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When will commercial space launch be priced at less than $500/pound?
In recent years, with hundreds of launches under the belts of Arianespace and American commercial launchers like United Launch Alliance, the industry has been reshaped by the entrance of Musk's SpaceX and his Falcon 9 rocket, which is taking market share from the longtime players in the commercial space game. A Falcon 9 launch to low-earth orbit currently costs just under $60 million per launch, the "cheapest rocket in the industry." Competitors are scrambling to keep up.
How much do these launches actually cost per pound? Currently, the best-case fully loaded Falcon 9 configuration can deliver cargo to low earth orbit for $1,233 per pound ($2,719/kg). In 2004, however, Musk stated that launch costs of $500 per pound ($1100/kg) were "very achievable."
When will commercial space launch prices reach $500 per pound ($1100/kg)?
This question will resolve when a credible news story or corporate press release announces a launch pricing structure for any commercial space company in which the price to launch to low-earth orbit, divided by the fully-loaded cargo capacity, is less than or equal to $500 per pound or $1100 per kilogram, or the equivalent in foreign currency.
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