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Suggestion #04:  put the spacecrafts and spaceflights SAFETY as FIRST concern

Both, experts and common people, think that, the spaceflights are, yes, risky, but not so much, because in 50 years of history the astronauts dead in missions were not so many: only 3 in the Apollo program (in the ground test of the Apollo 1) 14 in the Challenger and Columbia accidents and 4 russians dead in two of early Soyuz missions.

The low number of astronauts dead is commonly attributed to the fact that, spaceflights are accomplished with the best vehicles and best technologies (that's mostly true) but, unfortunately, the MAIN reason, for such a low number of deaths, is (simply) that, in 50 years, there was been ... very few astronauts and spaceflights... about 500 astronauts (many of them on more than one flight) and 267 spaceflights in total for all countries!!!

By comparison, the 18 astronauts died in missions, of about 500 in total that have flown in space, is like having 79 million passengers DEAD per YEAR or 197,000 passengers DEAD per DAY or 400 Boeing 747 (everyone full of passengers) accidents EVERY DAY in the commercial airlines flights!!!

So, despite its 50 years of history, experience and advanced technology developed, ALL spacecrafts and spaceflights still are VERY DANGEROUS mainly, since, ALL spacecrafts and spaceflights, NEVER was, aren't and (unfortunately, seems) NEVER will be designed with the astronauts lives as FIRST concern!!!

The high risks of the Mercury and Gemini missions (slightly more than Pepsi cans fired in space!) was understandable and inevitable, being the early human missions in Space, but the very high risks of the Apollo missions (entirely designed without any kind of rescue mission for the crews, in case of problems not solved by themselves, like happened with the Apollo 13) was totally unacceptable given the experience already gained by NASA, the technology available and the very huge amount of billion$ given to NASA to win the challenge against Soviet Union.

Rockets like Redstone and the early Atlas (that exploded several times in test launches) for the Mercury, the Titan-II (a military rocket built to launch nuclear weapons and with accelerations over 7G) for the Gemini, all vehicles and missions built around the primitive '60s technology (if compared with today's sci-fi technology) a giant rocket (the SaturnV) with eleven engines, loaded with 2800 tons of very explosive propellents, for the Apollo, escape systems (tower LES for Mercury and Apollo, ejectable seats for the Gemini) that studies have later demonstrated as completely useless to save the crews (since, the calculated time for the explosion of the rockets was faster than the reaction time of the escape system) one engine for TLI, one engine for LOI and TEI, one engine for the LM descent stage, one engine for the LM ascent stage, CSM and LM life support systems exactly tailored for the missions with just a few days of redundancy, etc. if we consider that all the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo's astronauts launched in Space (including the Apollo 13 crew) have come back to Earth alive, we could acknowledge that, the old say "Luck helps the brave" is absolutely TRUE for them, since they surely was VERY VERY LUCKY to not die in mission!

And much worse (from a "safety" point of view) is the Space Shuttle design, despite this vehicle was built after the "old" Apollo, with (more advanced) '80s technology and with, in mind, the goal to design a sort of "Space Taxi", much cheaper and safer than a standard rocket, easy to assemble and launch and with a lower max acceleration (under 3G) to allow the Shuttle to be launched dozens times per year and not only with "brave astronauts" but (also or mainly) with several hundreds "common peoples" aboard like scientists, engineers, "space-workers", teachers, etc.

Two giant solid propellent motor (that can't be shut-off once burned) over 1800 tons of solid and liquid propellents, a very dangerous vertical lift-off, instead of an airplane-like take-off (despite it is called "spaceplane") no escape system, no rescue module at re-entry, a very fragile thermal shield, no landing jet engines (so, it falls like a rock) non refuelable fuel cells (instead of solar panels) as energy source, a very short life support time (that ends after 2.5 weeks max and can't be re-supplied) a very long Shuttle-stack assembly time (that's too long to launch in time a rescue mission for a Shuttle crew in orbit, if not planned before, like was the STS-300 and STS-400) too weather-dependent launch and landing, a too complex machine (with thousands devices that can fail to work) the ET foam issue, etc. that, as consequence, has given a very little number of missions (just 135 within 2010, after 30 years of operational life) too high costs and caused the death of 14 astronauts (that is the highest number of all space vehicles, so far) and two (very expensive) Shuttles lost out of five built.

The Space Shuttle was designed with such a lack of interest and genuine concern for the safety of the astronauts to be absolutely not strange that two of the five Shuttle were DESTROYED and 14 astronauts DIED, while, instead, is TRULY EXTRAORDINARY that 123 Shuttle missions was successful, without incident and without lose other crews and, of all the crews that have flown on the Shuttle and landed safely, the one that was (probably) the most lucky, is the STS-125 Hubble SM4 crew, since they accomplished a very risky mission, thousands miles away from the ISS/safe haven, while they was very confident, that, if something went wrong, the STS-400 Endeavour/rescue-Shuttle was 100% able to fly in orbit, reach the Atlantis, save the crew and bring back them to Earth safely, not really aware (so far) that, their "rescue ship", was completely unable to fly in time (due to repeated LH2 leaks, while refueling the ET) and that, its flight (now called STS-127) was destined to have an unexpected failure and an ONE month delay, too much to assemble the Discovery and too much to save their lives!!!

