The Economic Impact of Reusable Orbital Transports on the Cost of Planned Manned Space Programs, 1970-1999

by A. F. Watts, Dave J. Dreyfuss, Harrison S. Campbell

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To measure the economic impact of developing and operating a reusable space vehicle, a comparison is made of the annual funding and cumulative total cost of two hypothetical space programs. The first program is based on the use of the expendable Saturn IB and Saturn V class payloads. The second is based on using a reusable orbital transport of conventional or advanced design. One of the main conclusions is that in a major earth orbital program involving the placing into orbit of approximately 72 million pounds between 1970 and 1999, it is more economical to use the current Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles than to develop and operate a reusable orbital transport. This paper was prepared for presentation at the Third Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, held at Boston, Massachusetts, November 29-December 2, 1966.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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