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How much could you cut the price by "mass" producing (at least more than one sample) explorer spacecraft (Galileo, Cassini, New Horizon, Dawn...), space telescopes (Kepler, TESS...) and satellites? Just by making at least two copys of one design must be much more cost efficient per spacecraft. SpaceX (and others) are doing this in the satellite business with their 4000+ satellite network Starlink. That's a bit extreme for explorers and telescopes maybe right now, but still, there are some efficiencies to be made when mass producing.

These spacecrafts has been developed for just one specific mission. Their missions become extremely expensive unfortunately as their only built for one mission in one copy. So much effort in planning, developing, software and hardware isn't very useful or easily applicable outsite of that project. So I was wondering how much you would be able to cut the price, by instead of creating a custom made spacecraft for just one mission, you would mass produce one or a couple of general configurations? Not really mass-produce, but at least more than one copy. Something that you could send to Io, Europa, Pluto, Titan, Neptune, Enceladus and so on.

How about a small spacescraft that is made in maybe 10 copys with 4K video and some other simple sensors for infrared, magnetism or something like that. Maybe not super-high end. Then you could send that off on top of a affordable Falcon 9/Heavy to all the planets in the solar system and some moons. It might take some time, but at least we would have some 4k footage of Mercury, Neptune, Europa etc. instead of nothing at all or some fuzzu photos from half a century ago? Wouldn't that be a lot of bang for your buck?! Sure, it wouldn't be the most optimal missions, but at least it would be something.

So, how much would the James Webb Telescope have cost of they made two or ten of them instead for example?

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    $\begingroup$ the main body of your questions seems to be asking "why not do more but smaller missions" $\endgroup$ – user20636 Apr 14 '18 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ I think the main point is more identical spacecraft, rather than just cheaper missions $\endgroup$ – Steve Linton Apr 15 '18 at 12:20