Unfortunately, also the new "21th century" hi-tech Ares rockets, Orion capsule, Altair lunar lander and great part of the ESAS hardware and architectures have the SAME lack of focusing and concern (or LESS) for the astronauts' safety and lives, since, the Ares-1 should use a new 5-segments SRB (that needs to be man-rated and did not have the same successful launch record of the standard SRB) the higher power of the new SRB (and the fact that it will fly alone) could put the astronauts, the KSC workers and the peoples around the KSC under serious risks, the (still unsolved) vibration issue may kill the astronauts and make the Ares-1 not able to fly manned, its lift-off drift issue may crash the Ares-1 towards the launch pad in a windy day, the Orion's tower-LAS isn't able to save the crew if the 5-segments SRB will explode (according to an USAF study) the Orion's life support time will be (again) just a little more the lunar mission duration (without great increase of redundancy vs. the Apollo CSM) the early 5-10 lunar manned landings will be very risky sortie-missions (like all the Apollo missions) without a lunar outpost/safe haven and the Altair lander (exactly like an Apollo LM) will have just ONE descent engine and ONE ascent engine, without any redundancy if these single engines will fail to start, also, months ago, I read an incredible "rumor" about the scrapping of some (unspecified) "safety and redundancy systems" from the Orion's design (just to save a few hundreds lbs.) in the (failed) attempt to match an overweight Orion with an underpowered Ares-1... a very sad news, if true!

However, this giant lack of safety and redundancy of the ESAS rockets and vehicles might not kill more than 2-5 Orion crews in the next 15 years, since (as explained in my VISUAL Shuttle to Capsule comparison article) the (very poor) number of Orion lunar missions should be only 12 (two missions per year) in the 2022-2025 timeframe (then, just TWICE the Apollo missions) while, the orbital/ISS missions of the Orion, should be 5-10 (one-two missions per year) from 2018, or UP TO 50 TIMES LESS MISSIONS than all Shuttle and Soyuz!!!

So, my 4th suggestion for HSFPC and NASA is to put the spacecrafts and spaceflights SAFETY as FIRST concern in the development of the new ESAS rockets and vehicles, in order to allow them (if will be not so expensive) to accomplish much more missions than Shuttles, in less time and with "common people" (engineers, scientists, workers) aboard, without that this could result in a massacre of crews in dozens accidents!!!

 

b/w

Both, experts and common people, think that, the spaceflights are, yes, risky, but not so much, because in 50 years of history the astronauts dead in missions were not so many: only 3 in the Apollo program (in the ground test of the Apollo 1) 14 in the Challenger and Columbia accidents and 4 russians dead in two of early Soyuz missions.

The low number of astronauts dead is commonly attributed to the fact that, spaceflights are accomplished with the best vehicles and best technologies (that's mostly true) but, unfortunately, the MAIN reason, for such a low number of deaths, is (simply) that, in 50 years, there was been ... very few astronauts and spaceflights... about 500 astronauts (many of them on more than one flight) and 267 spaceflights in total for all countries!!!

By comparison, the 18 astronauts died in missions, of about 500 in total that have flown in space, is like having 79 million passengers DEAD per YEAR or 197,000 passengers DEAD per DAY or 400 Boeing 747 (everyone full of passengers) accidents EVERY DAY in the commercial airlines flights!!!

So, despite its 50 years of history, experience and advanced technology developed, ALL spacecrafts and spaceflights still are VERY DANGEROUS mainly, since, ALL spacecrafts and spaceflights, NEVER was, aren't and (unfortunately, seems) NEVER will be designed with the astronauts lives as FIRST concern!!!

The high risks of the Mercury and Gemini missions (slightly more than Pepsi cans fired in space!) was understandable and inevitable, being the early human missions in Space, but the very high risks of the Apollo missions (entirely designed without any kind of rescue mission for the crews, in case of problems not solved by themselves, like happened with the Apollo 13) was totally unacceptable given the experience already gained by NASA, the technology available and the very huge amount of billion$ given to NASA to win the challenge against Soviet Union.

Rockets like Redstone and the early Atlas (that exploded several times in test launches) for the Mercury, the Titan-II (a military rocket built to launch nuclear weapons and with accelerations over 7G) for the Gemini, all vehicles and missions built around the primitive '60s technology (if compared with today's sci-fi technology) a giant rocket (the SaturnV) with eleven engines, loaded with 2800 tons of very explosive propellents, for the Apollo, escape systems (tower LES for Mercury and Apollo, ejectable seats for the Gemini) that studies have later demonstrated as completely useless to save the crews (since, the calculated time for the explosion of the rockets was faster than the reaction time of the escape system) one engine for TLI, one engine for LOI and TEI, one engine for the LM descent stage, one engine for the LM ascent stage, CSM and LM life support systems exactly tailored for the missions with just a few days of redundancy, etc. if we consider that all the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo's astronauts launched in Space (including the Apollo 13 crew) have come back to Earth alive, we could acknowledge that, the old say "Luck helps the brave" is absolutely TRUE for them, since they surely was VERY VERY LUCKY to not die in mission!

