Author Topic: Why is space so expensive  (Read 18944 times)

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #20 on: 09/08/2017 11:32 PM »

So I stand by my statement. The question is "Why is space so expensive" and I do not think the answer would be complete without mentioning this aspect. You can call it rhetoric, but it needs to be mentioned.

What you posted does nothing to support your statement.  You have nothing to stand on, your answer is incomplete and it did not need to be mentioned because it has nothing to do with this post.  Nothing but inane rhetoric that decreases the signal to noise ratio.

What Spacex has done has nothing to do with deep space missions.

Indeed. They even cancelled their only deep space mission in Red Dragon. Mistake because they need such.

Back to the core focus of cost. Labor cost.

IMHO, when you do something infrequently enough, specialized enough ... it always has high labor cost, because it does not justify anything but.

So .. if you can make it less specialized, more frequent ... it potentially could be cheaper.

Please inform me rationally and with experience how that happens? Spent a lifetime looking for how that happens...

Offline savuporo

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #21 on: 09/08/2017 11:41 PM »
Please inform me rationally and with experience how that happens? Spent a lifetime looking for how that happens...

It's happening with smallsats. We are still at least an order of magnitude away in activity levels for really commoditized designs, parts, suppliers, launch services etc for any meaningful economies of scale and less specialization across the board, but a start of a trend is there.
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Online pippin

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #22 on: 09/09/2017 12:40 AM »
cost-plus contracts for just about everything space related (government side)

This kind of ballpark blaming of cost-plus for just about everything in some contexts really just shows a deep lack of understanding on how procurement processes work.

Yes, there are cases where going towards fixed-price competed contracts saves money, especially for anything well-defined and sufficiently standardized.

But there are also a lot of cases where fixed price will kill you, both results and cost wise.

Especially R&D is one of them.

There are a number of things that are particularly bad about fixed price contracts in this context:

1. Long lead times and missing specifications.
If you want a fixed price for something you need to specify it very well. Try to build a house and get a quote from a builder on the grounds of "oh, I want to build a house somewhere up there in the hills with maybe a pool and then a number of rooms but I can only give you the details once we've started building", good luck with that. He will tell you to find the place and get a design first and then he can tell you what it will cost.
But with R&D projects it's in the nature of these things that you don't know most of the details upfront.
If you still want to do fixed prices you either have to do a lot of separate small-scale sourcings once you know more details or you need to do a lot of change requests later.
Both are great recipes to drown your project in bureaucracy and to drive up costs and development times.

2. High Level of Technological Risk
One reason fixed price contracts are often cheaper is because they share cost of risks. If things go wrong, it's the problem of the contractor and the contractor tries to budget a fair price for things going wrong.
But for high-risk projects, especially ones that are one-of-a-kind so you can't later recoup losses e.g. due to savings in follow-on projects this means you essentially have to budget for a lot of uncertainty.
This also usually means that only fairly large organizations have enough reserves to even take the risk so you can't employ smaller, more innovative suppliers meaning you reduce competition which in turn drives up costs.

3. You can't contract away risks
This is usually the biggest mistake made in contracting. Even if you put all the risk on your supplier you still don't buy a solution for failures and errors.
During development, problems will show up on all levels. Cost overruns, design changes, simple mistakes, whatever.
But if you put all the risk on your supplier, at the end of the day your supplier often finds itself in a position where fixing the problems is more expensive than just walking away from the project and assuming whatever penalty you agreed on for this.
And then you might have spent a lot less on that supplier but you no longer have a product and then all the work (and money) you've spent yourself goes down the drain.
This is why even in very competitive industries some high-risk contracts are not negotiated as strict fixed price contracts and why it always never makes sense for one-of-a-kind developments. Changes and errors are way too common to make budgeting them into the project feasible and economical.

There's certainly a place for fixed-price contracts in procurement and probably for the majority of things you can buy on a daily basis (launching stuff into space probably is one of these applications unless you have very special requirements), but it's not a panacea that will always bring down costs and reduce risks, there are a lot of cases where cost-plus can be much more effective.

