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Re: RE: starship-design: Space Money

In a message dated 11/13/97 2:09:31 AM, david@actionworld.com wrote:

>> ----------
>> From: 	KellySt@aol.com[SMTP:KellySt@aol.com]
>> Think about it.  A space shuttle costs about a billion dollars a bird
>> to buy,
>> and about the same per flight to operate.  The yearly shuttle flight
>> expences
>NASA's budget for the shuttle program averages around 3 billion a year
>for both operations and safety and performance upgrades.  Assuming six
>flights a year, this averages to half a billion a flight.  Now, this is
>still an awful lot of money - but's it's not a billion.  Actually, in
>1996 there were eight flights, making the cost-per-flight $375,000,000.

NASA uses some budget tricks to hide the expenses.  I.E. Shuttle budget only
shows the direct cost to service the shuttle.  It doesn't include the cost to
matain the facilities around the country (KSc, JSC, HQ, etc) that are only
used to service the shuttle, or the cost of the missions the shuttle flies.

At NASA HQ (and the GAO) they estrimated as much as 2.3rds of NASA budget
went to shuttle support.  Goldin told the department I was in (office of
space access tech) that if they couldn't develope a cheaper system shuttle
would consume NASA, and the agency would be forced to shut down all manned

>Although it usually never carries this much, the shuttle can carry up to
>around 45,000 lbs (i.e. STS-70, which launched the last TDRS).  If we
>maxed out each shuttle flight, we'd get around $8,333 per pound.  That's
>a lot of money.  The average flight carries around half that weight,
>doubling the cost.

GAO estimates were a fully loaded shuttle could lift cargo at about $10,000 -
$20,000 a pound.

Oh, and not this ignores the spent costs to develop the system.

>Ref.: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codeb/budget/shuttle4.html
>(LOTS of cool information)
>David Levine