Poll

What do you think SpaceX will charge (in 2024) for a dedicated Starship mission to be flown in 2025?

< $6.25 Million (USD)
0 (0%)
$6.25M - $8.74M
0 (0%)
$8.74M - $12.4M
1 (1.1%)
$12.5M - $17.4M
3 (3.3%)
$17.5M - $24.9M
2 (2.2%)
$25.0M - $34.9M
5 (5.5%)
$35.0M - $49.9M
10 (11%)
$50.0M - $69.9M
19 (20.9%)
$70.0M - $99.9M
18 (19.8%)
$100M - $140M
10 (11%)
$141M - $200M
7 (7.7%)
> $200M
8 (8.8%)
Unavailable
8 (8.8%)
Cancelled
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 91

Voting closed: 03/01/2023 09:39 pm


Author Topic: POLL: Starship launch price 2025  (Read 8479 times)

Offline DeimosDream

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POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« on: 01/14/2023 09:39 pm »
Someday Starship might fly regularly scheduled flights every hour for $2M. This is not someday. This is near future rates. Say, 2024 contracts for a 2025 launch opportunity for the pedantic, when Ariane 6, Vulcan, and maybe even New Glenn are flight proven and Antares 330, Neutron, and Terran-R are gearing up for their maiden flights.

What do you think SpaceX will charge (in 2024) for a dedicated Starship mission to be flown in 2025? Do you expect SpaceX charge a rock bottom price that will make all other launchers obsolete, or competitively charge whatever the market will bear?

Vote 'Unavailable' if you believe Strarship will initially be reserved for Starlink/Lunar-Artimis only or will otherwise unable to accept new contracts for flights earlier than 2026+ as of 2024.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #1 on: 01/14/2023 09:49 pm »
$70 M to $90 M for payload launch from Earth but without payload return. They will charge less than they charge for a dedicated F9 launch, because they will have a higher profit. This assumes that SpaceX has SH recovery working or are sure that it will be working by 2025. It does not assume SS recovery is working, but it does assume they are willing to eat much of the cost of lost SS as part of their SS recovery testing.

Offline Toast

Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #2 on: 01/15/2023 04:14 am »
I'm betting by 2025 SpaceX will still be ironing out bugs, iterating on the design, figuring out rapid launch permitting, and building up a launch cadence which will entail launching mostly Starlink. So I'm going to go against the grain a bit and say that it'll be over $200 million. The capacity will still be unmatched at that price point, but I'd wager that SpaceX won't be doing substantial commercial launches until at least a few more years down the line--if for no other reason than because it's going to take a while for the sea change in capacity to turn into payloads that can utilize the capacity.
Obviously I could be (very) wrong, and I'd love it if I was. But I'm thinking that it's going to take a few years or even a decade before Starship really hits its stride, just like Falcon 9.

Offline deltaV

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #3 on: 01/15/2023 04:57 am »
I voted $50M-$70M. I guess that's the price that will maximize SpaceX's short-term profit and help them fund Mars missions. That price is low enough that they'd probably have the lowest price per kilogram of payload of any launcher. They'd probably also be cheaper per launch than all but the smallest launchers. It's also cheap enough that Falcon customers would probably be happy to switch - an alternate plan of raising Falcon 9 prices to force customers to switch would piss off customers. Much lower prices maintained for decades could pay off by expanding the market but Must wants to go to Mars ASAP so I expect that SpaceX will keep prices higher to pay for Mars quickly.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #4 on: 01/15/2023 07:27 am »
I think SpaceX price at what the market will bear. Current F9 prices could be lower, given the level of reuse they are achieving, but they donít need to be lower yet based on currently available competition. Price also wonít drop until some level of reuse is established.

In 2024 I think people buying SS will either have payloads that donít fit on anything else (not sure any such large payloads will be ready for 2025?), or be looking to launch a lot of payloads for cheaper unit launch costs.

I voted $141 - $200M.

Offline JoeFromRIUSA

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #5 on: 01/15/2023 09:09 am »
Someday Starship might fly regularly scheduled flights every hour for $2M.




Offline tbellman

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #6 on: 01/15/2023 01:00 pm »
I kind of expect SpaceX to have a sliding price depending on payload mass and orbit energy.  For a basic LEO delivery (500km, >28į), they could charge $10M for up to two tonnes (2000 kg), and then $2M for each additional tonne up to 20 tonnes (at that point reaching a price of $46M).  Over 20 tonnes, they would charge $5M for every additional 5 tonnes, and then another inflection point at 50 tonnes, above which the price would be $5M for every additional 20 tonnes.