And one more thing: often people mix up costs of badly run cost-plus projects with costs of the methodology. Bud you can have bad management with all kind of procurement processes. Public building projects are infamous for corruption also for ones that have a fixed price and for a reason: it's just so much more valuable to bribe someone to get a good fixed-price contract because it's so much harder to get money back in the end than from cost-plus. Bad management happens everywhere, it's not limited to one contract type.
« Last Edit: 09/09/2017 12:40 AM by pippin »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #23 on: 09/09/2017 12:43 AM »
Plus, things have gotten cheaper.

Voyager today would have cost 4 Billion dollars. The Viking lander more than 5.5 Billion.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #24 on: 09/09/2017 12:52 AM »
This is going to be a rant so sorry in advance.

Why is space stuff so expensive....

Your focus seems to be on robotic space systems, like the proposed Europa Orbiter, which has an estimated budget of $2B.  Some of the cost categories would be:

1. Design
2. Production and production test
3. Final assembly test
4. Launch
5. Operational Mission

Space is a harsh environment to operate in. Zero gravity, a complete vacuum, direct sunlight or none, temperature ranges from frozen solid to very hot, and harsh radiation. So building something that can operate in space is not easy, and that affects #1, 2 & 3 on the list above. Plus if you are only authorized to do something once, you tend to obsess over it to make sure it works the first and only time it will exist.

Another set of costs that are coupled is design and launch, because if launch costs are high (which they always have been) then you focus on making sure that what you have built will work. So costs could come down if launch costs are lower, but that only works for destinations that are available on a regular basis, like Earth-local destinations or close-by planets and moons. Once hardware designs become commodity, and the launchers are commodity and low cost, then per item costs can drop quite a bit - and the risk of failure should drop too, so more risk can be assumed in the design, build and test functions.

Lastly is the cost to operate a mission. The Voyager 1&2 missions are good examples of great hardware design and building, and the science they are returning is so unique that the funding for the missions have been extended many times - some people have spent their whole careers on just that mission.

Going forward, commodity design and reusable rockets should be able to significantly lower the cost to do things in space, but because the costs are so high today I don't think we can expect dirt cheap prices - just lower than what we have today.

My $0.02
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #25 on: 09/09/2017 01:55 AM »
Please inform me rationally and with experience how that happens? Spent a lifetime looking for how that happens...

It's happening with smallsats. We are still at least an order of magnitude away in activity levels for really commoditized designs, parts, suppliers, launch services etc for any meaningful economies of scale and less specialization across the board, but a start of a trend is there.
Please educate as to how this is genuinely different as opposed to a a likely transitory effect.

(I've spent considerable time with many different smallsat / cubesat programs, including some university programs, ones also like at LASP that serve as models for running a development, test, qualification, and launch program.) They are tremendously labor consumptive, and many of the mission failures are traced back to insufficient labor. The reason they appear to be "cheap" is that the source of labor is also cheap.

When I analyze the sources of labor, they appear no different than with traditional SC (given the scope of mission).  Now, one "cheap" aspect that persists is the sat processing for launch, as the costs for loading the canisters/dispensers and conditioning the payloads is a insignificant cost to something like single/multiple payload encapsulation under the fairing - a limited improvement in labor.

(Am working with groups to reduce other labor costs, and there are ways, but again we get back to my post - depends on frequency/specialization.) Too many smallsats are "one shots" that don't have follow on.

It's good that there's considerable collateral with flight history to build from. Nice. But unless there's enough "repeatable, expect-able" success, ... this could fade away quite quickly, as you have to constantly modernize/improve to leverage technologic improvements - this isn't for free.

As a counter, in order to build up the technologic powerhouse of Silicon Valley (other like places), it was the recursive constant "repeat invocation" that brought down costs, provided the basis for better use of labor and broader application to specialization, that allowed what I'm referring to.

