Launcher Option 1: Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle is the
world's most capable booster. With its Remote Maniupulator System and EVA
support apparatus, it would serve as an adequate LEO assembly fixture for
the Artemis Project stack, and can take the crew back down after the
flight. It is also conceivable that residual fuels from the Shuttle's
External Tank could be offloaded to the Artemis
Project fuel tanks. The use of the Space Shuttle also allows a crew to
go up with each launch; one for a LEO shakedown, and one for the moon
However, at $400 M for each of the two required launches, the Shuttle is
the most expensive launcher in existence. It is also currently unable to
carry cryogenics, which would require modifications to the launch site and
to NASA regulations for cryogenic fuels to be carried in the payload bay.
More payload than the two Shuttle launches have available is also highly
There is also an important issue with the availabiliy of the Space
Shuttle. All but one vehicle in the Shuttle fleet will be busy servicing
and building the International Space Station, so the usual 2-3 year waiting
list for a STS payload launch will grow even longer. Also, since the
shuttle turnaround time is so long, even if we could disrupt station
operations and get two consecutive launches, they would be many months
apart and cryogenic fuel boiloff would be a major issue. If we were
restricted to the one non-ISS orbiter, the turnaround may be well over
The use of the Space Shuttle is currently penciled in the Reference Mission, as it is the most expensive system
there is; the cost analysis is a worst-case scenario. If we use another
system, the financial figures will only look
better. Currently, $800 million is budgeted for spacecraft launch
With two launches carrying a payload mass of 55,000 lbs (25,000
kg) each, two shuttle launches can orbit 110,000 lbs (50,000 kg) of
spacecraft for about $800 M. The payload will likely be higher with
Advanced Solid Rocket Boosters, and the lithium-alloy External Tank;
possibly 62,000 lbs (28,000 kg) or more.
| Launcher || Payload || Cost
| 2 - Space Shuttle || 110,000 lbs (50,000 kg) || $800
| w/ Li-alloy ET, SRMU || 124,000 lbs (56,000 kg) ||
$800 M |
Because of the lack of support for cryogenics, the availability
problems, and the excessive costs, the use of the Space Shuttle for launch
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