I often see the claim that the Shuttle SRBs cost as much to recover & refurb as it would to build a new one. I've probably even parroted this claim myself.

But, are there any actual studies or analysis on the economics of Shuttle SRB re-use? Are we all just repeating a Space Legend like these people did: Which LEO satellite lost over 30 km of altitude in the geomagnetic storm of 13-14 March 1989? ?

Is there any documentation to support the claim that it would it have been cheaper / essentially the same cost to build new boosters for each Shuttle flight?

  • $\begingroup$ My only evidence is that SLS won't be reusing them. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Jun 14 '18 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ Not even in the same flight rate ballpark. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jun 14 '18 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ So the staff who know how to refurb have to be kept on with little to do between flights? Hmmm.... $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Jun 14 '18 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ I've seen figures of ~$30M for refurbishment, but never found a breakdown of that. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Jun 14 '18 at 22:38
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    $\begingroup$ Color me unsurprised if there turns out being no well-documented answer to this question. I worked for DoD for 14 years before going on loan to NASA. I noticed many differences between the two government orginizations, but two money-related differences hit me immediately: First - NASA had no money (relative to DoD). Second, NASA apparently had no real good ideas how Shuttle Program money was being spent. This second conclusion is understandable in a sense, NASA being primarily concerned with R&D. I'm just sayin'... $\endgroup$ – Digger Jun 15 '18 at 20:44

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