SLS EM-1 upper stage as experimental flight test bed (Lunar free return flight)
we know that there are papers that talks of interplanetary hosted payloads so I would like to see any future ULA upper stage that is intended for stage disposal in solar orbit instead be sent on a lunar free return followed by an earth oberth burn.My understanding is that two centaurs on classified missions did a disposal burn into solar orbit
could those Centaurs have made a lunar free return orbit?(Earth reentry)?
6 days in space would inform us as to boil off behavior in an upper stage?
would there be any propellant left after 6 days?
enough to perform an oberth earth burn back out into solar orbit?
I propose such an in space stage mission be monitored by cubesat type payloads meant to monitor in space stage cryogenic behavior and possibly deployed cubesats
consideration should be given to look for DCCS and the SLS EM-1 possibilities for lunar free return and earth escape trajectories to enhance the trajectories of the proposed NEO scout and other future interplanetary cubesats
Enabling the SLS upper stage to last for 6 days would perhaps inform us further as to future in space stages as long-term missions.
NASA Ames could ask the human space flight directorate to model the requirements to allow the SLS EM-1 upper stage to do this mission
another exciting possibility would be to have NEO scout deploy from the in space stage after sending the stage to L-1 or L-2 perhaps shortening the trajectory of NEO scout?
this version also should have cubesats dedicated to in space stage cryogenic monitoring for several days after lunar flyby and to have NEO scout image the stage before moving off.These spent stage ideas seem to me to be very low risk, even the high-speed reentry from lunar free return could perhaps provide some data? fly that monitoring device that rode the ET tank back down to earth! I know that the stage will need a solar array like LCROSS or perhaps fly an experimental fuel cell that can use the boil off?such a fuel cell itself perhaps could be an attached cubesat payload? and this fuel cell could enable many in space stage applications and in space stages as spacecraft in the outer solar system
(A)(1) Human space flight directorate “release” the upper stage for transport to a Lunar flyby orbit to L2 to the NEO scout project
(A)(2) characterization of ULA multi day flights of cryogenic upper stages to this upper stage and residual fuels load and survival for two days to lunar flyby
(A)(3)NEO scout is seen as a 2.5 year mission travel time to a candidate NEO, releasing this mission and others after a lunar flyby could shorten this travel time.
(B)(1) modest funding for long duration SLA upper stages informs us as to other other proposed uses for long term cryogenic storage of propellants such as fuel depots/tankers/deep space missions.
(B)(2) in the introduction to this article we posit a upper stage whose secondary mission would be a Lunar free return to earth orbit followed by an earth fly by with an Oberth burn.This is 6 days! cryogenic stored this long would be an important intermediate flight experiment and the cargo would be interplanetary cubesats
EDIT 5 October 2014
here is a paper that follows closely what I am thinking, I can’t read it as its behind a paywall.I am thinking they are not proposing to use the upper stage at the moon to perform a burn…………………….
50th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference. July