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Friday, May 13, 2011

NASA Says Commercial Crew Costs Could Exceed Those Paid the Russians for Soyuz

Private space companies probably can expect at least 44 paying passengers for trips to orbit in the next 10 years, NASA has told Congress, but the price per seat could be higher than the U.S. government already is paying for rides on Russia’s Soyuz capsule.

The agency’s congressionally mandated assessment of the market for the commercial cargo and crew transport to low Earth orbit (LEO) — the centerpiece of U.S. space policy for the post-shuttle era — carries no cost estimates, and is based largely on extrapolated historical data and projections by two firms that aren’t directly involved in building the commercial systems NASA needs to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station, writes Frank Morring, Jr. for Aviation Week.

The bottom-line assessment presented to Congress, as required by the three-year NASA authorization act adopted late last year, is a “lower end” of 44 individual human flights over the report’s 10-year span, and an “upper end” of 329-259 seats to orbit, not counting the eight seats and 26,400 lb. of cargo a year NASA plans to buy to get its astronauts and those of its non-Russian partners to the space station and keep them supplied.


Terence Clark said...

Your conclusion completely disagrees with the conclusion of the report, which speaks in near glowing terms of commercial providers and outwardly and explicitly notes significant cost savings if the commercial or international market does anything other than remain completely flat. It also explicitly doesn't take into account satellite and scientific missions, which could markedly decrease the cost. Indeed, in a search of every instance of 'Soyuz' in the article, I found no statement suggesting commercial would be more expensive.

While I usually like this blog, I find this post to be so glaringly in opposition to the facts, tone, and conclusion of its source as to find it disingenuous.

JackKennedy said...

Hi Terence,

Did you read the Aviation Week article that was referenced?

There may have been something said in Congressional testimony to result in Frank Morring's article.

Your disingenuous blogger cited the article as well as the full report. - Jack