Questions tagged [cost]

Questions regarding the amount of money required to perform or sustain space exploration.

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Cost breakdown of launch companies

One thing which I recently heard Peter Beck say in an interview with Tim Dodd was that the cost of running a launch company isn't primarily driven by the rocket itself, but the operations required to ...
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How much more does it cost to produce two identically designed probes/rovers/satellites compared to making only one?

There are a number of historical planetary missions that have produced 2 flying instances. Examples include Voyager, Viking, MERS, some of the Mariners missions. Other missions have only one ...
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Is it more expensive to send a chemical rocket from surface of Earth to an orbit or from this orbit to Mars?

I was trying to understand how cost-effective it would be to use an ion engine to power a mission. But since these propulsion systems cannot be used to leave Earth's gravitational field due to their ...
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Heatshield during re-entry of space vehicles

All the CMs for Apollo, as well as the space shuttles, basically used "Blunt body" technique for re-entry. While Apollo CMs used "ablative" type of heatshield, the space shuttles ...
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What are the primary business challenges for Firefly Aerospace to capturing a large enough market share of the 1-ton payload market to be successful?

The recent CNBC video How Ex-SpaceX Engineers Are Fueling The Space Race With Firefly (linked below) is worth a watch, and notes include the following: a team comprised of industry veterans, Firefly ...
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Could the International Space Station (ISS) be refurbished to save money?

I was reading an old article about deorbiting ISS (Death Star: The ISS Doesn’t Have a Way to Crash Safely) and wondering if we could refurbish ISS instead of deorbiting it? I thought deorbiting it ...
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Cost of lunar rover - Apollo 15

The lunar rover, carried by Apollo 15 to moon, cost 60 million USD, in 1971. From a layman's view, it was basically a set of 4 motorized wheels, perhaps very lightweight and with longer battery life ...
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SpaceX Inspiration4 mission cost breakdown

It is believed that SpaceX Inspiration4 total mission cost was more than 100 million USD. https://twitter.com/DJSnM/status/1439470685064073219 What could be cost breakdown for this mission ? After ...
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Why were the Titans so expensive?

The Titan II/III/IV family (derived from the ICBM family of the same name)1 were the premier U.S. expendable launchers for much of the late 20th century, being the most capable expendables in the U.S. ...
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Are there more operating interplanetary missions today than in the past?

From this question, we have learned that there is in fact fewer interplanetary missions being planned now than there has a decade ago. One of the items discussed as to why this might be the case is ...
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How much easier is it, to explore space from a low orbit satellite, than from Earth?

Note: in this question I'm considering cost in both money and fuel terms, and looking for answers that consider both. So we know that using chemical rockets to reach the moon, or further into space, ...
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How much of the world's xenon has been used in spaceflight altogether? Is it a lot? Did it cost a lot?

This answer to Why will Starlink satellites use krypton instead of xenon for electric propulsion? says: I expect they did the math, and found that overall cost was less, even with reduced thrust/watt ...
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Why exactly did ESA provide a grant funding blockchain in space? Which program was used for the funding? What will this do?

Despite all of the negative authoritative answers to How would blockchain be integrated into spaceflight? Have any methods been proposed yet? stating that it wouldn't happen, Coin Telegraph's ...
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Why is catapulting rockets still not a thing? [duplicate]

Recent 20 years have seen an explosion in computational capabilities and reusable space vehicles. It baffles me why do all rockets still burn from zero velocity instead of: dropped from an airplane ...
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What is the most expensive part of a rocket?

I want to say fuel is, but this Question Why isn't stainless steel used for rocket engines? has got me thinking about cost in the long run. What part commonly found on most rockets cost the most ...
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Does better satelite propulsion help selling secondary payloads?

