Questions tagged [economics]

Questions regarding cost and funding. Please note that this questions may be hard to answer, or opinion based.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
1 answer
116 views

Research/feasibility studies to put the radioactive debris to space, as launch price keeps falling?

With the rising bulk energy consumption and the CO2 problem, nuclear plants appear once again to be a feasible long term source of (industrial) energy. However a big show stopper is the problem with ...
user avatar
  • 2,880
34 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why are the recent flights of two billionaires discussed in terms of space travel?

Recently, there has been much attention on the fact that billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson were passengers in very high-altitude flights. Reputed media outlets discussed these events as &...
user avatar
  • 450
9 votes
2 answers
289 views

Why is the Space industry expected to flourish and grow in the near future?

I've been seeing a lot of videos talking about how the "space industry" is "exploding" and soon to be a trillion dollar industry. Obviously I know better than to just buy into the ...
user avatar
28 votes
5 answers
9k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,067
0 votes
1 answer
235 views

Why are there no Mass Catchers?

When moving around in space you have to spend delta-v to accelerate and decelerate, which necessitates having an engine and control system. It would follow that a mass "catcher" would be a ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
389 views

Why is the Orion spacecraft so big?

The Orion spacecraft which is to be used for the Artemis missions will be rated for 6 astronauts. Why so many? Given the "political" assignment is to put "a woman and another man to the ...
user avatar
  • 1,343
-2 votes
1 answer
112 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 7,924
1 vote
1 answer
145 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,173
21 votes
7 answers
4k views

Why don't we build standardized space probes?

Why is each space probe is so different? This increase costs. Wouldn't it be beneficial to design one probe that can be sent in many different directions? Or maybe a set of probes, or maybe design a ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
225 views

Challenges that "missile mail" would have to overcome? (Aerophilately)

Mail delivery by missiles has been attempted but never really took off. I have read of some who made attempts to build a postal missile system, such as Stephen Smith of India, but I wonder about the ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
88 views

Does a published account of the economics of Russian debris shipbreaking exist?

Most Soviet and Russian rockets are/were launched from an inland site, and spent booster stages crash on the ground in sparsely populated (and frequently impoverished) rural areas. Since the fall of ...
user avatar
  • 7,924
2 votes
0 answers
114 views

What are the challenges for delivering bulk asteroid commodities to Earth? [closed]

I think nickel-iron is an extraordinary and perhaps unique resource that is (by Earth market standards) valuable even as a raw and unprocessed commodity - perhaps several thousand US$ per ton for high ...
user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Documented economics of STS Solid Rocket Booster reuse?

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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
516 views

What Platinum minerals are expected to be found in Asteroids?

High quantities and values have been claimed for the Platinum and other high value metals in Asteroids - prompting (or perhaps in order to prompt) interest in mining them. Is this high value metal ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
4k views

Would NASA be financially self-sufficient if it could keep all revenues from patents?

I am wondering if NASA could be financially self-sufficient if they kept all revenues from patents of technologies they have developed since the Apollo program. To answer this, I would like to ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
420 views

How much would it cost to replace the ISS if we started the effort in 2018?

To the extent that the numbers can be untangled, how was the cost of the ISS distributed in categories such as launch, hardware, and R&D? Since the retirement of the ISS is in the offing, I'm ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is BFR replacing the Falcon 9?

Not every payload (or even batch of payloads) needs super-heavy launch capacity, but that seems to be what SpaceX is doing. https://www.space.com/38323-spacex-phasing-out-rockets-for-mars-bfr-...
user avatar
  • 911
14 votes
7 answers
5k views

Would reusable rockets render the idea of space elevators useless? [closed]

With the expected advances in reusable rocket technology within the next decade, will constructing a space elevator become meaningless? Or will it still be way cheaper, safer and convenient to use ...
user avatar
  • 499
-1 votes
2 answers
596 views

If the Moon were solid gold, how far away would it have to be to not be economical to mine it?

Space is pretty expensive to get to, and there's a shocking lack of things in it. A planet made of gold sounds like a treasure worth the trip! How far would such a thing have to be away from Earth in ...
user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
324 views

Theoretical Asteroid Composition and the economy

This is a question that I sort of view as an intersection between economics/science/space, completely hypothetical in nature, so I'm not sure if this is the right forum for it but, here goes: I read ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
527 views

Why does NASA and other space agencies seem to rarely if ever complain over the state of the budget?

The question is why and how the politics plays into this. Why does NASA and other space agencies usually not (if ever) complain about their minuscule budgets? I can only assume that doing so would be ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
145 views

What are the economics of upgrading versus refueling satellites?

It is sometimes suggested that fuel produced on the Moon or on asteroids could be launched more cheaply to dock with and refuel for example communication satellites in GEO to extend their operating ...
user avatar
  • 26.3k
5 votes
3 answers
569 views

What is the correlation between the cost of a satellite and its lifetime?

