Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Hamilton Hagar, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Sathya Gangadharan, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Bogdan Udrea, Ph.D.

Abstract

This thesis investigates the feasibility of a refueling station for a beyond Earth orbit (BEO) mission. The propellant depot is located at the L2 -Lagrangian point within the Earth-Moon system. This investigation determines if a refueling mission will reduce propulsive energy requirements necessary for Earth departure of a BEO-vehicle to achieve an interplanetary transfer to Mars. Furthermore, this research presents a trade study which identifies approximate total requirements for a direct and rendezvous mission to Mars as well as the necessary fuel masses to complete each approach. This analysis provides conclusive information in determining the benefits in utilizing a rendezvous location for refueling a spacecraft en versus loading the required fuel masses into a launch vehicle to support a direct transfer to Mars.

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