Today I gave a lecture on the Future In-Space Operations Telecon Series on the idea of using LEO propellant depots for interplanetary smallsat missions.
Here’s a link to the archive page, which has both the presentation itself and an .mp3 recording of the talk and the associated Q&A/discussions: http://fiso.spiritastro.net/telecon16-18/Goff_11-28-18/
We went over a lot of the same material that I discussed in the previous two posts, but with more illustrations, and some description of what we were doing that hopefully helps make the idea more clear. The main new addition was a “RAAN sweep analysis” we did to quantify the costs of using this 3-burn departure. tl;dr is that it’s not very painful–less than 3% dV hit compared to using a single-burn departure, and if you’re doing a human mission, and launch the crew to rendezvous on the last phasing loop, you can keep the flight-time penalty to <10days. All told, I was really excited to give this talk. It’s a neat topic, and I’m becoming more and more convinced that there may be a commercial path forward for propellant depots for providing dedicated smallsat launches to MEO, GEO, and beyond. Way beyond.
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