Carbon dioxide Oxidizer Rocket
The Carbon dioxide Oxidizer Rocket (COR) is a novel propulsion system concept that can enable global mobility for Mars exploration. In this concept a fuel, such as B2H6, B5H9, SiH4, LiBH4, Al(BH4)3, H2, Mg, NH3 or N2H4 is transported to Mars and burned in the COR engine using native Martian CO2 as the oxidizer. Specific impulses for these propellant combinations range from 200 to 320 s. Because the majority of the propellant mass is CO2, which can be replenished from Martian air with a simple pump, the effective specific impulse of the fuel transported from Earth can exceed 1600 s. The COR could be used to power a Mars hopper vehicle, which replenishes itself with CO2 oxidizer each times it lands, allowing one Mars mission to explore a large number of widely dispersed sites. COR rockets could also be used to support NASA's planned Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission by eliminating the need to transport to Mars most of the propellant needed by the Mars ascent vehicle. As a result the MSR mission could both reduce the size of its required launch vehicle and increase the sample size returned to Earth, greatly increasing mission cost-effectiveness.
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