This would allow them to be competitive with small launchers, grabbing a fair amount of the dedicated smallsat market even if at low profit margin.  For larger payloads, they would get higher profit margin (since their internal cost would not change much), while still being very competitive with Vulcan, Ariane 6, H3 and New Glenn; and cheaper than Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy as well.

For higher energy orbits, e.g. equatorial LEO, geostationary transit orbit (GTO), et.c., their prices would be higher: higher base price, steeper curves, and different inflection points, depending on the energy of the orbit.  So a basic GTO (GEO-1800), could for example be $25M for up to 2 tonnes, $2.5M for each additional tonne up to 10 tonnes, $3M for each additional 2 tonnes up to 30 tonnes, and $5M for each additional 10 tonnes above that.  (These prices would include any needed tanker flights.)

I believe that SpaceX will have at least somewhat cheap prices even early on.  As supporting evidence for that: SpaceX bid Starship for NASA's TROPICS satellites, and were cheaper than Rocket Lab's Electron.

Offline rockets4life97

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #7 on: 01/15/2023 01:53 pm »
I think SpaceX will want to move customers from F9 to Starship by 2025. The larger Starship capacity is meaningless for most of the current market (besides Starlink Gen2). The value to SpaceX of Starship is the designed high level of re-use and ease of re-use (no more drone ships and new second stages, etc.).

I chose the price point similar to current F9 launches (50-70 million). I expect a Starship launch to cost the same no matter the payload. I do think there may be a cost associated with different orbits related to greater/lesser re-entry burden on the vehicle and required tanker flights (for large payloads).


Offline SweetWater

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #8 on: 01/15/2023 02:20 pm »
This assumes that SpaceX has SH recovery working or are sure that it will be working by 2025. It does not assume SS recovery is working, but it does assume they are willing to eat much of the cost of lost SS as part of their SS recovery testing.

I think this makes a lot of sense. SH will be operating in a flight regime that is largely similar to that of the F9 first stage, so SpaceX should have a lot of data about pressures, stresses, and heating. The tower-catch landing is ambitious but they have demonstrated the ability to land with precision with F9, and I am optimistic that they will have a high level of confidence of SH recovery within the first handful of attempts. I believe that Starship landing, on the other hand, will prove to be a much harder nut to crack.

Offline AmigaClone

Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #9 on: 01/15/2023 03:10 pm »
I can see
I think SpaceX price at what the market will bear. Current F9 prices could be lower, given the level of reuse they are achieving, but they donít need to be lower yet based on currently available competition. Price also wonít drop until some level of reuse is established.

I fully expect for dedicated commercial Starship launches to cost about the same as a reusable Falcon 9 might to the same inclination and orbit in 2024.

On the other hand, I also expect most Starship launches in the first five years to include between 36 and 54 Starlink satellites with other payloads possible as rideshares - both in the form of cubesats which might be deployed from a structure with the same external dimensions as the Starship version of Starlink Gen2, or an 'Starlink' Starship designed to also deploy a number of larger satellites.

I am aware of external contracts for six Starship missions ('propellant transfer demonstration, HLS Demo, HLS I, HLS II, dearMoon, and Starship Polaris). Three or four of them will involve multiple launches (the three HLS missions and possibly dearMoon). My guess is those missions will involve between 18 and 45 launches before 2028. That number of launches will place launches related to those six missions firmly in second place after launches deploying phase one of Starlink Gen2 constellation.

Offline freddo411

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #10 on: 01/15/2023 03:10 pm »
2025 is a very challenging date to predict.

There is a chance that flight operations will be proceeding smoothly and getting commercial clients (and moving them off Falcon) will be a priority.   There's also a chance that development has run into snags and delays and that SX won't be flying commercial payloads (other than HLS) at all.

IDK.   Guessed 70 to 99 to lean optimistic.     

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #11 on: 01/15/2023 04:14 pm »
I voted $50M-$70M. I guess that's the price that will maximize SpaceX's short-term profit and help them fund Mars missions. That price is low enough that they'd probably have the lowest price per kilogram of payload of any launcher. They'd probably also be cheaper per launch than all but the smallest launchers. It's also cheap enough that Falcon customers would probably be happy to switch - an alternate plan of raising Falcon 9 prices to force customers to switch would piss off customers. Much lower prices maintained for decades could pay off by expanding the market but Must wants to go to Mars ASAP so I expect that SpaceX will keep prices higher to pay for Mars quickly.
It's the other way around. SpaceX won't raise F9 prices to force customers to Starship. Instead, Starlink and then other customers will migrate to Starship to get lower prices, and this will reduce the F9 launch rate. SpaceX will then need to raise the F9 launch price to cover the F9 fixed costs with fewer F9 launches. Because Starlink is such a high percentage of F9 launches, this will occur quickly. Ultimately F9 is reduced to only Dragon flights, and then to only Crew Dragon flights.

