Orbital Sustainment and Space Mobility Logistics

Mines Student Alexander Jehle and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow George Sowers write about how water is the “oil” of space. Water, H2O – two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, can be used as a steam or plasma propellant for spacecraft and space tugs and be split into hydrogen and oxygen as a chemical rocket propellant. Water is ubiquitous in the inner solar system and exists as ice on the Moon. Recent research indicates lunar water can be economically mined, processed, and exported into cislunar space. Refueling space vehicles using space-sourced propellant breaks the tyranny of the rocket equation, lowering the cost of missions beyond low Earth orbit. This paper describes cislunar propellant distribution architecture anchored by a logistics node at the first Earth-Moon Lagrange point.  July 21, 2021.