SpaceX Starship Launch Costs Will Be Twenty Times Less Than Delta Rockets

SpaceX has made launch costs per kilogram over three times lower with the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy but will make costs another 5 times lower with the SpaceX Super Heavy Starship.

SOURCES- Visual Capitalist
Written By Brian Wang,

32 thoughts on “SpaceX Starship Launch Costs Will Be Twenty Times Less Than Delta Rockets”

  1. Well, the $200/kg is 10 times the value Musk thinks he can do.

    Now, the question is if that value Musk used is launch price, or launch cost. And if launch cost, just pure launch cost, without amortization of development, building of launch towers, etc.

  2. You bring up issues that are there with or without Space industrialization. Most people in US until recently and many still on the Earth have the job of growing food. Tractors alone changed that.

  3. I would say that building a hab cislunar, getting it running, and towing it to Mars orbit is at least an order of magnitude easier than putting the *same* pop on Mars surface. Same really for any sufficient distance for Earth non dependence. Space, not planets. Also, the number of separate habs for any pop that would otherwise be sitting ducks on a planet is an additional redundancy.

  4. That is the source of future quotes, to show they were wrong. Not that that would stop them. Readers can see, however. People are as crazy as they can possibly be.

  5. It is the "realism" that ignores things like Primal Science. Predictions what neurotics will do 50 years after neurosis is understood, but not by the predictors. They thus contribute no useful info.

  6. Life will find a way. As stated in the Jurassic park movies. But, as in the movies, there is no reason to think that humans will be in the list of species that the system turns out to suit.

    Which is why you want some direct control over what happens.

    I agree that Biosphere 2 was a great start, pity they stopped running more and more experiments.

  7. While some cylinders may well attempt balanced ecologies, it isn't really any more necessary than for a suburb or resort to be 'balanced'. Plants and roaming animals might just be decorative, with essentials like food production handled in artificial greenhouse chambers, and technological means used to make up for any imbalances.

  8. Biosphere folks assumed that if they just made a complex enough starting ecology, it'd all settle itself out one way or another into a stable ecosystem – life finding a way and all that, except they also contributed their efforts. And it sort of worked, for the relatively short mission periods – species did die off and others survived, constructed climate ecologies changed, etc.

  9. Right. Anyone that has some realist geopolitical opinions, like political scientist John Mearsheimer or that guy, what's his name, Henry Kissinger, is a Russian troll.

  10. 1984 would be the Ariane 3, but that rocket only flew 11 times. Ariane 4 and 5 flew ~110 times each, but they are from 1988 and 1996 respectively. Those would have probably been the cheapest for a while, particularly Ariane 4.

  11. Technically, the redundancy argument Elon puts forward requires us to move beyond Earth's orbit. Earth's orbit is still too close; anything in Earth orbit will necessarily be dependent on Earth for some things, even if just command and control.

    This is Elon insists on a Martian colony, even though it might be argued that we should try to keep out of gravity wells at all. For now, our technology is too primitive to live in Martian orbit. We are on the cusp of being able to commercialise cislunar space, maybe also planetary surfaces. Trying to do Martian orbit is too many steps, but for redundancy we can't stay on Earth orbit, so Martian surface it is.

  12. Dystopic dramas like Elysium lie on the assumption that rich people will simply kick everyone to the curb and live in the space cities alone.

    People needs people, robots can't build and repair themselves.

    And they can't make more people either.

    We can certainly imagine futures when the workers are completely expendable or cast away to guettos, replaced with computers and robots. We have done so since the Metropolis film was released.

    Besides of the obvious huge assumptions for IA advances, what makes everyone think the poor won't benefit from this as well?

  13. Living space would just be a function of mass production, rather than negotiating over a limited set of real estate locations. Mass production favors everyone, scarcity favors elites. Dan's right, read the book.

  14. A main prob with Biosphere 2 was that they were testing for Mars surface, not O'Neill Space. They were worrying about non probs, such as sunlight and CO2, when these are simple to solve in Space, with abundant energy. The biology is the thing to learn about. And, of course, they put in rich soil which generated excess CO2 to boot.

  15. That's the sort of thing Biosphere 2 should have been examining. It was a good idea except that they were thinking they would get it right the 1st time. They should have been thinking – We will close it up, find something goes wrong after a few weeks or months, open up & fix that thing, close it & after maybe a year find the next problem to be fixed, Rinse & repeat until the thing can run for decades. Then apply your knowledge to moon bases & rotating space habitats.

    Once we have a few centuries of experience with rotating space habitats in the solar system we can try the generation ship idea if we don't get anything better for interstellar travel.

  16. "reading it is the only way to fully see the idea. It is completely counter intuitive". There is enuf material in the asteroid Ceres to make O'Neill Settlements with hundreds of times the Earth's total surface area. Plenty of room.

