Description: The 1992 discovery of a water-ice, near-Earth object (NEO) in the space near Earth is evaluated as a source of rocket fuel and life support materials for Earth orbit use. Nuclear thermal rockets using steam propellant are evaluated and suggested. The space geological formation containing such water-rich NEO's is described. An architecture couples near-Earth object fuels (neo-fuel) extraction with use in Earth orbits. Preliminary mass payback analyses show that space tanker systems fueled from space can return in excess of 100 times their launched mass from the NEO, per trip. Preliminary cost estimates indicate neo-fuel costs at Earth orbit can be 3 orders of magnitude below today's cost. A suggested resource verification plan is presented.
Date: August 25, 1992
Creator: Zuppero, A.C. & Jacox, M.G.
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department