Analysis of Launcher Options
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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 mission.

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 desirable.

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 6 months.

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 M
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 is unlikely.

Launcher Summary Option 2: Titan Option 3: Ariane Option 4: Proton Option 5: ISS Option 6: LEO Node

Analysis of Launcher Options

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