MARS MODULE SLATED FOR LAUNCH
The requirements of Martian flight would best be satisfied by using electric thrusters which feature jet velocities of 10-100 km/sec and burn several times less fuel than other jet engines. By comparison the existing liquid propellant engines produce jet velocities in the region of 4km/sec.The Mars Module is designed to conduct research on the planet using remote sensing techniques and/orlanders. The probe’s payload in a circular Martian orbit will weight 1,300 kilograms while its active life will exceed two years. However, certain critical stages of the mission will have to be first tested by automated precursors to the Mars Module which would enable the developers to find
answers to many of their queries. The first of such precursors will be the MODULE M a close to 150 kilogram spacecraft propelled by electric thrusters. This module is expected to be delivered to Mir by scheduled Progress cargo spacecraft. The Module M vehicle will be assembled and checked out by the cosmonauts during their extra vehicular activity.
The prospective mission’s principal task are intended to: make a demonstration flight featuring orbital altitude manoeuvres; try out a sustainer electric thrasher system in the course of a long time operation; study of electric thrusters plasma jets on the vehicle’s body; as well as assess the operability of platform systems and electronic equipment.
To meaningfully simplify the design and reduce costs, the Module M is expected to be spin oriented to the Sun as it gets separated from the orbital station. Just like a gyroscope, it would keep its spin axis unaltered in the inertial reference frame.
In the initial stage, the 0.5 m/sec separation speed will allow the spacecraft to fly away from the station at a rate of about 3 kilometres per revolution. Eventually, the Module M following a spiral winding-off trajectory will reach an orbital of 1200-1500 kilometres. The spacecraft will carry a range of sensors designed to take regular measurements of its own rarefied atmosphere and a the radio amateur satellite VOXSAT.
VOXSAT is going to turn on when Module M arrived to its final orbit at 1200-1500 kilometres a month ago it launched from Mir Orbital Station.
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