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To the Moon by Gemini?

PMN1

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http://www.astronautix.com/articles/bygemoon.htm

The Astonautix site suggests that using Gemini the US could have been on the moon sooner and at less cost.

'Such a program could have achieved a manned lunar landing two years earlier than Apollo at half the cost, a savings of $ 9 billion. '

What do people think of this suggestion and if it had been used and was successful, would you expect any changes to what happened to the moon programme afterwards?
 

starviking

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PMN1 said:
http://www.astronautix.com/articles/bygemoon.htm

The Astonautix site suggests that using Gemini the US could have been on the moon sooner and at less cost.

'Such a program could have achieved a manned lunar landing two years earlier than Apollo at half the cost, a savings of $ 9 billion. '

What do people think of this suggestion and if it had been used and was successful, would you expect any changes to what happened to the moon programme afterwards?

I think it's quite plausible - however a Gemini would be more cramped than an Apollo. The astronauts would probably be more fatigued, curtailing moonwalks a bit.

Also, with a 2-man crew there's probably no way a civilian scientist is going to get to walk on the moon (Harrison Schmidt, Apollo 17).

Starviking
 

Michel Van

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is possble !

with first Lunar fly-by in 1966
manned landing in 1968-69

Douglas proposed a lot Gemini Stuff to NASA
starviking said:
Also, with a 2-man crew there's probably no way a civilian scientist is going to get to walk on the moon (Harrison Schmidt, Apollo 17)

no. you need one Gemini Pilot for to fly and landing, second seat is for scientist
or you take advance Gemini like Gemini Lunar Surface Rescue Spacecraft
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/gemcraft.htm
with up to 5 Astronauts they can fly AAP like mission (2 pilot and 3 scientist ;D )

the major problem was Apollo was befor Gemini
and NASA take Apollo :mad:
 

starviking

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Michel Van said:
starviking said:
Also, with a 2-man crew there's probably no way a civilian scientist is going to get to walk on the moon (Harrison Schmidt, Apollo 17)

no. you need one Gemini Pilot for to fly and landing, second seat is for scientist
or you take advance Gemini like Gemini Lunar Surface Rescue Spacecraft
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/gemcraft.htm
with up to 5 Astronauts they can fly AAP like mission (2 pilot and 3 scientist ;D )

the major problem was Apollo was befor Gemini
and NASA take Apollo :mad:

I was thinking of the mentality of NASA. It was a hard push to get Harrison Schmitt on the last Apollo mission, and I think that was only possible because the Apollo missions had 3 Crew members. With Gemini I think NASA would insist that both crew members could handle all flight operations solo, in case of incapacitation. I don't think a scientist would make the grade, especially in the 60's.

As for advanced Gemini Lunar missions - who knows? Maybe Big Geminis Lunar Landers could be flying 10 people to the moon? http://www.astronautix.com/craft/bigemini.htm

Starviking
 

archipeppe

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It could be feasible.
But with almost the same timeline of Apollo, no way to get Gemini around Moon before 1968 because a lot thing was to be modified or redesigned to permit lunar operations for Gemini.
The only (BIG) difference is that Gemini Lunar plans was for sure cheaper than Apollo ones.

Anyway Apollo started before and was conceived by since to be around Moon.

By my side I consider Gemini one of the finest spacecraft ever made. It was relatively cheap, modular and capable to generate a real family of diversified versions starting from baseline model (exactly like Soyuz did in over 40 years).
My favorite model is, without contest, the Big Gemini. If realized, perhaps, would be still in service today (and probably Shutlle would remain on drawing board....).
 

CFE

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As Mark Wade mentions on Encyclopedia Astronautica, "Lunar Gemini would have been faster and cheaper--but not better!" Apollo was designed with the lunar mission in mind from the start, and accomplished its goal quite well. I think a lunar Gemini would have pushed the limits of crew endurance and workload a bit far for my comfort.

I am in agreement that Big Gemini was a fantastic design. If I was running the CEV effort, I would have used Big Gemini as my starting point instead of Apollo.
 

archipeppe

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CFE said:
If I was running the CEV effort, I would have used Big Gemini as my starting point instead of Apollo.

