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Author Topic: Generic Mars Ascent Information  (Read 7201 times)
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« on: June 27, 2006, 12:39:34 AM »

The information posted herein comes from ... a must read for all MDC competitors

Interplanetary Mission Design Handbook: Earth-to-Mars Mission Opportunities and Mars-to-Earth Return Opportunities 2009-2024 by L.E. George and L.D. Kos, NASA MSFC 1998.  It is basically a porkchop smorgasbord, enough numbers to make any space nut crack.

I've sorted out the basics for the convenience of anyone whose interested, including other MDC competitors.  I've ignored all of the "human mission" stuff and went with Type I trajectories both ways, with no official limits on transit times.  Lower energy Type II's were available for departure as standard ISRU missions carry liquid hydrogen, it may be desirable to get to Mars quickly where you can start using it rather than watch it boil away during the cruise.

Dec 2013-Jan 2014 Departure C3=10km2/sec2 gives a 24 day window, which should be plenty.  Arrival at Mars is about 11 July 2014.  First following departure from Mars is Oct 2015-Dec 2016 followed by arrival at Earth in July 2016.

Feb-Mar 2016 Departure C3= 10km2/sec2; 21 day window.  Arrival at Mars is about 19 August 2016.  First following departure from Mars is Feb-April 2018 with arrival at earth in Sept-Nov 2018.

This information pretty much ignores entry C3's, which you might want to consider if your concept uses aerocapture, orbital capture, or has a weakened or new type of thermal protection system.

Both missions produce a generic design requirement of 10km2/sec2 for Earth ascent and 7km2/sec2 for Mars ascent.  You can use these numbers in finding booster performance information and in designing your ERV booster.  Here's the applicable Atlas V performances (good numbers from, and costs (educated guesses):

401: 2700kg (eq. 1125m/s GTO); $90mln. (from MRO press release)
411: 3400kg (eq. 1125m/s GTO); $100mln.
421: 4000kg (eq. 1125m/s GTO); $110mln.
431: 4500kg (eq. 1150m/s GTO); $120mln.
501: 2400kg (eq. 1200m/s GTO); $110mln.
511: 3300kg (eq. 1175m/s GTO); $120mln.
521: 4000kg (eq. 575m/s GDO); $130mln.
531: 4600kg (eq. 675m/s GDO); $140mln.
541: 5100kg (eq. 675m/s GDO); $150mln.
551: 5300kg (eq. 675m/s GDO); $160mln.
HLV: 8800kg (based on interpolated 675m/s GDO and 2200m/s equiv. offload other words, an educated guess.); 240mln.

Geosync Transfer and Delivery Orbit equivalents are there mostly to ease my mind that the performances I read from the Interplanetary Graphs and the more extensive Geosync tables were equivalent.

The Atlas numbers work like this:
- First number is the fairing diameter (4 or 5m)
- Second number is the number of solid strap-ons (0 to 5)
- Third number is the number of RL10-A4 engines in the Centaur (1 for high energy missions; 2 for low energy ones.)

Extra: Performance information has been updated based on 10km2/sec2 instead of 11km2/sec2.  Some are 100kg or 200kg higher.  The

Proton and Angara are also at
Other boosters are available at,,,, and; if you want to go really small, go to Taurus does something like 250kg.

Greenstar, is on hold right now and will probably not be available for the MarsDrive Contest.  If it becomes "available" before the deadline I will post good 10km2/sec2 performance numbers because I don't think it would be fair to use it without offering it to other competitors.

For some reason, JPL seems to prefer the Atlas V to the Delta IV and had this trend in motion before 21 December 2004, when the first Delta IV-H suffered a cavitation glitch that fooled it into thinking it was out of propellant in its first stage 7 seconds before normal shutdown...leading to a ~400m/s loss of performance.  Lucky for them, it was not an operational satellite but an Air Force test vehicle.

Let the games begin... Cool
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 11:02:18 PM by aftercolumbia » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2006, 12:59:46 AM »

Additional information on other LV families:

Delta II (standard flared biconic fairing-2.9m diameter):
7326: 500kg; $40 mln. (?, uses Star 37FM)
7325: 550kg; $41 mln. (?, uses offloaded Star 48)
7426: 550kg; $44 mln. (?, uses extra strap-on)
7425: 650kg; $45 mln. (?)
7926: 900kg; $59 mln. (?)
7925: 1060kg; $60 mln. (Futron; LEO On The Cheap by John R. London III, MGS and MER injection mass quoted; confirmed from source docs.)
7926H: 1050kg; $64 mln. (?; not recommended; lousy stage points)
7925H: 1200kg; $65 mln. (Roving Mars by Steve Squyres, Going to Mars by Garfield et. al.)

Notes: All version use spin-stabilized unguided solid upper stage motors that spin up to 60rpm and back, putting violent loads on propellant management devices and requiring traps for despin if tanks are located with outlets on axis.  A dynamic balancing analysis and test is also required (probably adds about $2 mln. to the S/C development.)

Delta 7925H and 7926H are not available at Vandenburg, keep this in mind if you plan to use an ascent declination above about +-70deg.

Delta III is no longer available.

Delta IV
M: 2117kg; $90mln (? this is a completely wild guess at cost)
M+(4,2): 3278kg; $100mln (? - lighter/higher C3 payloads are more expensive on this booster)
M+(5,2): 3200kg?; $110mln (?)
M+(5,4): 3686kg; $120mln (?)
H: 7812kg; $240mln. (?, I got this number from somewhere)

Orbital Sciences LVs
Pegasus: 0kg; $15mln (Futron, Pegasus is incapable of ascending directly to high energy trajectories and has no standard options to do so.)

2130: 210kg; $20mln (?; 18g burnout accelleration)
2230: 185kg; $20mln (?; 20g burnout accelleration)
3113: 343.4kg; $25mln (?; 13g burnout accelleration)

These use both spin stabilized unguided upper stages; meaning payloads need to be dynamically balanced; on the 3113 (and probably on the others, which are deprecated from 1996 edition and may no longer be available), the payload provides command ignition of the Star 37FM fifth stage and SFTS beyond 3rd stage separation if required.

Minotaur: 0kg; not commercially available, no standard high energy options

Minotaur IV: ?kg; not commercially available, no standard high energy options; Sec 8 Optional Enhancements says it can take a Star 48B but has no performance information.
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« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2006, 12:27:10 PM »

I have Falcon 9 at 1800kg to 10km2/sec2 and an ascent cost of $27million (this is for the 3.6m OD fairing.)  See for more information.
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2007, 12:55:30 PM »

I only discovered it a couple days ago and was too busy with the report to post it.  Check out the handy porkchop plotter at  Plot your own porkchop plots with this handy tool.  There are other handy tools too, check out
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