Come the 2020s, the budget of NASA will be relatively high. That is regarding the price of moving cargo to the International Space Station. As far as the report of Paul Martin is concerned, the price will be $4oo million more than it was for the first delivery. That is something to go by because he is the inspector general of the space agency. The most shocking part is that the load will be less by 6 tons. That is a huge increase because if you do the math, it translates to an increase of 40% per kilogram. What is happening in the agency? Why is there a hike in price? Continue reading to find out.
There are a few reasons but the most significant one has to do with SpaceX. They own the Falcon 9 rocket as well as the Dragon spacecraft. The two have facilitated many missions of NASA. However, due to their own reasons, they have increased their prices by 50%.
The increase came as a surprise. SpaceX won the contracts mentioned above since their prices were lower than that of its competitors. It beat even Orbital ATK which is a great partner of NASA. Eventually, the two won the contracts. SpaceX and Orbital ATK agreed to make 30 supply missions. That was for the period ranging from 2012 to 2010. The distribution would be 20 and 11 flights, respectively. When it comes to pricing, the former was for $152.1 million. The other one settled for $262.6 million for every mission.
There are changes for the next round. There is a positive one which is the fact that Orbital ATK will decrease the price by 15%. Another change is the fact that three instead of two companies won the contracts. Who is the next fellow on the block? It is none other than Sierra Nevada Corp. It is bringing in the Dream Chaser. Given the big five firms, the Lockheed Martin and Boeing got their bits denied yet again.
The major change that is noticeable is the higher prices. The price per kilogram has changed from $63,200 to $71,800. As earlier mentioned, the hike by SpaceX is responsible. The other move that has contributed the increase is the choice of three instead of two companies. In addition to that, the integration of berthing, as well as the docking of the three various spacecraft’s cost to the ISS, has added the cost.
All that stated, there are benefits. There will be an increase in the capability of NASA. The capacity of Cargo carried will go up. It will be time-saving for astronauts when it comes to loading and unloading cargo and supplies. The choice of three companies aimed at increasing flexibility. Weighing the price and the advantages, it seems worthwhile.