Me too!!!!!
 

Michel Van

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I love the "Gus Mobil"...

Gemini was universal

as Space Station - MOL
as Ferry for Space Station - Gemini Ferry and Big Gemini

single flight for experiment - the advance mission
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2691.0.html

even as Interplanetary Spacecraft
like study of Mars mission with Gemini capsule on top lander.
http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/models/gemini/winggemini.html
This was a 1963 GE proposal for a 2-man expedition to Mars. A single NERVA engine with jettisonable fuel tanks provided propulsion for the round trip. Crew quarters and a "storm cellar" were provided just aft of the Gemini lander.


Lunar Gemini PDF links
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19780072529_1978072529.pdf
http://www.astronautix.com/data/gemlu64b.pdf
http://www.astronautix.com/data/6508gmcc.pdf
see attach picture for Gemini direct fly lunar lander

question to Scott
you have some nice picture of orbital Lunar Gemini in APR V3N5 on page 18.
is possible to post those two picture here ?
 

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starviking

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Michel Van said:
I love the "Gus Mobil"...

Gemini was universal

But those poor guys are going to have to stay in their spacesuits for at least a week!

Starviking
 

magnus_z

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Michel Van said:
even as Interplanetary Spacecraft
like study of Mars mission with Gemini capsule on top lander.
http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/models/gemini/winggemini.html
This was a 1963 GE proposal for a 2-man expedition to Mars. A single NERVA engine with jettisonable fuel tanks provided propulsion for the round trip. Crew quarters and a "storm cellar" were provided just aft of the Gemini lander.

http://www.fabiofeminofantascience.org/RETROFUTURE/RETROFUTURE29.html

 

XP67_Moonbat

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YGBSM!!! I know the Gus-mobile was and still is a good spacecraft design. Going to the moon, maybe. But taking it out to Mars? Was that even feasible?

I could see that MAYBE (big maybe) if they daisy-chained or clustered some MOL's together and then docked the whole shebang to NERVA. But there's no way two guys are gonna make it in that tiny little "storm cellar" without going stir-crazy.

Look, I was on Truman my first 5 years in the Navy and trust me, even on a carrier with 5,000 other shipmates, you can still feel a little stir-crazy after a few weeks on the water, let alone a 6 month deployment. Thank the Lords of Kobol for port visits.

Gemini to Mars... You might as well put them in stasis and fly them to Mars in a Tokyo hotel. :p

Hey that one pic of Mars Gemini landing kinda reminds me of an old movie I saw as a kid called COUNTDOWN. It had a Gemini landing on the moon.
 

magnus_z

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XP67_Moonbat said:
Look, I was on Truman my first 5 years in the Navy and trust me, even on a carrier with 5,000 other shipmates, you can still feel a little stir-crazy after a few weeks on the water, let alone a 6 month deployment. Thank the Lords of Kobol for port visits.
It is the American project. If it was in the USSR that of volunteers to fly to Mars would be much. Even if it is an one way ticket.
;)
 

magnus_z

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Gemini to the moon (1965):

http://beyondapollo.blogspot.com/2009/02/gemini-to-moon-1965.html
 

OM

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...For those who doubt that Gemini could have handled a circumlunar "figure 8" mission, the math was done a long time ago, and Gemini 7 proved that the spacecraft was well within the survival capabilities needed for such a mission. The plan was to dock with an uprated Centaur - which, in a couple of proposals, meant two Centaurs in parallel, one for TLI, the other for TEI - and the Gemini would travel the whole mission "eyeballs out". Pete Conrad was a major proponent of this mission concept, as it would have made him one of the first two men to view the backside of the Moon *and* have beaten how history turned out with regards to the attempt by as much as 18 months, taking place sometime in 1967. Naturally, although the proposal was seriously considered, with Apollo being the primary focus of the Moon effort, the only thing that could have made this a possibility was if something drastic happened to Saturn V development combined with the Soviets' string of "firsts" and successes not being unbroken by the failures of Soyuz 1 and the delays in the N-1.

