Space matters
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Space matters
News from all over the solar system to people living in the early 21st Century / Chroniques de la conquête du système solaire
Curated by Vincent Lieser
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This vertical takeoff vertical landing rocket is more accurately described as a vertical, lateral, whatever-the-hell-you-need rocket

SpaceX's Grasshopper is even more impressive than you probably realized – and that's saying something.
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Revisiting SLS/Orion launch costs | The Space Review

Revisiting SLS/Orion launch costs | The Space Review | Space matters |

A year and a half ago, I wrote an article very critical of the Space Launch System (see “The SLS: too expensive for exploration?”, The Space Review, November 28, 2011). To see if this assessment should now be updated, I checked a series of sources and found that little in the situation has changed, with no reliable cost estimates of an SLS launch yet available anywhere. It is actually amazing how hard it is to get cost estimates for any part of the SLS/Orion system. Another assessment corroborates this problem. While I was working on this article, two startling pieces of information came to light.


It is hard to see how a large rocket like the SLS, which is, with all of its components, destroyed in the course of a launch, could possibly cost a lot less than the Space Shuttle on a per-launch basis. It will probably cost considerably more, since all of the expensive rocket engines and other equipment will either smash into the ocean at high speed or reenter the atmosphere and burn up.

Via Stratocumulus
Vincent Lieser's insight:

Another exemple of the inanity of the SLS launch system. 

Stratocumulus's curator insight, July 16, 2013 1:42 AM

So, bottom line, the author of this article, John Strickland, estimates that, at the current projected flight rate, the SLS will cost the American taxpayer around $5 BILLION per launch. That's $5 BILLION! That's BILLION with a B! Have our so-called leaders in Washington completely lost their minds? This is beyond absurd.


Meanwhile, the inaugural launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy (53 metric tons to Low Earth Orbit at an estimated cost between $83 Million to $128 Million per launch) is currently projected for early 2014; four full years before the SLS is scheduled to fly. There's gonna be a whole lotta 'splainin' to do by certain members of Congress if Elon hits another home run and if SLS falls further and further behind schedule.