Generally orbital inclination change is said to be (fuel) expensive so everyone is trying to reach their final orbit straight from the launch vehicle. Small launch vehicles (Rocket Lab etc.) reach ...
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How much of NASA's annual budget goes to launch

I've been trying to figure out how much of NASA's budget goes to launch costs. I would also be interested in the same question for the global space market. What I've tried I started with a simple ...
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Why has a rocket system like Starship never been proposed before? It does not seem to use any new science, materials or fuels

I wonder why nobody ever proposed a space launch system like Starship. Methane as a fuel and all the theory behind are well known, so why? Is it solely because of IT progress that made returning the ...
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How much cheaper are pressure fed engines compared to other cycles (e.g. staged combustion, gas generator, electric pump-fed)?

It's well known that pressure fed engines are mechanically simpler, and therefore cheaper than pump-fed cycles (although pressure fed has worse performance). However, I haven't found any sources that ...
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Lunar sample return cost per kg - Apollo vs Luna vs Chang'e

Lunar samples (rocks, soil etc.) were returned by US Apollo program, Russian Luna and Chinese Chang'e. How does the cost per kg of the samples compare among these missions? Who got it the cheapest per ...
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How much does smallsat launch to LEO cost?

In early 2021, SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Virgin Orbit list prices as follows: ...
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Did specific changes to DSCOVR's mission or design produce the change from "may not represent the best expenditure " to "strong and vital"?

The excellent answer to What ever happened to the Asteroid Redirect Mission? carries a warning: There is no way to decouple politics from this; I have tried to be objective. and it's possible an ...
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What is the cheapest possible way to land a crew of 2 on the moon?

During the Apollo moon missions, a single very large rocket sent both the Apollo CSM and the LM to the moon in a single shot and it took only around 3 days to get there. However, after the Apollo ...
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Cheapest rocket to go to space?

Have you ever heard of the old movie Salvage? The TV movie, “Salvage,” aired on January 20, 1979. The film begins with Harry successfully bidding for a vintage bi-plane and then reselling it in pieces ...
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How much more expensive are scientific instruments for space use?

The discussion on How cold is the Martian sky at night? Or the day for that matter? made me wonder. How much more expensive are scientific instruments on spacecraft or landers, compared to their ...
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Rocket fuel cost to launch 1 kg to orbit

I have 2 questions about the cost of liquid rocket fuel to launch (anything) to LEO orbit. Let's assume we use fuels used in commercial spaceflight today (probably LOX+LH2 or LOX+RP-1 etc.). What is ...
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What are the economic parameters (market share, return of investment, etc.) of the private sector in the global space economy?

According to a recent statement by the Space Foundation, the global space economy reached a record $ 423.8 billion. It has expanded more than 70% in the last decade. Nowadays there are more than 80 ...
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Why is the cubesat structure so expensive?

The 1U cubesat structure is a 10*10*10 cm metal cube with frames. But it costs around 2000-3000€, which is really expensive. I've found it for example on these sites: https://www.isispace.nl/product/...
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Is there a widespread popular misconception of how expensive it is to launch a cubesat? [closed]

Sometimes one sees discussions about hypothetical CubeSats with impressive abilities that seem to be assume that CubeSats are cheaper to launch (not merely individually, but by mass) than larger ...
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What is the cost of production or sale of a Soyuz spacecraft?

Soyuz manned spacecraft have been operating for over fifty years and have made one hundred and forty five flights. There have been many upgrades and improvements and is still going strong. I imagine ...
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Did NASA director Jim Bridenstine really make sure that Artemis gets done in a way different than how the US "House of Representatives put forward"?

update: Aviation Week November 8, 2020: NASA Chief Plans To Step Aside Under Biden In the "Angry Astronaut" video NASA'S Lunar Gateway Announcement - This REALLY matters to Artemis, SpaceX ...
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Most expensive satellites of 2010s?

Which were the most expensive Earth satellites in the 2010s? Say first 3 or 5. Zuma satellite (lost) was $3.5 billion, was any other satellite more expensive? Excepting the Space Shuttle which is a ...
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Demonstrative examples of NASA "programs that go too long, that cost too much... end up getting cast out later"?