...Of course, if you really want to talk bare bones landings, there's always Hank Searls' classic, The Pilgrim Project:

http://www.amazon.com/pilgrim-project-novel-Hank-Searls/dp/B00005XOW7
 

Michel Van

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there were several Proposal to send a Gemini to moon

the Rendezvous method using Centaur or Transstage

the other was to send Gemini with a Saturn IB + Centaur to moon in 1964
as a Fly by mission or a Orbital mission with Agena Stage in back of Gemini

the Gemini are Modified for Mission
a escape tower like for Mercury capsule, thicker heatshield,
the Nose cone heavy modified to make place for Cameras

2 narrow-field stereo mappers, 1 wide-field mapper,
1 panoramic and 2 x 16mm movie cameras
the Camera filmcanister are in the Gemini Command module
the Astronauts use a periscope for camera

Mission
launch with Saturn IB-Centaur
68 hours transfer to Moon
the Agena brings the Gemini in 18 by 148 km orbit around the Moon
for next 24 hours mapping planed landing sites
the Agena launch the Gemini back to Earth
68 hours later the Gemini capsule enter earth atmosphere

Source
Scott lowther APR Vol3 Nr5 September-October 2001
Page 18
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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A little something from Beyond Apollo.

http://beyondapollo.blogspot.com/2009/09/gemini-around-moon-1965.html

http://beyondapollo.blogspot.com/2009/09/gemini-on-moon-1962.html
 

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The Artist

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About that picture in replies # 7 & 8. Climbing a vertical wall a distance of three to four stories? Even on the Moon, or Mars, a fall could cause problems. Still. I guess this is not as bad as that image of the troops disembarking from the Ithacus Rocket Transport in the Bono / Gatland book Frontiers of Space.

Mike
 

Archibald

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Going back to the original subject... Some random thinking on potential alternative history. :)

In 1968 the Saturn V was canned as too big and expensive. However at the beginning were the Saturn C1 through C8.

C1 and C2 shared a similar first stage - 8* H1.

The C3 was isolated, having two F-1s.

the C4, C5 and C8 were big rockets with four, five and eight F-1s.

what lacked was a three F-1 Saturn.

Now here's an atempt to make Apollo more sustainable.

Move Saturn C3 to 3*F-1. And give Saturn C2 2*F1s.

Have these two boosters instead of Saturn IB and Saturn V. Not only they are smaller and less expensive than Saturn V, they are also closer from each other.
The 2*F-1 Saturn put 30 tons in LEO, the "C3" 55 tons.

Now, how do you go to the Moon with these two ?

The 2*F-1 Saturn send a 30 tons Gemini lunar lander (GLL) in LEO.
The 3*F-1 Saturn (C3) place a S-IV into the same orbit.
Rendez-vous, docking. The S-IV fire its RL-10s and send GLL to escape velocity. Rest of the mission is similar to Direct Ascent - direct landing, with the Gemini capsule ascending from the lunar surface, directly into Earth return.

With such program you have
- no J-2
- no S-IVB
- no CSM
- no big Saturn V.

You just build from Gemini and Saturn I S-IV. Bonus: circumlunar and orbital lunar flights are probably doable. Saturn I for Gemini circumlunar, 2*F-1 Saturn for orbital flights.
 

Proponent

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I like the idea of improving sustainability by using smaller Saturns. Even the "C2" and "C3", though, would have been large enough that Apollo would have been the only program using them, hence unit costs would be fairly high. So let's take the smaller-Saturns concept a step further and consider doing it with something in the Saturn IB class, about 40,000 lb to LEO. If the Centaur upper stage had been adapted to this vehicle for comsat launches (as proposed at one point) and if the the Air Force could have been talked into using it instead of the Titan III (not easy, I'm sure, but it would have been more rational than replacing the Titan with the Shuttle), it would have been possible to keep it in production economically.

