Re: SPACE: Cycler orbits

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 11:14:17 MST wrote:
> In a recent news article, someone made mention of a cycler orbit between
> Earth and Mars. The idea was to put a manned space station in such an orbit
> so that it would "cycle" between encounters with Earth and Mars. This would
> be a low cost way to ferry people, equipment, and supplies between planets.
> The cycler orbit would need only a small amount of fuel for minor
> corrections -- once the station was put into it.
> I don't know the maths here, but I wonder if such a cycler is possible
> between the Earth and the Moon. It might be a good way to prototype an
> Earth-Mars cycler and easier routine access to the Moon might open it up to
> faster commercial exploitation (mining, tourism) as well as feed into more
> ambitious programs.
> What do you think?

Well, the amount of energy used is still the same. THe advantage of a
cycler station is that it would give crews in transit more room to move
around, and would recycle all of the habitat and support facilities for
every cycle. Thus the energy used in each mission would only be the
incremental cost of boosting each crewman up. The only real big savings
were if you used electromagnetic propulsion to accelerate and
decellerate individuals getting onto and getting off the station.
Without an EM system to scavenge the energy of decelleration, the energy
costs are far more than just 'minor corrections'.

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