This post is published as a courtesy to OldSpaceCadet, Dr. John Jurist, as he does not have his password to post this message. All comments regarding this post should be addressed to OldSpaceCadet.
How Cynical? Who, me?
A Christmas Eve Present from Rocket Man on http://www.rocketsandsuch.blogspot.com/ raises a very interesting issue:
The Emperor’s New Math
One metric ton is approximately 2204.6 lbs.
Twenty metric tons is therefore about 44092 lbs.
For $1.9B, Orbital Sciences may deliver 44092 lbs of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) over the course of eight launches of its non-existent Taurus II rocket. By the way, the first stage of this rocket is derived from the Ukrainian-Russian Zenit. The same Russians we are worried about helping us through the Emperor’s self-made “gap.”
Back to the chalkboard. We divide 44092 lbs into $1.9B and find that Orbital will charge about $43092 per pound under its new commercial services contract to take cargo to ISS.
The KSC website shuttle faq reports that a space shuttle flight costs about
$450M to launch. They also say that a space shuttle costs about $1.7B to build.
The Emperor’s book, “Space Vehicle Design,” states on page 241 that
a space shuttle can carry about 16 metric tons (35273.6 lbs) to ISS on each
flight. Using the $450M per flight number from the KSC web site, that works
out to about $12757 per pound.
To summarize, go Commercial for $43092/lb.
Or go NASA for $12757/lb. (gold plated toilets and hammers included).
Or we could build a brand new space shuttle that could almost launch all of this cargo at once for less than the cost of paying for just one of the two
commercial contracts just awarded. For the total $3.5B offered, using NASA’s
numbers, we could buy two brand spanking new shuttles, launch each with their requisite loads, complete the contract obligations, and have two only slightly used space shuttles left over for whatever comes next.
What is wrong with this picture?