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The flight plan of the NSS should be much like Apollo Moon Spacecraft. From this diagram, imagine the Apollo Spacecraft in this picture as NSS. The big difference is:
  • There are no parts to be jettisoned (except launch from earth).
  • No attempt for landing. The NSS will orbit at the moon first. Only when the moon base is established, then the NSS can land on the moon.
  • To return to ISS, it will orbit at different longitudes once or twice to reduce speed before dock with the ISS. No attempt for NSS reentry to earth. Astronaut will return using Soyuz spacecraft / Falcon series rocket.  
To get clearer picture of NSS Flight Plan, see picture below.

NSS Proposed Flight Plan


  1. NSS launch from earth after jettisoned with Energia rocket booster. It will dock with ISS.
  2. NSS dock with ISS to refuel; from here it can retrieve module / cargo.
  3. After refuel, NSS will circle earth to reach earth orbit speed (28,000km/h).
  4. After reach orbit speed and saw moon, NSS will fire main engine to reach speed of 40,000km/h (main engine thrust + earth orbit speed + 2 external booster). By applying maximum thrust @ 80% (not 100% full thrust) for main engine thrust and 2 external booster thrust, plus earth orbit speed is enough to bring the NSS speed of 40,000km/h. After reaching desired speed, the astronaut shut down the main engine + 2 external boosters. This is because lack of gravity means that it can use its inertial force / momentum to bring the NSS to the moon.
  5. NSS retro rocket to match moon orbit speed. At this point, NSS arrive at moon; orbit the moon & ‘parachuting’ module / cargo.
  6. Finish mission, NSS fire again main engine & return to earth at same speed to reach the moon. The method of engine usage is same as no. 4. (Main engine thrust + 2 external boosters + moon gravity effect).
  7. NSS returns and circle earth twice to reduce speed & slowly began to dock with ISS.
  8. NSS began to reduce speed, same as no. 7.
NSS arrive and dock the ISS. From here the astronaut leave the NSS and return using Soyuz spacecraft / Falcon series rocket. NSS ready for next mission to moon!


To ensure the survivability of the main engine of the NSS for long period of time, it is best to not only use Energia rocket booster for its only launch from earth, but also make the main engine not so movable, means the main engine is permanently at its position.           
            The main engines were mainly use to provide thrust for forward movement, not for angle movements. So, this engine do not require the so called ‘thrust vector’ control especially at space where the NSS function now is from ISS to the moon. The main reason is to avoid electrical charge; I mean static charge that can cause fire because of too much movement on the motor of the main engine. The small thruster already available for the NSS should be enough to provide left and right turn, up and down movements of the NSS (after increase the fuel tank for the thrusters).
            Also, to ensure prolong usage of the main engine, how about, applying the external booster at 100% full thrust and the main engine at 70% of the thrust. These not only increase the survivability of the main engine but also prolong its service life, consider the fact that the NSS only use 70% potential of its main engine and it will spend most of its time at ISS. (It also ensure minimal work for astronaut should they need to conduct inspection and maintenance in space). 
            The prospect will be more brighter if, let say the NSS brought another external booster when the NSS is at the moon. The situation is like this, the 2nd sets of external booster were placed at the wing, instead of the first set use for launch to the moon. When the NSS arrive at the moon, the first set of external booster may dry its fuel. All NASA need to do is to change the first set of the external booster with the 2nd one for return trip to the ISS. And both set of the external booster can use 100% of its maximum thrust without worrying for replacements! As you can see, not only it saves the main engine from draining its fuel (and also its material strength), but also no space trash produce during such launch!

Picture shows space shuttle during launch. By making the engine at permanent position and not movable (no thrust vectoring feature), it ensure the safety and ease of maintenance for astronaut for the NSS.


Should we want to prolong the life span of the NSS main engine by not using it, during its only launch from earth, the try to consider seriously using the most powerful rocket engine in the world, the Energia rocket booster. The Energia was used primarily in conjunction with the Soviet space shuttle Buran. Because Buran does not have main engine contrary to the US space shuttle, then it relies solely on Energia rocket booster to send Buran to earth orbit. To complement the Energia, 4 support boosters also attached to the Energia to provide enough lift to send, let say NSS to orbit. Since it only one way trip to earth orbit, it is by far the most economical, logical and practical way to send such spacecraft to orbit, considering the fact that the NSS will spend most of its time at ISS.

Film during USSR era shows the Energia launch the Buran into space
Picture of Energia rocket booster


Picture of Venture Star in orbit

The X-33 or known as Venture Star, built by Lockheed Martin is the most important and critical component for sending payload to International Space Station. It was considered to be the most suitable replacement for the aging fleet of current space shuttle. This spacecraft had been design to be fully reusable and no parts need to be jettisoned.  This will increase the lifespan of the Venture Star because it longer subject to explosion of jettisoned parts, in case of the space shuttle. While the NSS can send the payload to the moon, the Venture Star function is to send cargo plus to provide refueling capability for the NSS. This will happen during both spacecraft were docking together with the ISS.
            However, the Venture Star had no means to interrupt other entrepreneur rocket planned for mission to ISS (in this case Falcon series), mostly because these rocket are mainly for space tourism, supply for ISS operation and to provide ISS crew exchange. Venture Star core mission in this case are specially to send specialized module for moon habitation and providing refuel capability for NSS. In this way, NASA will have more varieties and method applied for its space exploration.

With both NSS and Venture Star dock together, transfer of module and refuel will be much easier to be conducted.

(Even if the Venture Star still cannot be constructed because of safety and cost reason, the Titan rocket / Ares 5 heavy rockets can take part as launching platform for launching specialized module for moon habitation. This rocket can be use together to provide transfer and change of fuel tank for NSS in space).


With the NSS in inventory, now is time for payload planning. The timing would last the fastest is 7 years if started in 2013. And the planning is as follows:

Ø      2013: The first mission is to send space based construction tools to begin moon base construction, in a special container. However, it is without battery first. It will be delivered during the 3rd or 2nd last of the mission.
Ø      2014: This mission is to supply specialized module for moon base construction. This may last for 1-2 years.
Ø      2016: After that, it is time to send moon rover to the moon. Perhaps the moon robot can also be send at the same time, also without battery or solar panel.
Ø      2017: The next mission is to send pressurized and reinforce water tank to provide oxygen and water for astronaut use.
Ø      2nd last mission is to send battery for space based construction tools for moon base construction.
Ø      2018: Finally, sending astronaut to conduct construction of moon base.
Ø      2019: With the moon base is ready and operational, the next NSS mission is to send critical moon base add-on-armor and missile protection system. It is also possible to construct the needed moon airfield.
Ø      By 2020, NSS can land and take off at the moon!


With the application of ‘parachuting’ method, it is also important to know the most safest and preferred location and exact size of the moon drop zone. The size of the drop zone should be not more than 2-4 football fields in size, to ease the astronaut send to the moon to pick up the construction tool, specialized module, moon rover, robot, water tank and batteries to begin construction of moon base. Also, the main reason for a vast area of drop zone required for the construction material itself is for survivability of all the material. Even the original Apollo spacecraft, can be loaded into the NSS and astronaut can make safe return from moon to NSS, with the Apollo Lunar craft put together inside NSS!

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