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Most of your concerns can be put to rest by this image: Image credit: NASA, Source: Wikipedia For the last time in the Shuttle program, Space Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour are placed at LC39A and LC39B in preparation for the STS-125 mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Space shuttle Atlantis on Launch Pad 39A (left) is accompanied ...


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There's no historical precedent for simultaneous launch, but some early space program rendezvous experiments had flights launched somewhat close together. Gemini 8, 10, 11, and 12 each launched within a couple of hours of an unmanned Agena spacecraft for a rendezvous exercise. They would launch from separate pads at Cape Canaveral, LC-14 for the Agenas ...


13

To answer the first part of your question, have historically multiple spacecraft launched on the same date from geographically distinct locations, yes. In fact, it just happened last Wednesday, September 18, 2013 when two rockets were launched on the same date, and both from different facilities in the United States: Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force ...


12

Their future plans does not have Mars as a target at the moment. The ISRO is working manned mission technology in addition to the Moon, Venus, Sun and asteroid probes. They are also working to collaborate more with NASA on Mars and Moon missions after their first successful NASA/ISRO success: “To this end the working group agreed to continue discussions ...


11

It would take vastly more $\Delta V$ to get it to a low-Earth orbit. The targets selected are close enough to Earth's orbit about the Sun that it only takes around $200\,\mathrm{m/s}$ to get it into a distant retrograde orbit about the Moon. To get the thing to a low Earth orbit would be around $3\,\mathrm{km/s}$. The tyranny of the rocket equation makes ...


9

First of all, it's extremely important to have redundancy for something like this, in the event of there being an issue with one of the rooms. Furthermore, the various rooms can be used for training by different teams at the same time, although I doubt one is doing a live fire in one and having a training in another. There have been a few instances of ...


8

If that were your only criteria, then you would lower the risk even further by not going at all. The goal is for each mission to have an acceptable risk and acceptable reward, to build crewed experience in deep space (i.e. to not have 30 years of uncrewed missions and one big bang at the end of that), and to have the overall developments fit within an ...


8

The decision to have 4 firing rooms was made in the early 1960s, before the Apollo missions (e.g. the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous plan) were worked out. At the time, some of the options included multiple launches to assemble the lunar expedition in space. So they built a complex that could accommodate any conceivable mission structure. The Launch Control ...


8

There are many examples of multiple launches on the same date - NASA has even done multiple launches on the same date. One of these was to practice docking with an Agena target vehicle. On Gemini XI, the Agena target vehicle was launched Sepetember 12, 1966 at 8:05:01 a.m. EST. The Gemini vehicle itself was launched 10:42:26 am EST the same day.


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Major space launching facilities have multiple launch pads and thus the capacity to launch multiple vehicles at the same time. As already answered, this is not usually done these days for logistic reasons, but multiple consecutive launches were fairly common during the heyday of the space (and ICBM) race. People had already mentioned the american exercise, ...


7

There are proposals for a follow-up mission to Mars, involving a lander: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/VSSC-Chief-Hints-at-Second-Mars-Mission-Using-GSLV/2013/12/21/article1957410.ece This mission would be launched using either the GSLV-Mk2 or Mk3.


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Having multiple launches on the same day from the same location is difficult, as there are quite a few people needed to support each launch, and that becomes very difficult when there are two launches. It could be done in theory, but it isn't done in practice, there's just too much to coordinate. In general, two such objects from the same location would have ...


5

Safety of our blue planet. Eventually, gravity anomalies would cause even a perfectly orbited object (a moonlet?) to preces and hit the body it orbits around. Since orbiting an asteroid means reducing large fraction of its momentum to bring it closer to celestials it naturally orbits (NASA's plans involve capturing a near-Earth asteroid, or NEO, as part of ...


4

On March 7, 1970 a total solar eclipse passed directly over Wallops Island, VA. In conjunction with quite a few university groups NASA launched about 36 sounding rockets within a 4 hour period. I was there, sitting on the beach about one mile from the pads. Preparations and rehearsals for this extravaganza of launches started a couple of years before the ...


3

(Started writing this before your edits — decided to keep going since it still answers the questions) Here are the major problems as I see them. Technical A lunar colony would need a lot of help from Earth before it could be self-sufficient. The bare necessities are a habitat, oxygen, food, and water. It would take a long time to get just the ...


3

To some extend, these are very helpful. For instance, Mercury taught the United States a lot of valuable lessons about spaceflight, and in general each mission was safer than the previous one. Each Apollo mission learned from the lessons of the previous missions. This incremental ability allowed the mission to succeed. Personally, I don't think a manned ...


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The number of stages required to reach a given orbit varies with the design of the stages and the specifics of the payload. For liquid rocket engine stages, it's most typical to see two stages to low Earth orbit, and either two or three to geosynchronous orbit. Solid rockets have a lower specific impulse (a measure of fuel efficiency) so launchers using ...


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Multiple reasons exist. Weapon of Mass Destruction Any large body in orbit is a potential weapon of mass destruction. Drop a 20-ton rock from orbit, and it may not survive, but if you do it right, it creates a crater some 100m across. While NASA is not planning on using deadfall ortillery, the possibility is a political issue. Ownership and access ...


1

One limiting factor is the lack of a heavy launcher capable of sending a mission to the Moon (50 tons+). The historical vehicles with such capabilities are not many: Saturn V, N1, and Energia, none of which are still operating. Development of a new huge launcher is going to use a lot of a space agency's budget, without giving them a lot of new capabilities. ...


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