One of the answers to this question is generating some discussion about the cost and lifetime of a satellite. The question is, will a satellite become cheaper when you can design it for a shorter ...
user avatar
  • 121k
11 votes
2 answers
5k views

Who provides the insurance for SpaceX launches?

With the recovery of the first stage on their most recent launch, I was excited and congratulatory, of course. Then my thoughts went forward to the re-use of this launch vehicle. It would seem that ...
user avatar
  • 213
2 votes
1 answer
245 views

Manufacturing Earth satellites on Mars

Many people say that a Mars colony is economically unsustainable as goods from Earth will be considerably cheaper for the foreseeable future and Mars won't have anything to trade in return. This got ...
user avatar
  • 123
5 votes
3 answers
415 views

How long are the wait queues for commercial payloads?

Let's say I won the jackpot on the lottery and want to finally launch the satellite I've been building in my garage for past few years and just finished yesterday. How long would it take between me ...
user avatar
  • 52.6k
33 votes
7 answers
11k views

Why didn't NASA use the shuttle to make a profit?

My understanding is the shuttle was designed as cost-effective workhorse, a space-van to ferry cargo up to the ISS, conduct zero-G experiments and put satellites into orbit. So why didn't NASA take ...
user avatar
  • 433
16 votes
2 answers
3k views

Who pays when a mission to the ISS fails?

Now that we know the results of the latest spaceX launch (ka-boom), who (directly, and economically) pays for that rocket? NASA and spaceX have a contract for a fixed number of launches, does it ...
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Are ICBMs and orbital launchers similar enough to be co-developed today?

Russia has two types of hypergolic liquid fuel ICBMs deployed, UR-100N and R-36M2 Vojewoda and they are working on the big Sarmat. There's in this category also the Chinese DF-A5. (A list of ICBMs ...
user avatar
  • 26.3k
4 votes
1 answer
345 views

What are the actual economics for the ULA reusability plan?

From this article, I gather that ULA is trying to build reusability into their next generation of launch vehicles. Their plan is summed up nicely in the picture: In the article, they seem to do some ...
user avatar
  • 5,134
3 votes
0 answers
73 views

What sectors spend how much on space launches?

How is the money which is spent on space flight, in terms of launch costs, distributed between different purposes? I suppose that it would be unwieldy to consider the money spent on the development ...
user avatar
  • 26.3k
7 votes
2 answers
809 views

Why isn't Project Orion the new space race? [closed]

With a huge robust ship you could go get an ice-teroid. With effectively unlimited reaction mass, finely balanced trajectories become unnecessary and launch windows a thing of the past. A pulsed ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Cost breakdown of Delta IV Heavy launch

It seems that launching rockets to orbit is already pretty mature technology. Yet, costs of payload delivered are very high (around 50,000 USD/kg for GEO, around 4,000 USD/kg for LEO). I wonder what ...
user avatar
  • 675
12 votes
1 answer
853 views

Could Orion capsules be reused?

While watching this video animation of Orion EFT-1, a question occurred to me. Previous capsules (Apollo, Gemini, Mercury) were used once and then relegated to museums (apart from a few test flight ...
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
864 views

What are the benefits of saying a commercial space development program is funded privately?

I'm just curious why this is important to SpaceX. The reusable launch system that SpaceX is developing was supposedly not funded by any of NASA's contract. What benefits would this give to SpaceX? ...
user avatar
  • 173
9 votes
3 answers
325 views

What causes the costs of operating an existing planetary mission?

I read on the Planetery Society blog that it costs USD 25 million this year to maintain the Opportunity rover on Mars and the LRO Lunar orbiter. I would like to see a break down of those budgets. I ...
user avatar
  • 26.3k
9 votes
1 answer
372 views

Does a persons weight affect their potential selection to be an astronaut?

Every extra bit of weight cost extra to send to orbit. Presumably it also impacts the possible payload. Assuming a generally healthy build, and otherwise physically able and fit person. In ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
7k views

Price per kg of cargo delivery to ISS

The nice wikipedia comparison table of space station cargo vehicles doesn't provide any hints on the price per kilogram for the cargo delivery to the ISS. As it is usual with price per kilogram ...
user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
618 views

Payload mass scale economy

What is the "payload mass" curve in relation to "cost to orbit?" I mean: preparing a whole launch system for delivering a single cubesat to LEO would be an overkill, the cost to bring such a small ...
user avatar
  • 52.6k
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

What portion of SpaceX's revenue comes from private sources?

SpaceX is often called a "commercial" company and participates in NASA's Commercial Crew Program. In SpaceX's early days, all of SpaceX's revenue came from non-government sources. But today, SpaceX ...
user avatar
  • 9,946