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President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-03-08 23:30:44
Techonomics

Trump on Falcon Heavy: "I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA" [arstechnica.com]

During a cabinet meeting on Thursday inside the White House, President Donald Trump called attention [twitter.com] to several model rockets on the table before him. They included an Atlas V, a Falcon 9, a Space Launch System [arstechnica.com], 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 [spacex.com] 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 [arstechnica.com] 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 [arstechnica.com] 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.

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


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