The Apollo Plan

1956 April 1, Illyrien Space Center, Prometheus Lounge.

Gene: Okay people, lets just review where we stand. During the last months a lot of teams have discussed different aspects of how to land a kerbal on the Moon, and to bring him back. We have considered different approaches, and worked though them. So, we finally have a preliminary plan. We have called it the Bravo Plan and…

Somebody else: Apollo sir, it actually got more votes then Bravo, even if we add in Werner’s vote, which he used on his “Please just send Jeb to the Moon and leave him there” – Plan.

Gene: All right. The Apollo Plan. We will talk it over and see if there are any last considerations. To start with the end. The goal is to send two kerbals to the surface of the Moon, and to return them safely. No landing, until we are sure it will work. Probes are expendable , and cool when they explode, but our people are precious.

Gene: Okay, here is the plan: Lets finalizing it. The final choice of mission architecture is:

Mission Architecture: LLO Breakpoint

We will create a fuel depot and park a lander there. Once ready, Jeb and friends will be sent there in an Earth return vehicle. Two of them will shift to the Lander and descent to the surface to plant our flag and leave a gift for the Kerbinians… should they arrive some day. From the surface they will return to orbit to rejoin the return vehicle and then return to Earth.

Advantages

  • Safer – The orbital depot is a refuge, in case of emergency
  • Slow buildup – The plan does not rely on a single launch, but on many smaller. Failure will thus be less critical.
  • Smaller rockets required
  • Infrastructure ready for future missions

Disadvantages

  • Rendezvous and Docking – costs additional fuel and takes either precision or time.
  • More total mass needs to be delivered to LLO
  • More rockets required.

Progression

Step 0 – Docking

Goal: Can docking work

  1. Try docking in LEO

Step 1 – Probe return mission

Goal: We need to know how much dV it actually takes to land/orbit/return.

  1. Launch to lunar orbit.
  2. Land on the Moon
  3. Return to Earth

Step 2 – Lunar docking

Goal: Master lunar docking and establish orbital fuel depot.

  1. Fuel depot at the Moon
  2. Docking at depot.
  3. Return to Earth

Step 3 – Test landing

Goal: Master landing and work out any kinks.

  1. Send lander to orbital depot
  2. Send crew for remote control of lander?
  3. Land lander
  4. Return to orbital depot

Repeat operation until flawless

Step 4 – Land on the Moon

  1. Send lander to depot
  2. Send crew to depot
  3. Land
  4. Return to Earth in triumph
  5. Ticker tape parade

Updated 16/3-2017 – Removed “crewed” from Step 2, since that is irrelevant

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2 comments

  1. That’s a lot to do within the decade, but doable I’m fairly certain.

    And all the damn tech needed is in different parts of the tree, how annoying! There’s no “take this to land on the moon”-node, it’s like 7 different ones or something (going by the Apollo design)

    Like

    • Yup. But the order is for 2 years. I think its doable, but lets see what surprises arise.

      I guess a benefit of this mission plan is that it takes a bit less tech as well, since I can afford to be a bit inefficient with my dV, once I get a fuel dump in LLO.

      Personally I am aiming for landing with Apollo modules, this is why I am expecting to land with two people… I don’t expect to be able to exactly reproduce the Saturn V mission though, that is why I went for this plan instead.

      Like

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