Thrusting towards Venus L2 (VL2)

(easier said than done but, we've got nothing to lose and only CO2 to gain)
by; Brad Guth / IEIS    updated: June 23, 2003

Lunar gravity sling, then it's off to the races, headed for Venus and of hopefully a successful pitstop at VL2

With the help of a good MW class EMPD thruster, or possibly that of an EMPL format, we ott to be underway in fairly short order, going like a bat out of hell as to limiting our travel time as to a few months instead of years. After all, every 18 months Venus is within 110 times lunar distance and, according to NASA and even uncle Walter Cronkite as well as myself up until a couple of years ago, we supposedly did that lunar thing by traveling there within 6 days and, that was back in the good old late fly-by-wire 60's, as sort of representing the model-T of aluminum foil shielded space travel, as well as for being almost as radiation proof as that original model-T.

On behalf of nuking ISS to Venus L2 (VL2), especially once situated at VL2, if the nuclear pumped Xenon or lithium fueled thruster(s) were of sufficient capacity (say 50 megawatts certainly ott to do the trick, and please try to remember, there's no stinking GreenPeace nor other damn tree huggers in space, as those anti-nuke freaks can just keep polluting Earth by their eating junk foods, going to all those fast food restaurants, massive energy consuming concerts and theme parks, thus being directly responsible for burning off unnecessary mega-tonnes of coal, oil and of all things charcoal as made from old growth rain forest), we could thereby effectively navigate and sustain ISS inward to 0.95 L2, or even closer (0.9 L2) for obtaining additional planetary shielding from those nasty solar flares. Even though a two year stint will not be requiring absolute shielding, there's certainly no harm done by having more than your fair share, as well as banked bone marrow for the just in case.

Being that ISS has recently become more of a liability than asset, perhaps it's time if not a little past due that we considered an alternative mission that offers good merit, not to mention good challenge. Instead of it losing altitude (such as a mile per month), offering an obtainable goal of moral worth by utilizing the current level of technology and, such as it is, ISS offers the first enterprise potential for some real commercial profit from anything space related, other than interplanetary spam and smut, as that's a given.

If escape velocity from Earth is supposedly 11 km/s and, if ISS is already situated at 400 km (just over 1/4 the way to EL2) and traveling along at 7.673 km/s, that remains 3.327 km/s of additional velocity requirement, by which said boosters would need to accomplish the task at hand and, if the current ISS mass is 150 t, then exactly how hard is it really going to be?

Suggesting that even if we were to accommodate another 100 t worth of lead and/or of whatever greater mass for the necessary crew cabin shielding, plus a few hundred tonnes worth of solid fuel as well as a good sized MPD booster and that of a nuclear power plant, along with another 50 tonnes of that all essential beer, vodka and pizza. At a gross outfitted 1000 t (that's 910 tonnes Venus), I believe we ott to be capable of accelerating ISS towards a lunar/Venus trajectory that'll gravitationally sling ISS past the lunar surface at perhaps a dust raising altitude of 1+km, while getting some terrific close up photos of all those Apollo lunar landers, zipping past that lunar surface at perhaps 27.8 km/s and from then blasting off another batch of those SBRs for speeding up as headed towards Venus, where at some prudent point putting on the breaks, obviously blowing right past Venus into an elliptical breaking orbit with other SBRs as well as full reverse MPD thrust applied for whatever duration that takes and, eventually we're parked back at VL2. Either that or ISS has become just another solar fuel pellet.

I've learned that it's entirely possible for fairly sizable rocket boosters (modules) to be sent robotically towards ISS. Exactly how large and how many is uncertain but, as for this journey you probably can't have too many. Of exactly how to go about capturing and attaching such items to ISS is another factor of concern. However, if it were not a joke and there was an honestly focused effort my those willing to expand humanities knowledge, then I foresee little of new technology required, as it seems we already have what it takes, it's just not situated in the right place.

