LUNOX Mission Characterization - Abstract
Lunar Transport with LUNOX Fueled Return
(Mission Characterization)

Chad A. McFarland
Aerospace Engineering 387P
Mission Analysis and Design

Dr. W. T. Fowler
The University of Texas at Austin
March 28, 1994

Mission Objectives

For humankind's return to the moon a new generation of lunar transport is being developed. The proposed transport needs to be light in mass and reliable. The lunar transport is fueled partially by liquid oxygen produced on the moon to save cost over conventionally proposed lunar transports after a reasonable amount of flights.

The Lunar Transport will be launched into low earth orbit by a STS-derived launch system. The entire vehicle fits on a single launch vehicle. The lunar transport is a flexible system with two versions that is either a piloted vehicle or a cargo vehicle. The fully automated cargo vehicle delivers supplies to the moon on a one way trip.

The piloted version uses liquid oxygen produced on the moon (LUNOX) as the oxidizer to propel the vehicle back to earth. A lunar oxygen plant has to be established on the moon prior to any piloted missions to the moon. Also some initial equipment, tools, and building materials have to be shipped to the moon prior to the return of humans to the moon. The cargo vehicles and robots and or tele-operated machines will accomplish this task.

The preliminary design for the transport is based on a few assumptions. The first assumes that the Ilmenite reduction process will be the LUNOX process used on the moon because it is the most studied method to date. This is done for initial purposes of finding sizes, power needs, and costs. Another assumption is that the piloted transport vehicle will use LUNOX from the onset of lunar fights.