calculated that, taking into account all costs, the journey of one man to Mars will be $ 10 billion,” – said Musk. In his opinion, such a price bracket too high for a single ticket. “We should proceed from the more realistic figures, e.g. based on the average value of a house, which in the U.S. is $ 200 thousand,” – said the businessman.
“We’ll try to arrange things so that such a journey could take any man after perhaps only a few days training,” he added. This approach eliminates the possibility of participation in the missions of the children, as the risk of contingencies is still high. Accordingly, the pioneers on Mars will have to be ready to die.”
With an eye on Mars
SpaceX previously announced plans to launch a Dragon spacecraft to Mars in 2018. This is the first test launch to the Red planet of Dragon 2. His expedition named the “Red dragon”. Dragon 2 is designed to descend to the surface (any celestial body) in our Solar system. Mission “red dragon” will be the first test flight,” said the company.
the Americans have mastered the route to ISS with a long-term view on Mars. For this purpose, the ships company SpaceX Dragon, Cygnus consortium United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the CST-100 Cockpit Boeing. NASA expects to carry out the first human flight to the red planet around mid 2030′s with the help of the new manned Orion spacecraft and a heavy launch vehicle SLS. They are also created according to the principle of public-private partnership of aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Orion flight to Mars should be sent several robotic spacecraft that will study the surface and atmosphere of the planet and determine the future site of the landing of the ship with the astronauts. The Director of NASA Charles Bolden said that the U.S. is interested in cooperation on this project with other countries, including Russia.