Actually, since the bulk of ISS is now orbiting in a nearly non-gravity environment (perhaps losing ground by a 1 mile per month worth of orbit decay), outfitting it with a few 50,000 kg SRBs (say 12 of those and of the remaining 100 t as conventional liquid fueled and/or perhaps those of the Xenon or better yet EMPD/lithium thruster formats, along with a sufficient nuclear power plant for generating those ion or plasma rocket engine thrust) should more than do the trick, especially since it's already traveling at nearly 3/4 escape velocity would greatly limit the need for applying excessive rocket energy in preference to a longer slow burn or even a nuclear xenon/lithium sustained thrust of as little as 0.1-t. So, to get ISS well above 11 m/s, and of the more speed perhaps the better as far as the Van Allen zone is concerned (1000 to 70000 km) and, then utilizing the lunar gravity well as a sling that'll enable ISS to reach Venus L2 when it's nearest Earth, without having to burn off unnecessary rockets is the sort of stuff that astrophysics as well as science fiction has offered for decades. If you or someone you know of can deliver the actual flight plan for a 1000 t or lesser ISS if possible, that by itself ott to be worth something, quite a good deal actually.

Magneto Plasma Dynamic Thrusters offer 10X Hall-effect thrusters

Hall-effect thrusters; So far, these prototypes that have been built and tested have generated up to 0.4 N of thrust with 6 kW of input power. In other words, it would take roughly 15-MW to thrust at 981 N or 0.1-t

ElectroMagnetoPlasmaDynamic (EMPD) propulsion; As an even better alternative, offering more than 10 fold the thrust density achieved by Hall thrusters.

Not that many of you folks don't already know about this MagnetoPlasmaDynamic (MPD) propulsion option, as I'm certain that you're just waiting around for the most opportune time as to tell us village idiots that there has already been a relatively powerful electromagnetic/plasma thruster under development that's working fine and dandy, of which can be created for just such a nuclear powered mission. By perhaps another village idiot mistake, I seem to have located upon a relatively old (pre 2000) specification report, at least that's relatively old as to my recent interest in sending something of size, such as ISS, off to see the wizard of Oz at Venus L2.

EMPD noteworthy; of such an efficient thruster, is not only of it's being more than sufficiently powerful but, that it offers an infinitely variable form of thrust, thereby absolutely no introduction of acceleration harmonics nor structural stress as associated with the sorts of typical re-boost that's currently utilized to maintain the required ISS speed and thereby altitude. MPD for high thrust; exhaust velocities of 40 km/s or more are obtained and, of high thrust density, in theory offering as much as 100,000 N/m2. Energy wise, only about 15% of their input energy goes into waste heat.

I'm not certain but, that sort of thrust technology sounds like a plan, a doable sort of propulson engine that'll push the likes of ISS along at a fairly respectible clip.

The potential of creating 100,000 N = 10,197 kg of force and, the really good news being that it's infinately controllable, not to mention energy efficient. Again, I'm not any rocket wizard but, though it seems that merely 10% or 1-t of the 10-t thrust potential ott to due quite nicely, even if ISS were fully outfitted at a gross of 1000 t.

Combined High Thrust NTP and Low Thrust MPD Interplanetary Transfer Systems Utilizing Zero-boiloff Solid Lithium Propellant

From the above data; I gathered that 500 hours would be enough time for a 200-kW thruster to accelerate a 1-t spacecraft to 22 km/s.

Thereby, I'm extrapolating or sort of reverse engineering to guess that 500 hours would be enough time for a 20-MW thruster to accelerate a 100-t spacecraft to 22 km/s. Of course that's from zero and guess what folks, ISS isn't exactly parked.

At 1000-t it would obviously require 5000 hours of operation if powered by the same 20-MW in order to boost such a payload to a velocity of 22 km/s, or how about 50 hours if we applied a 2-GW class of MPD. Of course, need I repeat, that's from zero and guess what folks, ISS isn't parked.

As it's plasma fuel, MPDs utilize solid lithium as their propellant, which I believe is a whole lot more abundant and probably cheaper than xenon. The MPD format is also reported as capable of offering an Isp of 4,500 seconds (that's about as good as it gets, short of a sustained nuclear explosion).

