- Parabolic Arc
- June 1, 2023
Dennis Tito to Announce 2018 Mission to Mars
In January 2018, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will roar off a launch pad carrying the most ambitious human space mission since Apollo 11 nearly 50 years earlier. Two crew members in a heavily modified Dragon spacecraft would break Earth orbit on a 501-day round-trip fly-by of Mars.
This privately-led mission will be unveiled next Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., by the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a non-profit group chaired by former NASA engineer and space tourist Dennis Tito.
“This ‘Mission for America’ will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration,” the group said in a media advisory. “It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation.”
Other participants in the press conference include:
- Miles O’Brien, moderator
- Taber MacCallum, chief executive officer and chief technology officer of Paragon Space Development Corporation and crew member for two-year mission in Biosphere 2
- Dr. Jonathan Clark, associate professor of Neurology and Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and space medicine advisor for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute
- Jane Poynter, president and chairwoman of Paragon Space Development Corporation and crew member for two-year mission in Biosphere 2.
The media advisory doesn’t mentions any details of the proposed mission. However, Jeff Foust over at NewSpace Journal reports that Tito will present a paper titled, “Feasibility Analysis for a Manned Mars Free Return Mission in 2018,” on March 3 at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace Conference in Big Sky, Montana.
Foust reports the describes a two-person mission to the Red Planet using a modified SpaceX Dragon without a landing on the planet. Conditions aboard the spacecraft are described as being Spartan.
Tito’s co-authors include MacCallum, Clark, John Carrico, Grant Anderson, Michel Loucks, and Thomas Squire. Anderson is a co-founder of Paragon Space Development Corporation, which specializes in environmental control and life support systems.
12 responses to “Dennis Tito to Announce 2018 Mission to Mars”
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I’m having a really hard time believing this
I want to believe it. I think Space X might be able to pull it off, but the deadline sounds too short, 5 years isn’t very long. I just need to hear what they will announce on wednesday.
That was my first thought as well, but really it’s not unrealistic. Many of the elements the will be using are still in development, but in fairly advanced stages of development. FH should be coming online within a year or so, DragonRider by 2015, Bigelow modules (although I’m not sure they’ll be using them) could likely be ready in a couple years. That gives you a couple years of margin even, the only other thing that comes to mind now is ECLSS but that’s comparatively easy – build a less than perfect ECLSS and store up on consumables. All in all, from a technical standpoint, I think this is legitimately realistic.
Maybe the ECLSS system is going to be built by Paragon. Their people are part of the press conference and got a contract for ECLSS development with NASA back in the CCDev 1 days.
But funding is a big question, I’m not sure if this is some kind of publicity stunt?
What would they get out of this if it were? As far as publicity stunts go the lets-go-to-mars-shortly story is kind of old.
I can’t believe it for just one reason alone: 2 People together in a Dragon for more than 500 days!
Seriously? Unless they also announce that the Mission will include at
least one other module, I don’t believe that they will be able to keep
their sanity during such a long time in just one “tiny” capsule…
Agreed, the Dragon barely holds 7+a toilet. The space for the consumables for 500 days is sure to simply physically occupy more than the space 5 people+chairs would take up (unless they come up with some really dense food), and then there’s the ECLSS and exercise equipment, and you’d probably want to give them a crystal furnace or something to do for 500 days other than look at stars 🙂
I was able to find a candidate 501 free-return Mars flyby trajectory launching in January 2018, consistent with the announcement.
From a performance standpoint, two questions are (1) can their launch vehicle hit the required Earth departure C3, and (2) can their heat shield survive the high velocity Earth reentry? Hopefully the IEEE paper will shed light on both.
Dennis Tito is now 72 he will be 77 in 2018 if he left for mars in 2018 on a 501 free-return Mars flyby he would come back 79. now take this into account Elon Musk has said Dragonrider will be able to land on mars. Well here’s my conclusion wouldn’t it be simpler and cheaper just to go straight to mars and land using dragons Superdraco’s. If Tito did land on mars it would surpass Neil Armstrong’s achievement just as Armstrong’s achievement surpassed Yuri Gagarin’s. The downside of this would be that Tito would not come back. An interesting side note the mission could be sponsored by a big company like Google possibly generating hundreds of millions in advertisement for the sponsor.
Maybe they’ll use a BEAM to give the crew more room and to store some of the additional supplies that don’t fit into Dragon. Still, that’s a long period of time in a very small tin can…