Mars2022 (1-4 Starships)

Time is running out to develop components needed for Mars2022

Time Until Opening of a 3 week Mars2022 Minimum Energy Trajectory Window (link to research paper)

Mars2022 Key Widgets
SpaceX Cargo Starship

The standard Cargo Starship needs to been successfully tested lifting 100 tons to LEO, the re-entering Earth atmosphere and landing upright on simulated Mars terrain image credit: SpaceX

SpaceX Super Heavy Booster

The Super Heavy booster is needed to both place Cargo Starship into LEO, and place at least one more Cargo Starship with fuel for the Mars trip image credit: SpaceX

Orbital Refueling

Even a bare shell of an empty Cargo Starship payload bay will need 1 refuel in LEO.  With 2 refuels 10 - 40 tons of payload can be carried to Mars surface image credit: SpaceX

MRO High Gain Antenna

Starships use to communicate with Earth during voyage and then from surface. image credit: NASA

NASA Mars Reconissance Orbiter

NASA's MRO will watch Cargo Starship Mars aero-braking and landing.  It will also be used for Starship to communicate with Earth.  Also helps scout best landing sites before landing. image credit: NASA


Mars2022 Cargo Starship (with small bay doors) ... getting ready to de-depoy the solar arrays and high gain antenna

At a very minimum SpaceX must test Mars aerobraking and landing

September 2022 is the next window to perform a minimal energy trip Earth to Mars.  In this window the needed DV is only 3.6 km/s from LEO.  The Cargo Starship will need to leave from LEO since it needs at least 1 orbital refuel in LEO to make the trip.  More likely two refuels will be needed as a safety margin and to allow 10 - 40 tons of cargo in the Cargo Bay.  The key objective would be to test EDL (Entry Descent Landing) onto the Mars surface.

A minimal cargo set will likely include:

1) Extensive set of internal and ship surface sensors (pressures, temperatures, radiation ...)
2) Earth facing MRO style high gain antenna (NASA provided?)
3) Solar array

An additional refuel cargo set could include:

1) Radiation shielding experiments (including water based concepts - heavy)
2) Produce Methane from Mars atmosphere experiment (uses water as well)
3) 4G-like local communications network
4) Small rovers of various types

Hopefully several Starships will use this window ... spaced perhaps a week apart.  This will allow an aerobreaking and landing to be watched by MRO and if one is not successful, adjustments can be made for the next Starship.


NASA Mars Helicopter - Dozens could be deployed image credit: NASA

Additionally, if possible, a single Starship could flyby Mars

The value of a Mars flyby includes:

1) Validation of the Thermal Protection System for higher DV of a Mars return
2) Validation of header tanks to retain fuel over a 500 day period
3) Validation of control surfaces effectiveness at higher Earth re-entry velocities
4) Validation of Raptor restart after 500 days
5) Longer term monitoring of ship systems and radiation doses

This is a low cost experiment ... requiring potentially only one LEO refuel and 1 ton of test equipment


Mars Flyby

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