A Saturn IB had the capability to launch a complete CSM/LM unfueled. Fueling the CSM/LM would in orbit then require about 70,000 lb of propellants; that's two Saturn IB launches. For TLI, the S-IVB stage will need to about 160,000 lb of propellants. That's maybe five more Saturn IB's, allowing for boil-off and transfer losses. So far we have a total of eight launches per lunar mission.

Of those eight launches, only one is "critical" in the sense mentioned in the Augustine report: that's the first launch, which carries the crew and high-value hardware. We need to be sure that that launch goes well. If any other launch fails, we just shrug our shoulders and launch another one. We will need one or two Saturns in reserve for each lunar attempt. Back-up vehicles not used can be saved for the next mission.

If we want to launch the crew on the first vehicle, we need some fuel in the SM so that the crew can abort if needed. Aborts after jettison of the LES involve the SPS engine, and the crew must have the capability to do a retro burn and return to earth if the mission is aborted before TLI. This probably means upgrading the Saturn IB a little bit. To avoid the risks of strap-on solids, the best way to do this might be to uprate the thrust of the H-1 engines to 250,000 lb (an growth option considered in the late 1950s), and stretch the first stage a bit. Maybe we stretch the second stage too.

If we can pull off one lunar mission a year, then on top of a half-dozen or so non-lunar launches (GEO comsats and Air Force payloads), we're averaging about 14 flights a year. At that rate, it might make sense to look into re-using the first stage.
 

mz

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Yes Proponent, that is a sensible approach. :)
The CSM weighs about 10 t (t=1000 kg) empty and 30 t fueled.
The LM perhaps 5 t empty, 15 t fueled.
And then the 13 t empty mass S-IVb and its undisclosed amount of TLI propellants, lox-hydrogen in the reference case. Hypergolics would be much heavier.

If one went to a smaller "taxi" CM, the masses could be dropped even further or alternatively the lander could be enlarged. What about throwing other launchers to the mix for propellant launches? Titan?

Could Agena have served as the basis for a tanker spacecraft?
There's the problem of unmanned rendezvous though. Gemini demonstrated the manned approach quite well.

Progress was demonstrated only in 1978. The US was significantly ahead in electronics though. If one had had a space station then the station crew could have done the dockings but this is getting into far off lands...
 

Proponent

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mz said:
What about throwing other launchers to the mix for propellant launches? Titan?

Keeping the Titan flying as well as the Saturn would spoil the economics of the whole thing; more assembly lines, more facilities, more people kept on the payroll.

Could Agena have served as the basis for a tanker spacecraft?

You mean as in orbital tug? I imagine so.

There's the problem of unmanned rendezvous though. Gemini demonstrated the manned approach quite well.

Yes, the many-Saturns approach would require the development of both automated docking and orbital refueling of cryogens. This would not have been easy, but it would have been worthwhile. Managing all of those launches in a short time would not have been easy either. An orbital propellant depot might have been a good way to go; also not easy, but potentially very useful.

Here's a variation on the whole approach. The first launch is not a manned CSM/LM, but a partly-fueled LM plus a tank loaded with 9 tonnes of liquid hydrogen. The tank is probably positioned above the LM. During ascent, the hydrogen tank drains into the S-IVB's own hydrogen tank as the latter is emptied. On arrival in orbit (or possibly before) the extra hydrogen tank, now empty, is jettisoned. Our S-IVB stage now has all of the hydrogen it needs to go to the moon, so we won't have to transfer liquid hydrogen in orbit. Since liquid hydrogen is much bulkier and colder than the other propellants were using, this should make operations easier. A manned CSM is launched later on another Saturn. It has about 4 tonnes of propellant aboard (like Apollo 7), so it can easily perform any abort or de-orbit maneuvers. The downside to this approach is that it requires two critical launches--the LM plus hydrogen tank and the manned CSM.
 

Archibald

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Yet another apollo approach :)

The five launches lunar mission !

Two Titan III-E boost a couple of fully fuelled Centaur to low-Earth orbit. The two stages are docked together.
Then, a Saturn INT-15 (eight minuteman solids, payload: 26 000 kg) boost a CSM to the same orbit.
The CSM dock to the "centaur stack", and goes into lunar polar orbit, where astronauts seek ice with spectrometers and/or bistatic experiments.

