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TimeTravelingChris t1_itbztk9 wrote

Falcon Heavy can lift 80% the payload at something like 1/8 the cost. Is it crew rated? No. But it could be. Falcon Heavy first flew and landed over 4 years ago.


seanflyon t1_itd7xa3 wrote

Falcon Heavy is a lot less than 1/8th the cost of an SLS launch. The number you hear most for SLS launch cost is $4.1 billion, but that includes Orion. SLS without a payload costs $2.8 billion to launch. Falcon Heavy is listed as $150 million for a fully expendable launch and that is an old number so it could have gone up since then.

Comparing those number (even if we assume a higher price for FH) looks bad enough for SLS, but remember that SLS launch cost does not include development costs. Development costs are tens of billions and counting, paid separately. Falcon Heavy was developed with private money, the launch price includes both the actual cost to launch and a operating profit so that they can recoup development costs. If you include a portion of development costs in the price of an SLS launch it would be billions more.

We don't know how big a portion of development costs to include in the price of each launch, but it is safe to say that SLS costs at least 20 times as much as FH.


TrippedBreaker t1_itc7saj wrote

So there is nothing currently flying that could replace SLS. Until Falcon Heavy is man rated or Starship shows it can do the deed, SLS is the only game in town, assuming that it can fly.


AmishRocket t1_itc9krg wrote

“This spaceship can do everything but fly” is not a huge selling point.


TrippedBreaker t1_itcf381 wrote

I'm not trying to sell it. It is what it is. Currently nothing is man rated for the Moon. Even SLS. I'll take whoever can get there and call it good. SpaceX, Boeing or whoever. I'm agnostic as to who. I want to see us go back.

I don't see this as a zero sum game where to succeed SLS must fail.


Darwins_Dog t1_itcdgtj wrote

There's no game in town at all. SLS has yet to move under it's own power.


sumelar t1_itchi1w wrote

SLS is not in town yet.

Falcon Heavy could do the job tomorrow if it came down to it. SLS would get put on the pad, hydrogen would cause another leak, and it wouldn't go anywhere.


TrippedBreaker t1_itcl89z wrote

Well that's one way of looking at it. Like most races we'll see who crosses the finish line first.