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Exoscientist

Europa Clipper as a *lander* mission on commercial rockets.

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 The latest NASA budget suggests the Europa Clipper, an orbiter mission to the Jovian-system to study Europa, won’t fly on the SLS, but instead on commercial rockets:

https://mobile.twitter.com/SpcPlcyOnline/status/1105131948903747584

However, instead of just an orbiter mission, by using commercial rockets, we can do it as an actual lander mission at a fraction of the cost of the SLS-based orbiter mission. In fact, it could be so low cost so as to be fully privately financed and at a profit.

http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2015/02/low-cost-europa-lander-missions.html

 This written in 2015. Since then the F9 has been increases in payload nearly 50% and the FH by nearly 25%. So the landers could be made larger or more capable in-space stages could be used to shorten the flight time.

I had assumed that the Falcon Heavy couldn't carry the full Europa Clipper orbiter at 6 ton gross mass to Jupiter. And speculation had been the addition of a Star 48 solid-stage would allow the EC mission on a FH but it would require an Earth gravity-assist that would lengthen the flight time to 6 years. However, I was surprised when I ran the numbers that the upgraded version of the FH could do the mission with plenty of margin with the addition of one of the existing cryogenic upper stages. The extra margin would actually allow you to shorten the flight time from the 2.7 years expected with the SLS.

 

 Bob Clark

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I know a trajectory analyst at MSFC and he’s said that Europa Clipper needs a characteristic energy (C3) of 83 km^2/s^2 for direct injection to Jupiter.

So the question is how much mass can different launchers deliver to a C3 of 83?

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