Re: Moon landing anniversary

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Thu Jul 22 2004 - 12:07:02 MDT

to get from low Earth orbit to the
> moon you would a
> vastly larger velocity change and thus more thrust
> if you wanted to get
> there before the Astronauts died of old age or
> radiation exposure.

Radiation exposure is a major issue in hauling
something from Low Earth Orbit to the Moon using
ion propulsion, since the trip time is measured
in a couple of months. The usual assumption in
this case is the ion engines slowly haul the
bulk of the payload to the outer part of the
radiation belt, then if your mission involves
humans, you shoot a capsule with the people up
with fast (chemical) propulsion to meet it. The
transfer orbit for the humans would be on the
order of half a day.

> I think that estimate is many orders of magnitude
> too low, and ion
> engines won’t help you much in blasting off from the
> moon, assuming you
> want to get them back.

I assumed a chemical rocket for Lunar Orbit to
surface. For Apollo, almost everything had to
be designed from scratch. Today, there is a lot
of commercial space hardware that is off the
shelf, which makes it a lot cheaper.


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