On behalf of Earth's "pro-Mars" as well as "pro-greenhouse or bust" camps, in order to initially place another 850-t worth of ISS outfitting into orbit may necessitate our creating an overall CO2 impact upon Earth of 85,000 t. Of course that was the primary village idiot reasoning why I had initially advised upon a rather simplistic robotic VL2 communications (laser packet capable) relay platform, one that could suffice at as little a 1000 kg (2000 kg at most), but no way was that one going to fly, as my critics seemed unwilling to venture into anything sub multi billion worth. So, on behalf of all the spend-everything until those dead Apollo cows come home, I'll concede that sending ISS off to stationkeep at VL2 is going to be about as spendy as things get, not to mention as beyond all recorded forms of risk. However, by having a manned platform certainly raises the for profit bar, as such enterprise factors go as well as for deploying those interactive probing intended for directly communicating with any surviving communities on Venus (this could also be a robotic deployment but, that's too damn simple, too cost effective as well as not being nearly as life threatening).

Obviously the ISS to VL2 thing is a serious Rambo or Terminator-III sort of stunt, death defying to say the least but then I've not excluded upon what's still in the hopper as far as nuclear rocket engines nor of those larger xenon/lithium thruster formats, where either of which has the potential of getting this task accomplished with energy to spare. Once ISS is situated at VL2, then is when we get ourselves down to figuring out how the hell to manage a re-supply mission and crew change at the 18 month intervals. If things don't turn out so well for the initial crew, there'd be little point in returning those body bags to Earth and, if any of those crew members should survive against all odds, upon their returning to Earth they'd be invoiced for another 100 million bucks each, as for their noncompulsory chemotherapy aspects of the mission, as that's another plus which may not have been granted nor authorised in the beginning (in otherwords, we could sell them their own banked bone marrow).

Realizing the unknowns (if that's even possible), as well for the known risk and the sheer levels of terror to be experienced by those onboard, perhaps total sedation (long term) is the best recourse, as there's damn little anyone onboard can do if things aren't working out as planned. That's why I've sort of hinted about allowing only those wealthy and/or certified crazy enough but also of sufficient terminal illness to apply, that way there's no great loss and the vast majority of crew/passengers get their moneys worth. If we can ever locate bin Laden or even Saddam, I would have to think we'd have our first two volunteers, then there's always Bill Gates, Martha Stewart plus all of those ENRON/Andersen and WorldCom types making up whatever there's room for, where I'm disappointed in the Pope refraining, simply because some of those Venus lizard folk could be Cathars.

So, between our being paid to get rid of another 100+ tonnes worth of nasty lead plus loads of Xenon fuel, accommodating a paying crew and passengers manifest that'll not likely be requiring any extended retirement benefits, this mission ott to be showing good profit from day one. Then as syndicated as the ultimate 24/7 televised survivor series ott to be worth billions in advertising and endorsements, not to mention temporarily if not prematurely getting rid of a few folks that this world didn't really need in the first place. I'd also invite Warlord Bush but he's just not ever going to be smart enough and besides, by the time the next election roles around, he'll not only be unemployed again but flat broke in need of another sponsor (there's not all that many job opportunities for warlords these days).

From a phasing orbit, EMPL might become the next ticket, our tickets to the nearby planets

Here's something that's new to me, though obviously you've all known about the phasing orbit all along. This new found knowledge gives me some of the raw idea as to the escape trajectory of which a heavily loaded ISS would have to manage, especially if limited to the EMP thrust of a mere 1-t, whereas instead of a relatively short duration thrust of a conventional rocket engine that's likely capable of at least 100-t for perhaps 6 minutes at best, while having to burn off at least 160-t, whereas the nuclear powered EMP/lithium engine that's offering 1-t of thrust and having an ISP of 4500 would not only allow for a 24/7 thrust if need be, but also capable of providing the added velocity index that's 100 times the LOX-LH2 capability. In other words; if my math is half correct, instead of 6 minutes of thrust, we'd have 60,000 minutes or 42 days of thrust derived from the same 160-t worth of fuel at the delivery of 1-t, or 420 days at 0.1-t thrust.

