Poll

What is the *cost* of a commercial SpaceX Dragon2 flight?   (Not price to the customer)

Less than $30 Million
8 (7.1%)
$30 to $40 million
7 (6.2%)
$40 to $50 million
13 (11.5%)
$50 to $60 million
18 (15.9%)
$60 to $70 million
4 (3.5%)
$70 to $80 million
20 (17.7%)
$80 to $90 million
12 (10.6%)
$90 to $100 million
12 (10.6%)
$100 to $150 million
13 (11.5%)
More than $150 million
6 (5.3%)

Total Members Voted: 113

Voting closed: 11/19/2021 08:17 pm


Author Topic: What is the *cost* of a commercial SpaceX Dragon2 flight? (Not price)  (Read 9094 times)

Offline intrepidpursuit

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 721
  • Orlando, FL
  • Liked: 561
  • Likes Given: 400
While we do not have numbers, we do have elements.

Lets start with the assumption that the flight is on pre-flown equipment.  Therefore the 'cost' of the flight would be composed of expenses related to:

1) Refurbishment cost of booster stage
     1b) Amortized cost of booster
2) New build 2nd stage
3) New build Dragon2 Trunk

4) Refurbishment cost of Dragon2 capsule
     4b) Amortized cost of Dragon2
5) Fuel/Oxydizer/crew consumables
6) Launch and Flight service personnel (Pad Ninjas - Launch/Mission Control)
7) Government launch/landing support services (NASA/Spaceforce/NOAA/FAA/FCC/Coast Guard/etc)
8 ) Crew/Passenger training
9) Custom space/flight suits
10) Recovery service personnel and ship wear and tear (Also, where does the ASDS expense reside? Is it a negative on successful recovery like an auto-parts core refund?)
11) Taxes and fees  ;D (Hey, it's on my phone bill!!!)

*bold indicates areas I'm assuming to be highest expense*

I'm gonna ballpark this in the $70 - $80 mln range

I would guess that dragon refurbishment is one of the most expensive parts of the mission. They have to replace the whole outer shell including TPS and heat shield for every mission (the heat shield can theoretically last multiple missions but they haven't tried that afaik), repairs from water landings which probably means rebuilding the whole reaction control system, packing new parachutes and covers, etc. I would guess it costs more to refurbish Dragon 2 than it does to refurbish Falcon 9, and I think likely more than the cost of a new upper stage.

Online laszlo

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 810
  • Liked: 1071
  • Likes Given: 439
I would guess that dragon refurbishment is one of the most expensive parts of the mission. They have to replace the whole outer shell including TPS and heat shield for every mission (the heat shield can theoretically last multiple missions but they haven't tried that afaik), repairs from water landings which probably means rebuilding the whole reaction control system, packing new parachutes and covers, etc. I would guess it costs more to refurbish Dragon 2 than it does to refurbish Falcon 9, and I think likely more than the cost of a new upper stage.

Makes me wonder what's the point. Don't forget that all the avionics, cabling, etc. Even if everything is saltwater-proof, it still needs to to be tested and re-certified for carrying live meat. The dry landers (Soyuz, Shuttle, Starliner) had/have a big advantage over the splashers as far as re-usability is concerned.

Just a thought, the big problem is with salt water. I wonder if landing in a fresh water lake would improve things. For high-inclination flights not landing in Winter, the Great Lakes might be a better place to splash down to reduce costs. Each is bigger than the demonstrated error ellipses and has great transportation infrastructure to retrieve and send the capsule and contents to anywhere in the world without salt water intrusion.

Online Blackjax

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 504
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 132
Looks like we now have some better insight into this question

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43154.msg2295324#msg2295324

Quote
"One thing worth mentioning is that Elon confirmed the marginal launch cost (no overhead) for reusable Falcon 9 is $15M."

Now all you need to do is speculate on the marginal cost of a used Dragon.

Offline DigitalMan

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1645
  • Liked: 1154
  • Likes Given: 76
Since Elon Musk donated $50 million at the end of the flight my guess is that's what the flight and training and insurance cost SpaceX or it was the discount price they gave the mission.

I donít think so. I4 was over $150m at that point, I think it was just a round number to get them over $200m. The dude has a bunch of kids, he was always going to donate.
« Last Edit: 11/07/2021 12:04 am by DigitalMan »

Offline DeimosDream

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 102
  • Atlanta
  • Liked: 80
  • Likes Given: 40
Looks like we now have some better insight into this question

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43154.msg2295324#msg2295324

Quote
"One thing worth mentioning is that Elon confirmed the marginal launch cost (no overhead) for reusable Falcon 9 is $15M."

Now all you need to do is speculate on the marginal cost of a used Dragon.

Pretty sure the $15M is the marginal cost to expend a used F9 booster.

Full recovery/refurbishment/integration/launch cycle with associated overhead is closer to $28 million.  https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1250820281536413700

It seems likely that Crew-dragon recovery/refurbishment/overhead is more expensive than for the booster, so a Dragon2 flight could easily be $50M+ even without amortization.

 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
0