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FIT Research Informs Multiple Mars Cyclers

Markus Wilde and Brian Kish of FIT studied design considerations for Mars mission plans built on use of cycler spacecraft that would remain in an orbit around the Sun that crosses the orbits of Earth and Mars. A transfer craft would be used to get astronauts to and from the cycler craft for multiple missions.

They compared proposed cycler spacecraft design with the NASA spacecraft design for direct Earth-to-Mars flights. “The mass penalty for a cycler is actually manageable compared to existing spacecraft designs,” said Wilde. “Launching such a spacecraft is…actually reasonable, but only if you use it for a sustained Mars exploration campaign spanning decades, not just for a handful of flag-raising missions.”

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