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" founder Jeff Bezos wants to help colonize space."
Short quip on Blue Origin.

Daniel Schmelzer

Yeh, I saw that. Unfortunately, Bezos is working on suborbital vehicles, not orbital vehicles. As such, he is not likely to try for this prize.

While I follow what Bezos is doing on a general personal basis, I doubt I will follow the suborbital guys much in this blog.

Kevin J waldroup

CEV: a different approach
by Jeff Foust
Monday, September 13, 2004
Hercules Exploration System
by Kevin Waldroup
The Little Hercules launchers
By Kevin ,J waldroup
Little Hercules Tourist
The Medium Lift Hercules, or Little Hercules is a solid rocket booster with a second stage hydrogen fueled J2 class rocket engine that can launch 40,000 pounds into low Earth orbit. It will able to launch the new NASA spaceship I call "Clementine".
The Little Hercules will launch government spacecraft and will also launch private based craft that will launch tourist into low Earth orbit. The spacecraft will be based on what was called back in the 70's Big Gemini. The big Gemini can launch 10 tourist instead of the Soyuz 3, or the Shenzhou which can carry 4 space tourist. The Big Gemini will use a paraglider that can be guided to an airport and landed on a runway.

The Little Hercules will use Russian spacecraft like the Soyus and the Kliper while we wait for the Big Gemini to be built. It will probably take tourist to Bigelow’s inflatable space hotels, or the International Space Station, or an external tank built space hotel.

Improved Little Hercules

The class A or basic Little Hercules design have 2 stages. A solid Rocket Booster, that is fully reusable, the chemical 2nd stage is non-reusable. The basic package will be used to launch the Clementine into low Earth orbit. This basic design will also be used to launch tourist into orbit.

The class B will add 4 strap on chemical rockets that are similar to the Long March rockets used by the Chinese. We will have to use a cleaner fuel because the United States is judged by a different standard, environmentally. With the 4 strap on boosters will be increased from 40,000 lbs to approximately 48,000 to 50,000 lbs. The class C is basically a Little Hercules with 2 solid rocket boosters attached. It will be able to lift approximately 60,000 lbs. Into low Earth orbit.
The improved Little Hercules used a 5 segment solid rocket booster with an improved chemical upper stage. This should increase the payload of the Little Hercules from 40,000lbs to 50,000lbs.

Space Tourist
By using the Little Hercules for tourism it will increase the areas where you could launch the vehicle and reduce the cost. Little Hercules launch sites could be set up around the country in various locations. By spreading the launch around the country it will reduce the likelihood of the program being reduced or canceled by congress.
Improved Little Hercules
The Little Hercules is a modular design which can be configured to launch cargo, or tourist, and astronauts. It is based on the very reliable solid rocket booster that has only failed once in its entire history. However by modifying it you might have problems with the chemical upper stage. That is why I have decided to use the j2 class engine that was part of the Saturn rocket that took us to the moon. The basic Clementine will be a basic capsule design that will have an escape tower.

Hercules Exploration System
by Kevin J, Waldroup
Soyuz Tourist Trips to the Moon?
Space News July 27
Advanced Gemini: What NASA Needs
by Mike Majeski
Inflatable POOFs
by Taylor Dinerman
Monday, July 19, 2004
U.S. Expendable Launch Vehicles
p18 To 22

Daniel Schmelzer

While SpaceDev might do good work, the development timeline they lay out is not congruent with an America's Space Prize attempt.

Also, for use of any existing platform, you have to figure that it will be way too expensive to win the Prize. All of the current vehicles are candidates for NASA's CEV, but who is going to spend several tens of millions of dollars for each of two flights for this $50 million Prize, even with the prospect of very significant follow-on business?

Juan Suros

I'm not sure that a SpaceX falcon V lifting a SpaceShipOne type orbiter would qualify for item (6) of this prize. Will the orbiter and the reusable first stage outmass the expendable upper stage by 4 to one (80%)? Do the rules apply to the fueled launch mass or the dry mass of the components? It probably matters a lot.

Also, can rules (5),(6) be stretched to allow the use of 2 different first stages? There's no way you could recover, refurbish, and test a first stage for reuse that fast. Could you?

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