A relay/resupply mission of delivering lithium and other provisions is certainly another doable thing, at least Russia seems to accomplish the task with reasonable confidence.

The Phasing Orbit: an altitude that's roughly midway between the planet and of a circular geosynchronous orbit (for Earth that's 22,300 miles or 35,888 km), creating a phasing orbit of approximately 17,945 km, representing a somewhat required trajectory jumping off point that's respectfully situated well within Earth's Van Allen zone of death, of which this is clearly indicating a rather angular in and out escape path as for making your way through the Van Allen travel distance of at least three if not 4 times the vertical space occupied by all of those horrifically nasty radioactive particles occupying the greater bulk of the 1000 km to 70,000 km zone. Thus, if worst case traverse is 4 X 69,000 km, that trek is obviously representing 276,000 km worth of Van Allen travel-through. Even at 27.6 km/sec = 10000 sec (roughly 3 times the Apollo velocity) offers 2.77 hours worth of having to suffer TBI sheer hell on steroids.

Too bad we're still not smart enough to figure out how to utilize all that radiation for sustaining a rather substantial nuclear rocket blast, that'll perchance give us 276 km/sec (that's not 1/1000 the speed of light), as then we're down to a mere 0.25 hours worth, perhaps even less if the trajectory angle is sufficiently altered by such a tremendous velocity factor.

I suppose it'll be conceivable to build onto ISS a 100 g/cm2 surround, plus offering another 100 g/cm2 as a personal pod/coffin interior environment per crew member (however, that's still only a combined mass of 2-t/m2 about your body), therefore understandably the total mass of ISS along with nuclear power, added shielding, several hundred tonnes of assorted fuels, a hundred or so tonnes of just O2 and otherwise a good supply of H2O, beer, vodka and pizza ott to press ISS to a heafty mass of 1000-t, just about exactly like I had stated prior to all this "need to know" basis of having to accomplish my own exploratory discovery of what the current level of space travel potential is all about.

I've recently identified a somewhat other "out of this world" rocket energy propulsion scheme that seems to at least double upon what EMP has to offer, as well as for doubling other formats of propulsion. EMPL is totally beyond my knowledge of what's possible but, what do we have to lose. I'm not even all that certain if the total overall fuel/energy consumption is actually less, or of just the outgoing mission craft is being improved upon but, what if that other directed energy emission/thrust were somehow sourced from our moon; thereby supposedly each pushing on one another's thrust. At least in theory, that ott to work. I do believe that a 0.1 milliradian laser cannon is possible, thus if situated on the moon and nuclear powered (say 100 GW) could enable a rather great deal of our delivering energy towards the craft headed for VL2, where obviously the large diameter contact plate (say 100 meters) for receiving that energy beam ott to be of extreme alloy plus ceramic, unless we're dealing with the visible spectrum of say 650 nm, as then there's not all that much heat involved, less yet as you apply 550 nm and so on.

Once again, I'm open for all suggestions, ideas and of whatever support you can muster. And by the way, you don't need to bother informing me about all the hot and nasty aspects of Venus, as Club NASA has that category covered for the past 13+ years and counting. Of what others and myself need to know is of what's new and improved and/or simply positive about Venus, even if it's not fully understood. In other words; good grief folks and fellow snookered fools! this is not really even rocket science, since the vast majority of what's needed is sort of "off the shelf", especially as for establishing interplanetary communications and, I believe ISS is sufficiently ready to go at something worthy of what I consider Earth's humanity desperately needs, far more badly than of what a certain warlord thinks you and I need in the way of protection from all those invisible WMDs (at this point, I think we may need a whole lot more protection from the haves' rather than the have nots').

Of course, we may not even need to accomplish any of this VL2 thing, if those nice Venus lizard folk were to utilize their massive metro airship as for accommodating nighttime astronomy (obviously that's being situated as cruising above them cool nighttime clouds, of which the laws of physics confirms is a doable thing), then all we may need are those 5 watt or perhaps at maximum interplanetary distances of requiring but 10 watts of sub milliradian laser packets. If that's not communications efficiency, as well as being of the most universally capable and of cross species form of communications, then I obviously don't know what is.

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