Michel Van

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
13 August 2007
Reaction score
better know as
Mission Engineering Study of Electrically Propelled Manned Planetary Vehicles

GE began the study for MSFC in July 1966.
they proposed to uses both nuclear-thermal and nuclear-electric propulsion.
Nuclear ionengine give mission flexibility also for unfavorable opportunities
and reduce mission duration 800-1000 day to 450 day !

the GE Mars spaceship is build of 12 Modules

1. Powerplant module (36.3 tons, 56,99 meter (187 feet) long)
with 3.6 tons nuclear fission reactor (3MW), 13,4 tons radiation Shadow shield
and 2 stage cooling radiator with sodium potassium loop.
Launch together Mars Excursion Module (MEM)
2. Electric Propulsion Module (65,5 tons 21 meter (69 feet) long 10 meter (33 feet) ø)
has array of 126 electron bombardment thrusters mounted in six rows of 21 units each (15 are reserve)
thrusters or array is 21 meter (69 feet) long and 3,2 meter (10.5 feet) wide
trust of array is only 7,71 kg (17 pounds ) trust but it works for months
Fourteen 1,5 meter (5 feet) ø tanks inside the module with a total of 45.1 tons
of dense cesium propellant for the thrusters. the cesium is solid frozen during launch.
3. Mars Excursion Module is a lifting body like (or is?) the Philco D9-I MEM
17,67 meter (58 feet) long, 8,6 meter (28.5 feet) wide and 5,79 meter (19 feet) deep
4 men crew for 30 day on Mars.
the MEM is dock on Electric Propulsion Module during flight to Mars
4. Expansion boom (49,98 meter (164 feet) unfolded)
After Mars departure some Module are separate changing the center of gravity of the space ship
for balance the ship for artificial gravity by rotation,
Expansion boom is unfolded from Electric Propulsion Module
5. Mission Module (33,3 tons - 6 meter (20 feet) long, 10 meter(33 feet) ø )
1690 cubic feet (515 cubic meter?) living space for 8 men crew.
during flight they have artificial gravity by rotation of spacecraft.
the 2 deck MM include a radiation shelter. labs, "health room", bedrooms, 2 spacecraft control center
6. Earth Entry Module is a Lifting body
9,5 Tons. 8,99 meter (29.5 feet) long 5,36 meter (17.6 feet) wide and 3,99 meter (13.1 feet) deep
during flight the EEM is store in adapter between MM and the MDS
7. Mars Departure Stage (8,99 meter (29.5 feet) long, 10 meter(33 feet) ø )
24 tons LOX/LH2 fuel and 2 engine with 6,8 tons (15000 pound) trust each
8. Mars Arrival Stage (8,99 meter (29.5 feet) long, 10 meter(33 feet) ø )
the stage weighs 61.9 tons. 2 engine with 6,8 tons (15000 pound) trust each
10.Earth Departure propellant Module 1
14 meter (46 feet) long, 10 meter(33 feet) ø. 72,6 tons of Lh2 and 1,5 tons of meteoroid protection panels
11.Earth Departure propellant Module 2
12,8 meter (72 feet) long, 10 meter(33 feet) ø. 127 tons of Lh2 and 2,4 tons of meteoroid protection panels
12.Earth Departure propulsion module
39 meter (128 feet) long, 10 meter(33 feet) ø. 160 tons (19,4 tons NERVA II engine, 120 tons of Lh2 and
3,75 tons of meteoroid protection panels )
the complet Earth Departure propulsion system weight 325 tons and is 74,9 meter (246 feet) long
the meteoroid protection panels of three modules are ejected before orbital launch

the GE Mars ship is assembly during 32 day in 482 km orbit, before launch to mars,
by 5 "improved" Saturn V with 160 tons payload
Launch 1 (T-32 days) Powerplant module & MEM
Launch 2 (T-27 days) Electric Propulsion Module+EB+MM+EEM with 8 men crew for assembly in orbit.
the crew move MEM out Powerplant module and dock sideway on Electric Propulsion Module which dock with rest.
Launch 3 (T-21 days) Mars departure stage, Mars arrival stage and first nuclear propellant module.
Launch 4 (T-12 days) the Mars mission crew in an emergency reentry vehicle and the second nuclear propellant module. Total weight is 152.1 tons.
Launch 5 (T-4 days) the Earth Departure propulsion module docks complets the Marsship
the assembly crew left the Mars ship with emergency reentry vehicle
the mission crew goes in radiation shelter and start up the Reactor for test

more on the mission later

Romance to Reality homepage (offline)
now reborn as Altair VI http://altairvi.blogspot.com/

strange on Altair IV and Astronautix
were article on GE Marsship but they disappeared...


