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Russia to match SpaceX launch prices

The competition heats up: The head of Russia’s United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), which now controls that country’s entire space industry, said today that they intend to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 much cheaper launch prices.

They intend to do it with both the Proton rocket as well as their new family of Angara rockets. The heavy version of Angara will allow them to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, and in fact might even put more payload into orbit for less.

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.

7 comments

  • Peter Arzenshek

    Space-X’s biggest challenge yet – the power of the state-purse against innovation and private enterprise. In paralle to the Reagan-vs-Soviet economic-industrial-military challenge of the 1980’s, regratably the current version lacks leeadership from the top – may West-Civ survive till January 20, 2017.

  • I was taught in B-school that competing on price was a losing game; someone can always do it cheaper. Better to compete on value. Space X has shown that they can reliably boost payload, even in partial failure mode. While neither Angara nor Falcon Heavy have flown, given the respective cultures, I’d put my money on Space X.

  • ken anthony

    If the Russians do it for a loss let’s hope they make it up in volume. I don’t think SpaceX has a thing to worry about.

  • Pzatchok

    At the present point that the Russian space program is in I just can not see them making a good attempt at price matching with Space X.

    As they try to drive the price down some things inevitably drop off like quality control. And even though space X is keeping quality up to a high standard quality does drop off as production costs go down.
    I think Space X keeps theirs up because of the quality of workers and subcontractors they use, something its starting to look like the Russians do not have.

    You can not pistol whip someone into becoming a better technician or engineer.

    They might take some business away in a good publicity stunt but I bet the real costs will be hidden just to make themselves look good. They have to prove the old communists/dictator model works even when competing against a small company.

  • wodun

    Excellent point!

    Also, Dragon Rider looks a lot more comfortable than a Soyuz. Hopefully, SpaceX will continue to provide a better product and at a lower price.

  • wodun

    Quality need not be affected. Russia will just subsidize the industry by dumping money in so there is no lost revenue by having reduced prices. Quality may suffer for other reasons though, as our host likes to point out.

  • Pzatchok

    Like I said hiding the true costs.
    In all other book keeping business dumping money from the government into quality control still counts as raising the over all cost.

    They will hide the rue costs by dumping cash into all the subcontractors and hoping that works.

    But in the long run it will not. If their workers don’t care enough by now throwing money at them will not improve quality.
    They might still be using the same equipment from the 1970’s to build the rockets. And I see no reason why they can’t get good quality now like they did then. But the difference is the workers not the equipment. they need to train a whole new generation of workers and find a way to instill in them pride and conscientiousness.
    They used to care. They had an enemy to beat. The US.
    National pride works wonders. But who are they trying to beat now? Some little scrub company called Space X. A company that could never compare to the resources of a government.
    They have never transferred from National pride to personal or corporate pride in their work.

    What products are you trying to buy that are manufactured in Russia?
    I can only think of two or three. Small arms and their ammo and the Ural motorcycle,which isn’t even Russian in origin but German. And is now a private company.

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