EELV Sticker Shock

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , , , ,

From Space News:

Projected budgets for the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program will rise by more than 50 percent over the next few years as the cost of materials has increased sharply and the service buys more rockets to provide stability for the industrial base…

Normally, buying more rockets means economies of scale.  And given the state of the U.S. economy and an apparent world-wide excess in launch capacity (although EELV gets its own set of rules), you wouldn’t think labor rates are going up.  So we’re going to blame this on the cost of materials?!?  That does not pass the smell test.

I wish the article had addressed the per-booster increase, as you can certainly explain part of the extra funding request with the following:

The Air Force bought three EELV launches in 2010 and plans to buy three in 2011, though Congress has not yet provided full-year funding for the government. Starting in 2012, the Air Force will seek to buy about five EELV launches per year, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Jan. 12 at an Air Force Association media briefing here.

On the other hand, unless you know the EELV baseline (maybe the Air Force had planned/programmed/budgeted for five in 2012 all along?) it’s impossible to do an apples to apples comparison.

At the end of the day, I have only two words to offer: Space.  X.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s