  • GEmscomplet.jpg
    46.4 KB · Views: 163
  • GEmsretour.jpg
    32.3 KB · Views: 153
  • GEmsPM.jpg
    42.4 KB · Views: 173
Michel Van said:
strange on Altair IV and Astronautix
were article on GE Marsship but they disappeared...

Well, Astronautix is a bit hard to navigate - I'm sure the Mars ship is still there somewhere...

In the case of Altair IV I guess the Mars ship is going into some of the books Mr Portree is writing.
to the mission

the Crew are:
Mission commander, system engineer, navigator, communications specialist,
MEM pilot, scientist-geophysics, scientist-biology, and an electronics specialist

the 4 of them are MEM crew:
MEM pilot/commander, navigator/engineer, scientist-geophysics, scientist-biology.
The MEM astronauts are thoroughly cross-trained
the scientist/astronaut is responsible for biology and geophysics studies, but the commander/pilot and navigator/engineer are trained as biology aide and geophysics aide, respectively.
The scientist/astronaut is also the MEM's doctor, while the navigator/engineer is responsible for the Mars rover.
NOTE: intresting not the Mission Commander, but the MEM Pilot is Commander for Landing team
likely the MEM pilot is first human who walk on Mars

T-0 on may 17, 1986 Launch to Mars
the ship is 181 meter (594 feet) long and weight of 682 tons
the Meteoroid protection panels on the Earth Departure propulsion module are eject before ignition
the NERVA II runs for 30-45 minute then the EDPM then separate
the rest of now 330.2 tons ship turns sideways with the array thrusters pointing backwards
with small rockets the ship start to slow rotation (6/minute)
for artificial gravity equal to 0.6 Earth in the mission module.
then the crew activate the array thrusters. (the array thrusters are close in Center of the Marsship.)

NOTE: for next 90 day the crew has the chance to abandoning the mission
by eject PM, EPM, MEM, expansion boom. using the Mars Arrival/Departure Stages for Earth return.

T-30 Day the the array thrusters are shot down, the Ship coast until
T-58 Day Ship turns the array thrusters in direction of Mars and start up again for deceleration.

T-158 day space ship spin is stop and Mars Arrival Stages points to Mars and ignite
for 26 minute and bring the ship in Mars geostationary orbit 17000 km (9200 miles)
so the Ship remains all time above MEM landing site.
T-160 day MEM manned with 4 men and descent to Mars. after 2 hours and 50 minute MEM lands on Mars
T-160 -> 190 Mars surface exploration.
the MEM crew unpacks and inflate Lab/Garage and lower a Rover from MEM.
T-190 -> 195 day during next 5 day the MEM crew make preparation and checkout befor ascent.
T-196 MEM ascent stage liftoff from descent stage 11 hours later MEM dock with Marsship.
T-198 the Crew discard the MEM and Mars Arrival Stage, ignition of Mars Departure Stage
after leaving Mars orbit the MDS is separate, the Expansion boom is deploy
the rest of now 103.4 tons ship turns sideways with the array thrusters pointing backwards
with small rockets the ship start to slow rotation, for artificial gravity equal to 0.28 Earth in the mission module.
7 hours after leaving Mars orbit the array thrusters are activated
NOTE: GE explane if Ionn engines fails at this point of mission the ship can not return to Earth.

T-390 day the the array thrusters are shot down finally, the ship coasts the rest of way
T-450 day the Ship nears Earth, the crew enter the Earth entry Module with Data and Mars Samples.
they ondock 8 hours befor landing, the renaming ship swing past Earth, enters in a solar disposal orbit.
in same time the Crew returns with 15.24 km/s (50000 feet/sec) in Earth atmosphere over pacific
18 minute later extens Parawings and glide over US west coast to land on Edwards AFB California
archipeppe said:
Excellent infos, many thanks Michel!!! :D

thanks ;D

I like the GE Proposal, because it got allot development opportunities
with Ion thruster this ship can make Manned Mission to Mercury or Jupiter and Saturn

for a Jupiter Mission would take 2 years with Ion thruster.
landing on moon Callisto , 6 day surface exploration
however the crew as to spend most time around Jupiter in the radiation shelter
due Jupiter's magnetosphere

a Saturn Mission (landing on Titan) would be easier with Saturn less dangerous magnetosphere
but the round trip take over 5 years !

Similar threads

Top Bottom