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HERAKLES: To the Unknown

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HERAKLES: To the Unknown; A JNSQ Exploration mission log.

KSC has had tremendous successes over the past decades,sending landers and orbiters almost all the celestial bodies in Kerbol system. In the recent years, there has been tremendous push for crewed missions beyond LKO. Several architectures have been designed for our return to Mun and Minmus, and Duna-Ike exploration. Some are practical, some are in the realms of fantasy. But all of them suffer from one major roadblock: Cost.

HERAKLES aims to overcome this constraint through reusability and increased reliability, as opposed to competing mission architectures.

HERAKLES is a multipurpose reusable space vehicle concept which can be used for regular payload delivery to and from the surface of Mun and Minmus. It started out as a study to develop reusable upper stages to deliver payloads to GTO and Trans Munar Orbits but soon evolved into a complete Kerbin system exploration package. It has the potential to land a significant payload to the Mun's surface and return back to Low-Kerbin Orbit for refueling and inspections.

Why is it necessary?
With the recent advent of reusable 2 stage boosters to launch payloads to LKO, it started making less sense for the upper stages to be expendable. Reusablity coupled with rapid turnaround and Munar ISRU would dramatically reduce expenditure for missions beyond LKO. On validation of the Herakles Upper Stage in Kerbin's sphere of influence, this has the potential to become the space transportation vehicle of choice for Duna exploration and within the Jool system.

With much more flexibility and less complexities involved as opposed to competing designs, HERAKLES promises a safe, reliable and cost-effective alternative to the present trend of space exploration.


"That was.. alright, I suppose." Mortimer took off his glasses. "But do you think it's enough to fire everyone's imagination? I mean, most folks out there who would rather support researching and utilizing  'Reliable and proven' technology. How you gonna convince them?"

"Well, that's the exact reason I have used 'reusable' and 'reusability' 5 times in this little presentation." Linus replied.

"You have got your priorities right! Your proposal is accepted!" With the sound of the gravel and chuckles all around the auditorium, the HERAKLES was formally adapted by KSC as one of the competing architecture for Duna exploration.

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