Has India cut its cubesat launch prices?

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Capitalism in space: A complex analysis of India’s recent launch prices suggests that ISRO reduced its cubesat launch prices when it launched a record-setting 103 satellites on the most recent PSLV launch.

The key paragraph however is this:

Small-satellite owners have long complained that the PSLV, whose reliability has been established in the market, has been slow to increase its launch tempo at a time of surging cubesat production. For the moment, none of these satellite customers’ launch options provide predictable launch cadence at affordable prices.

That may be about to change as several dozen vehicles designed specifically to accommodate the growing cubesat market are preparing to enter operations. Not all are likely to succeed in establishing a foothold, but the sheer number of them is impressive:

That makes it all the more important for ISRO’s Antrix Corp., the agency’s commercial arm, to cement a reputation for launch regularity and low prices.

In other words, because a flock of new smallsat launch companies, such as Rocket Lab, Vector, and Virgin Orbit, are about to enter the market ISRO is suddenly feeling the pressure, which is why they have cut prices as well as started to up their launch rate.

Isn’t competition wonderful?


One comment

  • Edward

    Isn’t competition wonderful?

    [With a big smile on my face] Yes. Yes, it is.

    Competition forces everyone to continually improve or lose their place in the market.

    Competition is why we can call foreign countries for pennies on miniature, portable cellular telephones (that do more than make phone calls).

    Competition is why our cars are so inexpensive, yet have excellent safety features and common conveniences that were luxuries only a decade or so ago.

    Competition is why innovations happen at such a rapid rate.

    Competition is why food is inexpensive and why we worry about the price and availability of rocket launches, international phone calls, or automobile conveniences rather than worry about where our next meal will come from.

    It took a few centuries to get here, but we have all these, and more, because of free market competition between countries and between capitalist companies.

    I was very interested that the article spent so much space — about half the text — discussing the price for a launch. Although we talk a lot about price per pound (or kilo), pricing has many other factors than only the weight of the payload. This is especially true for lightweight payloads. Transaction costs and service requirements also have an effect on price.

    Launch costs to the customer have become very important in determining the feasibility of a space company’s business plan.

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