Will Space Launch System be the 21st Century Spruce Goose?

Howard Hughes was paid $23 million ($300 million inflation adjusted) to develop the Spruce Goose. It was the largest airplane in the world at the time. It did not fly until after World War 2. Hughes had to fly it because the US government said he was a war profiteer who took money but did not deliver a working plane.

One hundred times more money could end up going into a rocket dead-end with the Space Launch System.

$35 to $40 Billion to Get to a First Integrated Launch of SLS and Orion

From 2005 to 2010, there was about $11.9 billion spent on the Constellation program. This was paid to mainly the same companies working on Space Launch System. They were adapting the same Space Shuttle boosters as the SLS program.

Space Launch System (SLS) has spent $14 billion from 2011 to 2018. It will spend another $6.8 billion from 2019 to 2021. There is about $2.3 billion per year being spent on SLS. It will $21 billion on SLS to get to its first test launch if the test launch happens in 2021.

$15 billion has been spent on the Orion crew spacecraft. There is $1.3 billion per year being spent on Orion. There was one pad abort test in 2010 and one orbital test on a Delta IV rocket in 2014. There will be one more unmanned test currently scheduled for December 2019.

A combined Constellation and SLS spending of $26 billion has resulted in one test launch of Ares 1 in 2009.

Orbital SpaceX Starship in Late 2019 or 2020

The first orbital test launch of the SpaceX Starship could happen as early as late 2019. SpaceX is talking about 2020 for the first test launch.

A SpaceX Super Heavy Starship will totally outclass the Space Launch System in every metric.

SpaceX Heavy Will Have Two Launches Early in 2019

SpaceX Heavy will have two launches early in 2019. This will show rapid re-use of the first stage boosters.

SpaceX Heavy comes close to the heavy launch capabilities of the Space Launch System. If four side-boosters were used instead of two, then SpaceX Heavy-4 would outlift the SLS.

20 thoughts on “Will Space Launch System be the 21st Century Spruce Goose?”

  1. Tom Perkins you failed math and accounting class. Tesla vehicles cost a lot more for insurance, check with Allstate, AAA, $2400.00 $4000.00 a year , California, cost value after 3 years, energy cost, Tom a Ford F150 Cost less to own and operate. Ins 900-1200 a year, California ins cost, $20,000 less purchase price, higher resale value, fuel cost a year $3600. F150 It checks more boxes of what a vehicle is capable of delivering, Tom do the math on a Toyota Camry, VW Jetta, and many more and Tesla is very expensive to own operate, it only works in Teslas favor with tax credits and state incentives vs on high end sedans Sports cars, so again if saving money is the objective Do the Math FSeries, GMC, RAM, Toyota trucks Do not receive 7500 Tax Credit

  2. The part where their deliberate ignorance of economics and physics leads them to worship the idea electric vehicles are definitionally useless compared to gasoline cars, and they’ll still be screaming that to anyone who can’t get away from them even when 90%+ of the cars on the road are battery electrics.

  3. Tesla is already profitable. As in right now, and no less recently than the last quarter.

    And no, it is right now less expensive to own a Tesla than an equivalent gasoline car. The roadster was a toy, all the rest are just more practical vehicles at their price than the ones they outcompeted.

    Tesla will have no trouble turning a profit with the end of the federal tax credit, because the end of that credit was always anticipated, and assumed in their business plan from the start.

    Nothing you can say can change the facts which show you to be a deliberately ignorant fool.

  4. Tesla also receives carbon credits in California when gasoline vehicles are sold. Tesla sells these credits on the California market and the cycle repeats.

  5. You do not buy and drive a tesla to save money. Insurance uber high, parts expensive, cost to recharge , depreciation, body and paint repair long and drawn out, and high initial cost. Time lost waiting to recharge on the road. You are buying an expensive toy because you want it. As long as there are enough people willing to purchase this vehicle at a price that makes a profit for tesla they can stay viable. If you were to offer the same tax credits for any gasoline vehicle produced, tesla would not survive. So when the tax credits go away this year Tesla will have a tough time turning a profit at current vehicle prices

  6. I agree with this 100%. The number of plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc. in the U.S. is not trivial and their trucks drive very predictable mileages every day and, as you said, return home every night. Maintenance and reliability are very real factors for small fleets (say 10-30 vehicles). This class of vehicle is increasingly being used for urban delivery as well. It might not be a sexy category but it certainly could be a profitable category both for Tesla and the end-user.

  7. Yeah I’m not a fan of this ability to comment without logins… people could be anyone! Saying that, I’d never bothered to sign up before and I am seeing far more comments now, so maybe it’s a good thing for engagement.

  8. Profitable in the first quarter of 2018? Do you have your year wrong? Grammatical and spelling errors are one thing; factual mistakes are another.

  9. This kind of fanboy speculation does little to enhance the credibility of the site. Actual news please. Cite sources. Other than Tesla.

  10. It’s a prediction 3 quarters away. Tesla is not profitable. Definitely not without its welfare checks. Competition is coming and subsidies are going down.

  11. I know they aren’t sexy, but can we please have a box truck?

    A 100-200kWh Ford Transit/Dodge Promaster competitor?

    Class 8 trucks are great, once the charging infrastructure is built out. Most box trucks return to base every night, so they have really simple charging needs.

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