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Design Reference Mission 4 NTR
Part of American Mars Expeditions Family
STCAEM NTR
STCAEM NTR
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned Mars expedition. Study 1998. The design reference mission 4.0 took into account all of the changes in payload masses as a result of further study of individual elements.

Status: Study 1998.

Overall mass required in low earth orbit was reduced only slightly, by 2.5%. The use of NTR bimodal propulsion, with a single nuclear reactor that provided both propulsion and electrical power during space operations, in lieu of a separate power source, was made baseline. Cryo/aerobrake and solar electric options were retained.

Design Reference Mission Bimodal Mission Summary:

  • Summary: Refine DRM 3.0; NTR Bimodal "all-propulsive" option; source data from Borowski NTR
  • Propulsion: Nuclear thermal
  • Braking at Mars: aerodynamic
  • Mission Type: conjunction
  • Split or All-Up: split
  • ISRU: ISRU
  • Launch Year: 2011
  • Crew: 6
  • Mars Surface payload-metric tons: 33
  • Outbound time-days: 180
  • Mars Stay Time-days: 570
  • Return Time-days: 150
  • Total Mission Time-days: 900
  • Total Payload Required in Low Earth Orbit-metric tons: 400
  • Total Propellant Required-metric tons: 180
  • Propellant Fraction: 0.45
  • Mass per crew-metric tons: 66
  • Launch Vehicle Payload to LEO-metric tons: 75
  • Number of Launches Required to Assemble Payload in Low Earth Orbit: 6
  • Launch Vehicle: Magnum



Family: Mars Expeditions. Country: USA. Agency: NASA. Bibliography: 1989.

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