Cost Analysis
Section 3.2.
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Apollo Cost Comparison

Apollo costs were driven by factors that don't relate to the function of getting to the moon as commercial enterprise early in the next century. Apollo had to invent everything, while we need very little new technology to establish the initial base. Beyond that, the realities of doing business as a government program drove up the cost of the Apollo program by at least one order of magnitude. I'm not kicking Apollo here; that's just the way the government does business. Federal procurement regulations and having to play politics do not make for cost-efficient programs. Our very best estimate for the cost of the first flight is $1.421 billion in 1994 U.S. dollars, assuming the entire flight is done by private enterprise to commercial aerospace standards. The next few flights could be a bit less expensive because we don't have the development costs.

The mission we are developing is much less ambitious than the Apollo program. We don't have to develop a new megabooster to put our entire spacecraft into orbit in one shot, and our mission starts and ends in Earth orbit. The great majority of the cost of Apollo was getting to Earth orbit, and then flying an atmospheric entry. Even today we have many alternatives for getting the hardware to orbit, and a couple of ways to get the crew there and back. The current reference mission doesn't depend on new lower-cost boosters. If a new transportation system comes along, it means we can get there faster, but $800 million of that $1.421 billion is for launch to Earth orbit.

Cost Analysis

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