Session

Technical Session 4: Space Access

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

In recent years the popularity of rideshare missions has increased dramatically. Rideshare missions have become the primary launch mechanism for small satellites and have provided high cost and logistical benefits for spacecraft developers. Rideshare launches are now available on even the most oversized vehicles, such as Falcon 9. In addition, rideshare opportunities are becoming available beyond launch, with several companies providing shared transportation services using transfer vehicles to deploy spacecraft in different orbits in LEO or beyond. The rideshare launch model can easily be expanded to interplanetary missions, and some launches, such as SLS-1 (Artemis 1), are already planned to deploy several spacecraft beyond LEO. However, as in LEO, the rideshare concept can be expanded beyond the launch phase in interplanetary missions using a carrier vehicle. In this approach, spacecraft heading for destinations beyond Earth obit would share a carrier vehicle to deliver them to their destination. This paper analyzes the implications of such an interplanetary carrier vehicle in a Mars transfer scenario. Mars is chosen due to its popularity as a destination for scientific missions, but the analysis is relevant to other potential destinations such as Venus or the asteroid belt. The paper analyzes the effect of the rideshare concept in Interplanetary Transfer Operations: the need for individual spacecraft operations in transit is eliminated since a single carrier vehicle is taking care of the trip to Mars. Operations include tracking and deep-space communications as well as navigation and maneuvering. The paper ends with a call for action for funding agencies interested in interplanetary missions to empower the definition of new standards needed to ensure high levels of commonality.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

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Aug 11th, 9:00 AM

Interplanetary Rideshare Cost/Benefit Analysis

Utah State University, Logan, UT

In recent years the popularity of rideshare missions has increased dramatically. Rideshare missions have become the primary launch mechanism for small satellites and have provided high cost and logistical benefits for spacecraft developers. Rideshare launches are now available on even the most oversized vehicles, such as Falcon 9. In addition, rideshare opportunities are becoming available beyond launch, with several companies providing shared transportation services using transfer vehicles to deploy spacecraft in different orbits in LEO or beyond. The rideshare launch model can easily be expanded to interplanetary missions, and some launches, such as SLS-1 (Artemis 1), are already planned to deploy several spacecraft beyond LEO. However, as in LEO, the rideshare concept can be expanded beyond the launch phase in interplanetary missions using a carrier vehicle. In this approach, spacecraft heading for destinations beyond Earth obit would share a carrier vehicle to deliver them to their destination. This paper analyzes the implications of such an interplanetary carrier vehicle in a Mars transfer scenario. Mars is chosen due to its popularity as a destination for scientific missions, but the analysis is relevant to other potential destinations such as Venus or the asteroid belt. The paper analyzes the effect of the rideshare concept in Interplanetary Transfer Operations: the need for individual spacecraft operations in transit is eliminated since a single carrier vehicle is taking care of the trip to Mars. Operations include tracking and deep-space communications as well as navigation and maneuvering. The paper ends with a call for action for funding agencies interested in interplanetary missions to empower the definition of new standards needed to ensure high levels of commonality.