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The first difference is the Red Dragon will use a Falcon Heavy, which runs between \$30-\$80 million more than the Falcon 9. Note that the higher end of this is more likely reality, the Falcon Heavy is expected to be fully expended to get the Red Dragon to Mars, giving it the higher price tag. That alone accounts for almost half of the $180 million difference you mentioned.

Secondly, they are likely going to have some kind of experiment they run on Mars, which will no doubt cost something. It'd be a waste to get the system there without anything to do with it other than land it. I suspect this will be a decent part of the cost, and in fact might absorb any money left over from other areas.

Next they have to figure out the communication problem, which is much more complex than in Earth Orbit, although still quite doable. I suspect this will be a \$10-\$20 million effort.

Then they have to meet Planetary Protection concerns, which no doubt will add cost. This probably isn't a huge cost, but a few million.

There will no doubt be much modeling, simulation development, and other such exercises to ensure that the Dragon will land, software re-writes, etc. No doubt this will be at least $20 million, quite possibly more.

Finally, they have to pay to operate the spacecraft for at least 8 months, possibly as long as a year or longer, depending on how long it lasts on Mars. Again, this won't be a huge cost, I suspect NASA is allowing the use of the DSN to make this happen, but it is still a cost, at least to keep the operators required to make sure the spacecraft is working in order, maybe a few million.

All of that adds up quite a bit. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that it ends up costing quite a bit more than a standard Dragon launch to the ISS.

The first difference is the Red Dragon will use a Falcon Heavy, which runs between \$30-\$80 million more than the Falcon 9. Note that the higher end of this is more likely reality, the Falcon Heavy is expected to be fully expended to get the Red Dragon to Mars, giving it the higher price tag.

Secondly, they are likely going to have some kind of experiment they run on Mars, which will no doubt cost something. It'd be a waste to get the system there without anything to do with it other than land it.

Next they have to figure out the communication problem, which is much more complex than in Earth Orbit, although still quite doable.

Then they have to meet Planetary Protection concerns, which no doubt will add cost.

Finally, they have to pay to operate the spacecraft for at least 8 months, possibly as long as a year or longer, depending on how long it lasts on Mars.

All of that adds up quite a bit. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that it ends up costing quite a bit more than a standard Dragon launch to the ISS.

The first difference is the Red Dragon will use a Falcon Heavy, which runs between \$30-\$80 million more than the Falcon 9. Note that the higher end of this is more likely reality, the Falcon Heavy is expected to be fully expended to get the Red Dragon to Mars, giving it the higher price tag. That alone accounts for almost half of the $180 million difference you mentioned.

Secondly, they are likely going to have some kind of experiment they run on Mars, which will no doubt cost something. It'd be a waste to get the system there without anything to do with it other than land it. I suspect this will be a decent part of the cost, and in fact might absorb any money left over from other areas.

Next they have to figure out the communication problem, which is much more complex than in Earth Orbit, although still quite doable. I suspect this will be a \$10-\$20 million effort.

Then they have to meet Planetary Protection concerns, which no doubt will add cost. This probably isn't a huge cost, but a few million.

There will no doubt be much modeling, simulation development, and other such exercises to ensure that the Dragon will land, software re-writes, etc. No doubt this will be at least $20 million, quite possibly more.

Finally, they have to pay to operate the spacecraft for at least 8 months, possibly as long as a year or longer, depending on how long it lasts on Mars. Again, this won't be a huge cost, I suspect NASA is allowing the use of the DSN to make this happen, but it is still a cost, at least to keep the operators required to make sure the spacecraft is working in order, maybe a few million.

All of that adds up quite a bit. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that it ends up costing quite a bit more than a standard Dragon launch to the ISS.

2 added 169 characters in body
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The first difference is the Red Dragon will use a Falcon Heavy, which runs between \$30-\$80 million more than the Falcon 9. Note that the higher end of this is more likely reality, the Falcon Heavy is expected to be fully expended to get the Red Dragon to Mars, giving it the higher price tag.

Secondly, they are likely going to have some kind of experiment they run on Mars, which will no doubt cost something. It'd be a waste to get the system there without anything to do with it other than land it.

Next they have to figure out the communication problem, which is much more complex than in Earth Orbit, although still quite doable.

Then they have to meet Planetary Protection concerns, which no doubt will add cost.

Finally, they have to pay to operate the spacecraft for at least 8 months, possibly as long as a year or longer, depending on how long it lasts on Mars.

All of that adds up quite a bit. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that it ends up costing quite a bit more than a standard Dragon launch to the ISS.

The first difference is the Red Dragon will use a Falcon Heavy, which runs between \$30-\$80 million more than the Falcon 9.

Secondly, they are likely going to have some kind of experiment they run on Mars, which will no doubt cost something. It'd be a waste to get the system there without anything to do with it other than land it.

Next they have to figure out the communication problem, which is much more complex than in Earth Orbit, although still quite doable.

Then they have to meet Planetary Protection concerns, which no doubt will add cost.

Finally, they have to pay to operate the spacecraft for at least 8 months, possibly as long as a year or longer, depending on how long it lasts on Mars.

All of that adds up quite a bit. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that it ends up costing quite a bit more than a standard Dragon launch to the ISS.

The first difference is the Red Dragon will use a Falcon Heavy, which runs between \$30-\$80 million more than the Falcon 9. Note that the higher end of this is more likely reality, the Falcon Heavy is expected to be fully expended to get the Red Dragon to Mars, giving it the higher price tag.

Secondly, they are likely going to have some kind of experiment they run on Mars, which will no doubt cost something. It'd be a waste to get the system there without anything to do with it other than land it.

Next they have to figure out the communication problem, which is much more complex than in Earth Orbit, although still quite doable.

Then they have to meet Planetary Protection concerns, which no doubt will add cost.

Finally, they have to pay to operate the spacecraft for at least 8 months, possibly as long as a year or longer, depending on how long it lasts on Mars.

All of that adds up quite a bit. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that it ends up costing quite a bit more than a standard Dragon launch to the ISS.

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The first difference is the Red Dragon will use a Falcon Heavy, which runs between \$30-\$80 million more than the Falcon 9.

Secondly, they are likely going to have some kind of experiment they run on Mars, which will no doubt cost something. It'd be a waste to get the system there without anything to do with it other than land it.

Next they have to figure out the communication problem, which is much more complex than in Earth Orbit, although still quite doable.

Then they have to meet Planetary Protection concerns, which no doubt will add cost.

Finally, they have to pay to operate the spacecraft for at least 8 months, possibly as long as a year or longer, depending on how long it lasts on Mars.

All of that adds up quite a bit. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that it ends up costing quite a bit more than a standard Dragon launch to the ISS.