Space Exploration Optimization

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The Space Show
February 17, 2008
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AIAA 2007 Paper

Proposal (High Res: 104MB)
Proposal (Low Res: 30MB)

AIAA 2006 Paper

Proposal (10 MB)


Direct Launch Web site
Space Review Article

Achieving the Vision for Space Exploration
on Time and Within Budget

Stephen L Metschan1  Cyril A Longton2  Ross B Tierney3  António H F Maia4  Philip J Metschan5

The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) represents a watershed opportunity to expand the breadth and depth of human exploration and development for this and future generations. The recent budget reductions have now made it all but impossible to achieve the VSE objectives if constrained to the recommendations of the 60-day Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS). While ‘go-as-we-pay’ is a practicality of year-to-year funding, it should not be confused with a realistic strategy of transitioning of our existing space exploration infrastructure and workforce towards the objectives of the VSE. While forces beyond the control of NASA will continuously impact the VSE throughout its farsighted implementation, there are a number of recommendations that the ESAS imposed on NASA that have significantly reduced the effectiveness the VSE effort specifically;

  • A SRB Derived Crew Launch Vehicle (Ares-I) that Duplicates Existing U.S. EELV
  • The Front Loading of Expensive Technologies not Needed until the Lunar Phase
  • The Significant Dismantling/Disruptions of the STS Infrastructure and Workforce
  • An Expensive New Heavy Lift System with Low STS Commonality (Ares-V)

A Marginal Lunar Architecture with a High Operational Cost and Limited Extensibility
Since the release of the ESAS a significant number of viable alternatives towards achieving the VSE have been put forward. Utilizing a NASA developed advanced analysis process over a trillion interacting scenarios were evaluated in order to find an alternate architecture that could still achieve the short and long term objectives of the VSE on schedule while at a significantly lower budget level than currently required. From this analysis a number of alternative architectures were formulated that will significantly reduce the cost and implementation time of the VSE while simultaneously increasing safety and science return over the ESAS plan. The spacecraft, launch vehicles and mission specifications can be summarized into five high level interrelated recommendations of:

  • Using a Direct Derivative of the Existing Space Transportation System (STS)
  • Keeping the VSE Architecture Options Open during the First Stages
  • Interacting Manned and Unmanned Exploration Capabilities to Improve Both
  • Using Manned and Unmanned Mission Types to Mature the VSE Architecture
  • Improving the Synergy between the ISS, Lunar and Mars Objectives of the VSE

In this paper we will expand upon these and associated recommendations along with the methodologies used to synthesize a comprehensive architectural development plan unconstrained by non-VSE objectives and requirements. Detailed specifications, schedule and budgets will be presented that shows how the recommended approach will fit within the timeline, objectives and budget guideless approved by our elected representatives. In addition we will show how we can simultaneously increasing mission safety, science return, and utilization of the existing STS infrastructure and workforce over the ESAS 60-day recommendations.

High Res Proposal (104MB PDF)    Low Res Proposal (30MB PDF)

1 President/CEO TeamVision Corporation, an AIAA Associate Member
2 Co-Author of “Direct” an AIAA Associate Member
3 Launch Complex Models, Co-Author of “Direct”
4 Simcosmos, Vehicle Concept Development/3D Graphics
5 Principia Graphica, Concept Artwork and Technical Illustrations

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