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UNMS Athena
Published 3 months ago
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The United Nations Mars Spacecraft Athena was an interplanetary spacecraft designed to carry human explorers to and from Mars during the Ares program in the early 21st century. Over 170 meters long (sans boosters) and weighing in at just under 340 tons (sans boosters or deuterium propellant), the Athena was the first of many massive in-space construction projects undertaken in low Earth orbit. Built over the course of six years, Athena saw her maiden voyage with the launch of the Ares I expedition in 2018, and remained in service for another two decades before being decommissioned at the end of Ares V. The Athena, though dismantled for part reclamation after the close of the Ares program, served as the design template for humanity's interplanetary vessels for several centuries afterward.

Athena's staging functioned uniquely relative to previous mission vessels. It used a set of four colossal "Earth-escape" oxygen-hydrogen chemical rocket boosters (shortened to EEBs) to escape the gravity well of the Earth-Moon subsystem, jettisoning the almost-empty tanks after achieving interplanetary velocity. The boosters, now only powering themselves, used their remaining fuel to return to lunar orbit in order to be recovered and refueled by Deep Space Gateway personnel. Once out from under the Earth's gravitational thumb and well on its way to Mars, Athena engaged its main drive system: a incredibly efficient positron-catalyzed fusion drive developed in the early 2000s. This allowed the vessel to decelerate to Mars capture velocity over the course of the outbound trip. After the full Mars surface mission was complete, the Athena used its twin "Mars-escape" boosters -much smaller than the EEBs- to exit the gravity well of Mars, before reigniting the fusion drive that would slowly brake the vessel on the long journey home to Earth. In this way, the majority of the Athena was reusable, cutting mission costs down considerably.

(Model scale: 1 full brick width = 2.5 m)
Length: 170 m (base structure) / 173 m (with EEBs)
Vessel wet mass: 350 tons
Vessel dry mass: 338 tons
Total launch mass: 5550 tons
Interplanetary drive: Sagitta-1 positron catalyst fusion engine
Exhaust velocity: 3000 km/s (0.01c)
Drive max acceleration: 0.0005 m/s^2 (0.00005 G)
Drive Δv: 43690 m/s
Drive specific impulse: 306122 s
Earth-escape booster dimensions (x4): 34 m * 10 m
Earth-escape booster mass (x4): 32 tons dry (1180 tons fueled)
Earth-escape stage total mass: 4720 tons
Earth-escape stage engine (x4): RS-50 cryogenic LOX/LH2
Earth-escape stage Δv: 7905 m/s
Mars-escape booster dimensions (x2): 27.5 m * 5 m
Mars-escape booster mass (x2): 8 tons dry (240 tons fueled)
Mars-escape stage total mass: 480 tons
Mars-escape stage engine (x2): RS-25 cryogenic LOX/LH2 (water storage)
Mars-escape stage Δv: 4118 m/s
Power plant: fission thermal + solar arrays
Fission plant output: 16000 kWe
Solar array output: 320 kWe (~1 AU)
LEO shuttle: Orion II crew module
Lander: Phoenix multi-stage MTAV (Mars trans-atmospheric vehicle)
Crew: 4 - 6
Avg. crew duration: 1.2 years
Constructed: 2012 - 2016
Launched: 2018 (Ares I)
Decommissioned: 2032

Read more about the Ares program and the future-history of Mars on the Diaspora site: https://www.worldanvil.com/w/diaspora-spyglassrealms/a/mars-article
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2 months ago
2 months ago
This absolutely rocks!!! I love fake future history, and this is scratching that itch. This is a simply awesome model and concept! Keep up the great work my man!
2 months ago
2 months ago
@Neckhorse thank you so much! Athena here is the product of long hours of research and mathematics to ensure its adherence to the functional laws of rocket science. I've been working on this setting, the Diaspora, for many years now and I have plenty more spacecraft designs from the Diaspora to publish, so keep an eye out for more! ;D
2 months ago
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2 months ago
hey @Zicfriz I'd appreciate if you could please stop the spam comments, thank you.
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