Groan. Wasn’t the shuttle a reusable booster? Didn’t EELV promise cost savings?
Here’s the link to the Aviation Week article…
When I read about savings of over 50%, I think about EELV and the cost savings it was asserted to create. EELV was a massive ‘cost avoidance’ program, that is, by creating and using new families of launch vehicles, the USAF could get away from brutally expensive ‘heritage’ systems like the Titan IV.
Of course, the savings–the cost avoidance–never materialized. Paper rockets are cheap and things cost more and more as they move further away from Powerpoint.
EELV’s cost problem was rooted in the bogus assumption there would be lots of EELV launches and ergo, plenty of cost sharing and a low per-unit expense. These were, of course, all wrong. Its advocates didn’t see that foreign launch competitors, with advantageous labor rates, subsidization, and greatly reduced regulatory entanglements, would end up as the way for commercial users to go.
Give the SpaceX and Microcosms of the world a chance to compete. Reusable if it makes sense, expendable if it doesn’t.