Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fuel costs are negligable

I am a big optimist when it comes to space travel. One of the big reasons can be explained by the fuel costs for a SpaceX rocket which is only $200,000. This is pretty remarkable, a $55,000,000 mission and only 0.4% of that price is fuel.

On a per pound basis, the cost of fuel to get to orbit is about $10 a pound. This means that all the rest of the cost is hardware or employees. As spaceships become reusable the hardware costs could easily drop by a factor of 10, and a factor of 100 or even 1000 is plausible. All it would take is a ship which could go to space, land, refuel, and launch again without needing to do much other than refuel. As for the labor costs, most of that will ultimately be reduced by better robots and computers. So a cost of $100 a pound to get to orbit is not that implausible and lower may even be achievable. At that price a trip to space still costs about the same as a nice car. 

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