Spaceflight Now's NASA lays out $28 billion plan to return astronauts to the moon in 2024 quotes NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and includes the following: Bridenstine acknowledged the challenge ...
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How many US states receive large amounts of money due to SLS?

That NASA is spread out over so many locations across the US is history and discussed elsewhere in this site. Briefly, Congress approves funding and the funding ends up in many, many of congress' ...
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Why does the government still fund SLS while SpaceX is cheaper and has the same capabilities if not better?

Due to SpaceX's recent advancements in now proven rocket tech, why does the government still fund (what some would argue to be bloated) cost-plus contracts with Boeing and Lockheed? Am I missing ...
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How much does launch costs have to come down to make chemical fuel deep space probes feasible?

Considering that NASA have been running short of plutonium for their RTGs, it makes sense to consider alternatives. For the inner solar system up to Jupiter, solar cells have been demonstrated on ...
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Why doesn't NASA create targeted campaigns for donations?

In this article is stated that in order to land on Mars NASA might need the help of the ESA or even the Chinese, not because it doesn't have the capability, but because it needs more financial help. ...
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What parts of a rocket are particularly cheap or inexpensive?

Related: What is the most expensive part of a rocket? What parts of a launch vehicle, if any, are particularly inexpensive? This can mean "similar in cost to common commercial-grade analogues", "...
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Any interest in crewed mission to Mars without landing?

Would there be any interest in a manned mission to Mars without landing? This could consists of none (just a flyby) to many revolution(s) around the planet. Would it cut a consequent part of the cost ...
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What makes SpaceX's Starship so cheap?

Elon Musk estimates that a Starship launch could drop to as low as $2 million. A Falcon 9 launch costs $50 million (when reused). What makes such a huge price difference? Will it use a different ...
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How much would reduce the cost of sending kgs to the moon having a 200,000 miles space elevator there?

According to this article/study A space elevator to the moon could be doable Its central element is a cable that would be anchored to the moon and span more than 200,000 miles to a point above ...
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What percentage of a satellite's total budget goes into its launch?

Been trying to do some personal market analysis of the space market, and realized that there doesn't seem to be any kind of statistic or average regarding how much percentage the launch of a satellite ...
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Cubesat/Nanosat dispensers/deployers costs

I’ m looking for informations about dispensers/deployers equipement costs and associated launch costs, espacially for 12U configurations and over. I’ve got price information on Tyvak 12U Deployer in a ...
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How much did it cost to rush the Apollo program? [closed]

We know how much the Apollo program cost: The United States spent \$28 billion to land men on the Moon between 1960 and 1973, or approximately \$288 billion when adjusted for inflation. Source ...
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Cost of an earth observation cubesat satellite like Planet Labs' Doves?

With the cubesat standard and more and more components being available off the shelf, this should really bring down the price of building a (simple) earth observation platform. I am curious how low a ...
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Is the monetary cost of space programs misleading?

Car production in the us costs about a million tons of steel per year which is maybe 99% recycled. Say a rocket costs 100 tons and is expendable. Launching 100 rockets yearly is a decent share of ...
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Why is fuel cheap compared to rocket?

The fuel for a Falcon 9 (SpaceX) costs around \$200,000 per launch, while the launch itself costs \$62,000,000. Safety precautions, rocket shell and rocket engines cost a lot. But why not fuel?
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How did the US government shutdown of 2013 affect NASA operations?

At midnight on October 1, 2013 the US government entered the state of government shutdown where all functions deemed non-essential are suspended. This shutdown lasted 16 days. How did this shutdown ...
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Were Apollo astronauts charged for their berths during their missions?

In a recent article in The Guardian I ran into the following statement about the Apollo astronauts: On their way to and from the moon, each earned $8 a day, minus a fee for a bed on their Apollo ...
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How much did it cost to refurbish the Launch Complex 39 hardware after an Apollo Saturn V launch?

A launch pad used for a rocket of some 30-35 MNewtons of thrust does not come out of it unscathed. It must be refurbished before it can be used again. How much does that cost? As an indication of such ...