What is the cost per kilogram to take mass into orbit?

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Offline thedoc

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ibrahim kocaalioglu asked the Naked Scientists:

I have a question that I couldn't find the answer on the net.

I know that it is quite expensive to launch a satellite into orbit. How much does it coast to carry 1kg of weight from ground zero on earth to 40.0000 km above earth? How much the coast would be if the weight is carried from above the atmosphere (100km) to 40.000 km? Is there a considerable advantage of starting above the atmosphere?

Thank you for your help in advance.



What do you think?
« Last Edit: 21/09/2012 02:30:01 by _system »


Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: What is the cost per kilogram to take mass into orbit?
« Reply #1 on: 21/09/2012 18:38:49 »
The costs depend on the vehicle used.

The cheapest vehicles are getting down to about $5000 to put a kilogram of payload to low earth orbit, and then to get to GEO orbit (which is a bit below 40,000km) it usually triples the cost or so.

So roughly I would estimate about $15000 - $20,000 per kilogram of payload to get to 40,000km altitude.

That would be the average cost for a launcher that is launching about 3 tonnes, but smaller launchers are many times more expensive. Also it depends on the orbital plane relative to the launch site, and the where the launch site is; it's significantly more expensive to launch to an orbit that goes over the poles for example.

For example if you check out the Falcon 9 you can calculate the payload to LEO and divide by the launch cost.

« Last Edit: 21/09/2012 20:12:20 by wolfekeeper »