Survey of Existing Launchers
Home Tour Join! Contents Team News Catalog Search Comm

The Space Shuttle as a Launcher

For the original reference mission, we used $356 million for a Shuttle launch, rounded up to $400 million per flight to cover the costs of extraordinary payload integration, EVA services, and crew training. That might be a bit high for the actual price of a Shuttle flight, but it's close enough and leaves an even bigger margin in our cost estimates.

Some people go to extremes to estimate Shuttle flight costs as high as they possibly can, pushing the cost number up as high as a billion dollars. But the overinflated estimates doesn't really mean much to us. The only number that matters is the price -- how much money we'll have to pay to get our stuff to orbit.

If we decided to use the Shuttle (and it was available) the U.S. government would likely consider this to be a very worthy payload and discount the price considerably. We fit the criteria: Worth Doing, and a clear need for a manned vehicle. The Artemis Project will be great for international cooperation, too, so it has lots of political plusses going for it.

If we had the spacecraft and money in hand today, we'd have to wait at least 2 or 3 years to get a spot on the manifest. There are a few holes might be able to squeeze into earlier, but we'd need the time to train the crew and take care of the payload and mission integration.

Our main concern about using the Shuttle is its availability. Once construction starts on the International Space Station, the Shuttle fleet is going to be very busy. This is what the Shuttle was designed for, and with four laboratories representing just about every industrialized nation on the globe, there's a lot of work to do at the space station (including, perhaps, servicing our vehicles). It would be nice to get a moon flight in before the Orbiters are busy assembling and resupplying the space station, but we don't see any way to make that happen.

The fleet will be getting old, too; which is why Mr. Goldin is pushing for the next generation of Earth-to-LEO space transports.

As the Project progresses, we should be able to predict quite some time in advance when we'll be ready for launch, so I'm not too worried about getting in the manifest when we need. Exactly which launch system's manifest we'll be in is a question left for the future.

Survey of Existing Launchers

Home Tour Join! Contents Team News Catalog Search Comm
ASI W9600245r1.1. Copyright © 2007 Artemis Society International, for the contributors. All rights reserved.
This web site contains many trade names and copyrighted articles and images. Refer to the copyright page for terms of use.
Author: Gregory Bennett. Maintained by Simon Rowland <>.
Submit update to this page. Maintained with WebSite Director. Updated Tue, Sep 2, 1997.