SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft are costing more than $3 billion per year in development costs.
The request would also look at other launch systems. Clearly Spacex offers a lower cost alternative
This request is likely a signal to the Trump administration that NASA is willing to look at other rockets instead of the ridiculously overpriced Space Launch System.
The combined development cost of the SLS and Orion will be at least $30 billion — or about $3 billion a year spread out over at least 10 years. If you consider the operational life cycle of the program will be 30 years, similar to the Space Shuttle, then, assuming just one launch per year, the pro-rated cost is $1 billion a year.
That’s just for development – it does not include operating costs.
Again at just one launch per year, the annualized development and maintenance cost of SLS – excluding any development costs for specialized cargo or Upper Stage components — would be at least $3 billion.
And we’re still missing the actual production costs of the SLS launch vehicle and the Orion capsule, estimates of which are around $1 billion each.
NASA would be looking at $5 billion per year. NASA is looking at $1 billion per launch minimum after many years of launches to amortize costs.
The most expensive version of the Spacex Falcon heavy is $135 million.