Say a smart person downloads the rocket plans and sets up a center of excellence. Said person gets a cheap commercial laser cutter, welder, tanks, alloy sheets, wood and steel rods, a used centrifugal pump, cheap fuel, pipes, etc. Why have I not heard of some smart person building a 21st century V2? What makes it so hard?

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    $\begingroup$ All the red tape to obtain several hundred liters of pretty pure ethanol without paying outrageous excise tax (of order of 800% the product value)? Or several hundred liters of high-purity peroxide? With fuels/oxidizers available to broad public, people are reaching several kilometers of altitude... $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Jul 31, 2016 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ You can set up backyard fuel station people are making (moon shine) their stuff from long times $\endgroup$
    – Isrorian
    Jul 31, 2016 at 10:26
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    $\begingroup$ "Of course for space exploration" The V2 could not reach space. If you wanted to take the technology and redesign it as (perhaps) a first stage, there are many improvements that could be implemented in both design & materials, the first being the 'fuselage that is also a fuel tank'. In fact, by the time you'd finished making changes to it, it would no longer be a V2. It would probably be cheaper and make more sense to gather what few good ideas (that had not been overshadowed by later developments) it offered, then design an entirely new rocket. Space X proved than when making .. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2016 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ I agree new design would be a better catch and also user friendly. But V2 could go strait up for ~120 km. $\endgroup$
    – Isrorian
    Jul 31, 2016 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ Very much related, but I don't think it's a duplicate to this question as asked: Could I build my own spaceship? (though it does specifically ask about suborbital spaceflight, so I guess with an appropriate flight profile the V-2 just might count). See also Could I home-brew my own rocket fuel? (I especially recommend the Asimov quote included in the question). $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jul 31, 2016 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


Since we're not prepared to build V-2s today, it is probably worthwhile to treat this as if we were making V-2s from scratch.

The American Jupiter-C, which was derived from the V-2, cost $92.500 million in 1959 dollars to develop. In today's dollars that is about \$752.00 million.

Could improvements be made today to bring down this cost? Possibly, but I think a point-by-point analysis of cost savings for the entire development of the rocket is too broad for an answer here.

It's worthwhile to note that Copenhagen Suborbitals (whose members work for free) estimated in 2013 that they had raised under half a million dollars. They have yet to achieve suborbital spaceflight, and they have had only one launch since 2013.


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