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Something seems to be going wrong...

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:18 am
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Something seems to be going wrong... 
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Post Something seems to be going wrong...   Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:18 am
There is an interesting comparison. Under www.welt.de there is an article this week quoting NASA officials to have said that a landing on the martian Moons would much cheaper than a lunar landing - which I have no problem to believe and find quite clear.

The issue includes a manned landing.

The point now is that the financial requirements are said to be $ 30 bio while I remeber that th total $ 104 bio for lunar missions are said to be for one manned lunar landing - or is understood at this message board this way.

If the numbers and how they are understood are correct really then $ 77 bio are caused by the lunar requirements mainly -for one lunar landing this would indicating that something is going quite wrong.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:38 am
No *** sherlock? :lol:

But since we don't have any details of that supposed Martian-moon mission, it's apples comparing with sheeps (or whatever you prefer). BUt let's face it. NASA can't do anything cheap.

Curious question, since personell bring huge costs to any organization, i was wondering what the average salary is at NASA. With all those masters and PhD's, that's gonna cost dearly.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:12 pm
My reaction is that this is just NASAs way of touting a Phobos mission.

The quoted cost always seems to explode when work starts, so comparing their cost for the thing they are doing with their cost for something they are not doing is like comparing apples and sheep (I like sheep).

There is a presidential election next year. After that, a change of plan to do something not done before, more interesting, and cheaper, while still appearing to make use of development work already in progress, is politically feasible. Much easier than an outright cancellation, and preferable to everyone.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:33 pm
I suspect $30 billion is the ADDED cost to use the completed Constellation hardware to go to Phobos. In other words, after the Orion and Ares 1 and 5 are complete and paid for and flying, another $30 billion would fund a mission to a Martian moon.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:55 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
I suspect $30 billion is the ADDED cost to use the completed Constellation hardware to go to Phobos. In other words, after the Orion and Ares 1 and 5 are complete and paid for and flying, another $30 billion would fund a mission to a Martian moon.


I wish I'd said that.

What I don't understand is why everything seems so much more expensive in real terms than the Apollo missions. The usual figure bandied about at the time was about $450 million per mission. Why should a comparable mission cost many times more than about $3 billion now?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:03 pm
xiphius wrote:
I wish I'd said that.

What I don't understand is why everything seems so much more expensive in real terms than the Apollo missions. The usual figure bandied about at the time was about $450 million per mission. Why should a comparable mission cost many times more than about $3 billion now?


Hold it. You can't compare '70 dollars with 2007 dollars. I have absolutely no idea how much the dollar was worth back then, but probably 3 to almost 4 times more worth then now. (not just the dollar alone btw, every currency has this, perhaps the dollar a bit more extreme the last 7 years)

But like i said. Everybody wants to earn more, so wages go up.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:50 pm
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:

Hold it. You can't compare '70 dollars with 2007 dollars. I have absolutely no idea how much the dollar was worth back then, but probably 3 to almost 4 times more worth then now.


I assumed inflation of 5% per year for 40 years and got just over $3 billion.

Assuming 7% inflation for 40 years still gives less than $7 billion.

So, what should I hold? Are you coming on to me? :shock:


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:24 pm
This inflation calculator:
http://www.westegg.com/inflation/
Says the $25 billion total Apollo project cost in 1969 would be like $140 billion today, and the $450 million per mission cost would be like $2.5 billion today. So why $30 billion and not 3? Probably for adaptations to the lunar hardware needed for a Mars mission. And planning costs. And operating costs for 2 years instead of 2 weeks.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:54 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
This inflation calculator:
http://www.westegg.com/inflation/
Says the $25 billion total Apollo project cost in 1969 would be like $140 billion today, and the $450 million per mission cost would be like $2.5 billion today. So why $30 billion and not 3? Probably for adaptations to the lunar hardware needed for a Mars mission. And planning costs. And operating costs for 2 years instead of 2 weeks.


Thanks. That makes sense for the Phobos mission, but what about this $104 billion per moon landing, even if it is 4 people for 2 weeks? I realize it's bigger than an Apollo mission, but a factor of 40ish?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:31 pm
The $104 billion is not the cost of one lunar mission. It is the total cost of the constellation program up through the first mission. That includes building the Orion, Ares 1 and 5, the LSAM (like the LM), and the Earth departure stage. So it should be compared to the $25 billion ($140 billion today) cost of the entire Apollo program.

The LSAM would not be needed for a Phobos mission, but probably a different Earth departure stage would be needed as well as some special equipment to land on the extremely low gravity Martian moon. The cost of that would be part of the $30 billion. But I am just guessing here. I haven't seen any details from NASA.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:18 pm
Thanks again, that makes perfect sense.

It occurred to me that you would hardly need a lander for Phobos so much as an MMU, like they used for the rescue of Westar 6 and Palapa B2. The astronaut would simply 'land' on his feet. Maybe that's not quite practical, but I wonder if developing the necessary kit would be a similar scale of project to the Apollo lunar rover. As I recall, Boeing developed and delivered that in 12 months flat for $1 million.

Or Micro-Space might just have a suitable lander in a box, on a shelf, in an Amazon.com warehouse.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:43 am
Hello, xiphius and Stefan,

the rate of inflation known in the public cannot be applied here because of the commodity basket applied to get that rate.

The commodity basket containes all those material and immaterial products and services the average joe buys day by day - they don't include rockets, cerosene, LOX or anything like that.

The rate of inflation to be applied to rockets needs to be based ona quite different commodity basket that may be available indeed but must be identified first.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:09 am
Richard W. Orloff and David M. Harland list a total of $19,408,134 from 1960-1973 for the whole Apollo program in their book "Apollo - The Definitive Sourcebook". I couldn't find any numbers for today quickly.

Harrison Schmitt writes in his book "Return to the Moon" (YES! I found it again): "The taxpayer paid about $16.1 billion at 1969 rates to develop, build, and operate the Apollo Program's rockets and spacecraft between 1961 and 1969, including four test flights and the first two landings on the Moon. $16 billion at 1969 rates translate into about $112 billion at 2005 rates [...]"

He writes further "The marginal (recurring) cost of hardware and operations for the last flight in the Apollo series, assuming that about five launches per year could be accommodated, has been calculated to be about $2.7 billion at 2005 rates."

In his business case he assumes a conservative estimate of $2.9 billion which would lead which Saturn 5's payload capacity to $59,400 / kg marginal costs.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:17 am
Surely there is a whole Department at Nasa dedicated to tracking the Rocket CPI basket. As Harry S. Stampersaid, they have guys sitting around thinking stuff up.

However it would be an interesting and valuable project.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:19 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Hello, xiphius and Stefan,

the rate of inflation known in the public cannot be applied here because of the commodity basket applied to get that rate.

The commodity basket containes all those material and immaterial products and services the average joe buys day by day - they don't include rockets, cerosene, LOX or anything like that.

The rate of inflation to be applied to rockets needs to be based ona quite different commodity basket that may be available indeed but must be identified first.



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That is a bunch of crap. The cost of launches has been overwhelmingly dominated by labour costs, and the least worst guide for the trend in that is overall inflation.

The cost of fuel is so insignificant it even gets dismissed in discussions about which fuel to use.

Efforts to change this and make launches less labour-intensive have been made on the reasonable assumption that this is the best way to bring costs down. So to assume a similar level of labour is conservative.

A crystal ball does not work any better by looking at it through a magnifying glass. Detailed calculations based on imprecise assumptions are still as imprecise as the assumptions.

Given Klaus' contribution above, it would seem that Harrison Schmitt is just about as stupid as I am, and I don't believe that for one minute.


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