Below are a sequence of sketches authored by Wernher Von Braun to illustrate seven steps required to retrofit and erect the manned Mars landing vehicle for a return to Earth. The bottom sketch depicts Von Braun's concept of the Mars descent vehicle. Beneath each sketch are the descriptive words Wernher Von Braun printed on each of the sketches.
(1) Wing is taken off in 10 foot sections. Boat still rests on the two sets of central landing wheels. Special vehicle (Type A) is pushed under boat's belly in order to support boat after removal of outrigger wheels.
(2) Wingless boat rests on special vehicle (Type A). Front and real landing gear have been removed.
(3) Boat has been rotated 45 degrees in saddle supports of special vehicle (Type A). Launcher has been wheeled into position by tracted vehicle (Type B) and bolted to hinges in both lower fins.
(4) Wheels of launcher are taken off. Launcher is firmly secured in ground. Foot beams (former struts of dismantled wing?) are mounted on top of boat's body. Steel cable of winch on vehicle 1 is connected with top of beam structure. Steel cable of winch on vehicle 2 is connected with boat's nose.
(5) Winch of vehicle 1 pulls while winch of vehicle 2 releases steel cable thus erecting boat. Special vehicle (Type B) is withdrawn.
(6) Man enters central room via ladder and pull-out clamps, lowers beam structure to ground, controlling with rope R. Beams are then disconnected at hinge point and pulled away by tracked vehicle
(7) All vehicles are cleared from take-off site. Boat is ready for take-off.
The above sketch depicts the attachment of the descent vehicle (to the right) with the ascent vehicle ( to the left). The lower right hand sketch is enlarged below to show details of the design of the Mars descent vehicle. Note (above) the extremely long wings of the descent configuration with its two outrigger landing skis and central landing ski. Von Braun had over estimated (at the time) the density of Mars's atmosphere such that even these quite extensive wings would not have provided adequate gliding ability.