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As a student of economics and finance I would love to learn more about the cost structures of sending a payload into orbit.

More specifically -

  • What is the cost-per-pound to send something into LEO for the handful of operating private and public space programs?
  • How has the cost-per-pound to orbit changed over the years?
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1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The cost depends on the rocket, and on the percent capacity of said rocket, but here's a few numbers for you, cost in U.S. dollars/kg to LEO (Wikipedia). It should be noted that not all rocket prices are publicly available, in fact, most aren't.

  • Falcon 9 v 1.1- $4,109

  • DNEPR- $3,784

  • Ariane 5- $10,476

  • Delta IV- $13,072

  • Atlas V- $13,182

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Is it merely a matter of company policy that price to LEO is often not public? Any idea? –  Everyone Sep 16 '13 at 17:03
I don't believe these Falcon 9 numbers have ever been substantiated in the form of a contract. –  AlanSE Sep 16 '13 at 17:10
@geoffc: I know at least Orbcomm has a contract, ported at a discount. spaceflightnow.com/news/n1301/01orbcomm . The article indicates that it is due to a prior contract to launch their satellites on a Falcon 1, which was discontinued. –  PearsonArtPhoto Sep 16 '13 at 20:09
Also, SES has one with no price listed, and Thaicomm has one, no price listed. At the least, the Falcon 9 prices are no higher than is listed on their website, thus I think the price is reasonable to be included. –  PearsonArtPhoto Sep 16 '13 at 20:21
"Cost" and "price" are two different things. The numbers provided in this answer mix the two. –  Erik Sep 17 '13 at 0:17

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