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- Lunar soil can become a source of relatively inexpensive oxygen propellant for vehicles going from low Earth orbit (LEO) to geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) and beyond. This lunar oxygen could replace the oxygen propellant that, in current plans for these missions, is launched from the Earth's surface and amounts to approximately 75 percent of the total mass. The reason for considering the use of oxygen produced on the Moon is that the cost for the energy needed to transport things from the lunar surface to LEO is approximately 5 percent the cost from the surface of the Earth to LEO. Electromagnetic launchers, in particular the superconducting quenchgun, provide a method of getting this lunar oxygen off the lunar surface at minimal cost. This cost savings comes from the fact that the superconducting quenchgun gets its launch energy from locally supplied, solar- or nuclear-generated electrical power. We present a preliminary design to show the main features and components of a lunar-based superconducting quenchgun for use in launching 1-ton containers of liquid oxygen, one every 2 hours. At this rate, nearly 4400 tons of liquid oxygen would be launched into low lunar orbit in a year.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19930007725.
Accession ID: 93N16914.
NASA. Johnson Space Center, Space Resources. Volume 2: Energy, Power, and Transport; p 117-135.
- No Copyright.
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