That is what I've yet to see.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #26 on: 09/09/2017 03:58 AM »
(I've spent considerable time with many different smallsat / cubesat programs, including some university programs, ones also like at LASP that serve as models for running a development, test, qualification, and launch program.) They are tremendously labor consumptive, and many of the mission failures are traced back to insufficient labor. The reason they appear to be "cheap" is that the source of labor is also cheap.
No disagreement at all. But at the root of it, the only real fix is more volume. And people who have managed to make a business out of smallsats are reaping some small volume build benefits already.
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Offline Skamp_X

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #27 on: 09/09/2017 05:17 AM »
I been reading and thanks alot for the comments,
some things to set straight on what the point of the topic was about,
yes it was mostly based on the cost of space probes , although human spaceflight does fit in to this aswel.
I understand human spaceflight, as a failure could mean the death of the crew , on that regard i totaly agree on really testing every posible condition and posibilty. Meaning high cost of R&D.
The cost of rocket launcher i did consider as a diffrent subject as it is at the lower part of the cost , and might become alot cheaper if 'some' have theyr way.
As why space stuff is so expensive, in general , it has to be a flawed system as it is currently going.
Technology was rapidly progressing in the decades when the voyagers space probes launched ,
and the r&d was needed because we needed every bit of new technology to be able te get the needed sience.
Haven't we got to the point that we have stuff like motherboards, cpu's , the transiver/transmitter , storage , startracker / navigation ,
made upgradeble , expendable if needed , ready of the shelf  , and able to deal with almost all conditions in the solar system.
If we decided to launch probes to europa , titan, uranus , neptune , eris , sedna  , etc ..  would each one cost a few billion?
Not going to be exloring much soon at that cost.
« Last Edit: 09/09/2017 05:19 AM by Skamp_X »

Offline savuporo

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #28 on: 09/09/2017 07:03 AM »
Haven't we got to the point that we have stuff like motherboards, cpu's , the transiver/transmitter , storage , startracker / navigation , made upgradeble , expendable if needed , ready of the shelf  , and able to deal with almost all conditions in the solar system.
No because conditions vary immensely across the solar system. The difference between how LEO vs GEO sats are built is already huge.

Quote
If we decided to launch probes to europa , titan, uranus , neptune , eris , sedna  , etc ..  would each one cost a few billion?
Yes. A favorable opportunity to send a probe to Neptune comes around very rarely. You have to get it right that one time.

Quote
Not going to be exloring much soon at that cost.
Again the real remedy is growing the entire space industry itself, at a much faster pace than current measly 4% max annual growth. Which means far larger base of suppliers, better able to absorb one off R&D and amortize it over much larger volumes of things built.
That means developing new markets and finding new paying customers - things like earth observation, comms etc.
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Offline zhangmdev

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #29 on: 09/09/2017 08:09 AM »
So far the commercial space business is information-based. Its inclusive nature decides there is no economy of scale. Customers are buying the data created or conveyed by the space-based infrastructure, not the hardware. A single commsat can cover a whole continent. Two polar-orbiting birds can cover the whole world. And each asset can last years if not decades, future limiting the need of new assets.

The production of space stuff is at single or double digits every year. Comparing to ten of millions of cars produced and sold each year, that is less than rounding error. If a car company employing thousands of people but only sold ten cars a year, price of each car will surely be hundreds of millions.

Unless some material-based business is found in space, and there is a huge consumption and demand of that material, space will continue to be very expensive.

Online pippin

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #30 on: 09/09/2017 10:07 AM »
and the r&d was needed because we needed every bit of new technology to be able te get the needed sience.
Haven't we got to the point that we have stuff like motherboards, cpu's , the transiver/transmitter , storage , startracker / navigation ,
made upgradeble , expendable if needed , ready of the shelf  , and able to deal with almost all conditions in the solar system.
Electronics are another good example.
Developing a modern CPU is really expensive, the manufacturing technology even more so. We are talking about billions and billions of investment going into this every year. They are heap because they are used in just about everything and billions of devices are being churned out every year.

But modern electronics work on a small temperature scale, totally hate radiation due to the dense packaging and deteriorate heavily after 5-10 years at latest so you simply can't use all that on a space probe.

You might be able to go with commercial grade electronics for a launch vehicle or even in earth orbit like SpaceX does if you have a limited mission life and you can afford lots of redundancy and a controlled environment (both from a weight and power budget) but all of that doesn't apply to probes in outer space.

You need completely different technologies and these are not cheaper than commercial grade electronics but not build in the millions and billions but maybe hundreds or thousands.
Which makes them hugely expensive.

