g38
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:59 am

How Much Does It Cost To Launch A Space Shuttle?

Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:36 am

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?
 
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Stitch
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:26 am

RE: How Much Does It Cost To Launch A Space Shuttle?

Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:22 am

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.
 
dk1967
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RE: How Much Does It Cost To Launch A Space Shuttle?

Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:39 pm

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.
 
aklrno
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RE: How Much Does It Cost To Launch A Space Shuttle?

Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:30 pm

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.
 
GST
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RE: How Much Does It Cost To Launch A Space Shuttle?

Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:06 am

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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