PDA

View Full Version : Mars Cycler as Lifeboat?



stutefish
2009-Mar-09, 07:44 PM
Other discussions have made much of the inefficiency of the Mars Cycler concept. I won't get into that here.

But what about setting up Mars Cycler infrastructure as a lifeboat or safety system?

Five Cyclers, each loaded with the propellant necessary to effect MOI, EOI, TMI, and TEI maneuvers, could be kept in hibernation. In the tragic event that some Mars mission must make an emergency launch, outside of its normal launch window, the nearest Cycler would be woken up and dispatched to rendezvous and rescue the ill-fated explorers.

I mean this for scenarios where the option of linking up with a Cycler is preferable to having no options at all. Normal missions would only carry consumables for planned mission activities, plus the usual contingency stores. The Cyclers would carry additional consumables to effect the necessary rescue delta-V, and sustain any personnel on their way back home.

Does that make any sense?

galacsi
2009-Mar-09, 08:10 PM
I am not sure it is better than redundant missions. And also I am not sure you can keep these Cyclers copacetic for a lot of cycles. And there is the little question of the amount of money you will need to build this very rich safety net.

So in theory it should be good to have this Cycler infrastructure , but when you look at it from a practical point of view . . . .

ravens_cry
2009-Mar-09, 08:41 PM
The way I understand it, if you have the delta-v to rendezvous with a Cycler, you have the delta-v to get home. On the other hand, other consumables, such as edibles and electrical power, do not have to be as robust on the docking craft. In that sense, yes,I can see a cycler being useful as a lifeboat.

stutefish
2009-Mar-09, 08:48 PM
The way I understand it, if you have the delta-v to rendezvous with a Cycler, you have the delta-v to get home.
Right. What I meant was, what if the Cycler has the delta-v to rendezvous with you? I.e., the Cycler carries all lifeboat delta-v, freeing up more mass in the mission payload budget.

publiusr
2009-Mar-16, 08:51 PM
It is a nice thing to have for spare parts and what not...