Budget Rocket Airlines

Elon Musk: SpaceX Launches Will Cost 1% of Current NASA Launches

Can Musk's latest claim possibly be true?

11. 6. 19 by Victor Tangermann
Image by SpaceX

At the first-ever U.S. Air Force Space Pitch Day, a two-day event for the military arm to talk to non-traditional startups and businesses, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the company’s massive Starship rocket will be ludicrously cheap to get into orbit.

“If you consider operational costs, maybe it’ll be like $2 million,” Musk said during an event, as quoted by Space.com. “This is much less than even a tiny rocket, so it’s something that needs to be made.”

While that sounds like a lot, it’s a tiny fraction of what existing launches cost: on average, NASA spends an average of $152 million per launch — meaning that, if Musk is to be believed, SpaceX will be able to launch cargo and people into orbit for 1.3 percent of what NASA is currently paying for the same task.

SpaceX is planning to send the gigantic Starship rocket to space and far beyond with up to 100 passengers on board. The company is also working on a system that could ferry up to 1,000 passengers from one city to another on board the same rocket within the next ten years.


It’s an extremely ambitious target. Despite costs plummeting thanks to improving reusability, a launch of SpaceX’s much smaller workhorse rocket Falcon 9 currently costs $62 million — more than thirty times Musk’s quoted price of a Starship launch.

Does that mean Musk pulled the $2 million figure out of thin air? Maybe. At the Air Force event, Musk admitted he does “zero market research whatsoever,” according to Space.com.

READ MORE: SpaceX’s Starship May Fly for Just $2 Million Per Mission, Elon Musk Says [Space.com]

More on Starship: Elon Musk: Noisy Starship Spaceports Will Be 20 Miles Offshore


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