Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Mars for Less on Flickr
Over at my Flickr site, I've started to add some additional pictures of the now-released Mars for Less for Orbiter add-on. I created a new photo set for MFL to make it easier to see what's there. The picture here shows EVA astronauts performing Earth-orbit assembly of the two separately launched components of the MTSV (Mars Transfer and Surface Vehicle, better known as "the hab"). While the propulsion modules could probably be designed to be "self-assembling" via automated docking, assembling two large parts of a crew vehicle with all the structures, plumbing, electrical systems, etc. would probably require ISS-like on-orbit assembly by astronauts.
Although it's not included in the add-on, in this picture, I show a proposed t/Space CXV crew vehicle, an Orbiter add-on by Kodiak. I briefly experimented with using this as a vehicle to carry astronauts up to the Mars ship for assembly, testing, etc. I'm not sure of the status of the air-launched CXV crew vehicle. I hope someone will eventually make Orbiter add-ons for SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon (a private crew vehicle which is being funded and built), but I haven't seen any yet.