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posted by cmn32480 on Monday July 25 2016, @11:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the cheaper-is-not-better dept.

From the (Kansas City) Daily Star Albany :

Recent moves in Congress to restrict the use of Russian rocket engines on national security missions sparked a revolution in the U.S. commercial space program. Private businesses such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, as well as Aerojet Rocketdyne, are lining up to offer homegrown rocket engines to NASA. Meanwhile, Russian President Putin just abolished his country's own Federal Space Agency, replacing 'Roscosmos' with a new corporation that "will design new spacecraft and implement new projects by itself."

But before you assume that Russia has been bitten by the Capitalism bug - don't. In contrast to SpaceX, which is a private venture, Russia's new-and-improved Roscosmos will be wholly owned by the Russian state.

Asserting complete control over the space effort is, to Putin's mind, a way to control costs and prevent corruption, such as when certain persons at Roscosmos famously embezzled or wasted as much as $1.8 billion in 2014. Whether the restructuring will also make space travel "cheaper," as [deputy prime minister] Rogozin hopes, remains to be seen.

SpaceX publishes a price of $61.2M USD for a Falcon 9 launch. Can Roscosmos compete with that? The Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture ULA finds that price hard to beat. So do the French and Chinese. From the article:

[...] California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez described a conversation she had with France's Arianespace a few years ago: "They were telling me that their launch costs about $200 million equivalent. They said they weren't worried about UAL [sic] but could I get rid of SpaceX? Because they were going to drive them out of business!"

And over in China, officials interviewed by Aviation Week recently lamented that "published prices on the SpaceX website [are] very low." So low, in fact, that with China's own Long March rockets costing $70 million per launch, "they could not match them."


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  • (Score: 2) by timbim on Tuesday July 26 2016, @07:43AM

    by timbim (907) on Tuesday July 26 2016, @07:43AM (#380223)

    you sure about those other two companies loosing money?

    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26 2016, @02:05PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26 2016, @02:05PM (#380291)

    "Sure" is a strong word. I would never bet my life on Wall St. numbers. But TSLA earnings per share have been negative or zero since at least 11/4/2014
    http://www.streetinsider.com/ec_earnings.php?q=TSLA [streetinsider.com]
    SCTY is a similar money pit.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26 2016, @03:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26 2016, @03:50PM (#380327)

      So re-investing in the long-term to build up scale and increase efficiency is a bad thing?
      With this kind of thinking, no wonder most new businesses fail.

      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday July 26 2016, @04:18PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday July 26 2016, @04:18PM (#380339)

        "Losing a bit of money is great" - the accountant.