Partial G Cost Estimates

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This is a proposed experiment and as we figure out the costs of the partial gravity experiment, add them here. There are a few major categories of costs:

Launch costs

SpaceX Falcon 9 looks like it could give us the most payload per dollar. The fact that SpaceX is working on a crew capsule for the Falcon 9 suggests that the vehicle will be reliable enough.

Optimistic numbers, assuming one Falcon 9 Heavy rocket for the space station itself:

  • $90M for a Falcon 9 Heavy, for the space station itself.
  • $55M each for the Mars gravity (0.4G) crew expedition and the moon gravity (0.15G) crew expedition.

That adds up to $200M for just the rocket launches. Payload preparation, crew preparation, the Dragon Spacecraft, spacecraft recovery and other costs are not included. SpaceX has no pricing information for Dragon on their web site. [1]

Space station construction

There are three costs in this category:

  • Buy a Bigelow space station
  • Develop the customizations needed to operate it in partial G mode
  • Customize the station or buy it customized

Mission control staff and facilities

  • How much ground control will we need?
  • What kind of facilities are needed?
    • Training
    • Mission control offices
    • Communications
    • Logistics

Science crew

  • Medical staff
  • Other scientists
  • Astronauts

Some of the cost here may be mitigated by working together with researchers from universities. Giving 10 researchers from universities the chance to get their experiments run could result in more science results for the same amount of money as having one in-house scientist.

It may also be possible to work with already trained astronauts who have the right background and are interested. Working with already trained astronauts could reduce the risk and reduce the amount of training compared to the training needed by rookie astronauts.

See Also