Quote
If we decided to launch probes to europa , titan, uranus , neptune , eris , sedna  , etc ..  would each one cost a few billion?
Well, if you decided to build one probe that fits most of these missions' needs and maybe built a hundred of them at the same time and launched them over the course of a few years you might see some economies of scale. But that would still require a much bigger overall budget to manage all of these missions at the same time.

So in reality you might do one of these every 10 or 20 years and you know it from you computers and phones: if you built a new probe today, you would not want to put in computers from 20 years ago.
Especially since - due to the issues mentioned above - the computers available for spaceflight are so much less capable anyway, they are maybe on a performance level from 10 years ago, even if built today (that's already hugely optimistic) so using one that was built 20 years ago will set you back by 30 years compared to what is state of the art in modern computing.

And then comes software. Modern software technology and the people who write it are used to modern platforms, you can't easily apply that to such an old hardware so now you have to train your software people different languages, can't use building blocks, get totally different Q&A processes and all of that while the software you write needs to be hugely more reliable than on earth which again - translates into cost.

It's the same thing all over again, there are two simple reasons for the cost and these won't change in the foreseeable future
1. Space is hard
2. Volumes are really low so you have to custom-build about everything on them.

So yes, no change in sight there, while we live, these things will stay expensive and yes, that's the reason there won't be too many of them.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #31 on: 09/09/2017 12:27 PM »
The cost of rocket launcher i did consider as a diffrent subject as it is at the lower part of the cost , and might become alot cheaper if 'some' have theyr way.
You might like to re think that.
The usual rule of thumb for space probes is Launch is $X, Cost of probe $2X and cost of operations over probe life $3X

In theory the cost of launch should not matter, but in fact it frames the budget for probes.
Quote from: Skamp_X
As why space stuff is so expensive, in general , it has to be a flawed system as it is currently going.
Technology was rapidly progressing in the decades when the voyagers space probes launched ,
and the r&d was needed because we needed every bit of new technology to be able te get the needed sience.

Haven't we got to the point that we have stuff like motherboards, cpu's , the transiver/transmitter , storage , startracker / navigation ,
made upgradeble , expendable if needed , ready of the shelf  , and able to deal with almost all conditions in the solar system.
In a word, no.  :(

Do you really understand the range of conditions you're talking about? From roughly 100K Pa on Earth to 32 milli Pa at the Von Karman line to 9 MPa at the surface of Venus (90Atm is still "high altitude" in the gas giants).
From -143c to +35c on Mars to an average of 462c on Venus.

No one builds hardware to operate over that whole range of conditions. The science instruments different planets are studied by varies quite a lot as well. So something that will need to be insulated on Mars most of the time will be cooked within the hour on Venus (IIRC no probe has survived more than 24Hrs on Venus.  :( ) if  wasn't squashed like a bug by the Venusian atmosphere.

Part of what kills this is the qualification process for "space rated" hardware.
Thermal vacuum for starters, vibration to survive launch and/or planetary entry, shock (multiple) for launch and possible landing (and a few others) and of course multiple g's (positive and possibly negative).

Not forgetting radiation exposure, which for Jupiter entry was described as being like "flying through a nuclear fireball, while it was still burning.  :( )
Quote from: Skamp_X
If we decided to launch probes to europa , titan, uranus , neptune , eris , sedna  , etc ..  would each one cost a few billion?


Pretty much. :(

Voyager was sort of designed to save costs by doing the 4 gas giants with 1 (in fact 2) spacecraft.  The second copy was much cheaper.  I think they kept one as an engineering reference on Earth, which was cheaper still.
Quote from: Skamp_X

Not going to be exloring much soon at that cost.
Well spotted.  :(

I'm guessing you've looked up Moore's Law and noted how clock frequency, transistor count and memory size have sky rocketed (so to speak) and thought "Surely we could do the same with space probes?"

There are actually multiple reasons why it's expensive.  :(

If you buy in space rated subsystems (because they are already certified) they are not cheap. The Power PC on some of the Mars rovers was built in a rad hard chip process with rad resistant implementation (IE registers are triply redundant and have majority voting logic to detect rad damage). You have to buy it as part of a motherboard and that's $100K for somewhere in the 200-400MIPS range.  :(

If you build it you've got to do the testing to confirm it will survive launch and transit (and fix it if it doesn't, which is a definite possibility, then re-test).

