August 22, 2007

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

go to my NEW ghostNASA blog

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

September 11, 2006

Decision #006 - Use ONLY expendable SRBs

A few weeks ago, I've read on a space blog that, retrieve the burned SRB from ocean, costs a fixed $500M per year!!!

That's an HUGE amount of money due to the care the SRBs need to be reused safely on another manned launch after refurbishing.

But, if we add the shared "retrieving cost per year" to each SRB launched, the (REAL) unit price of an SRB grows to:

$40M x 2 + $500M = $580M / 2 = $290M per SRB with a single Shuttle launch per year!

$40M x 4 + $500M = $660M / 4 = $165M per SRB with two Shuttle launches per year!

$40M x 6 + $500M = $740M / 6 = $123M per SRB with three Shuttle launches per year!

The latter is also the "price per SRB" to recover the six 5-segments SRB of two moon missions per year (two Ares-I SRBs and four AresV SRBs).

Probably (but not sure) the cost of retrieve and refurbish the SRB was reasonable when 6+ Shuttles per year was launched (or, better, with 20+ Shuttles' flights per year as planned in the Shuttle design) but (surely!) that is not a good choice now (and in future) with only a few SRBs per year to retrieve!

Then, my decision is to shift as soon as possible from reusable to EXPENDABLE boosters to use for (both) the last Shuttles' flights and ALL future Ares rockets!

The first part of my decision is to still use the old ringed SRBs but without refurbish and reuse them to save the fixed $500M retrieving costs... that's is up to $10 billion SAVED in the next 20 years of Shuttle flights, Ares tests and Ares launches!!!

The second part of my decision is to build, test and use as soon as possible (from last Shuttles' flights) ONLY a new 4-segments SRB with the same specs of to-day's booster (dimensions, propellent grain and geometry, thrust, ecc.) but with a new, single piece, fully closed, SRB case, without segments and rings (but with parachutes to have a slow fall of the burned boosters).

SAVE up to $10 billion in the next 20 years is not the only advantages of the expendable (single piece case) 4-segments SRB since it has (minimum) three other GIANT advantages:

1. it's hundreds times safer than a ringed SRB since, thaks to the new case) it will NEVER leak (like in the Challenger accident) with a launch abort of the Aees-I or a main tank explosion of the AresV

2. it's simpler, then, LIGHTER than a segmented SRB, so. the saved weight can be used to increase the rocket's payload with some extra-tons

3. the simpler SRB will cost LESS to build (since it doesn't need any complex refurbishing and tests) so, it's price may fall from current its $40M per unit to a lower $20-30M each or less!!!

September 03, 2006

Decision #005 - Use ONLY ready available engines

The most advanced space vehicles can't be made with rush (since they must fly with humans aboard) but need time and money.

However, I don't see any good reason to LOSE giant amounts of that time and money "re-inventing the wheel".

I think it's simply crazy to lose 3+ years and 3+ billion$ to modify the (ready available, cheap, reliable and man-rated!) standard SRB to have (only) a small increase of thrust (as explained in my SRB article) or spend MANY billion$ and SIX years to design, build and test the J-2x!

Then, my decision is to use ONLY ready available engines (or engines that need small changes) for ALL new ghostNASA's rockets to save GIANT amount of time and money and launch the new orbital and lunar missions sooner!

The consequence of my decision is that (both) the 5-segments SRB and the J-2x are scrapped from the ghostESAS plan (in my future posts I'll decide which engines must be used for the new rockets).

August 31, 2006

Decision #004 - Use an egg-shaped capsule

I think that we need a little, safer and cheaper new-Shuttle for large access Space (as I've explained in my VISUAL article) but I know that a capsule is the best and simplest vehicle to perform an earth-moon-earth travel with an earth-direct re-entry (like required in the ESAS plan) then, why don't build the BETTER capsule possible?

My decision is to test (and use, if the tests give good results) an "egg-shape" for the new caspule that ghostNASA will use for the moon missions.

The "EggOrion" (that I explain in my latest article) may have MORE internal space with an external diameter of only 4.5 mt. (or less) and is more aerodynamic.

I think that the "egg" has two great advantages at re-entry if compared with the cone-CEV and the true-bell Soyuz: a better distribution of the hot flux under the TPS that detaches faster away from the capsule (thanks to its aerodynamic) and a lower CG that increases the monostability of the capsule and a ballistic re-entry (that is safer for the crew, especially in case of failure of the control jets or a wrong/delayed use of them).

Of course, the "egg" needs study, calculations and tests, but I think that it may result better and SAFER than (both) the cone and the true-bell.

August 28, 2006

Decision #003 - TURN 180° the current strategy

The VSE plan is a prison with a single rule that dictate the return to the moon.

The consequence is that NASA must build the right vehicles to accomplish that mission ...and the easy way is the "remake" of the Apollo/LEM duo! (..."on steroids")

Excluding the Orion (that can be used also for orbital missions) ALL the ESAS hardware has a "purpose-specific" design instead of a (more rational) "multipurpose" architecture.

But ghostNASA is a "virtual" space agency (not influenced by politcs...), so, I can do the RIGHT choices and delete/avoid ALL bad/absurd/unrational/risky/expensive choices of the real space agencies!

Then, my 3rd DECISION is to TURN 180° the current strategy!

Now the VSE sequence is:

1. come back to the moon!

2. then... remake two new (purpose-specific) Apollo and LEM

3. then... build the "purpose-specific" rockets able to launch these "purpose-specific" vehicles.

After a complete 180° rotation of the VSE plan, the ghostVSE sequence is:

1. build one or more MULTIPURPOSE rocket(s) able to lift 80+ mT payload to LEO

2. design a whole range of MULTIPURPOSE (AND, some, "purpose-specific") vehicles, modules, cargo, tools, etc.

