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Ice Giant SEP docked with spacecraft and Dual flow RTG-REP/SEP power

June 14, 2017

We last blogged about a common SEP & spacecraft docking mechanisms that allow for power to flow both ways between SEP stage and spacecraft RTG power sources.(SEP/REP hybrid)We suggested that this allows for a spacecraft in hibernation or partly in hibernation so that RTG power can be shunted to the SEP stage to augment the solar panels in the outer solar system.

This post changes the spacecraft and SEP geometries so that both spacecraft are docked to one another “nose to nose”We do this to allow the spacecraft chemical rocket engine to point 360 degrees away from the SEP engines, this should allow for both to be able to fire into ice giant orbits.Instead of LOR (Lunar orbit rendezvous), we have After Planetary Orbital Insertion Separation(APOIS) Or Planetary spacecraft orbit rendezvous (SPOR)

The Ice Giant study proposes that spacecraft might have 150,90 or 50 Kg payloads, our plan requires a rethink of this.Perhaps the spacecraft has 100 Kg and the SEP carries 50 Kg and one of these two carries the atmosphere probe? in a few cases, duplicative instruments might be called for(magnetometer comes to mind).After APOIS the SEP stage with the smaller(?) payload leaves planetary orbit to perform a centaur & Trojan mission.

We chose the idea of identical spacecraft and SEP stage with identical atmosphere probes.orbital insertion utilizing both chemical and RTG power allows for the entire stack in orbit and requires a rethink of spacecraft & SEP geometry to in reference to atmosphere probe delivery! The chemical engine allows for a delivery of probe to the atmosphere from orbit with a subsequent avoidance maneuver, this greatly lowers the speed and changes the geometry of the atmosphere entry probe and reduces the challenges of ablative technologies(?)It’s unlikely we are doing aerobraking.

Both spacecraft and SEP should have ELECTRA & Earth communications gear. ELECTRA allows for enhanced capabilities for probe entry geometries. Both spacecraft should be able to do the independent flight in orbit to conduct simultaneous magnetic fields from different orbits.Independent flight is due to occur as the SEP stage breaks orbit to the Centaur Trojan targets in any event.This calls for both SC and SEP stage to carry duplicative energetic particle & plasma detectors.After APOIS the SEP stage will have a limit to its power to instruments out at the ice giants.Trades between SC or SEP doing a close in polar orbit for magnetometer gravity field for planetary interior characteristics, IE SEP stage impacts Polar region at EOM and SC escapes satellites to Trojan/Centaur.We believe having the SEP and SC both with instruments enter into orbit has the highest score for science objectives as does the APOIS  wich results in two spacecraft at each ice giant followed by orbit escape to secondary targets.After APOIS both might be doing satellite tours.This is close to the science results of the Final Ice Giant report for dual spacecraft one planet.



(A)(1) One ARRM class SEP stage and two docked SC, this works for Uranus and Neptune assuming one of the ice giant SC separates before Jupiter flyby.(A)(2)Trades on wich SC the SEP stage stays with, The Common dual power flow docking mechanisms put both Uranus and Neptune into play for trades(A)(3)Trades on SC alone without SEP using ballistic ice giant satellites escape to Trojan/Centaur, how would Triton work out?

(B)(1) Saturn-Uranus dual missions with 1 SC 2 probes 1 SEP (B)(2) 2 SEP with 2 SC Jupiter (flyby probe?)Saturn(flyby probe)or (orbital and escape to?) Uranus-Neptune trades.


(C)(1) For each trade in (A)&(B) above we need a Decadel Survey derived list of Instruments that are   (C)(2) On both the SC and SEP &   (C)(3) are not duplicated on both S and SEP.   (C)(4) We have already blogged about a SEP that deploys multiple probes at multiple targets IE Jupiter Saturn Uranus & Titan(ICE Giant Spider).Neptune end of orbiter mission with SEP Triton orbit followed by escape to Trojans/Centaurs after APOIS.(C)(2) TDU/Kilo power concepts could power the proposed Ice Giant spacecraft with power shared with a docked SEP/NEP stage hybrid.














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