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978-3-8439-0806-1, Reihe Raumfahrt
Mission Analysis and Conceptual Spacecraft Design for Human Exploration of Near-Earth Asteroids
169 Seiten, Dissertation Universität Stuttgart (2012), Softcover, A5
Mankind’s drive for new frontiers is pushing us ever closer to our century’s grand voyage: landing a human being on Mars. While unanimously selected as the next big step in human exploration, visiting Mars is unfortunately not yet feasible today due to significant technological challenges that remain to enable a human visit. Hence, we suggest an intermediate destination, Near-Earth Asteroids, to structure our efforts in a long-term path to Mars, but with much earlier payoffs and benefits, and a more balanced commitment of resources.
This path is not just for the sake of structured exploration but has inherent value, since Near-Earth Asteroids themselves are important targets for scientific reasons as they allow insights into the formation of our solar system. Furthermore, asteroid exploration is crucial for the protection of not just our species, but virtually all life on planet Earth. Near-Earth Asteroids pose a known threat, and although no impact is currently predicted, a large number of asteroids remains unknown and sooner or later life on Earth will (again) be threatened.
This work presents a thorough discussion of a realistic way for humans to travel to Near-Earth Asteroids in the near future, discussing aspects such as system and vehicle design, mission analysis for the entire known population of Near-Earth Asteroids, abort capabilities throughout the mission, and finally presents an incremental campaign that provides a smooth, flexible, and sustainable path to solar system exploration.