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posted by martyb on Friday March 09 2018, @03:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the pork-is-expensive dept.

Trump on Falcon Heavy: "I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA"

During a cabinet meeting on Thursday inside the White House, President Donald Trump called attention to several model rockets on the table before him. They included an Atlas V, a Falcon 9, a Space Launch System, and more. The president seemed enthused to see the launch vehicles. "Before me are some rocket ships," the president said. "You haven't seen that for this country in a long time."

Then, in remarks probably best characterized as spur of the moment, the president proceeded to absolutely demolish the government's own effort to build rockets by noting the recent launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. He cited the cost as $80 million. (The list price on SpaceX's website is $90 million.)

"I noticed the prices of the last one they say cost $80 million," Trump said. "If the government did it, the same thing would have cost probably 40 or 50 times that amount of money. I mean literally. When I heard $80 million, I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA.''

NASA has not, in fact, set a price for flying the SLS rocket. But Ars has previously estimated that, including the billions of dollars in development cost, the per-flight fees for the SLS rocket will probably be close to $3 billion. Indeed, the development costs of SLS and its ground systems between now and its first flight could purchase 86 launches of the privately developed Falcon Heavy rocket. So President Trump's estimate of NASA's costs compared to private industry does not appear to be wildly off the mark.

[*] SLS: Space Launch System

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs
Safety Panel Raises Concerns Over SpaceX and Boeing Commercial Crew Plans
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST
Leaning Tower of NASA
NASA Moving to Scale Back the Space Technology Mission Directorate

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Friday March 09 2018, @11:14PM (1 child)

    by frojack (1554) on Friday March 09 2018, @11:14PM (#650296) Journal

    Pretty sure khollow wasn't serious about fixing NASA. He well knows that ship has sailed.

    With three (or is it four) companies competing for space launch capabilities, prices are coming down fast.
    The best use of NASA is being a standard's body. Sure, it will be regulatory-captured eventually. But you should be
    able to get a few decades of safety oriented standards review out of them.

    Maybe they could used be like the Highway Department, keep the facilities maintained, clean up the mess after an accident, etc.
    Set standards for vehicle minimum equipment.

    Its sad, but that's what government does. Happened to ESA. Happened to the Russians (who actually beat the US to quasi-privatized hardware development).

      I use to be NASA's biggest fan. They use to do crazy and cool shit like fly shuttles around the country on the backs of Airplanes ffs.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Saturday March 10 2018, @12:59AM

    by takyon (881) <> on Saturday March 10 2018, @12:59AM (#650322) Journal

    I use to be NASA's biggest fan. They use to do crazy and cool shit like fly shuttles around the country on the backs of Airplanes ffs.

    They did that less than 6 years ago [].

    I like cooler shit like discovering thousands of exoplanets [], flying by Pluto [], orbiting Ceres [], returning samples from an asteroid [], visiting Europa [], orbiting the largest metallic asteroid [], etc.

    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []