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$18 billion for one test launch

NASA thinks it will cost $18 billion to complete and launch in 2017 one test flight of the Congressionally-designed Space Launch System, the program-formerly-called-Constellation.

This is madness. One flight, unmanned, in seven years? No sane customer would ever buy such a product, especially when there are now a number of cheaper competitors who will likely be flying manned in less time.

Note also that even if NASA’s figures are exaggerated, which I am sure some Senators and Congressmen will claim, I would bet that they are not that far off, based on the space agency’s fixed labor costs and past history.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

One comment

  • Joe2

    From the aritcle:
    “That previously undisclosed figure, which the agency gave to Booz Allen Hamilton for an independent analysis of the big rocket’s cost, includes the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) based on the Orion capsule Lockheed Martin started under the Constellation program, and $2 billion in modifications to ground launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The amount, which NASA believes it could provide under its fiscal 2012 budget request for human space exploration, would deliver a basic SLS able to lift 70 metric tons to low Earth orbit.”

    You continue to leave out everything included in the total figure. as in “includes the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) based on the Orion capsule Lockheed Martin started under the Constellation program, and $2 billion in modifications to ground launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center” and “NASA believes it could provide under its fiscal 2012 budget request for human space exploration” (that is the Administrations lower funding levels, not the higher levels in the Authorization Law – which is supported by the 2011 Appropriations Law).

    Question: Why is that?

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