I always thought that perhaps Mars should be the second phase of a two phase process, starting with a moonbase.
But then maybe that’s because a moonbase seems so much more practical.
Block 1 might go to an asteroid placed in lunar orbit. There are only proposals, none approved or funded.
The reason for the asteroid mission is that while the Senate demanded the “Senate Launch System” to keep the standing army of Shuttle engineer, technician and construction jobs intact, funding for a lander of any kind was simply not in the cards. No lander means going somewhere that doesn’t require one.
That manned mission to an asteroid placed in lunar orbit requires an asteroid to be there. Which will take years to move before that. And years more before that to develop, build, launch the tractor, and to travel to the asteroid so that it can start to move it. So, starting a few years ago when it was proposed. But an asteroid mission hasn’t been exciting enough to get funding or political support.
And no, it ain’t going to Mars. The 70 ton to LEO Block I is supposed to be replaced by the Block 1B after just two launches, with the SRBs replaced by new boosters. And then in the 2030s the Block II will get a different upper stage, for 130 tons to LEO.
Block II is the Mars rocket, only a proposal at the moment, to be built in the 2030s at the earliest. With a different upper stage and boosters from the current rocket. And right now it’s looking rather unlikely to be built.
What about the Delta rocket system?
They should wait till the 2016’s are out. Get the new emDrive option.
That’s good for deep space acceleration, but worthless for getting out of the gravity well. Not enough thrust.
“Block 1”. Isn’t that the very-expensive-military-contractor way of saying 'buggy beta release that you’ll be paying us to fix; and to partially retrofit the beta releases so that you have a nominally homogenous; but in reality ‘fleets within fleets’ collection of hardware?
No, it’s more the very-expensive-military-contractor way of saying “The primary mission is to send jobs to key Congressional districts immediately. That won’t happen with the design you want (Block II), so we’ll build you a different design (Block I) that’ll only be launched twice, but it’ll be launched soon. That’ll be even more horrifically expensive, and Block II may never be built at all, but both of those problems get passed to a future Congress. You get the benefits, and the resulting fiasco is their problem.”
NASA completes rocket design review for future Mars journey
To be stored with the other Mars designs and shuttle replacements, right next to the Middle East peace plans.
Behind the Ark of the Covenant.
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