Realities of Celestial Mechanics
Here on this page is presented a tentative launch manifest to demonstrate the magnitude of the challenge of just getting lots of people on their way.
This manifest is prepared on the basis of several assumptions:
- Using Dragon V2 for the first three team launches of Lunar settlers atop a Falcon Heavy, and assuming the development of a 35-person ship for follow on launches.
- It will take a minimum of 12 months for the Lunar Settlement to generate sufficient crops to supply not only the settlement, but the settlers going beyond the moon.
- Working within the constraints shown on the Logistics Worksheet for travel from Earth’s vicinity to Mars, and then to Jupiter, dates are coordinated based on the worksheet’s launch month and travel time required.
- Launches from #4 on, using higher capacity ships launched on Falcon Heavy to carry settlers to EML-2, where the four teams, and their components are assembled for launch to Mars, and later, Jupiter.
Financials are not calculated, though if one assumes that SpaceX succeeds in the development of their reusable launchers, and those launches approximate 1/10 of current stated launch pricing (i.e. FH @ $90 million), this would suggest a launch cost of near $10 million each, or based on these 18 launches: $180 million – to send over 500 human settlers to three destinations over a five year period. Remember this estimate is only launch costs, not any of the other equipment, supplies, or vehicles.
At first glance, the realities of Celestial Mechanics offered by the worksheet, and implemented in the manifest below suggest that promises of large numbers of humans migrating off planet may be premature. However, this manifest, if funded, could put over 500 people on three (3) destinations in just six (6) years. You try the math. Just my own guess-timating, it looks like Mr. Elon Musk’s hope for a million people on Mars in a century just might be doable.