Group outlines plans for sending astronauts to Mars - New York News

Group outlines plans for sending astronauts to Mars

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An artist's illustration of the spacecraft for a 2018 mission to Mars. (Inspiration Mars Foundation) An artist's illustration of the spacecraft for a 2018 mission to Mars. (Inspiration Mars Foundation)
NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

A private group is asking for hundreds of  millions in taxpayer funds to launch a couple on a 501 day and 314 million mile mission to circle Mars and return to Earth.

Dennis Tito, founder and chairman of the Inspiration Mars Foundation, testified Wednesday before the House Science Subcommittee on Space during a hearing on commercial space.

Tito shared the results of a 90-day study undertaken by Inspiration Mars with help from NASA and industry partners.

The plan is to launch a spacecraft in late 2017 or early 2018.

Inspiration Mars is asking Congress and the President to fund an American mission to Mars.

"Perhaps several hundred million dollars in new federal spending can make this mission happen," Inspiration Mars officials wrote in a report that outlines the mission's proposed architecture.

The report says: "We now call on our nation’s leaders to seize this singular opportunity to begin human exploration of the solar system and affirm America’s leadership throughout the world."

The plan calls for two launches to keep crew and cargo separate.

First, the SLS will lift off from Kennedy Space Center with a four-part payload to place cargo into Earth’s orbit, consisting of: an SLS upper-stage rocket to propel spacecraft from Earth’s orbit to Mars; a service module containing electrical power, propulsion and communication systems; a Cygnus-derived habitat module where the astronauts will live for 501 days; and an Earth Reentry Pod.

The second launch will take the crew into orbit aboard a commercial transportation vehicle.

From there, the crew and Inspiration Mars vehicle would rendezvous in orbit for the trip to the red planet.

Tito said, “The United States will carry out a Mars flyby mission, or we will watch as others do it–leaving us to applaud their skill and their daring.”

Tito noted there is a window for a mission by a different trajectory, a mission longer by 88 days that could be flown in 2021.

Tito said, “Given Russia’s clear recognition of the value and prestige of accomplishments in human space exploration, and their long-time interest in exploring Mars, my personal belief is that in all likelihood the Energia super-heavy rocket revival announcement signals Russian intent to fly this mission in 2021.

He says that China is also wants to be first to Mars.

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