Suppose that US politicians want to fund a moon mission without SLS, using only hardware that is working now in 2019, using Orion together with some future moon lander supplied by the private sector.

What are the feasibilities of and challenges to the following scenarios?

  1. Could multiple Delta Heavy and Falcon Heavy missions pre-stage food, fuel, water, air, and supplies in low earth orbit, lunar orbit, and on surface of moon?

  2. Could an Orion command module said lunar lander be brought to LEO separately then crewed (via ISS) by Soyuz, starting the crewed lunar mission from LEO?

  3. Or instead, could said lunar lander and command module rendez-vous in lunar orbit? (yes this is assuming that orion and some miracle moon lander is made for this mission)

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    $\begingroup$ There is currently no US human spaceflight "moon lander". It is unlikely one could be built and flown by 2021. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 24 '19 at 23:11
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    $\begingroup$ ok i updated question to focus on orbital assembly for moon mission, less fantasy $\endgroup$ – user2177046 Jul 25 '19 at 0:37
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    $\begingroup$ @user2177046 I've modified your question to make it fit better into the sites format and question style. It's important to avoid wording that looks too hypothetical and really important to ask for opinions. Answers need to be (mostly) objective and fact-based, so questions need to ask only for objective and fact-based answers. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 25 '19 at 1:13
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I didn't downvote. I sort of abandoned the question once the miracle lander entered the picture. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 25 '19 at 1:16
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    $\begingroup$ also see answers to: Could an Orion Spacecraft launch from a Falcon Heavy? and also What missions could be done with Orion on Falcon Heavy? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 25 '19 at 1:25

Robert Zubrin of Mars Direct fame has discussed the issue of how to return to the Moon, to stay, to do ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization) all without the need for neither SLS nor the Lunar Toolbooth Gateway.

You can read more details here: New Atlantis article: Moon Direct

and here: Mars Society article: Moon Direct

Short version: A Falcon Heavy can launch a LOX/LH2 fueled lunar lander with equipment to mine water from the lunar poles. (See the articles for details).

Falcon Heavy can then launch a lander for future missions to LEO which once landed can refuel and be used to shuttle back and forth Earth to Moon.

No need for anything fancy, use the cheapest booster for the mission and get er done.

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  • $\begingroup$ thank you for awesome answer, i hope the space companies not being protected by corrupt congress members team-up and start a mooon mission with out SLS or any other pork barrel projects $\endgroup$ – user2177046 Jul 25 '19 at 23:59

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