To add to this: NASA says SpaceX can use a previously flown booster on this mission. IXPE is a small satellite, but this launch contract is less than what NASA paid for for the still-pending Pegasus XL launch of ICON ($56.3M in a 2014 contract). Think about that…
The total cost for NASA to launch IXPE is approximately $50.3 million, which includes the launch service and other mission-related costs.
Is this the lowest (at least publicly known) paid price for a Falcon 9 launch ever?
IXPE was one of three finalists selected by NASA in July 2015 in the latest round of the Small Explorers program, intended for small space science missions with a cost cap, excluding launch, of $125 million. The other two finalists were an all-sky infrared survey spacecraft called SPHEREx and another X-ray polarimetry mission, the Polarimeter for Relativistic Astrophysical X-ray Sources, or PRAXyS.The total cost of IXPE, including launch and operations, will be $188 million, according to the NASA announcement. The release did not indicate what vehicle would launch IXPE, but previous presentations about the proposed mission stated it was designed to launch on an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL, a vehicle that has been used by NASA for other small space science missions.
I do wonder if Virgin Orbit can be competitive with F9 in such missions if they get LauncherOne to certification....
NSF member OneSpeed calculated that the "Block 5" Falcon 9 could put 1800 kg into an equatorial orbit by combining the circularization burn with the enormous plane change. This is many times the mass of IXPE.
Quote from: Galactic Penguin SST on 07/09/2019 01:02 amI do wonder if Virgin Orbit can be competitive with F9 in such missions if they get LauncherOne to certification....LauncherOne seems to be a little underpowered for this one (not by much). For payloads that can go on the smallsat launchers they could save a lot of money in the future. Pegasus is just not competitive anymore.
Quote from: Comga on 07/08/2019 09:29 pmNSF member OneSpeed calculated that the "Block 5" Falcon 9 could put 1800 kg into an equatorial orbit by combining the circularization burn with the enormous plane change. This is many times the mass of IXPE.Here's a simple way to figure out the capacity of F9 to such an orbit. First, find circular velocity at 540 km, about 7600 m/s.Then find a 27.5 degree plane change (usually the first stages can get rid of about 1o of inclination). It's about 3612 m/s. The circularization part of this burn will add very little, since the direction is different.If applied straight ahead, this delta-V would be beyond escape, and correspond to a C3 of about 11.Now you can go the LSP performance calculator, and plug in C3=11, and see what payload you can get. (You actually need to use C3=10, that's as far as F9 goes, and then get plots and extrapolate. I guess they never planned for payloads this light.) This gives about 750 kg for RTLS and 2100 kg for ASDS recovery.
The LauncherOne Service Guide lists its capability as ~460 kg to ~540 km at 0 degrees inclination, the target orbit for IXPE.The IXPE spacecraft is ~320 kg, so it is well within the capability of LauncherOne.
QuoteThe total cost for NASA to launch IXPE is approximately $50.3 million, which includes the launch service and other mission-related costs.Hot diggity. Cheaper than a Pegasus XL launch. And that's with NASA's red tape. Is this the lowest (at least publicly known) paid price for a Falcon 9 launch ever?
Quote from: whitelancer64 on 07/08/2019 09:36 pm Is this the lowest (at least publicly known) paid price for a Falcon 9 launch ever?Yes. I made a list recently of public F9/FH launch prices. But prices for commercial launches are usually undisclosed.Let me know if you find any mistakes or know of another launch with a known price and I'll add it.
A little correction to "GPS-III Contract #2" entry:The original contract value was $96.5 M, later it was modified with additional $5.6 M, as noted here.So the total = $102.1 MAlso, you mentioned AFSPC-44 contract (for Falcon Heavy) in NROL-85/NROL-87 entry, but there is no entry for AFSPC-44 in Falcon Heavy section.Not a correction, just may be worth mention - the original value of STP-2 was $165 M.And the value of $160.9 M may reflect discount for "used" boosters.Great list, thanks for sharing!
Some SpaceX payloads contracted to be launched on Falcon 1 ended up on Falcon 9: