This question asks how much mass has been launched into Space. I would like to know how much mass was required to launch that mass into Space. What is the ratio between mass launched and the resources required to make the worlds (successfull & unsuccessfull) launches since Sputnik?

  • $\begingroup$ Poor question. But I took a stab at some rough numbers. $\endgroup$
    – aramis
    Aug 11, 2013 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ @MajorStackings, the question could be reworded into monetary terms. After all, there are folks out there who calculated the cost of U.S. nuclear weapons program (Stephen Schwartz (ed.), Atomic audit: the costs and consequences of U.S. nuclear weapons since 1940. Brookings, 1998). In physical terms the question is a bit too broad (all that construction effort for space-related facilities). $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2013 at 7:52
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    $\begingroup$ "What percent of Earth's total mass does this figure represent?" My rough guess it that it approximates zero percent to at least a few digits of precision. The Earth is quite massive. Ask the turtle. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2013 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for the confusion/consternation this question has caused. I thought it was answerable. I tried to salvage it. Close it if you feel the need. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2013 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


If we assume around 4000 total launches, and make the wildly inaccurate assumption that the average is 3000Tons (Saturn V plus maximum LEO payload)... 12 million tons. (Actual is less).

Earth Mass 5.972E21Tons.

12E6 tons versus just shy of 6E21 =0.5E15=5E14

So under 1/4.976E14 or 2 quadrillionths. Given the stupidly high assumption of mass launched, and the ignoring the returned to planet mass, easily less than 1 quadrillionth has actually remained in space.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_orbital_launch_systems


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