  17. I can see the climate part but more room?? Brings up the perception suggested in Elysium. Yes, more room for a very small elite minority. And this minority would have more space on earth anyway.

  18. That is the main topic of "The High Frontier", so reading it is the only way to fully see the idea. It is completely counter intuitive, and simple facts probably will not be able to overcome the planet chauvinism evolution and society teaches us. However, one thing is clear, you can only do micr0g in orbit. You do not live in micr0g, but most industry will be there. You get whatever g you want, just set the dial to rotate more or less. The energy and material resources of Space do not directly apply to living in Space, as they could be brought to Earth. Think of earthquakes, drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. Asteroid strikes. Tsunami. But really it boils down to more room, better climate. Maui on a nice day, if you are not too bored.

  19. Besides the redundancy argument Elon puts forward what exactly is the advantage of living in earth’s orbit?

  20. 3-4) Basically, we will have a chance after what you describe happens on a planet, such as Earth, with no other humans anywhere. Now, we would be sunk, correct?

    1-2) Good questions. I studied Landscape Architecture, for a while, with these things in mind. The study of "The Created Environment". There will be far more than one O'Neill Settlement, and the total pop and even surface area of the Earth will soon be eclipsed. At that time, all 4 questions will be more critical for Earth than the combined Settlements. Need to get there. Even Musk agrees, but has a tiny solution, Mars.

  21. Dan Lantz: Some of the questions I have:

    1. We haven't come close to understanding how all the biological forms of bacteria and fungi and virii(virus) and insects interact on a planet that has adapted for mutation for millions of years. How do we know exactly what to bring to the soil/water/biome balance of a 4-mile diameter cylinder?
    2. The ocean plays a huge role in balancing life on land. Will the cylinders be 70% water?
    3. What happens with an unexpected algae bloom or virus outbreak in a 4-mile diameter ring?
    4. Our world is amazingly full of incalculable redundancy and safety valves. Not saying it is impossible, but I don't think anyone has come close to understanding the safeguards this planet has against deadly plagues and diseases. Thinking we can totally control an environment seems pretty optimistic. How many people did it take to manufacture medicines last year? How many researchers work world-wide trying to tame new pathogens every year?
  22. "What matters is not the personal perspective of things taking too long, but that things finally get started and them becoming permanent fixtures of civilization." Exactly. It is lonely out in front. Somebody has to do it.

  23. Some social processes require us to pass through them to be really understood by everyone.

    We could have physically and technically made a big effort in the 70s and 80s towards enabling lunar ISRU, the tech was there, but not the shared will, neither the organizational experience of wasteful programs we suffered, nor the several tragedies nor other fateful events we lived, all the ones that made someone eventually think differently about how to make rockets and fund them.

    O'Neill was a visionary and he ignited many others with his vision, but it was not enough. The mass of humanity at large wasn't moved by it, neither there were the group capabilities to make it self funded nor sustainable.

    That is about to change. We are in the cusp of big transformation, and we'll need to pass through it in order to grok its full implications. Including the creation of a new space market, the starting of ISRU based on cheaper Earth launches, all this just because it will be easier to send things manufactured in series than special one of a kind items.

    What matters is not the personal perspective of things taking too long, but that things finally get started and them becoming permanent fixtures of civilization. This time cheaper space launches will come to stay and will become a permanent capability of our civilization.

  24. The bigger the rocket, the faster ISMRU and O'Neill plans will go, once we collectively wake up to them. The sooner we will be bringing stuff to Earth, as it does not have what we need here on Earth OR in Space, in sufficient quantity or even variety. Even with free, infinitely large rockets. The path is clear. "The High Frontier" by Gerard K. O'Neill has it mapped out, for 50 years already!

  25. Those of us who have been waiting for O'Neill to start for over 40 years are glad to see this too. Now there is NO reason for delay. There was not before, but now there is NO illusory reason for delay, either. Just ignorance of O'Neill. The Mars rovers and landers that have been happening for all these years are proof there was no reason for delay; Mars is sooooooo much harder than the Moon for this sort of prospecting, from Earth. This is clear to those who understand that the main "bootstrap" strategy of O'Neill is ISMRU, not Earth launch of everything, as Musk does. Seeing this, as I have for decades, means waiting for something you do not need to get started is and was silly, and stupid, as I have been saying for over 40 years.

  26. One of the most hopeful charts I've seen.

    If space settlement and life expansion into space is ever to happen, this is how it starts.

    For a long while we've been waiting for it, getting only disappointments when project after project failed to deliver the sought launch cost reductions, and the old slides then Power Point slideshows never ceased coming, like mocking the hopeful with the things that could be but aren't, due to the big barriers of cost and complexity.

    Eager to see where this take us.

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