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Kevin Parkin

One other thing that occurs to me about this paper is that range costs and insurance might be specific to the US.

If lower cost technology is introduced there may be nothing to stop other countries going way down through the price floor quoted (in fact China is supposedly achieving $4k/kg just with existing technology, whereas we get about $16k/kg).

Daniel Schmelzer

As I understand it, range fees vary from location to location in the US (I don't know how much variation there is--you would think this pricing information would be readily available, but oddly it doesn't seem to be). If a large percentage of the launch costs are going to range fees, maybe customers would spend more time being savvy buyers of range services. Even if the services are provided by the government, I would expect some market responsiveness regarding price.

SpaceX doesn't look like they are spending a fortune on their pads and are already looking at 4 pads at 3 locations. Maybe adding a couple more locations would help start the virtuous competitive cycle.

With regard to the price floor, what I am taking away from all of these discussions is that we would do well to expect the R&D mountain for chemical reusables to be staggeringly high. However, it's encouraging to see some prospect of incremental improvements coming to fruition, however small.

Juan Suros

The paper hints pretty broadly that building your own private spaceport will lower fuel and range cost significantly, which seems reasonable. I think they may have missed the boat on insurance costs, however. I didn't catch it if they said it themselves, but is the insurance burden directly a result of the high launch costs, or the high value of the payloads?

Modern satellites are very expensive. They are designed to operate for years with no maintenance, and their designs put a very high premium on small size and mass. Space probes are even more expensive. It seems a reasonable assumption that a vastly higher spacelift traffic volume would lower the value of the average payload. Wouldn't the insurance costs on a load of girders and Kobe beef be lower than that on a communications satellite?

I wish the authors had done the numbers on the Falcon V launcher, where commercial rates are available to compare with their analysis.

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