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Re: Fly to the moon question

Well, I'm not a "real" rocket scientist, just an amateur with more than 
the usual interest in it, but ..

This would work too.  It's basically the same concept, just using a 
lower thrust but far more efficient form of propulsion and spreading 
out the TLI burn over many successively larger orbits.  The nice thing 
about unmanned missions is that you have time to do stuff like that 
without really having to pile on consumables for a manned crew, and the 
spacecraft overall is much lighter, including fuel, so it can be lifted 
into GTO or LEO by a much smaller booster.  (For perspective, it took 
the entire S-I and S-II, plus a small vernier burn from the S-IVB, to 
get the upper stages of the Apollo missions just to LEO.  The much 
smaller S-IVB handled the entire remainder of the job of getting the 
CSM and LM into a translunar trajectory.  The kerosene and LOX powered 
S-I didn't even get the spacecraft out of the atmosphere .. it staged 
off somewhere slightly after Max Q ..)

On Thursday, Nov 20, 2003, at 23:20 US/Central, Timothy J. Salo wrote:

> The SMART-1 spacecraft was launched September 27 into a GTO.
> It is using a electric propulsion system to slowly boost its
> orbit until it is captured by the moon (i.e., over a period
> of sixteen months).
> The real rocket scientists among us can undoubtedly provide
> additional insight.
"Oh yeah? Well, I speak LOOOOOOOUD, and I carry a BEEEEEEEger stick -- 
and I use it too!"  **whop!**   -- Yosemite Sam

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