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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Meet Yusaku Maezawa, SpaceX‚Äôs First Moon Voyage Customer

Yeah, I know. Sad thing is it's been seventeen years since Dennis Tito first went up, and nearly seventy years since Heinlein wrote "The Man who Sold the Moon" so in a way it isn't exactly new. Especially as Musk has called out two Heinlein books by name as inspirations.

Here's the thing. Musk started SpaceX because Roscosmos saw him as a rube and a tourist. He in turn took Roscosmos as a model - SpaceX isn't trying to be the United Launch Alliance, it's trying to be the Korolev Design Bureau. The watchword is cheap. Even "cheap" it's around $5k/kilo to LEO.

Call a human and their life support for a short voyage 100 kilos. That's a half million to LEO, cost. The Saturn V was 140,000 kilos to LEO, 48,000 kilos to TLI. You're at $1.5m to TLI, then, assuming Musk does everything as cheap as possible. The Apollo CSM, on the other hand, was 15,000 kilos with three dudes in it so it's not unreasonable to say it's more like $7.5m.

You could knock that down by a factor of ten and it's out of reach of anybody reasonable. Knock it down by a hundred and it's still more than going around the world on a cruise ship first class. And even then it's loosy-goosy moot shit; our $750k to LEO is a hundredth what NASA paid Roscosmos. And the ISS isn't even in LEO, not really; it's virtually skimming the clouds. When you take that cost-per-kilo and apply it to robots, humans start looking like expensive tourists anyway, the only question left is who foots the bill.