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Lunar Ferry

Posted by: DanielW - Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:16 pm
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Lunar Ferry 
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Post Lunar Ferry   Posted on: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:16 pm
I am wondering if there are any concepts out there to construct a lunar "ferry"

It would basically be a space station doing figure eight laps around the earth and the moon. A moon traveler would have to provide their own lunar orbit burn to match that of the ferry and then dock for a comfortable 3 day ride. The advantage would be lower craft mass as it would not need to have an extra 6 days worth of expendables and would not need robust radiation shielding.

Lunar landers could remain attached to the ferry and be reused. The traveler would have to bring lander fuel of course... if it was not being manufactured at the moon.

Anyway just sounds better to me than 3 days each way in a cramped cabin and possibly cheaper for a high volume of flights.

~Daniel


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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:18 pm
The broad answer is yes, but i can't give any references offhand. Hopefully the following will suggest some search terms worth Googling.

What you describe is similar to the idea of a 'cycling space station', an idea which was being developed by Buzz Aldrin, but mainly in the context of a Mars exploration infrastructure.

And Heppenheimer suggested that space colonies wanting easy access to both the Earth and the Moon could use a 2:1 resonant orbit; an eccentric orbit about the Earth with an apogee that follows the Moon around.

But I don't know of any firm plans to use either of these ideas.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:59 pm
Just this moment I remember that there was a russian probe that orbited the Moon but was a few times switched between a lunar orbit and an earthian orbit at lunar distance at the location the Moon was that time.

Perhaps this might be considered the unconscious birth of the concept suggested - at least it may be an experiment required to test the technical feasibility.

It looks a pity to me that nobody made more of it.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:21 am
The tech term is Cycler

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Post    Posted on: Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:41 pm
Remember, it is only a short journey. 3 days was how long it took the Apollo capsules; I'd reduce that down to 2 and have a 10m long ship to start with, transporting lunar resources (such as Oxygen) down to Orbit.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:03 pm
Cyclers have issues in that you have to refuel and resupply them. To join up with them you have to match speed anyways. So on a trip to the moon a Cycler is probably not nessecary and make little sense.

A reusable system that enters Earth orbit, then the Moons, then returns and resupplies will be more useful I think. It gives control of launch windows and will be easier to maintain.

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