Questions tagged [cost]

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

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Why not build Saturn V's again?

Why is the US developing a new rocket and spacecraft as opposed to building the Saturn V and Apollo stacks again? The SLS / Orion development programs certainly can't cost less than the unit cost of ...
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30 votes
1 answer
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What is the current cost-per-pound to send something into LEO?

As a student of economics and finance I would love to learn more about the cost structures of sending a payload into orbit. More specifically - What is the cost-per-pound to send something into LEO ...
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28 votes
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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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28 votes
2 answers
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What is the cost breakdown for a Falcon 9 launch?

I don't know if this was already asked, but I'm very curious about the cost breakdown of a Falcon 9 launch.
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Is there an independent cost estimate of the Mars One proposal?

Has anyone outside of the Mars One foundation done an independent evaluation that concept in terms of the following heads? Initial Cost Ongoing Cost Technical feasibility?
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25 votes
6 answers
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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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22 votes
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What is the marginal cost of *landing* on the Moon?

The question How useful is placing an asteroid in the Moon's orbit? quotes a news article saying the Obama administration is opposed to a lunar landing mission because of the cost of such a mission: ...
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21 votes
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What is the cost of keeping the ISS in orbit

The plan for the ISS upon decomissioning is to deorbit the structure and let it fall into the ocean. I get that we do not want extra debris in orbit but I would think that leaving the structure in ...
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Cost-effective Space Shuttle: was it feasible?

As far as I understand, NASA's Space Shuttle was initially conceived as a cheap way of launching people and cargo into orbit, with one-week vehicle turnaround time and dozens of missions per year. ...
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Why does SpaceX appear to get less funding from NASA for the same thing as competitors?

Been looking at the amazing success of SpaceX and from what I found, the contracts they get awarded don't seem to make much sense. It looks like they are simply getting paid less each time NASA awards ...
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19 votes
1 answer
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Why is Falcon 9's fairing so big?

The Falcon 9 fairing costs millions of dollars. It is 5.2 meters wide while the rocket itself is only 3.7 meters wide. There is no aerodynamic reason that the fairing has to be so big, since Dragon ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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What is the cost estimate for a manned Mars mission?

I am looking for a cost estimate for a manned (return) mission to Mars. There is a similar question asking for the cost of the Mars One proposal, but I would be happy with a cost estimate for any type ...
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18 votes
6 answers
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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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17 votes
2 answers
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What specifically makes launching objects from Earth into space expensive?

I always wondered about this. Is it because the fuel is too costly? Because the equipment will be trashed?
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17 votes
1 answer
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Why design new rocket engines instead of using the existing types?

Already in the 1960s rocket engines seem to have achieved near maximum chemical efficiency. What are the reasons for new designs being in demand? How much better could a new engine design be than the ...
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17 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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What makes time on the DSN so expensive?

David Hammen wrote in a comment on Why there is not a single orbiter for Uranus or Neptune? that: The two Voyager satellites still receive multiple Deep Space Network contacts per week, each of ...
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16 votes
2 answers
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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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16 votes
3 answers
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How much do orbital debris cost annually to satellite operators?

Is there any assessment of the annual cost of orbital debris for satellite operators? I am interested in all kind causes of costs, such as: damages to satellites in orbit human-hours spent on ...
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15 votes
3 answers
4k views

How will the UK leaving the EU affect ESA?

Now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, how is that going to affect the European Space Agency? How much funding and participation does ESA receive from the UK based on the EU ...
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2 answers
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Is NASA launching fewer interplanetary missions?

We were discussing this in the chat room yesterday, and I thought it might make an interesting question. While missions are lasting longer today than they perhaps ever have, it seems like there are ...
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15 votes
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What's the marginal cost of a second interplanetary space probe copy, like Voyager 2 or Viking 2?

During the old space race days, launching double or multiple scientific probe copies seems to have been the standard. It should have the advantage of sharing the one time fixed development costs while ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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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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12 votes
2 answers
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What would it cost to bring a 1 gram payload to the CMBR rest frame (i.e. Δv 368 km/s ?)

Suppose we wanted to do a very small experiment in (or very close to) the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation rest frame, which we are travelling at 368 ± 2 km/s relative to. Without considering the ...
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1 answer
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How much does a launch scrub cost?

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 ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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How much will SpaceX's constellation of Internet satellites cost?

