SpaceX (among others) does a series of final automated checks 10 seconds before launch, and aborts the launch if any of them fail. Yesterday and today, one of them did (each time), causing the launch to be scrubbed for the day. (Today, it almost had to be scrubbed due to weather, but they were able to have the attempt at the end of the launch window). At the end of the webcast, they were sure to thank range support, the FAA, and all the others who worked to support the launch, which probably includes a lot of SpaceX engineers/managers as well as civilian and military authorities outside the company. Presumably, there is some significant cost to doing all this and then having an abort within the last 10 seconds. What is that cost?

It seems clear that the cost of a failed launch is much higher, but it'd be interesting to know the (approximate) number.

Answers should ideally be sourced, but do not have to be specific to SpaceX.

  • $\begingroup$ The launch scrub cost are caused by lost propellants, lost electrical energy and personel cost. But the reliability of the rocket is decreased by a launch scrub due to the thermal stress caused by tanking and removing of cryogenic fuel, condensation of water, ice deposits. The effect on reliability should be small, but can't be zero. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jul 7 '17 at 12:29

It will be difficult to find information about SpaceX costs, but Space Shuttle launch scrub costs have been published.

NASA estimates every launch cancelled after fuel tanking has begun can cost as much as 1.2 million dollars. Endeavour endured five liftoff scrubs before successfully launching Wednesday at 6:03 p.m. (2203 GMT), though some of these cancellations occurred before ground crews started loading propellant into the shuttle's external tank. The total price tag for this mission's postponements, which began in mid-June and ended with yesterday's liftoff, was less than $5 million, NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said.


NASA estimates that each scrub costs 500,000 dollars in lost fuel, and 700,000 dollars to pay for the extra workforce needed for launch attempts.

(The mission referenced is STS-127)


  • $\begingroup$ The fuel was not "recycled"? Or it was but only partially? $\endgroup$
    – jkavalik
    Jul 4 '17 at 14:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Right, it was recycled, but there was some wastage. There's a question on this site about just that, but I'm having trouble finding it. $\endgroup$ Jul 4 '17 at 14:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Here it is: space.stackexchange.com/questions/17272/… $\endgroup$ Jul 4 '17 at 14:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice answer, +1 and thanks! $\endgroup$
    – WBT
    Jul 4 '17 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble so supposedly 10% of the fuel was lost and that was evaluated as $500,000? Sounds like a lot to me. Is hydrogen so pricey? $\endgroup$
    – jkavalik
    Jul 4 '17 at 19:27

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