Bonus: to land on the moon, launch another Titan IIIE and use its Centaur to boost a LM to lunar orbit (after a launch to LEO by a Saturn IB).

Footnote: yes, the Agena would have made a formidable tug. In fact it was considered for the shuttle around 1974.

Thus you have five launches - CSM, LM, plus three Centaurs.
 

mz

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Proponent, getting close except launch the hydrogen stage last! That way it won't boil off...

You don't need cryogenic propellant handling if you use a hypergolic TLI stage. It will be heavy, yes.
 

Proponent

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Archibald said:
Yet another apollo approach :)

The five launches lunar mission !

Two Titan III-E boost a couple of fully fuelled Centaur to low-Earth orbit. The two stages are docked together.
Then, a Saturn INT-15 (eight minuteman solids, payload: 26 000 kg) boost a CSM to the same orbit.
The CSM dock to the "centaur stack", and goes into lunar polar orbit, where astronauts seek ice with spectrometers and/or bistatic experiments.

By my quick-and-dirty calculations, two Centaurs could boost at best 15,000 kg from LEO to a trans-lunar trajectory; not enough for a CSM with a significant fuel load. Hence maybe a lunar circumnavigation would have been possible, but I don't think entering lunar orbit would have been feasible.

Bonus: to land on the moon, launch another Titan IIIE and use its Centaur to boost a LM to lunar orbit (after a launch to LEO by a Saturn IB).

By the same calculation, the two Centaurs probably could boosted the LM to the moon, but where would the fuel for the lunar-orbit-insertion burn have come from?
 

Archibald

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Well, maths were never my cup of tea. But I'll curious to see your calculations. Really. I want to try ;D
 

Proponent

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I wrote a little calculator in Python. Do you have Python, or can you install it (it's free)? If so, I'd be happy to send you the calculator. It's very approximate--it just does the rocket equation.Can you install Python and run it?
 

Archibald

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Never heard of it unfortunately. But i can try dowloading it on the web (if it is available somewhere)
 

Proponent

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Archibald said:
Never heard of it unfortunately. But i can try dowloading it on the web (if it is available somewhere)

It's on the web, but if you're not familiar with it it's probably not worth the trouble for this simple little calculation. Basically, all I did was use the rocket equation:

v = g Isp ln(minitial/mfinal) ,

where v is the velocity change delivered by a rocket stage, g is the acceleration of gravity at the earth's surface (9.8 m/s2), Isp is the specific impulse of the stage in question, and minitial and mfinal are, respectively, the masses of the vehicle (stage plus anything it's carrying) at ignition and at burnout. To get from low earth orbit to a translunar trajectory, you need a v of about 4000 m/s.

EDIT: Changed "log" to "ln" in equation (use natural log, not log base ten).
 

circle-5

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From the eBay seller who recently listed a USAF Space Shuttle and a U.S. Army Intruder comes this Gemini-LEM. Any thoughts ?
 

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Orionblamblam

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circle-5 said:
From the eBay seller who recently listed a USAF Space Shuttle and a U.S. Army Intruder comes this Gemini-LEM. Any thoughts ?

It *looks* vintage enough, but it also looks like it's a one-way deathtrap. I have doubts about it being able to launch itself back to Earth with a propulsion system stuffable into the Gemini adapter while leaving enough volume for required power systems and such.

RETHINK:

I may be too critical. Some of the early direct lunar lander designs featured a stage that would bring the lander to within a few thousand feet from the surface, then burn out and crash over There Somewhere. This allowed the actual lander stage to use minimal propellant for landing, and the landign stage itself would also be the ascent stage. This model *could* represent such a concept; the lander stage would be largely fully fueled, and would boost the complete Gemini capsule/adapter onto a trans-Earth injection orbit.
 

archipeppe

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circle-5 said:
From the eBay seller who recently listed a USAF Space Shuttle and a U.S. Army Intruder comes this Gemini-LEM. Any thoughts ?

