Space: The Cost Of Delayed Launch


January 9, 2015: Efforts to reduce the cost of space satellites has led to more careful scrutiny of the costs and it was discovered that something as innocuous as storing completed satellites can add up to a lot of money. For example the U.S. Department of Defense has been spending $26 million year to store completed satellites waiting to be launched. That expense is rising nearly 60 percent a year during the next five years. The increased storage costs are the result of more complex satellites and more delays in launching completed satellites or satellites being completed ahead of schedule. The cost of storing an individual satellite can vary from under $100,000 a year to several million dollars a year. Best options for generating some significant savings have to do with better scheduling and improving storage techniques (which vary considerably).

While the auditors have done an admirable job here it’s uncertain if the satellite manufacturers and those in charge of arranging launch can manage to make significant and cost saving changes.



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