Encyclopedia Astronautica
Ares Mars Direct

American orbital launch vehicle. The Ares launch vehicle was designed for support of Zubrin's Mars Direct expedition. It was a shuttle-derived design taking maximum advantage of existing hardware. It would use shuttle Advanced Solid Rocket Boosters, a modified shuttle external tank for handling vertically-mounted payloads, and a new Lox/LH2 third stage for trans-Mars or trans-lunar injection of the payload. Ares would put 121 tonnes into a 300 km circular orbit , boost 59 tonnes toward the moon or 47 tonnes toward Mars. Without the upper stage 75 tonnes could be placed in low earth orbit.

LEO Payload: 121,200 kg (267,200 lb) to a 300 km orbit at 28.50 degrees. Payload: 47,200 kg (104,000 lb) to a trans-Mars trajectory.

Status: Design 1991.
Gross mass: 2,194,600 kg (4,838,200 lb).
Payload: 121,200 kg (267,200 lb).
Height: 82.30 m (270.00 ft).
Diameter: 10.00 m (32.00 ft).
Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

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Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Mars Direct American manned Mars expedition. Study 1991. In 1991 Martin Marietta and NASA Ames (Zubrin, Baker, and Gwynne) proposed 'Mars Direct' - a Mars expedition faster, cheaper, and better than the standard NASA plan. More...

See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...
  • Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

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