A Space Sciences Initiative
FOLDINGSS is a technology and expertise development and
demonstration program. As the name implies, there are four
identifying attributes of the program:
||To experiment within the environment of deep space, 50% of
mission time at minimum Earth orbit of 1,000,000 miles. An
Earth orbit provides many launch and return windows for easy
program technology and experiment iterations as well as for
safety of the final 900 day mission.
||To test our abilities to support life on a Mars mission
timescale, the ultimate mission duration must be 900 days
prior to the return to Earth.
||Data is required for reduced gravity effects during long
stays on Luna and Mars. The program documents artificial gravity's
effect on crew health on long missions. FOLDINGSS provides a
test bed for 1/3G and 1/6G gravity which is nearly
impossible to simulate in any other way.
||To establish the level of humanities artificial life support
skills, no support from Earth is provided after initial
provisioning. All food, water, gases, fuels, etc. must be on
board from the start.
More discussion of the Programs objectives follows and is
categorized according to primary goals, secondary, and tertiary. The
prime goals are expected outcomes of the original program scope. The
secondary goals are those which could be reasonably accomplished
with an expanded timeline and budget after the prime objectives are
met. The tertiary objectives outline some possible uses for the
programs assets as opposed to simple decommissioning. For a quick
comparison of FOLDINGSS against other proposed deep space programs
see the link for NASA
differences and SpaceX
differences. The time is right
for a program of this type.
|Primary Program Objectives
||Secondary Optional Program Objectives
- Prepare for a crewed journeys beyond Earth's gravitational
influence. This implies few launch and return windows which
makes for infrequent opportunities to receive
physical support from Earth.
- Demonstrate a spacecraft capable of producing inertial gravity
(spin gravity) comparable to the gravity experienced on the
surface of Mars and Luna.
- Document physiological effects on crew at 1/6G and 1/3G over a
long duration. Data to be applied to both Lunar habitation, Mars
habitation, and deep space travel.
- Demonstrate the ability to sustain a crew of humans in good
health for a
minimum of 900 days continuously. This implies dealing with the
limits of habitat area and volume as well as restricted diets
- Demonstrate the ability to maintain the crew in good health.
The crew of this long duration mission must be able to perform
useful work in the gravity of the specified target body at any
point in the journey. Some minimum level of muscle mass and bone
density must be maintained throughout the journey.
- Demonstrate the ability to perform 1,2, 3 and 4 above while at a
mean distance of 1,000,000 miles from Earth for at least 50% of
the mission. This establishes humanity has sufficient accommodations
for the hazards of deep space including, solar radiation, cosmic
radiation, micro-meteorite detection and avoidance, etc.
- Demonstrate the ability to perform 1,2,3, 4 and 5 above without
receiving any physical support from Earth. The mission must be
self sufficient relying entirely on supplies provisioned at the
start of the mission. This is the analog to a mission
destination where there is no ability deliver supplies due to
- Support Lunar programs concurrently by utilizing overlapping
crew and/or capabilities. Such as providing ferry services for
supplies, crew, or landing craft to Luna.
- Support scientific investigations by providing an observation
point significantly distant from Earth. As a good deal of the
primary objectives require significant loiter time. That time
can be utilized in support of other investigations. This can
mean trips to Lagrange points, extensive survey of far side of
Luna, Earth magnetic field exploration in bow shock and tail.
- Provide emergency contingencies to other crewed missions such
as Lunar missions. The FOLDINGSS research ship can serve as an
emergency hospital or any other sort of port in storm as
Possible Post Program Objectives
- Continuous automated deep space observation. The FOLDINGSS
research craft could be parked in a distant stable orbit or
Lagrange point to conduct additional crewed or automated
- Space Hospitality Venue (privately operated). The FOLDINGSS
research craft could be parked in an Earth orbit that is
reachable by commercial boosters and return craft. Thus acting
as a space destination for entertainment or other private space
- Transport vehicle for actual transfer to Martian orbit.
Provided sufficient total impulse is available, the FOLDINGSS
research vessel could easily serve as the first spacecraft to
transport crew to Mars. It could also ferry landing craft. It
could also act as a safe point for other Martian explorers
should evacuation become necessary. Obviously, it ceases to be a
craft in Far Orbit at this point and becomes an Interplanetary
Program Milestones (short list)
- Design a ship to accomplish the mission.
The ship needs a habitat section of sufficient size to support
spin gravity of 1/3G at circumference.
The ship needs a drive section capable of moving the ship from
LEO to 1,000,000 miles and back again at least two times with
The ship needs a means for crew to pass between the drive
sections of the ship and the habitat section
The ship needs sufficient EVA and assembly support most likely
in the form of large robotic arms.
See two proposed ship configurations for details.
- Build all modules for the ship that will fit a 5.1m x 13m
This will likely include inflatable habitat modules.
- Modules will connect using modified Common Berthing Mechanisms
- Build the ship in LEO using multiple launches starting with
the central habitat hub.
- Habitat area must recycle water
- Habitat area must recycle envelope gases
- Habitat area must be able to store or generate 120% of
envelope gases required for 900 day mission after allowance for
maximum leak rate.
- Provision the drive sections with emergency life support and
sufficient fuel for the 900 day journey.
- Start the Inertial gravity using ion thrusters on the habitat
section (simulate 1/3G in outer habitat spaces and approx 1/6G
in inner habitat spaces).
- Provision the ship for a 900 day journey
- Crew the ship (12 souls initial crew, 3 yr commitment)
- Move the ship to a 250,000 mile mean orbit (Luna distance)
using low impulse maneuvers.
- Get the medical labs operational. Establish crew baseline
scans, blood work, etc for simulated gravity.
- Provide support for any ancillary Luna missions for 4 months
while proving the ship.
- Move the ship near points L3 and L4. Catalog all Trojans and
perform scientific observations of Lagrange points
- Move the ship to a 500,000 mile mean orbit of Earth.
Characterize the space at this distance including solar
radiation, cosmic radiation, and micro-meteor density. Test
various radiation shielding systems for effectiveness.
- Move the ship to a 1,000,000 mile mean orbit. Continue medical
evaluations of the crew. Characterize the space at this
distance. Continue horticulture experiments. Continue animal
experiments, especially as they relate to reproduction and early
mammal development to determine what effects Inertial Gravity (InG)
- Continue to monitor food stores and resource recycling
systems. Maintain the ship
- Perform astronomical observations from a non-earth
- Test the effectiveness of robotic sentinel ships at detecting
micro-meteorites and radiation variability.
- Prepare reports on terminal crew health.
- Move the ship back to LEO using low impulse maneuvers.
- Replace the crew.
- Certify technologies as sufficient for crewed deep space
travel or identify specific areas requiring more development
prior to deep space travel.
Program's List of First Ever Accomplishments
- Largest Interior Pressurized Crew Space.
- First Two Part spacecraft connected by bearings and crew passage.
- First ION powered crew propulsion.
- Longest duration crewed mission with a single crew (ISS crewed for
longer but with different personnel).
- Farthest Crewed mission from Earth.
- First Crewed mission to use steady state artificial gravity.
- First long duration low pressure environment.
- Likely firsts in radiation protection.
- Likely firsts in radiation treatment.
- Likely firsts in water and gas recycling.
- Likely firsts in cryogenic fuel creation and storage.