Some instruments are re-flights, but even then they will have probably been "tweaked" based on results of earlier version, so not quite the same.

Planetary launch is phenomenally  expensive --> rare  -->many instruments per probe as possible -->Strict limits on dimensions, mass, power and bandwidth.

And it's likely most of those strict limits will keep changing, forcing a design iterations.  :(
And if your instrument is not ready for integration on time it's back on the shelf for the next probe, whenever that is.  :( 

So what could be done?

Mass produce launch slots. JPL looked at using using secondary payloads on Ariane 5 to GTO to carry probes to Mars. Instead of 2 dedicated launches a decade to Mars (and in principle other planets), how about one every few months? IIRC it was feasible but that now the question is who's first in the queue? Who's last?

The upside is its one or two instruments/probe, a much simpler optimization problem. Some could be relays for the rest etc.

On a similar theme build "cyclers" that takes X Kg of mass Earth/whatever planet on a regular basis. EG 100Kg to Venus every 6 months guaranteed. If a payload is ready, it goes. My thought were solar sails sent as secondary payloads to LEO, then docked to the instrument package. If it can fit in the package, it goes. the outer planets would likely need multiple sailers due to transit time. the problem is not so much the lack of launch opportunities, it's the very high velocity you need (above escape velocity) to get reasonable travel time.  :(

Mass produce the instruments.
The trouble is there are different gaps in the science of different planets so it's a case of different instruments, possibly with different specs (all hand built anyway, by generations of PhD students).

The nearest this has come to being done is the Proxima Centuri concept of "probes on a chip" to be propelled by (intense) laser light. Acting as a "swarm" of optical phased array sensors to give one big lens.

This is a complex MEMS design problem, along with a launch systeme that looks from some angles a lot like an ABM system, which makes people uncomfortable.

Trouble is what should be the "core" sensor collection you want to send to multiple sites in the solar system?
The lowest common denominator would be IR/optical/radio from orbit. But some planets have already been well covered, while others have not. What spectrum? Again for MEMS you need to freeze early.

Probes are not computer chips. Unless you do something about any (all?) of these problems they are unlikely to get cheaper or more frequent. Launch and interplanetary space are already very hostile. Add in a landing as well and your problems get exponentially harder.  :(

It comes down to being able to mfg a design relatively cheaply, then to get it launched, then to iterate it. All are difficult problems, making exploration expensive.
« Last Edit: 09/09/2017 12:35 PM by john smith 19 »
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #32 on: 09/09/2017 04:29 PM »
Haven't we got to the point that we have stuff like motherboards, cpu's , the transiver/transmitter , storage , startracker / navigation ,
made upgradeble , expendable if needed , ready of the shelf  , and able to deal with almost all conditions in the solar system.
Communications satellites are essentially built on production lines, with many common elements shared by numerous individual satellites.  They are relatively "inexpensive".  We know this because their owners make profits.  The terrestrial alternatives to GEO satellites (undersea cables, large numbers of ground-based transmitters, etc.) would cost more.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #33 on: 09/09/2017 07:15 PM »
Communications satellites are essentially built on production lines, with many common elements shared by numerous individual satellites.  They are relatively "inexpensive".  We know this because their owners make profits.  The terrestrial alternatives to GEO satellites (undersea cables, large numbers of ground-based transmitters, etc.) would cost more.

 - Ed Kyle
The classic poster child for that was Iridium, whose mfg manager was IIRC hired from Apple after setting up the highly automated Macintosh production line. IIRC they got down from 18 months for a sat to less than a week (?).
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #34 on: 09/09/2017 10:54 PM »
Communications satellites are essentially built on production lines, with many common elements shared by numerous individual satellites.  They are relatively "inexpensive".  We know this because their owners make profits.  The terrestrial alternatives to GEO satellites (undersea cables, large numbers of ground-based transmitters, etc.) would cost more.
The classic poster child for that was Iridium, whose mfg manager was IIRC hired from Apple after setting up the highly automated Macintosh production line. IIRC they got down from 18 months for a sat to less than a week (?).

