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  • If you had to buy a new car every time you had to go somewhere, you'd be broke by Tuesday.

  • So, why not apply the same logic to space travel.

  • 90s kids will remember the space shuttle launches that ferried astronauts and cargo to the ISS.

  • But even the reusable shuttle was expensive, and so the program ended in 2011.

  • According to the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, the shuttle was too complex, and money could

  • be saved if the rocket was simplified.

  • Simplifying a rocket.

  • How hard could that be?

  • Well, after few crash landings and explosions, SpaceX seems to have the self-landing reusable

  • rocket thing figured out.

  • So, does this make space travel cheaper?

  • Space shuttle missions cost about 450 million dollars per launch, and while that sounds

  • like a lot more than SpaceX's price of $133 million, you have to remember the Space Shuttle

  • was a beast of a craft, capable of carrying 50,000 pounds of cargo AND 7 crew members.

  • Broken down by the pound Shuttle flights cost about 10,000 dollars whereas a SpaceX Dragon

  • stuffed to the gills costs 9,100 dollars for every pound of cargo.

  • That's well shy of Musk's ultimate goal of bringing down the cost of space travel

  • by a at least a factor of 10.

  • But, he hopes to hit those numbers by launching more cargo at once on their next rocket, the

  • Falcon Heavy.

  • For now SpaceX has started launching reused Falcon-9 rockets and says the cost of refurbishing

  • one is less than half of building one from scratch.

  • They still have to recoup their investment, but eventually Musk says prices will drop.

  • The thing is, SpaceX is competing for government contracts with another company called United

  • Launch Alliance or ULA, a joint venture of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.

  • Based on the US Air Force's 2018 budget estimate, it looks like ULA will charge 422

  • million dollars per launch in 2020.

  • SpaceX, on the other hand, has done similar jobs for only 83 million dollars.

  • So things are allegedly cheaper.

  • Though, how much of that 300 million dollars difference is down to the rocket, is up for

  • debate.

  • In fact, the Government Accountability Office has criticized ULA for a lack of transparency

  • on pricing.

  • While some would argue ULA charges that much because they're up against the margin and

  • can't cut costs, Musk thinks they charge that much because they can.

  • They used to have no competition, their launch record is outstanding, and the satellites

  • they're launching cost billions, so what's a few hundred million dollars between friends?

  • While the Department of Defense can accept the higher launch costs because their budget

  • is bigger than God's, NASA is, by comparison, a poor pauper that has to make a lump of coal

  • last the winter.

  • In 2015 NASA received 34 times less money than the DOD.

  • So, if SpaceX can save NASA money, it would be an ideal partnership.

  • The next thing NASA needs is a way to transport people.

  • SpaceX's unfinished Dragon 2 spacecraft is designed to carry people at a price of

  • 58 million dollars per seat.

  • Pretty good considering the only other ride to the ISS is aboard a Russian Soyuz, and

  • since the shuttle's retirement they've been hiking the price.

  • They're planning to charge 81 million dollars a seat next year.

  • I for one hope he does manage to get that price down, because I don't think I can

  • save up 58 million dollars before I die.

  • Maybe I should invent some sort of service.

  • Like an easy way to pay my pals or something.

  • I don't know, get back to me on this one, Elon.

  • Thanks for watching, if you like what you see may I casually direct you to the subscribe

  • button.

  • If you bought a ticket to space, how high would you have to go before you technically

  • got there?

  • Trace tells you where space starts here.

  • So would you hitch a ride on a rocket if you could?

  • Let us know in the comments, and thanks for watching

If you had to buy a new car every time you had to go somewhere, you'd be broke by Tuesday.


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