[RSS/RO/RP-1] First crewed lunar landing - Gemini Lander

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Early crewed Moon landing Nasa proposal


Gemini Lander

I've just managed to do this early "low-cost" Nasa proposal to a cheap and fast moon landing, since our space program is often running out of money ( big hug to RP-1 team) . Of course, this little thing never flown in reality, was one of the possible applications of the Gemini spacecraft (one design even was planned to a Mars landing!).

First, have to launch the landing module, attached to a Centaur stage (2 RL-10 with restart capacity), in LEO.

Launch vehicle is the great Titan III-E: first stage 2 solid boosters and LR-87 (burning aerozine/NTO in AJ-9 configuration), second stage is LR-91 (same, AJ-9 too), and last stage is hypergolic Centaur stage , just to finish orbit.


Of course we have to launch in the plane of the moon, so waiting, to have right relative inclination.

Initial ascent


Booters separation, aiming orbit at 250 km:


Then LR-91 firing, and finally centaur stage just a bit to finish the work:


The Lander is hidden in the fairings, and on top of that, agena probe core/docking port for gemini spacecraft.

Now let's launch the crew! The gemini spacecraft have been upgrated with a better service module, providing enough deltav to hopefully come back from moon orbit, and enough life support stuff.

Same Launch Vehicle. Crew: Neil Amstrong, Alan Shepard. And launching from Cap Canaveral (same as before)


Standing by the launch:


Neil and Alan photographs from the launch tower for their respective wives when they will (we hope) come back:




Now get in, and launch! Waiting to have the same inclination as our target and an acceptable phase angle to minimize rendez-vous deltav cost.


Hmm, all this thrust, glorious.

After getting rid of boosters and first stage, centaur is as before finshing orbit:


After rendez-vous maneuver, let's dock this!


Docked! Now go for the moon:



After about 2 days of travel in this tiny spacecraft, and after circularization burn, Neil Amstrong is getting in the Landing Module, leaving Alan Shepard a few hours alone in moon orbit:


Undocking, and centaur stage firing its last precious amounts of deltav doing the decceleration burn, after that the lander will be released juuuust to the do final descent, at about 2000 m above the terrain, meaning Neil Amstrong will land with a Centaur stage going to crash.. just under him. What a brutal Nasa idea!


Almost, almost, now let's do it smooth (the lander is propelled with 1 or 2 kn engines burning Aerozine/NTO (unthrottable) and have very few life support on it).

I made the lander with descent and ascent stage, but not necessary at all, as you can see.


And done! Now let's get out quickly of this flying scrap, plant a flag, take one or two pebbles for our scientists, eat a snack on moonar surface, and get back!


Good bye moon:



Rendez-vous with Gemini, and EVA crew transfer:


Now let's go back to our dear old Earth, have to aim the return Pe at 71 km to capture first, and then land, for good ( since the Gemini heatshield will burn up under that, and we don't wan't that).


Second and final reentry:



Chuutes, chuutes:


And gloriously, marvelously, splashed in the Indian Ocean:



Edited by kurgut
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