While searching through the Human Space Flight Committee web site, I ran across their request to review a series of documents for the second sub-group (Exploration Beyond LEO). Right on the main page they say:
The Committee wants your comments on #3
The link takes you to:
Download a Graphic of the Committee Subgroups Structure and Membership (pdf, 277k)
Download the current Subgroups Progress Report (pdf, 23k)
Exploration Beyond LEO: Process and Progress (pdf, 144k)
This document describes the process and progress of the Exploration Beyond LEO Subgroup. The document presents some preliminary scenarios for U.S. human space flight that the subgroup is analyzing. The Committee wants your comments on this document and on the scenarios presented.
From their “Process and Progress” document
Specifically, the “Exploration Beyond LEO” subcommittee will examine the following questions:
1. What are the appropriate destinations and sequences of exploration for human exploration beyond LEO;
2. What should be the mode of surface exploration (if any);
3. What is the strategy within the human space flight program for coordinating human and robotic exploration;
4. What are the assumed launch vehicle(s) to LEO (in terms of mass to orbit and shroud diameter);
5. What are the options for in-space fuel/oxidizer storage and transfer;
6. What is the role that space technology research and development will play;
7. What is our strategy for engaging international partners in the development of the program;
8. What is our strategy for engaging commercial entities?
The first subcommittee-defined scenario, Lunar Base, is a close derivative of the current program, with some simplifications.
Lunar Global is a scenario in which a base or
outpost is not assembled on the Moon, but instead the Moon is explored by a coordinated series of extended duration human sorties and robotic exploration. In both these cases, implications for subsequent Mars exploration will be considered.
Moon to Mars, or more completely Moon on the way to Mars, is a scenario in which the primary objective is Mars exploration, and all systems are designed for Mars. Only when it is beneficial to use the Moon as a true test bed for these Mars exploration systems will flights to the Moon be conducted.
Mars First is a plan to exclusively pursue human exploration of the Mars as fast as possible, without using the Moon as a first destination.
Finally, Flexible Path is a scenario that allows humans to visit a wide number of inner solar system bodies, objects and locations, but not go to the surface of those with deep gravity wells. Destinations besides Moon and Mars would include the Earth-Moon and Earth-Sun Lagrange points, near-Earth objects (NEOs) and the moons of Mars. There is nothing implied in this scenario that surface exploration might not follow, simply that exploration would first exploit all that could be done without landing on a planetary surface.
What are your thoughts on “Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit”?
What should be our goals? What architecture do we use? Science? Robots? People?