Technology Assessment for Manned Mars Exploration Using a ROSETTA Model of a Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket (BNTR)

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Way, David Wesley
Medlin, Matt
Sakai, Tadashi
McIntire, James
Olds, John R.
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This paper investigates a new method of measuring the affordability of aerospace technologies. First, a new bimodal NTR Mars mission architecture was defined. Starting with brainstorming on the different ways to get to Mars, several different trade studies were investigated, the results of which defined the architecture. A Reduced-Order Simulation for Evaluating Technologies and Transportation Architectures (ROSETTA) models has been created from this architecture. This model is an Excel workbook of interconnected worksheets that represented the different disciplines used in creating the architecture. Each worksheet is based on the results of higher fidelity codes such as the Program to Optimize Simulated Trajectories (POST) and the Aerodynamic Preliminary Analysis System (APAS). These results were then reduced to simpler, parametric relations, giving rise to the 'Reduced Order' in ROSETTA. The BNTR ROSETTA model is capable of rapidly resizing the Mars transfer vehicle and landers and estimating the key cost and mass metrics as the input technology assumptions change. Future technology assessment will be done probabilistically, by assigning a distribution to each input parameter that the technology affects, then running a Monte Carlo analysis in order to generate an output distribution for each metric. Benefit-to-cost ratios and top-level uncertainties can be determined from this data.
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