Right. However that only works when you have lots of the same thing you are building (or the same family), and though the manufacturing and test part is important, so too is the supply chain for all the parts.

Especially in the electronics world they are constantly evolving components, so designers are faced with buying lots of parts that will no longer be made, or continuing to upgrade the electronics over time.

Back to the manufacturing part, how many get built per day/week/month matters too since that requires a certain amount of factory space. Plus it also determines what the work force requirements are, and if there are any variations then either the factory is OK with idle workers or they have enough other work to shift the workers around to.

For the SpaceX commsats at least Elon Musk has lots of experience with manufacturing now, so they will be able to wring as much value out of their production processes as possible, but it's still possible the satellite components will still be expensive. We'll have to see what they come up with.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #35 on: 09/09/2017 11:59 PM »
Right. However that only works when you have lots of the same thing you are building (or the same family), and though the manufacturing and test part is important, so too is the supply chain for all the parts.

Especially in the electronics world they are constantly evolving components, so designers are faced with buying lots of parts that will no longer be made, or continuing to upgrade the electronics over time.
Absolutely, which is why in the context of planetary probes I commented that to get these sorts of economies of scale you need to set a common group of data you want to get to maximize the production run of instruments.

But that's tough because planets are all different.  :(
Quote from: Coastal Ron
Back to the manufacturing part, how many get built per day/week/month matters too since that requires a certain amount of factory space. Plus it also determines what the work force requirements are, and if there are any variations then either the factory is OK with idle workers or they have enough other work to shift the workers around to.
Indeed. The core idea would be a standard "instrument suite" with features that can be customized to a certain degree, but that's tough.

Quote from: Coastal Ron
For the SpaceX commsats at least Elon Musk has lots of experience with manufacturing now, so they will be able to wring as much value out of their production processes as possible, but it's still possible the satellite components will still be expensive. We'll have to see what they come up with.
True. "MuskNet" will dwarf Iridum by about 2 orders of magnitude.
By satellite standards it will be serious mass production.
I suspect there will less "wiring harnesses" and more rigid connectors that don't need human fingers to get in close and plug connectors into sockets.
However that's a very specialized product where a lot of design effort can (relatively) easily be justified.
Planetary exploration instruments are a very different ball game.  :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #36 on: 09/10/2017 12:06 AM »
Haven't we got to the point that we have stuff like motherboards, cpu's , the transiver/transmitter , storage , startracker / navigation ,
made upgradeble , expendable if needed , ready of the shelf  , and able to deal with almost all conditions in the solar system.
Communications satellites are essentially built on production lines, with many common elements shared by numerous individual satellites.  They are relatively "inexpensive".  We know this because their owners make profits.
Yes and no.

If you build and test them for the expectation of 5-15 years of on orbit use, they are expensive.

If you build/test for 1-3 years of on orbit use (remember that current rate of technological obsolescence is about 1.5 years), they are relatively inexpensive.

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The terrestrial alternatives to GEO satellites (undersea cables, large numbers of ground-based transmitters, etc.) would cost more.

Better analogies would be telecom VOIP switches, Internet core/edge distribution routers/switches, and optical/microwave medium range links.

(For comparison, Iriduim thought they were competing with 5ESS telephone switching systems and cellphone base stations, thinking of 10-20 year technology cycles.)

Note that there is a cost inversion underway. The sat constellation isn't that much more expensive than the ground based one, if we keep refreshing it for obsolescence.

Online KelvinZero

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #37 on: 09/10/2017 12:07 AM »
Location. Location. Location.  :)

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #38 on: 09/10/2017 12:27 AM »
Yes. As far as the business logistics equivalence, one location (in this case Vandenberg) preempts all global locations (after you've launched all planes of your constellation).

That is the power of a space based system.

Online gongora

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Re: Why is space so expensive
« Reply #39 on: 09/10/2017 12:32 AM »
Yes. As far as the business logistics equivalence, one location (in this case Vandenberg) preempts all global locations (after you've launched all planes of your constellation).

That is the power of a space based system.

I don't understand this.

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