Offline DeimosDream

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #12 on: 01/15/2023 05:49 pm »
In 2025 I predict Starship will have a maturity somewhere between F9 Full-thrust and F9 Block-4. Starship(2nd-stage) recovery will be mostly successful, but the recovered Starships will still be closely inspected, require frequent refurbishment, and be reused relatively few times.

This puts my vote at $70-100. I expect Starship will initially be sold as an alternative for F9-expended and Falcon-Heavy GTO missions (and will underbid Vulcan VC2), but that with limited flight rates SpaceX isn't going to feel any pressure to underbid their own F9 on RTLS/ASDS sized missions for flights as early as 2025.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #13 on: 01/15/2023 06:16 pm »
In 2025 I predict Starship will have a maturity somewhere between F9 Full-thrust and F9 Block-4. Starship(2nd-stage) recovery will be mostly successful, but the recovered Starships will still be closely inspected, require frequent refurbishment, and be reused relatively few times.

This puts my vote at $70-100. I expect Starship will initially be sold as an alternative for F9-expended and Falcon-Heavy GTO missions (and will underbid Vulcan VC2), but that with limited flight rates SpaceX isn't going to feel any pressure to underbid their own F9 on RTLS/ASDS sized missions for flights as early as 2025.
SpaceX is a for-profit company. They will underbid F9 when the Starship profit per launch is higher than the F9 profit per launch. This is of course oversimplified. Launches are ordered far in advance, sometimes by conservative customers. The extreme example here is CCP: it is likely that the last F9 launch will be a Crew Dragon in 2032. Also, internal bookkeeping can get fairly bizarre, so "profit per launch" is probably arcane.

Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #14 on: 01/16/2023 03:43 am »

There's also a chance that development has run into snags and delays and that SX won't be flying commercial payloads (other than HLS) at all.


Why wouldn't they? The demand is there, and since they will be launching HLS they would want to get reliability down.

Offline su27k

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #15 on: 01/16/2023 03:53 am »
Starship's performance covers the performance envelope of both F9 and FH, so it would be a mistake to anchor its price using F9 price alone. Its price range is going to be much wider than that, it should cover both the price range of F9 and FH, so anything between $35M to >$200M is possible, as we have seen these prices for F9 and FH.

Should be obvious that a cookie cutter GTO launch of 5.5t would have a radically different price from launching a 8m diameter 50t+ space station, which in turn would have a radically different price from launching Orion on an expendable Starship.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2023 04:53 am by su27k »

Offline deltaV

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #16 on: 01/16/2023 04:26 am »
On second thought I expect SpaceX's Starship prices to vary based on payload mass. Something like $30M for the first tonne to LEO and $1M for each tonne thereafter. This better matches what the competition charges.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #17 on: 01/16/2023 03:28 pm »
On second thought I expect SpaceX's Starship prices to vary based on payload mass. Something like $30M for the first tonne to LEO and $1M for each tonne thereafter. This better matches what the competition charges.
My GUESS is the price will reflect actual cost to some extent and the price sheet will not have much to say about tonnage. There will be a base price for the launch, a fuel price, a time-in-orbit price per hour, and prices associated with complexity of loading and deployment. Tonnage affects price indirectly.

Offline freddo411

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #18 on: 01/16/2023 04:06 pm »
On second thought I expect SpaceX's Starship prices to vary based on payload mass. Something like $30M for the first tonne to LEO and $1M for each tonne thereafter. This better matches what the competition charges.

This is a good point.   There is no reason that the price per pound needs to be equal over the range of payload mass sizes.

For an odd, but accurate analogy, consider the price per pound paid for 1 airline seat.    It's literally 1/2 the price per pound for a 100 kg person compared to a 50 kg person.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #19 on: 01/16/2023 04:09 pm »

There's also a chance that development has run into snags and delays and that SX won't be flying commercial payloads (other than HLS) at all.


Why wouldn't they? The demand is there, and since they will be launching HLS they would want to get reliability down.

Just an FYI, Starship does have one commercial launch contract - for Sky Perfect JSAT, the Superbird-9 launch in 2024.
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Offline alexterrell

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #20 on: 01/16/2023 04:51 pm »
If SpaceX can get a high flight rate they can get a low price.