SpaceX has a plan to launch up to 4K satellites to provide global Internet access. Is there a reasonable estimate of how much this constellation would cost to launch? Also, as the minimum number of ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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How much of the International Space Station annual operating costs are due to human crew?

The 2013 NASA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, Extending the Operational Life of the International Space Station Until 2024, shows the ISS annual operating costs at $2.9 billion. How much ...
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11 votes
3 answers
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Are we capable (engineering-wise) of building a spacecraft in space?

Rockets are expensive. And for the most part, one-time-use-only. SSTO promises to change that. However, SSTOs will have limited payload capacity (as will every launch vehicle), and eventually ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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How much fuel does the Falcon Heavy use? What is the price RP-1?

Does anyone know how much fuel the Falcon Heavy can hold, the RP-1 fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidizer, and how much of that will it use to get to a certain point? I don't know how i would calculate ...
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11 votes
1 answer
4k views

How much does it cost to train an astronaut?

What are the total costs to train an astronaut from selection until they are ready to go to space? How much time does it take? And is it possible to break down the costs by category (salary, training, ...
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10 votes
3 answers
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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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10 votes
1 answer
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Cost of an EVA on the ISS?

What does it cost for an astronaut to spend an hour outside the ISS, in terms of astronaut time mission preparation time ground support personnel space suit "rent" (?) Does this cost vary for a ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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Roughly what percentage (by cost) of a Rocket Launch does stage 1 of the Falcon 9 Rocket represent? [duplicate]

As of a short time ago, SpaceX made history as the first entity *ever* to successfully re-land the initial stage of an orbital rocket. Up until this point, the dominating factor in the cost of Rocket ...
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9 votes
2 answers
722 views

What ULA innovations was Michael Gass alluding to during latest U.S. Senate address?

I've read an interesting article that mentions Michael Gass, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance (ULA), alluding to ULA innovations during the latest Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing ...
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9 votes
1 answer
340 views

When could MAVEN launch to get to Mars, if it misses its launch date?

What kind of transfer orbit will MAVEN follow? If it is a Hohmann Transfer Orbit which will be effective only when the launch point and destination of spacecraft are in straight line. Earth is its ...
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9 votes
1 answer
495 views

Is access to space becoming more affordable?

Although many people have been disheartened by the lack of large scale space exploration endeavours since the Apollo program, I was wondering if there has been an appreciable decrease in the cost-per-...
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9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Optimum velocity for first stage separation in a two-stage launcher

Looking at the numbers that are given, for example, at the SpaceX launches, it seems that the velocities at first stage separation are a bit above 2 km/s. The second stage does all the rest of the ...
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8 votes
5 answers
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Do 3D printers in space stations mean a significant cost reduction?

I just watched a VSauce2 video, at the end of which certain NASA animations were shown about some of their recent innovations. One of them included use of printers in the ISS. Do they actually mean a ...
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8 votes
3 answers
922 views

Why do we have so many different spaceships to refill ISS?

To refill the ISS, many spacecraft have been or are used The shuttle (retired for obvious reasons) ATV (retired) HTV (will be retired) Progress Soyuz Dragon Cygnus CST-100 (future) Dream Chaser (...
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8 votes
2 answers
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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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8 votes
1 answer
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Why does a Falcon Heavy cost more with a heavier payload?

While trying to find the priceof a Falcon Heavy launch, I noticed the following: \$90M (<8.0mT), [\$130M (>8.0mT)] Why is there a $40 million difference in price for the heavier payload? Also, ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Cost Breakdown for Curiosity Development

Is there a breakdown of the 2.5 Billion USD cost for Curiosity? I am particularly interested in the cost of the software development of the rover.
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8 votes
1 answer
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What do the gravitational wave findings mean for Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna satellite

Being announced as the discovery of the decade (sucks to work in science for the next 4 years I guess) the recent announcement of the discovery of gravitational waves from the collision of two black ...
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8 votes
1 answer
590 views

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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7 votes
4 answers
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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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7 votes
2 answers
3k views

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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7 votes
3 answers
913 views

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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7 votes
2 answers
216 views

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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7 votes
2 answers
598 views

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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7 votes
2 answers
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Which is overall more expensive to operate for a final rocket stage? LH2/LOX or hypergolics like UDMH/N2O4?

My question is about operating costs of propellants, from production, handling, fueling, and anything else needed for the props. I am not just asking about how expensive it is to produce them. ...
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