NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert and NASA astronauts check out the comfy confines of the Dragon spacecraft. – Image credit: SpaceX

Commentary

A Commercial Case for a Step Towards a Human Moon Mission

by trent waddington

Sending humans in a SpaceX Dragon v2 capsule to EML-1 or 2 is a worthwhile possible step in a 100% commercial return to the Moon.

The SuperDraco thrusters to be included in the sidewalls of the crew Dragon capsule are more than capable of performing the trans-lunar injection burn, as well as station keeping at the Lagrange point, rendezvous with any preemplaced assets – such as a lander – and returning the crew to Earth.

The total delta-v for such a bare bones mission to EML-2 is a mere 4835 m/s. EML-1 is similar. This is a “quick transit” 4-day trip up to EML-2, so the crew spends less time in the radiation belts. A good estimate of the dry mass of the Dragon v2 is 8000 kg. Using an isp of 320s, the initial mass in LEO is just 37344 kg, or 68% of the maximum payload mass of a Falcon Heavy.

Read more: A Commercial Case for a Step Towards a Human Moon Mission | Moonandback.

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