Status: Study 1982. Gross mass: 1,300,000 kg (2,800,000 lb).
Consumables and propellant would be delivered to Mars orbit by a solar sail-driven cargo transport. The crew would employ a one-way spacecraft with an aerocapture vehicle module for landing. The sole terrestrial launch vehicle employed to bring the passenger and cargo system elements to low earth orbit for deployment would be the Space Shuttle, with such expected improvements as the Delivery Configured Orbiter. An Aft Cargo Compartment Space Shuttle configuration would be used to launch the Mars landing vehicles. To ensure rescue at critical points, two crew transfer spacecraft were to be used on each expedition. Two landers would carry a total of four people to the Mars surface for several weeks, while four crew members remained in orbit. Over a period of four years, 53 Space Shuttle launches would be required for the completion of a single mission.
Crew Size: 8.