Mars Trans Atmospheric Vehicle "Hermes"

In Mars heyday before the building of the space elevator ground to orbit craft regularly shuttled personnel and goods up and down the Martian gravity well. With advanced materials, the high thrust provided by fission drives and safe to handle water reaction mass they were also sturdily built, safe and reliable.

A few of the TAVs are still around providing regular and reliable service. They are mostly in the hands of private organisations, some with triad connections. They are actually financially competitive with the beanstalk but cannot handle the high volumes required of modern Mars. However there is less tolerance of their mildly radioactive exhaust today and their numbers are dwindling. Many have been converted to OTVs.

The craft carries enough water reaction mass for a one way journey. It must refuel in low orbit for the return journey to Mars. Several privately owned comets have been moved into low orbit to provide a combined "gas station" and orbital transfer point, where people and goods are moved to OTVs or interplanetary craft.

A very cheap Mars or Mercury orbiter using water as reaction mass making it very economical.

Hermes class orbital rocket




TL 10, dST/HP 30, Hnd/SR 0/4, HT 12, Move 1.5G (2.52 mps), LWt. 100, Load 2, SM 6, Occ 12 SV, dDR 5, M$ 1.45

Time to Mars orbit 240 seconds, 0.3 mps fuel reserve for orbital manouvers. Must refuel in orbit.

Example economics: 2000 trips per year (1000 round trips), One way seat price $100, one way Cargo price per ton $115. As trade is dropping off the cost of running these craft is increasing and prices are rising.

Transhuman Space Index