Hard to beat a solid on simplicity. I found some more on the concept
Looks like we might see a return of the Zonds
The Russian leadership has been rather nasty to their Rocket Men lately, though.
Something I was thinking about. The Mars flyby with a Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon Heavy. That would be rather cramped, save for the inflatable segment. But what of a Dragon on SLS?
There you get an extra 20 tons or so, which might be enough propellant to slow Dragon down, perhaps making a one way aerobrake a little less rigorous.
In some ways, it takes less to get to Mars surface than the Moon. It took Proton to land the Lunkhods with having to burn all the way down. Current Mars rovers aerobrake really hard, because, unlike Cassini, they can't slow down on their own at all.
I keep hearing about hypercones, but I wonder if propulsive slowing might allow different designs--at least for a one way mission.
I wonder if this might be useful in some combination
If we ever have asteroid mining, I think the best way to recover large useful bits isn't the small robots talked about now. That is thinking too small.
A lot of asteroids rotate. If a nickel iron slug can be cut in half with cables, similar to what was done with the sunken Kursk submarine, the cables can then be used to have the two pieces in a bola. The rotational velocity can be turned into translational.
A second cut can be made, and the process repeated perhaps.
A bootstrapped bola can then perhaps be a flyby rotovator
The cable would be shorter with an asteroid flyby rotovators, perhaps allowing something like this:
So a bola could deposit a large asteroid frgment, perhaps at near zero velocity, while lifting a very heavy payload. If a bola, a surface naval vessel may have to move along at a good speed, with solid rockets only to reduce cable strain. This may free us from fuel constraints later on.
What struck me about the skyhook, was that the person rose vertically at a slow rate to about 100 feet, then began to streamline behind the aircraft
. If the flyby rotovator is a backspinning bola, that might also reduce the strain of a large object being jerked off the Earth's surface--perhaps if that rotovator bola has a tail and winches up the skyhook while backspinning.