I guess it is a prop for the movie "Countdown" featuring a single-astronaut Gemini lunar landing (after three soviets dead on the Moon...) in the framwork of the fictional "Pilgrim 1 Project".

Further info on wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countdown_(1968_film)
 

Michel Van

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in the movie "Countdown" they used a Gemini on LM decent stage, to bring Lee Stegler to moon
were he has to march to Pilgrim LM Shelter...
this Model of Gemini "LEM", it not match the McDonnell documents about Lunar Gemini proposals
Wat no mean it pure vintage
i bet at NASA were similar lunar Gemini Studies under way
My guess On Model is that, is landed like original proposal by a additional stage until it several km over Lunar surface
then this stage is drop and Gemini LEM makes landing with few meter/seconds with his engine
If this is NOT a Lunar Surface Survival Shelter, the ascent engine could be in Gemini equipment module
in form of a Agena stage or stag of Solid rockets.
 

circle-5

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Good call on the Countdown movie prop: see attached photo from the film. Also attached is an illustration of the McDonnell Gemini Lunar Rescue Lander, as proposed in 1966. This noticeably larger vehicle would have been an emergency complement to the Apollo missions.

I had never heard of the movie Countdown until now, though it was apparently not a major cultural milestone.

[Both images from Mark Wade's Astronautix website -- glad it's back!]
 

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Quindar Beep

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I just finished re-capping the 1964-65 Lunar flyby/orbital proposals by McDonnell and Martin Marietta for False Steps and thought I'd share a couple of goodies.

First, a larger view of a picture posted in this thread quite some time back. This was one of McDonnell's ideas, for a lunar flyby craft. It was a Gemini capsule mated base-first to an Agena-D that was just light enough to get to LEO on top of a Saturn IB. A second Saturn IB would lift a Centaur into orbit and then the Gemini/Agena would rendezvous with it, this time nose-first. The Centaur would handle the TLI burn and then separate while the Agena would do the LOI and TEI burns. Mission time was eight hours short of one week, including 24 hours of orbiting the Moon and conducting photographic reconnaissance.

The second picture is from the same proposal, but a simpler single-launch mission involving a Gemini and a Centaur lofted into LEO and the Centaur sending the whole works on a single-flyby free return orbit around the Moon.

The report itself, with nifty two-colour cover, can be found on the NASA Technical Reports Server at http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19770081067.

The third picture is Martin Marietta's proposal from a year later, which McDonnell also backed apparently because they were getting nowhere with NASA on their first two proposals. Stick a Gemini on the usual Titan II GLV and launch it. A few minutes before that you launch a Titan IIIC carrying a Titan III upper Transtage with an Agena adapter on it. The Gemini and the Transtage meet in orbit, the Gemini docks to the Titan nose-first using the Agena adapter. The whole works then shoots off in a free-return flyby orbit around the Moon.

Fun stuff, but entirely too reminiscent of the Soviet Zond program that mucked up the N1-L3 Moon landings for me to be entirely comfortable with it.
 

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R

RGClark

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magnus_z said:
Michel Van said:
even as Interplanetary Spacecraft
like study of Mars mission with Gemini capsule on top lander.
http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/models/gemini/winggemini.html
This was a 1963 GE proposal for a 2-man expedition to Mars. A single NERVA engine with jettisonable fuel tanks provided propulsion for the round trip. Crew quarters and a "storm cellar" were provided just aft of the Gemini lander.

http://www.fabiofeminofantascience.org/RETROFUTURE/RETROFUTURE29.html



Thanks. Hadn't seen that before. Would've made a great basis for a hard sci-fi film of the 60's for a flight to Mars a la Destination Moon of the 50's.

Bob Clark
 

Bill Walker

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Maybe I'm missing something here, but why would you launch wings to the moon, and then leave them there? Was the basic vehicle configuration originally based on another mission?
 

Michel Van

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Bill Walker said:
Maybe I'm missing something here, but why would you launch wings to the moon, and then leave them there? Was the basic vehicle configuration originally based on another mission?


oh, that here about to use of Gemini for Mars mission.
the wing are used for entering in mars atmosphere.
 
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