Advanced Mission Systems Concepts in Support of Space Exploration

TitleAdvanced Mission Systems Concepts in Support of Space Exploration
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBenson, E., A. Kościelniak, R. Sickenberger, D. David L. Akin, and J. A. Cardenas
Conference Name57th International Astronautical Congress
Date Published10/2006
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation
Conference LocationValencia, Spain

Since the announcement of President Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) in early 2004, the architecture of Project Constellation has been selected. The system will be centered around the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), which has been dubbed by NASA administrator Michael Griffin as “Apollo on steroids”. The CEV is to be launched on a new launch vehicle, derived from existing shuttle technology. The development of this new spacecraft and launch vehicle is a very costly proposition. An alternate approach is proposed in this study. The Phoenix is a smaller spacecraft designed specifically to be launched on the Falcon 5 vehicle under development by SpaceX. Because the SpaceX vehicle will cost only a fraction of today’s launch costs, the Phoenix is estimated to cost 27% of the price of the CEV. This reusable three-person capsule utilizes the innovative ParaShield re-entry concept, which allows for a cylindrical spacecraft with greater interior volume. This extremely cost-effective spacecraft has a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 and is an attractive option for fulfilling VSE requirements.

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