Ken Peek, 15426 Pebble Lake Dr., Houston, TX 77095. email@example.com
Although much thought has been applied to the idea of going to Mars with regard to the hardware and the Astronauts/Cosmonauts who would make the trip, not as much has been directed as to how it would be supported from the ground on the blue, not the red planet.
NASA support is obtained, existing infrastructure can be utilized to varying
degrees although conflicts with other programs (ISS and Shuttle) should be
expected. If a private venture is planned, this mission support apparatus must
be created. A list of this would include at a minimum:
* Mission Control Center (MCC) including all supporting material and staffing
* A Deep Space Network (DSN) or Shuttle TDRSS equivalent for voice/telemetry routing from the spacecraft and Martian ground sites to the Earth.
* Launch services and ground support equipment for the launch vehicle(s).
item would bring a unique set of challenges to the mission. Some of these would
Chain of command in the control room, especially if flight is international
Console support and positions (24 hrs a day or in sync with Mars clock?). shifts, cross-training
Attrition with the control team during the flight(s)
Loops/voice protocol/common language & measurement system
Procedures needed and how retrieved (checklists, mals. etc. paper or/and electronic?)
Training (integrated sims, possibly separated by vast distances (Antarctica to Houston?))
support hardware (workstations, display screens, servers, etc.)
Time/distance differences (relay communications lag)
and D/L channels, network availability (presumably DSN which is currently well
Range/pad conflicts with other programs
Regardless of whether or not NASA facilities (or ESA, RSA, etc.) are used, many of the same problems would arise. Some of these problems have been addressed in other programs, most noticeably Skylab and Mir, but may need to be re-tailored for Mars missions.