3. use the multipurpose rockets, vehicles, etc. to accomplish different missions (including some moon landings).

Thanks to the "180° rotation of strategy" ghostNASA can design all the future manned or automated missions (with many different missions' architectures) without "rebuild" them (everytime!) from zero! (all this in less time and with less money!)

August 23, 2006

Decision #002 - Orion contract assignation

I think that "competition" is a good word and a better practice (to lower costs and boost efficiency) when applied to "common" private and public contracts like the choice of a computer's manufacturer (for an office hardware contract) from a list of 10+ competitors, but NOT for the choice (from only two competitors) of the Orion contractor!

Orion is the most important part of the entire ESAS plan since it will host the astronauts for half of the moon travel and at the very crucial earth-direct reentry phase.

Then, it's design MUST BE PERFECT to avoid any problem that may result in a mission fail or (worst!) a loss of crew!

Unfortunately, after the Apollo program end in '70s great part of the experience about a moon mission/hardware is LOST and must be recovered.

I've read that NASA has recalled many (retired) "Apollo's grandfathers" and takes a look at the original Apollo's hardware in museums...

But this is not sufficient and I think that ALL the experience and knowledge about capsules and spacecrafts must be used to design and build the Orion.

Well, since the two Orion contract competitors (Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman/Boeing) may (both) develop MANY useful things to make a better Orion, "my" DECISION at ghostNASA is to assign the contract to BOTH (joint) competitors (with the same total amount of funds, of course) since that decision will have (at least) FOUR advantages:

1. join the experience and knowledge of the best brains of both teams to have the best design, solutions, performance, reliability and SAFETY for the Orion

2. share the design engineers of the two teams to develop and build a (better!) Orion in less time without any compromise about quality

3. save (or "don't lose") ONE year (or more!) waiting for the choice of the CEV contractor... oooh, sorry... NASA has ALREADY lost it...

4. don't pay the (multimillion$$$) allowance to the company that loses the Orion contract competition.

August 18, 2006

Decision #001 - STANDARDIZE the docking system

While space websites, forums, experts and aerospace companies of the world are "overheated" with long debates about the CEV, other capsules and their (solid, liquid, hybrid, big, small, etc.) rockets, I think that these are NOT the MOST IMPORTANT/URGENT points to decide.

The most important point to decide NOW is the development of an international standard hatch/docking system for ALL ports of ALL future cargo/crew/station (orbital/lunar) vehicles/modules from ALL countries/companies!

To-day there are only four working spacecrafts, the Shuttle (retired soon) the (old) Soyuz/Progress and the Shenzhou, but, within 10-15 years the sky will be FULL of many, different, cargo/crew spacecrafts: the cargo/crew ISS/lunar CEV, the ESA's ATV and ACTS, the Japan cargo H-II, a new Digital-Soyuz and the (less probable now) Kliper, the Shenzhou, new vehicles (from USA, Europe, China, Japan and India, etc.), many COTS vehicles, privates vehicles (from existing and new ventures), many orbital/lunar modules and stations (the finished ISS, new earth/lunar orbits space stations, etc.), different lunar landers, rescue vehicles, etc.

With so many vehicles in the space, there will be (or may be) an INCREDIBLE number of different (planned or emergency) orbital/lunar/resupply/refuel/maintenance/repair/rescue missions, accomplished with different vehicles from different countries!

Well, if we want to design a BETTER and SAFER future in space, we absolutely need that ALL new vehicles (from ALL countries) and also (with adaptors) ALL the old vehicles/modules (like the ISS) MUST connect (with or without a previous planned decision) with its same or with different vehicles (a CEV with another CEV, an LSAM with a lunarSoyuz, a lunarShenzhou with a Lunar Space Station, an european lunar lander with an american resupply/refuel module, etc.).

Then, my FIRST DECISION (as ghostNASA chief) is to start the development of a standard hatch/dockingsystem/port for ALL new vehicles and to SHARE it with ALL countries and private companies that want to implement that (international) standard in their future vehicles (including new Shuttles, if they will be made).

I've decided to build it (and to share its technology) because I think that (in the long term) the standard port will be (or may be) very useful also for ghostNASA, to have better missions and to have the best chances to save our astronauts if something goes wrong!

Of course, the new standard docking system must be the better and safer possible with to-day's technology (without use any old design for "compatibility") "androgynous" (to dock every vehicle with everyone, e.g. two CEV, two Soyuz, etc.) and very easy to dock (also in automatic or remote control mode, very important for rescue and indispensable cargo missions).

Last, it must be fast and easy to undock manually (with simple tools) if necessary (with an EVA and/or from capsule inside).

I think that, don't build/use a standard hatch, is unrational and may become (soon!) a BIG mistake and a BIG risk ...just imagine an international Lunar Space Station with 10+ ports based on 5+ different standards (instead of four/six ports to dock EVERY kind of vehicle!) or an emergency rescue/repair/resupply/refuel mission that become IMPOSSIBLE, not for a lack of vehicles, but for a lack of standards!!!

August 09, 2006


This is my first post on ghostNASA, the "parallel dimension NASA" blog.

I wish to welcome all readers of this blog (that is only an experiment of "alternative" space agency)

And... I'm sorry for my english (I'm italian and this is not my mother language).

Now the blog has a simple template, but I will design soon an original layout.

ghostNASA is NOT a NASA blog - it's a "parallel dimension NASA" with a "parallel dimension NASA chief" (me) and a "parallel dimension space program" - this is a read-only blog since I don't use it for discussions - I already talk about space in some space forums - also, I don't post here all my ideas about space since I've a personal website to do that - here I post only DECISIONS - each post IS a DECISION of the ghostChief of ghostNASA