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  1. Video of the Kagutsuchi mission: 2035-05-01 - After 1.5 years of exploring Mars and its moons (a "conjunction class" or long-stay mission), it was finally time for the crew of Kagutsuchi to return to Earth. The Mars Transfer Vehicle jettisoned its Mars Orbit Stage, leaving the Earth Return Stage (which was identical to the transfer stage of the Mars Habitation Module, with its 1 LE-7-R and 2 LE-5B-3 engines). The MTV's orbit being aligned with Phobos, but it was misaligned for a return to Earth. To correct this, it would perform the Trans-Earth Injection in several phases, essentially a reverse of the maneuvers completed at Mars arrival (first burn, inclination change, then second burn). The orbital inclination was shifted by over 40 degrees at the apoapsis [the required inclination for transfer calculated with the help of KSPTOT]. 6 and a half months later, the MTV arrived home. The MAV undocked to redirect itself, leaving the rest of the MTV to fly past Earth as close as 250 km. The MAV's capsule separated, re-entered and splashed down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 2035-05-03 - Second phase of the Trans-Earth Injection burn 2035-11-19 - Return to Earth
  2. [JAXA+] 2035-11-19 - The Kagutsuchi Mars mission returns to Earth
  3. JAXA+ | Japanese Crewed Mars Mission "Kagutsuchi" (2030-2035)
  4. [JAXA+] 2035-04-10 - The Kagutsuchi Mars Transfer Vehicle lands on Phobos and Deimos (three days later)
  5. 2035-04-10 - After refueling and a week of rest at the Mars Transport Vehicle, the Kagutsuchi crew undocked once again to travel to the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. The MAV performed a series of Hohmann transfer burns to intercept and match velocities with the targets. Landing on Phobos occurred about 8 hours later. The Martian moons were very small compared to their parent planet, being similar to carbonaceous asteroids. Due to its low density, Phobos was also considered to be a collection of rocks loosely held together by gravity. Their escape velocities were about 10 m/s or less, requiring careful and gentle engine burns. The RL10 CECE methalox variant could throttle down to 25% of full thrust, and with half of the engines disabled, the effective throttling could be as low as 12.5%. On the surface, walking felt more like floating, and taking a single step could take an astronaut dozens of meters away. The crew only stayed on Phobos for two days due to the solar arrays not getting enough exposure to the Sun, as it was often occluded by Phobos and Mars. They lifted off straight from the surface, escaping from the moon's tiny gravitational pull very easily, and headed for Deimos (half the size of Phobos), where they landed on April 13 and stayed for only one day. The MAV returned to low Mars orbit and docked with the MTV on April 15.
  6. [JAXA+] 2035-04-02 - After 1.4 years, the Kagutsuchi Mars Ascent Vehicle launches back to orbit and docks with the Mars Transport Vehicle, where it is refueled.
  7. 2033-11-01 - The Mars Cruiser rover was designed for long range ground expeditions, having about three weeks worth of supplies. On this day, it was driven 75 km west of the Habitation Module to explore Kasei Valles, the longest outflow channel on Mars. It was thought to have been formed by massive floods of liquid water that occurred billions of years ago, carving through the planet's surface over hundreds of kilometers. As this region was once covered in water, the crew of the Kagutsuchi mission studied and analyzed the ground for any fossilized remains of ancient lifeforms. Over time, the solar wind stripped away the Martian atmosphere (Mars being too small for a magnetic field), and the low temperatures and pressures caused liquid water to either freeze or evaporate. The crew returned to the base several hours later, and would continue their exploration for 1 year and 5 months. 2035-04-02 - The crew got ready to leave the Habitation Module, entering the Mars Cruiser for one last time and driving back 10 km to the Mars Ascent Vehicle. They climbed back into the MAV, and almost six hours later, the ladders and solar arrays were retracted for launch (to be redeployed once in orbit). The four methalox RL10 engines ignited while the landing legs were tucked in, as the single-stage vehicle ascended to a 200 km orbit. A day later, it caught up and docked with the Mars Transport Vehicle once again. The tapering section of the MTV contained a tank with almost 30 tonnes of liquid methane and oxygen to refuel the MAV, which would be used again to visit the moons of Mars. The MAV was also resupplied with food, water, and other necessities.
  8. [JAXA+] 2033-10-29 - The Kagutsuchi Mars Ascent Vehicle lands 10 km from the Habitation Module and Mars Cruiser rover that landed two years earlier. Takeyoshi Homura, Makoto Watanuki, and Akane Furukawa (right to left) become the first Japanese astronauts on Mars.
