I was looking through the historical record and found that over time the money input into rocket development has yielded more performance benefits. I imagine that the development cost has reduced because of productivity enhancements (like computers and robotics) and better understanding of structural and combustion physics. That said, the development cost of a reasonable sized rocket (such as a cubesat launch vehicle) is still very high, locking out everyone except for the best funded companies. I was seeing how this cost could be brought down and the best two approaches I found was the following:
- Standardizing mechanical/pneumatic/hydraulic/electrical connections between sections to allow reuse of components developed for prior rockets on new rocket (making rocket LEGOs to let designers focus on configuration design instead of part design and reduce fabrication costs)
- Develop a reusable rocket and find a way of flight testing it incrementally so a new vehicle isn't required every new flight (the aircraft development approach)
However, this is just what I came up with, I was wondering what approaches other people might come up with. How would you reduce the cost of developing a new rocket?