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How Much Does It Cost To Launch A Space Shuttle?  
User currently offlineg38 From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 229 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 16720 times:
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Does anyone know how much it costs to prep, launch, and recover (the whole mission) a space shuttle? What would a pair of those booster rockets set you back?

4 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 32286 posts, RR: 85
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 16715 times:
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I've heard each launch runs USD 500 million. Not sure if that is an average and if it includes the entire mission cost, or just the cost to prep the shuttle for launch and put her into orbit.

User currently offlinedk1967 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 16588 times:

The SRB segments are reusable. A complete new SRB cost about $40m to manufacture, but everything in use now has been flown before. I beleive the retrieval and refurbishment program has a fixed cost of about $500m per year regardless of the number of launches.

User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 1095 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 16532 times:

According to NASA web pages, it costs $450 million per launch. Of course that does not cover other costs like training, capital expenses (new equipment from time to time), and (I suspect) the operating costs of a mission after launch.

As a former engineer, I admire the shuttle. As a taxpayer, I'll be happy to see it replaced by lower cost expendables or semi-expendables like the Falcon.

The shuttle was originally touted as a way to reduce the cost of space travel. Since that didn't work out it it became a way to continue our manned presence in space. Our manned presence in space was necessary to operate the space shuttle, a nice piece of circular reasoning.

One popular bit of reasoning was that without the shuttle we couldn't have fixed the Hubble telescope, but without the shuttle we could have had the money to build a new one, or maybe two.

User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 941 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 16345 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 3):
but without the shuttle we could have had the money to build a new one, or maybe two.

But without a (largely) prestige project such as the Space Shuttle, said public funding may well not have remained with NASA or the space vehicles industry. I'm not arguing that the money difference could not have been used for better things if there was a less expensive system in use or the shuttle's original purpose had been less dreamlike and the aircraft designed for more realistic goals..

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