[amsat-bb] Re: Rideshare missions to GTO, only $14 million for Eagle, $800K for 3U Cubesat

Bruce Robertson ve9qrp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 3 03:14:30 PST 2011

On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 3:53 PM, Alexandru Csete <oz9aec at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 7:33 PM, Daniel Schultz <n8fgv at usa.net> wrote:
>> Spaceflight Services Announces Lunar and GTO Mission Pricing
>> Prague, CZ - September 30, 2010:  Spaceflight Services (Spaceflight) announced
>> today pricing for small payloads to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and
>> Low Lunar Orbit (LLO).
>> Spaceflight, as part of the Rocket City Space Pioneer Google Lunar X-Prize
>> Team, is responsible for mission integration and providing space
>> transportation services to Low Lunar Orbit.  Spaceflight is providing flight
>> opportunities for ESPA class spacecraft (spacecraft weighing less than 180 kg)
>> interested in launch services to GTO and Low Lunar Orbit.
>> The proposed mission, which is slated for Q4 2013 or Q1 2014, will deploy
>> three ESPA payloads into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and two additional
>> payloads in a Low Lunar Orbit.  The mission is also open to smaller spacecraft
>> looking for a low cost ride to either of these destinations.
>> Mission pricing for small payloads to GTO begins at $795,000 for a 3U CubeSat
>> and up to $13,950,000 for a full ESPA spacecraft.
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> This is considered a "Low Cost Ride" in the commercial world. This is the free
>> market value of the launch that we are hoping to get for significantly less.
>> Wish us luck...
> I certainly wish the best of luck with finding a cheap ride!
> Aside from being GTO, I do not consider their offer to be a good deal
> at all, since:
> (1) Their prices are set so that they can finance their own lunar mission
> (2) The price for a whole Falcon 1 is $11M, which will take 1 metric ton to LEO.
> (3) Even for a Falcon 9, the price seems to be less than $10M for
> 1,600 kg to GTO, see
> http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php#pricing_and_performance
> 73
> Alex OZ9AEC

Alex --

Think of these prices as 'retail' costs. Spaceflight Services aims to
provide their customers with a guaranteed ride, and deal with dividing
up the payload space, weight, etc. As such, they will certainly be
more expensive than the 'wholesale' costs you list above.

While this service might not ever be right for Amsat, it does, I
think, show that Amsat's current focus on Cubesat-level
miniaturization through the Fox platform (and AMSAT-UK's work with
FUNcube) is the path forward for both LEO *and* HEO. Here is a GTO
opportunity that is an order of magnitude less costly than others we
have recently been aware of, and at retail costs. Obviously there are
a whole host of challenges that would need to be met, but if GTO is
opening up to 3U and similar configurations, and at a price that we
could even imagine being able to fund, then it's great we're moving
aggressively into that platform.

73, Bruce VE9QRP


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