Re: SPACE: Cycler orbits

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 18:16:45 MST

On Tuesday, February 19, 2002 1:14 PM Mike Lorrey
> Well, the amount of energy used is still the same.

The initial input, I take it, you mean. What I'm trying to say is you
have to put the thing -- vessel, station, whatever -- into the cycler

> THe advantage of a
> cycler station is that it would give crews in transit more room to
> around, and would recycle all of the habitat and support facilities
> every cycle. Thus the energy used in each mission would only be the
> incremental cost of boosting each crewman up.

Yeah, that was the idea I saw on CNN's web site a few days back.

> 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
> costs are far more than just 'minor corrections'.

But are they higher than the current alternative -- i.e., sending out a
separate mission each time? I'm thinking here of cyclers to Mars

Recently, there's been talk about using Alpha (AKA the ISS) as a place
to assemble prepackaged space probes and the like. The idea is to not
have to cram everything into the cone of a Delta/Ariane/Proton and hope
it can survive launch vibrations and unfurl itself before going on its
merry way. On Alpha, instead, different parts can be ferried up in
cushioned packages, then assembled and tested in orbit. If something
should fail, repairs or substitutes might be arranged. In other words,
you don't have to lose the whole probe because a solar panel didn't
unfurl. I imagine a cycler can be used for that too -- as opposed to
unattended spacecraft going between destinations. Of course, this adds
the costs of having and maintaining a living crew en route.


Daniel Ust

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