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A Decent Price for Launch Vehicle Development

December 14, 2010

While digging around in a number of places on teh intertubes, I found a note from Bob Zubrin on the Mars Society site that mentions that the SpaceX Falcon medium-lift launch vehicle was developed for a cost of $ 200 million. That’s all it cost to get to an operational Falcon 9 vehicle? NASA couldn’t do such a thing today, with Boeing or LockMart.

Granted, even Elon Musk admitted they” stood on the shoulders of giants” in developing their vehicles by leveraging all the previous research and technology available. Still, they did it – something no one else can say.

Apparently he told NASA that he could build a heavy lift launcher for about $ 2.5 billion. NASA seemed uninterested. SpaceX has a list of launches set up on the manifest for the next couple of years already. Maybe he can build it on his own dime anyway. Perhaps he can’t afford it yet…but maybe in a couple of years he will. Who would have thought SpaceX would have been as successful as it has been already, even with all the hoops the government has made it jump through. Things like making them launch from the South Pacific instead of either coast, all those other extra rules and regulations they invented to “regulate commercial space flight.” Grrrr.

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