While trying to find the priceof a Falcon Heavy launch, I noticed the following:

\$90M (<8.0mT), [\$130M (>8.0mT)]

Why is there a $40 million difference in price for the heavier payload? Also, that value seems suspect. Is this even a real price difference?

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    $\begingroup$ That might be the threshold above which they can't land the boosters and/or core so they have to fly in expendable mode. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Jul 28, 2016 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes Possibly, but as of right now, I didn't think that mattered... Besides, Falcon 9 can lift more than that payload, surely Falcon Heavy can do it without the extra cost... $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Jul 28, 2016 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ On the SpaceX site, pricing for the F9 is quoted with a similar limit, $62M for up to 5.5 tons to GTO. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Jul 28, 2016 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ Repeat after me: price is not the same as cost. $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2016 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't call the recovery rate low at this point, but even if you do, the only way they're going to improve the recovery rate is through practice. The value to SpaceX of even an unsuccessful recovery attempt is enormous at this point in their long term plan. $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2016 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


The difference is in the re-usability factor. The number on the Falcon 9 cost page is as follows:

  • Falcon 9 to GTO- 5.5 t to GTO \$62m
  • Falcon Heavy to GTO- 8 t to GTO \$90m

However, it lists the capacities as follows:

  • Falcon 9- 8.3 t
  • Falcon Heavy- 22 t

One can only assume that the reduction in price is for a mission that allows for landing the booster again, to try for re-usability. The full capacity, that doesn't allow for landing, costs more. There might even be a likelihood of return computed, a booster that needs to carry more weight has a higher chance of being damaged.

  • $\begingroup$ It is a possible reason.I am wondering for something,it means that Falcon H will be fully reusable(side boosters and the core)if the payload won't be more than 8 t to GTO. For heavier payloads the core probably won't be reusable,this rises the price.But I won't be so sure for this.If Falcon 9 booster could be reusable with 5.5 t to GTO,in my opinion Falcon H with the capacity that it has(more than double of Falcon 9)could be reusable even with a payload at least 10 t and even more. $\endgroup$
    – Mark777
    Jul 30, 2016 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ I would say that even the level of refurbishments could be a reason, more damage to the core because of high velocities and less fuel remaining at the tanks so can't burn longer to decent slower all the time. So the booster will have a higher level of damage and needs more refurbishment, so more costs. $\endgroup$
    – Mark777
    Jul 30, 2016 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkBoghdani Honestly, the Falcon Heavy price difference from the Falcon 9 is so little that I am not really surprised. I suspect that the scale goes up somewhat gradually, there is likely a 2 booster of 3 recovery price, as well as a completely expended price. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Jul 30, 2016 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ SpaceX uses the metric unit kg (kilogramm) but you use the wrong unit millitonne. What about using Mg (Megagramm)? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Feb 22, 2018 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ mt= metric ton. mT is a using used, but might not be the best choice. Will just use t, which is the best choice. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Feb 22, 2018 at 16:33

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