Our DEEP SPACE MARVEL is a Mars Ascent Vehicle (M.A.V.) that can lift off from Earth.
It is designed to protect crew for at least 5000 days (13+ years)
The drop tanks remain in orbit around MARS.
MARVEL DS (DS stands for DEEP SPACE) delivers 20 metric tons of payload to the surface of Mars or can lift it into Mars orbit.
With redundant propulsion systems it will be capable of any foreseeable mission scenario on and around Mars.
MARVEL DSRB, for DEEP SPACE ROTARY BASE, is basically the Deep Space Version+. It retains the MAV capability, but is also ready to act as the arms of our Rotary Base concept. Artificial Gravity Research in space and keeping crews healthy on Deep Space missions will be a transformational enabler for long stays in space. It can perform this function because just as the Space Shuttles did, MARVELS have enough performance to drag their drop tanks into orbit. At the same time it is a very complete system, truly universal. For that reason we deem it to be quite M.A.R.V.E.L.O.U.S.
DEEP SPACE operations do require the addition of specialized equipment, like deep space communications, optionally an ADEPT or INFLATABLE IRVE-3 style heat shield; and the ISRU propellant plant. Other equipment can be customer/supplier supplied. We plan to use end of life Marvels, as we want to test their autonomy aggressively to human rate them for Mars and prepare autonomous or/And crewed sample return missions. Older Marvels have already payed for themselves by having been reused multiple times. The vehicle will be made to comply with COSPAR requirements concerning the prevention of interplanetary forward or back contamination and can itself serve as a quarantined lab.
As part of its claim to universality it’s core design also features:
The DSRB mainly requires the addition of a connector between the bottom ends of the drop tanks. We can connect anywhere from two to six MARVELS. We prefer a dedicated MARVEL to house the central node connector or Hub (configuration not shown). Centralizing this connecting node within the Cargo Hold of this MARVEL provides easy access in a controlled environment, helps in balancing the spinning structure, provides a central docking node for crew and science equipment. Additive manufacturing in space will provide additional ways to strengthen this connection if required at all. The Basic Carbon Fiber Composite construction of the Arms, duly protected to operate long-term in a space environment, and built to withstand the demanding launch environment as a hanging structure, already provides ample structural margin.
These 3.7 meter diameter drop tanks now form vertical hallways, 40-60 meters long between the hub and Aerospike engines of the Marvel upper stage (white collared section). To optimize their use, inflatable corridors will form a protective liner, consisting of multiple layers, resistant to micro-meteoroids. Power outlets for experiments, equipment for vertical farming, ladders, platforms, locks, shielding, water and other safety features will turn them into very useful parts of orbiting structures.
While not strictly necessary, these structures can be built in LEO, used for a while as destinations for scientists and tourists, refueled and shipped to the MOON, PHOBOS and DEIMOS, the moons of MARS or elsewhere, where they can perform exciting missions as ferry vehicles, habitats or part of a rotating base. MARVEL DSRB’s can also be used as a pit stop to physically prepare astronauts returning from deep space for the descent into Earth’s gravity; when they have passed any considerable length in space on a ship without artificial gravity. Finally, connecting the remaining cargo nodes externally with the same type of inflatable corridors will truly give us the Rotating Wheel stations we remember from Movies such as Stanley’ Kubricks “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and not unlike it’s Space Station V, albeit on a more modest scale (S.S.V was 550m diam, MARVEL DSRB only 120-160m diam). For Size comparison, this puts the diameter of the MARVEL DSRB in the same category as the London Eye Ferris wheel (120m Ø), and the Las Vegas High Roller Ferris wheel (158.5 m Ø).
Imagine building a rotating structure the volume of the ISS for 150 Million EUR in 2017 prices -for 3 connected M’s-; or 300 Million EUR -for 6 M’s-. Learning from the ISS experience and building on technologies developed by the Space Agencies involved, our ONESTAGETOSPACE concept is an approach fit for the 21st century, while delivering better value.
We are not the only ones dreaming up such concepts. The idea has been around since the first NACA and USSR engineers started planning the stepping-stones for space exploration. They already did preliminary ground tests regarding Coriolis Forces (1). We took their advice in selecting a minimum diameter of 120-160 meters (~2.3 rpm)(1b). In the age of the Space Shuttle, Space Islands Group (2) wanted to do something similar with the large volumes of the Space Shuttle External Tank. But today and after many decades of endorsing the basic common sense idea (the large mass is already in orbit, recycle it), Nanoracks has obtained funding by NASA to do research on their IXION concept (3), which seeks to convert upper stages, after use, into crew habitats on ISS by venting (or reusing) the remaining non-toxic propellant and adding a connector node. When you design this capability into your vehicle from the beginning, as in the case of ONESTAGETOSPACE’s MARVEL, additional savings on R&D, weight savings and further design synergies are found, for instance in the selection of the structural materials.
(1) Enthusiasts will be best served with this video by the YouTube channel, Real Engineering, Can We Create Artificial Gravity?, published June 29 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im-JM0f_J7s. It explains some basic challenges visually. (In actuality the narrator is much too pessimistic. It is quite interesting to see that MARVEL negates all of the issues he cites and is aware of. MARVEL is simple, contrary to his examples does not break the bank, made from plentiful Carbon Fiber, and with 160m diam at 1.5 to 2.3 rpm Coriolis is ok to work in at about 0.4 to 1G). The formula is a=ω²r but, you can play with values in this little artificial gravity calculator, SpinCalc, made by Theodore W. Hall
(1b) Many authors deem these values acceptable; see for instance the gravity comfort chart in Figure 5, page 7 of Artificial Gravity in Theory and Practice, Theodore W. Hall, University of Michigan, in 46th International Conference on Environmental Systems , held 10-14 July 2016, Vienna, Austria, ICES-2016-194.
(2) Space Island Group first proposed this around 1999 claiming to be supported by the original Space Shuttle engineers; Official Website page: http://www.spaceislandgroup.com/vehicles-systems.html
Small coffee contribution
With this small gesture, a virtual cup of coffee; you can show your support for our program. If you have already donated to a cause this month, well done. May you think about us next time. (or visit our shop for tangible products when it comes online)
No Martians here.