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Inspiration Mars seeks NASA support, funding
Posted: Thu, Nov 21, 2013, 6:50 AM ET (1150 GMT)
Inspiration Mars vehicle stack at Mars (Inspiration Mars Found.) Inspiration Mars, the private effort announced earlier this year to mount a 501-day human Mars flyby mission in 2018, said Wednesday it was now seeking to more closely partner with NASA to carry out the mission. The non-profit foundation released a summary of a 60-day report it performed to look at mission architectures. That report recommended an approach that makes use of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, along with a commercial crew vehicle; it would also make use of a modified Cygnus spacecraft as a crew habitat, and accelerate development of an upper stage for SLS that NASA currently doesn't plan to complete until the early 2020s. Tito said in Congressional testimony Wednesday that he estimated the cost of the mission at less than $1 billion, but expected private sources to provide only $300 million of that, with NASA providing the rest, in addition to use of the first SLS launch in late 2017. Tito said that Congress and the Administration would need to decide in the next couple of months whether to support this proposal in order to meet their launch date of the end of 2017.
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