A high flight rate obviously requires a low price. So there is a spiral effect:
More flights leads to lower costs leads to more flights leads to lower costs.....

But this is a relatively slow process. At the moment, few people are banking on Starship, and building all those payloads. Where are sections of the rotating space station being built? Who is designing the 2000m diameter radio telescopes (we'd want several for billion kilometre interferometry). Who is building the moon base segments? Who has even planned the "Mars Salvo"?

So initially (2025?), SpaceX will come in at the expensive end, but cheaper than Falcon 9. Why come in cheaper when the payloads are there? So probably just below $100 million.

At that point - with some experience and a track record - they can forward price.
Anyone want to launch 10,000 tons? They will do that at $20 million per launch, 100 launches, total cost $2 billion.
Anyone want to launch 100,000 tons? They will do that at $5 million per launch, 1000 launches, total cost $5 billion.

Offline mikelepage

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #21 on: 01/24/2023 09:10 am »
I think some here are losing sight of the meta-game that SpaceX is playing as industry leader. Sure they *could* charge relative to current industry prices, but then their only customers would be from the current space industry, and they need to induce significant new demand if they want to have any hope of Starship being viable long-term, over thousands or more flights. The fact that Starship even exists is a bet that the industry will grow exponentially.

I voted for $35-50 million (probably closer to $50 million), because I think they'll aim for somewhat below Falcon 9 prices and the calculator I was given suggests day-of-launch costs of ~$25m are very achievable at the start - that's assuming ~$200m Starship-Superheavy build cost, and averaging 20 flights for each.

Various governments will support their own sovereign launch programs as they feel they need to, but apart from that I fully foresee SpaceX gaining a near monopoly on commercial heavy launches 10 tons and up, and being very competitive below that too.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #22 on: 01/30/2023 12:02 pm »
<snip>
Various governments will support their own sovereign launch programs as they feel they need to, but apart from that I fully foresee SpaceX gaining a near monopoly on commercial heavy launches 10 tons and up, and being very competitive below that too.
Think 2025 is bit early for SpaceX to be transform into a CHOAM like entity with almost total market share. However eventually SpaceX maritime spaceport platforms will be deployed all over the world to pick up all available payloads. Then competitors will have to compete against the Starship launching frequently from multiple launch sites with low price per kilogram of payload.

The Highlander movie meme of "There Can be Only One" is applicable if SpaceX deploys additional maritime spaceport platforms beyond the 2 former oil drilling platforms they currently have. Raising capital for SpaceX competitors after that will be problematic after that.

Offline rfdesigner

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #23 on: 01/30/2023 12:44 pm »
I was looking at starship tonnage to LEO recently..  It looks like they're growing at about 38% annually, so if this year we have 1700 "potential tons to LEO"..  that is 100 launches of F9 @ a potential launch of 17 tons, (it's not SpaceX fault if a customer wants to pay the whole price for launching 1 ton)..  then 2024 would be 2336 tons and 2025 would be 3237 tons..  if all of those were on starship that would be 32 launches, or about one every 11 days.  I don't see that as fundamentally dropping prices, I'm not sure what the demand curve is, but I would imagine a 30% drop in price per ton to LEO would stimulate demand quite satisfactorily.  I suspect that would leave a large profit margin for SpaceX to use to start building infrastructure either to be taken to orbit, or in orbit, for future Mars missions, with the very occasional starlink SS launch spewing out dozens of satellites to fill holes.  30% cut in $/ton to LEO would be in the region of $200m, so I'd expect a lot of rideshares, I'd expect the price to fall consistently from year to year as demand gradually ramps up (the bottle-neck will likely be the customer build capacity, not starship launch cadence)

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #24 on: 01/30/2023 04:19 pm »
I was looking at starship tonnage to LEO recently..  It looks like they're growing at about 38% annually, so if this year we have 1700 "potential tons to LEO"..  that is 100 launches of F9 @ a potential launch of 17 tons, (it's not SpaceX fault if a customer wants to pay the whole price for launching 1 ton)..  then 2024 would be 2336 tons and 2025 would be 3237 tons..  if all of those were on starship that would be 32 launches, or about one every 11 days.  I don't see that as fundamentally dropping prices, I'm not sure what the demand curve is, but I would imagine a 30% drop in price per ton to LEO would stimulate demand quite satisfactorily.  I suspect that would leave a large profit margin for SpaceX to use to start building infrastructure either to be taken to orbit, or in orbit, for future Mars missions, with the very occasional starlink SS launch spewing out dozens of satellites to fill holes.  30% cut in $/ton to LEO would be in the region of $200m, so I'd expect a lot of rideshares, I'd expect the price to fall consistently from year to year as demand gradually ramps up (the bottle-neck will likely be the customer build capacity, not starship launch cadence)
I have a question: if you launch an SS that will not return to Earth, (e.g., HLS or Depot) do you count some or all of its mass as part of the payload? By 2024, SpaceX is supposed to be launching depot and HLS.

