Human Mars Exploration Transportation: Bridging Concept of Operations

A bridging architecture between a sustained Lunar exploration architecture and a sustained Mars transportation architecture is presented. The Mars architecture assumes sustained Mars operations as a final goal. A bridging Mars exploration transportation Concept of Operations (CONOPS) was developed. We describe the needed Earth/Moon system architecture, the sustained Mars system infrastructure, and the bridging Mars transportation infrastructure. Three trade space areas were explored including Earth node location, focal point of human Mars operations, and the level of pre-positioning of assets. Options are compared for the focus of long-term human Mars operations including on the Martian surface, in some high Mars orbit station or on a satellite like Phobos. Operational aspects are discussed including the role of teleoperation techniques, planet-wide human sorties versus operations from a fixed site, the impact of the long-duration low-g environment, transportation system requirements, and potential resource utilization. We also provide information on required new technologies, and make recommendations for an overall human transportation concept.

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