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.
Bloom points out that
If NASA ditched the Space Launch System and the Orion, it would free up three billion dollars a year. That budget could speed the Moon-readiness of Bigelow’s landing vehicles, not to mention SpaceX’s Falcon rockets and could pay for lunar enhancements to manned Dragon 2 capsules. In fact, three billion dollars a year is far greater than what Bigelow and Musk would need. That budget would also allow NASA to bring Jeff Bezos into the race. And it would let NASA refocus its energy on earth-orbit and lunar-surface refueling stations…plus rovers, lunar construction equipment, and devices to turn lunar ice into rocket fuel, drinkable water, and breathable oxygen. Not to mention machines to turn lunar dust and rock into building materials.
Bigelow Aerospace has been developing inflatable Moon Base, that would use three of his 330-cubic-meter B330 modules. What’s more, Bigelow has been developing a landing vehicle to bring his modules gently down to the Moon’s surface.
The Space Development Steering Committee—estimates the total cost of Moon landings plus a permanent moon base at ten billion dollars
The most expensive version of the Spacex Falcon heavy will be about $135 million.
It has not been a close comparison. It is over ten times difference in price. The only reason not to kill the Space Launch System is because of corruption in the funding decision processes.
The Space Launch System program needs to be killed
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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