Integrating new SpaceX spacecraft into the Omaha Trail:
a presentation to the British Interplanetary Society
The new SpaceX spacecraft designs, announced by Elon Musk on September 29, 2017, are smaller than the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) spacecraft announced in 2016. Ascent cargo payload is 150 tons. Also there is a new capability to remove over 99% of orbital kinetic energy via aerobraking, prior to landing burn. These changes called for a recalculation of Omaha Trail flight efficiencies and radiation protection. Updated results are summarized below, with all numbers relative to known or estimated baseline numbers for the new SpaceX spacecraft.
The required number of Earth launches for cargo delivery is cut by 71%.
The required propellant load for cargo delivery is cut by 68%.
The required number of Earth launches for crewed missions is cut by 83%.
The required propellant load for crewed missions is cut by 65%.
A 130-ton water shield, acquired at Deimos, reduces the flux of penetrating solar flare protons by about 90%, en route to Mars. On the return flight, shielding and increased speed reduce net solar proton exposure by more than 95%. This high degree of protection obviates the need for a dedicated solar flare shelter aboard the spacecraft.
For details of the original Omaha Trail proposal, see the joint ISEC presentation from August 2017.