Community > Forum > Perception, Barriers & Regulation of Privatized Space Travel > Wondering about development- and launch-costs

Wondering about development- and launch-costs

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:50 am
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 6 posts ] 
Wondering about development- and launch-costs 
Author Message
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post Wondering about development- and launch-costs   Posted on: Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:50 am
In the HLLV/economies-thread Frediiiie wrote:

Quote:
Hi,
I'd like to throw in this link
http://www.astronautix.com/articles/costhing.htm
to launch costs at astronautica.
The point is made here that there is a considerable disconnect between launch costs and what is actually charged by old space launchers, partially because all the development costs were borne by NASA. Partially because large companies with multiple programs make it difficult if not impossible to find what are real costs and what are accounting quirks.
The conclusion is that launch charges for Delta and Atlas are somewhat arbitrary.


.

Since I myself already also had looks to the launch costs, developments costs and perhaps other costs listed there I find this t be worth a particular thread here. I remember to have been wondering a bit about the numbers.

But it's not only that - Another point is that some launch costs aren't calculated by the producers and companies doing the launches - they are calculated by the military or NASA (partially at least).

Because of this the numbers published by the military, NASA or even the producers may be calculated wrong ways.

Have a look here for example: www.astronautix.com/lvs/saturnv.htm. The development costs are listed to be $ 7,439.600 million while the launch costs are listed to be $ 431.000 million. These launch costs are propellant costs by much less than 10%. The majority will be hardware costs. This means that the development costs are no way covered by the launches of rockets of the Saturn-family - let alone the Saturn V-"family".

It is very unclear what made up the development costs and what links between the development costs and the launch costs might exist.

For those rockets where calculations have been done by the military and NASA and revised later because of changed expectations of future launches I still have to refind the examples.

But calculations by the military or NASA can be expected to lead to political prices rather than prices justified by the economics of the producers and launch servicers.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:04 am
Posts: 56
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:15 am
This reminds me of the whole space shuttle saga. The advertised cost of space shuttle launch was about $1000 per kg I believe, which is approaching the bounds of reasonable for financial applications. The real cost of shuttle launch is more like $20000 (?) per kg. Apparently the escalting price overruns are due to the fact that the space shuttle is flown very rarely. Originally the shuttle was supposed to be launched once every two weeks or so, but the the only Star Wars was able to provide the demand for such a high launch rate. But the Star Wars was canceled and the space shuttle was left hanging. And the fact that shuttles tended to blow up didn't help either.

_________________
I've become Death, the Destroyer of worlds...


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Trainee
Spaceflight Trainee
User avatar
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:10 pm
Posts: 31
Location: United States
Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:31 pm
Well, shuttles don't 'tend' to blow up any more than most other systems. The shuttle was expected to launch virtually everything the US would be putting up, both govenment and commercial flights, which would have provided the launch rate originally sold to congress. SDI would only have been a small part. However continuing compromises kept pushing the capability down, until the air force dropped any plans to use the system, deciding to rely on EELVs instead. Now, of course, this is vastly oversimplified. This is one thing that exites me about the N-Prize. Find ways to launch something with the minimum necessary vehicle, and consequently, the minimum necessary launch facilities as well, without sacrificing reasonable (place your own definition of reasonable here) safety and success rates.

Right now I'd say we need very cheap, but reliable, modular expendable boosters. Once we've proven that it can be done at much lower costs, I think we'll start to see more payloads. Microspace is right about one thing, start small and move up from there.

James C.
Epsilon Vee

_________________
James Clem
Chief Engineer
Epsilon Vee

Veni Vidi Orbis


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:14 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Las Vegas NV
Post lowering cost per launch   Posted on: Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:00 pm
Very small launchers, frequent launches and no fixed infrastructure were from the beginning the foundation for Microlaunchers. Cost per unit weight means nothing. Per launch does. Frequency will create experience and high success rate, and opportunity to change/improve designs quickly (news item: Falcon 1 launch that was to be today is postponed a month because of priority government use at Kwajelein).

Total number of launches has to be hundreds quickly, then thousands. If nominal space into which to launch is that between Earth and Mars, there's literally a trillion times the room as in LEO. No conjestion.

Blair and I decided on N Prize because an attempt provides an even smaller "entry point" than the then planned "ML-1" which is to place one Cubesat to LEO or 100 grams to escape. This, "ML-N", is a better starting point.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:38 pm
Posts: 1361
Location: Austin, Texas
Post Re: lowering cost per launch   Posted on: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:51 pm
ckpooley wrote:
Cost per unit weight means nothing.
Not true if the customer wants to launch a big weight, like a large space telescope or whatever.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:01 am
Posts: 747
Location: New Zealand
Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:15 pm
if it costs $25 Mil to launch a hundred tonnes then you still need to come up with $25 mil.

The cost of entry is very high in terms of what universities and R&D departments can afford.

However that cost level would be easy for industrial applications to profit at. Industrial applications can't be achieved with micro-launchers.

They are two very different markets and ideas. The frequency is never important. The total cost of launch is a barrier to entry for the low end and the cost per kilo is a barrier of usage to the high end.

$10,000 per kilo would be fine if you could pay $10,000 to launch just one kilo.

_________________
What goes up better doggone well stay up! - Morgan Gravitronics, Company Slogan.


Back to top
Profile ICQ YIM
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use