  9. 2033-10-29 - The crewed Kagutsuchi Mars Ascent Vehicle undocked from the interplanetary Transport Vehicle, just over an hour before executing the de-orbit burn with the tug stage (1x methalox RL10 engine). This burn was mostly conducted perpendicular to the prograde direction to align the MAV's path to land near the Mars Habitation Module. The tug stage was then separated, and the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator shield inflated. It was slightly smaller than the decelerator used for the MHM (20 instead of 25 m), but was sufficient at reducing velocity such that when the parachutes deployed at 15 km above the surface, a brief force of only 5-6 Gs was experienced by the crew. The shield fell, leaving the landing legs to extend. Four methalox RL10 s ignited for the final descent and landing, softly touching down on the Martian surface. The MAV landed about 10 km south of the MHM in Kasei Valles. The crew of the MAV put on their suits before the cabin was depressurized. Takeyoshi Homura was the first to climb out of the hatch and down the ladder, becoming the first Japanese person on Mars. Followed by Makoto Watanuki and Akane Furukawa, he planted the red sun flag of Japan on the Red Planet. They waited for their ride to the MHM: the Mars Cruiser rover, which drove autonomously to the MAV's landing site, a trip lasting about 10-15 minutes. The three astronauts boarded the Mars Cruiser, driving it back to the MHM, the base where they would live for the next 1.4 years.
  10. [JAXA+] 2033-10-26 - The Kagutsuchi Mars Transport Vehicle enters Mars orbit
  11. 2033-10-26 - The Kagutsuchi MTV arrived at the Red Planet, performing the same maneuvers demonstrated by the Mars Habitation Module. It first inserted into an elliptical orbit with a high point of almost 57000 km, where the vehicle performed a plane change to align itself with the orbit of Phobos on October 27 (using less propellant compared to a plane change near Mars). The day after that, the MTV entered its final orbit of 260 x 240 km as the crew prepared to head down to the surface.
  12. [JAXA+] 2033-04-13 - The Earth Departure Stages of the Kagutsuchi Mars Transport Vehicle ignite their engines
  13. 2033-04-13 - The Kagutsuchi MTV began its journey to Mars as the six LE-7-R engines of the first Earth Departure Stage ignited for over five minutes, putting the vehicle in an elliptical orbit with an apogee of 11,000 km. The EDS was then jettisoned using solid separation motors. Almost four hours later, the second identical EDS fired its engines for about three minutes to put the MTV on course for Mars, then detached. The transfer to Mars would take 6.5 months, with a small course correction using the three LE-5B-3 engines of the Mars Orbit Stage just a few days after leaving Earth. First Earth Departure Stage
  14. [JAXA+] 2033-04-10 - The Kagutsuchi Mars Transport Vehicle (1725 tonnes) assembled in Earth orbit
  15. 2033-01-10 - The first module of the Kagutsuchi Mars Transport Vehicle, which would take people to Mars and back, was launched by a H-Z 204L. It consisted of the Mars Orbit Stage (3x LE-7-R engines and 3x LE-5B-3 engines) and Earth Return Stage (1x LE-7-R and 2x LE-5B-3). The LE-5B-3 engines were used for insertion into an orbit 400 km above Earth. 2033-02-08 - The first of two Earth Departure Stages (6x LE-7-R) were launched by an H-Z 212L, and would dock linearly at the aft end of the MTV. 2033-03-08 - The second EDS was launched by another H-Z 212L. 2033-04-07 - The final assembly flight consisted of the Mars Ascent Vehicle, which would take crews to and from the surface of Mars (with the help of an inflatable deceleration shield, slightly smaller than the one used for the MHM), and the Mars Transport Vehicle Habitat, which the crew would live in on the trip to Mars orbit and back. They were launched by an H-Z 102S with the astronauts Takeyoshi Homura, Makoto Watanuki, and Akane Furukawa on board. The MAV performed a transposition, docking, and extraction with the MTV Hab once in orbit, and used a tug with a single methalox RL10 engine to rendezvous with the rest of the MTV. Once docked, the centrifuge ring inflated and began operating in 3 hours, generating 0.25 Gs of artificial gravity. A few days later, the first Japanese crewed mission to Mars would leave Earth. Total mass in orbit: 1725 tonnes
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