Use of electric propulsion for interplanetary transit powered by a 7 MW nuclear reactor; (a Crew of 6)

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Delivery to the Martian surface of a group of vehicles to make up a self-propelled train

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In 1960, a manned martian lander design was developed. That design was based on the decision to use electrical propulsion engines for the interplanetary transit. A 7 MW nuclear reactor with shade-type biological shielding was to be used as the power source.
The vehicle was to be assembled in low-earth orbit and then launched towards Mars with a crew of six, three of which were to land on Mars. The equipment and the crew were to be landed in five conic segment-shaped spacecraft. After the landing, a "train" was to be made up of these research craft riding on an undercarriage with large-size wheels. The train was to consist of five platforms: a platform containing a crew cabin with a robotic arm and a drilling unit, a platform carrying a convertiplane for exploration flights above Martian surface, two platforms with launch vehicles (one spare) needed to return the crew to the spacecraft waiting in the martian orbit, and a platform with nuclear power plant. The train was to traverse the Martian surface form its south pole to its north pole in one year, and during the traverse it was to study the Martian surface and atmosphere, and transmit the data to the spacecraft in low Mars orbit for its relay to Earth. Upon completion of activities on the surface, the crew with soil samples and other research results were to return to the spacecraft in low Mars orbit and then blast off for Earth.






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