And much worse (from a "safety" point of view) is the Space Shuttle design, despite this vehicle was built after the "old" Apollo, with (more advanced) '80s technology and with, in mind, the goal to design a sort of "Space Taxi", much cheaper and safer than a standard rocket, easy to assemble and launch and with a lower max acceleration (under 3G) to allow the Shuttle to be launched dozens times per year and not only with "brave astronauts" but (also or mainly) with several hundreds "common peoples" aboard like scientists, engineers, "space-workers", teachers, etc.

Two giant solid propellent motor (that can't be shut-off once burned) over 1800 tons of solid and liquid propellents, a very dangerous vertical lift-off, instead of an airplane-like take-off (despite it is called "spaceplane") no escape system, no rescue module at re-entry, a very fragile thermal shield, no landing jet engines (so, it falls like a rock) non refuelable fuel cells (instead of solar panels) as energy source, a very short life support time (that ends after 2.5 weeks max and can't be re-supplied) a very long Shuttle-stack assembly time (that's too long to launch in time a rescue mission for a Shuttle crew in orbit, if not planned before, like was the STS-300 and STS-400) too weather-dependent launch and landing, a too complex machine (with thousands devices that can fail to work) the ET foam issue, etc. that, as consequence, has given a very little number of missions (just 135 within 2010, after 30 years of operational life) too high costs and caused the death of 14 astronauts (that is the highest number of all space vehicles, so far) and two (very expensive) Shuttles lost out of five built.

The Space Shuttle was designed with such a lack of interest and genuine concern for the safety of the astronauts to be absolutely not strange that two of the five Shuttle were DESTROYED and 14 astronauts DIED, while, instead, is TRULY EXTRAORDINARY that 123 Shuttle missions was successful, without incident and without lose other crews and, of all the crews that have flown on the Shuttle and landed safely, the one that was (probably) the most lucky, is the STS-125 Hubble SM4 crew, since they accomplished a very risky mission, thousands miles away from the ISS/safe haven, while they was very confident, that, if something went wrong, the STS-400 Endeavour/rescue-Shuttle was 100% able to fly in orbit, reach the Atlantis, save the crew and bring back them to Earth safely, not really aware (so far) that, their "rescue ship", was completely unable to fly in time (due to repeated LH2 leaks, while refueling the ET) and that, its flight (now called STS-127) was destined to have an unexpected failure and an ONE month delay, too much to assemble the Discovery and too much to save their lives!!!

Unfortunately, also the new "21th century" hi-tech Ares rockets, Orion capsule, Altair lunar lander and great part of the ESAS hardware and architectures have the SAME lack of focusing and concern (or LESS) for the astronauts' safety and lives, since, the Ares-1 should use a new 5-segments SRB (that needs to be man-rated and did not have the same successful launch record of the standard SRB) the higher power of the new SRB (and the fact that it will fly alone) could put the astronauts, the KSC workers and the peoples around the KSC under serious risks, the (still unsolved) vibration issue may kill the astronauts and make the Ares-1 not able to fly manned, its lift-off drift issue may crash the Ares-1 towards the launch pad in a windy day, the Orion's tower-LAS isn't able to save the crew if the 5-segments SRB will explode (according to an USAF study) the Orion's life support time will be (again) just a little more the lunar mission duration (without great increase of redundancy vs. the Apollo CSM) the early 5-10 lunar manned landings will be very risky sortie-missions (like all the Apollo missions) without a lunar outpost/safe haven and the Altair lander (exactly like an Apollo LM) will have just ONE descent engine and ONE ascent engine, without any redundancy if these single engines will fail to start, also, months ago, I read an incredible "rumor" about the scrapping of some (unspecified) "safety and redundancy systems" from the Orion's design (just to save a few hundreds lbs.) in the (failed) attempt to match an overweight Orion with an underpowered Ares-1... a very sad news, if true!

However, this giant lack of safety and redundancy of the ESAS rockets and vehicles might not kill more than 2-5 Orion crews in the next 15 years, since (as explained in my VISUAL Shuttle to Capsule comparison article) the (very poor) number of Orion lunar missions should be only 12 (two missions per year) in the 2022-2025 timeframe (then, just TWICE the Apollo missions) while, the orbital/ISS missions of the Orion, should be 5-10 (one-two missions per year) from 2018, or UP TO 50 TIMES LESS MISSIONS than all Shuttle and Soyuz!!!

So, my 4th suggestion for HSFPC and NASA is to put the spacecrafts and spaceflights SAFETY as FIRST concern in the development of the new ESAS rockets and vehicles, in order to allow them (if will be not so expensive) to accomplish much more missions than Shuttles, in less time and with "common people" (engineers, scientists, workers) aboard, without that this could result in a massacre of crews in dozens accidents!!!

 


                                     


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