I don't know if this was already asked, but I'm very curious about the cost breakdown of a Falcon 9 launch.
As Mike Wise elucidated in his comment, this is rather speculative, since SpaceX as a private company can (and do) choose to keep their cost structures and breakdowns secret, and the prices vary between launches. We can, however, use a few bits of information to get a coarse overview of the prices involved.
SpaceX currently sells an "off the shelf" Falcon 9 launch for \$61.2 million USD (from 2016). This price has in the past been relatively negotiable. Both MDA Corporation and SES (owners and operators of the CASSIOPE and SES-8 satellites which flew on the first and second Falcon 9v1.1 launches, respectively) paid well under the market value for their flights (CASSIOPE, SES-8).
This launch price is up on previous SpaceX rates for Falcon 9:
- \$35 million USD in 2005, 8700kg to LEO
- \$36.75 million USD in 2009, with an increasing cost as mission demands increased.
- \$44 million USD in early 2010 before the first launch.
- \$49.9 million USD in late 2010 after the second launch
- \$54 million USD in 2011
- \$56.5 million USD in 2013-2014 for Falcon 9v1.1
Prices has since stabilized a bit, NASA for example is paying \$87 million USD for the launch of TESS aboard a Falcon 9 in 2017. This roughly agrees with Musk's comments that U.S. government launches will cost approximately $90 million USD.
SpaceX Internal costs
Musk has famously stated at the National Press Club that the cost of propellant is only 0.3% the cost of the rocket, which yields about \$200,000 for a $60m launch.
We also know that the first stage is approximately "less than three-quarters" of the cost of the entire rocket. Now, what we can't be sure of is SpaceX's profit and margins on each launch, if the entirety of the rocket's manufacturing costs only \$40 million, then the first stage is approximately or just less than $30 million.
An employee I spoke to once concerning the SES-8 launch was that due to delays and the number of penalties that needed to be paid to SES, they barely broke even on that particular launch.
I'll try and improve this comment throughout the day as I find more information.
Something I just read on space.com:
"The Falcon 9 rocket costs about \$16 million to build ... but the cost of the propellant, which is mostly oxygen and a gas, is only about $200,000," Musk said. "So that means that the potential cost reduction in the long term is probably in excess of a factor of a hundred."
The quote is attributed to Elon Musk, but there must be a mistake, I find it highly doubtful it only costs $16 million...
protected by Community♦ Jan 31 '16 at 12:14
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