Clearly, when an LV is launching (parts of) an appendix P HLS, it's payload of the LV.

Online mandrewa

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #25 on: 01/30/2023 04:34 pm »
I was looking at starship tonnage to LEO recently..  It looks like they're growing at about 38% annually, so if this year we have 1700 "potential tons to LEO"..  that is 100 launches of F9 @ a potential launch of 17 tons, (it's not SpaceX fault if a customer wants to pay the whole price for launching 1 ton)..  then 2024 would be 2336 tons and 2025 would be 3237 tons..  if all of those were on starship that would be 32 launches, or about one every 11 days.  I don't see that as fundamentally dropping prices, I'm not sure what the demand curve is, but I would imagine a 30% drop in price per ton to LEO would stimulate demand quite satisfactorily.  I suspect that would leave a large profit margin for SpaceX to use to start building infrastructure either to be taken to orbit, or in orbit, for future Mars missions, with the very occasional starlink SS launch spewing out dozens of satellites to fill holes.  30% cut in $/ton to LEO would be in the region of $200m, so I'd expect a lot of rideshares, I'd expect the price to fall consistently from year to year as demand gradually ramps up (the bottle-neck will likely be the customer build capacity, not starship launch cadence)
I have a question: if you launch an SS that will not return to Earth, (e.g., HLS or Depot) do you count some or all of its mass as part of the payload? By 2024, SpaceX is supposed to be launching depot and HLS.

Clearly, when an LV is launching (parts of) an appendix P HLS, it's payload of the LV.

I would say it's all payload.  Now we don't count the final stages of a launch to orbit as part of the payload even if that last stage doesn't return to Earth.  And part of the mass of these Starship-based vehicles that will be delivered to orbit might be seen as not being useful later on and therefore kind of like carrying around the last stage forever.

But by that very token SpaceX will obviously try to minimize any non-useful mass. And therefore it seems reasonable to count it all as payload.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #26 on: 01/30/2023 04:54 pm »
I was looking at starship tonnage to LEO recently..  It looks like they're growing at about 38% annually, so if this year we have 1700 "potential tons to LEO"..  that is 100 launches of F9 @ a potential launch of 17 tons, (it's not SpaceX fault if a customer wants to pay the whole price for launching 1 ton)..  then 2024 would be 2336 tons and 2025 would be 3237 tons..  if all of those were on starship that would be 32 launches, or about one every 11 days.  I don't see that as fundamentally dropping prices, I'm not sure what the demand curve is, but I would imagine a 30% drop in price per ton to LEO would stimulate demand quite satisfactorily.  I suspect that would leave a large profit margin for SpaceX to use to start building infrastructure either to be taken to orbit, or in orbit, for future Mars missions, with the very occasional starlink SS launch spewing out dozens of satellites to fill holes.  30% cut in $/ton to LEO would be in the region of $200m, so I'd expect a lot of rideshares, I'd expect the price to fall consistently from year to year as demand gradually ramps up (the bottle-neck will likely be the customer build capacity, not starship launch cadence)
I have a question: if you launch an SS that will not return to Earth, (e.g., HLS or Depot) do you count some or all of its mass as part of the payload? By 2024, SpaceX is supposed to be launching depot and HLS.

Clearly, when an LV is launching (parts of) an appendix P HLS, it's payload of the LV.

I would say it's all payload.  Now we don't count the final stages of a launch to orbit as part of the payload even if that last stage doesn't return to Earth.  And part of the mass of these Starship-based vehicles that will be delivered to orbit might be seen as not being useful later on and therefore kind of like carrying around the last stage forever.

But by that very token SpaceX will obviously try to minimize any non-useful mass. And therefore it seems reasonable to count it all as payload.
:) Depot: all payload except the raptors.  HLS: all payload except some percentage of the mass of the tanks and 5 of the six Raptors.

Offline jongoff

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Re: POLL: Starship launch price 2025
« Reply #27 on: 02/01/2023 12:33 am »
I voted for $50-70M. That's still a good deal relative to current vehicles, but I really don't think we'll see dramatic *price* reductions until SpaceX has at least one serious competitor, which isn't likely to be by next year.

~Jon

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