Feasibility Analysis of Spacecraft Design for a Manned Mars Free-Return Mission in 2018
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The Inspiration Mars Foundation (IMF) is committed to sending a two-person American crew, a man and a woman, on a journey to fly around Mars and then return to Earth safely. In 2018, Earth and Mars will share a unique orbit, creating an opportunity to travel to Mars and back in only 501 days. In this paper, we conducted the design of a mission and spacecraft for the Inspiration Mars (IM) mission using the design procedures described in the Human Spaceflight textbook and then evaluated them based on the rules of the Mars Society International Student Design Competition. We especially focused on the habitable volume which is an important system driver for designing spacecraft. The Initial Mass in Low Earth Orbit (IMLEO) for this mission was estimated using heuristics and relationships derived from the rocket equation while varying the habitable volume per crewmember from 3333 6 m to 18 m (24 m to 72 m total pressurized volume). As a new spacecraft design, a Crew 3 Reentry Vehicle (CRV) and a Mars Transit Habitat (MTH) with 72 m pressurized volume and hybrid Life Support System (LSS) remained by comparing the Life Cycle Cost (LCC)s and failure rates. The crew and the cargo can be launched by three Falcon Heavy launches.