More Evidence of the SpaceX Effect: ULA Prices Coming Down

TDRS-K Lifts Off Aboard a ULA Atlas-V Credit: NASA

TDRS-K Lifts Off Aboard a ULA Atlas-V
Credit: NASA

The latest NASA launch award provides more evidence that ULA’s prices for the Atlas V are indeed coming down. This was posted on Friday:

“NASA has selected United Launch Services LLC of Centennial, Colorado, to provide launch services for the agency’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) mission. The mission will launch in October 2017 aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The total cost for NASA to launch TDRS-M is approximately $132.4 million, which includes the launch service, spacecraft processing, payload integration, tracking, data and telemetry, and other launch support requirements.”

The two previous TDRS awards, for satellites “K” and “L” were made as part of a $600 million, 4 launch order that came out in 2009.

While the latest award is a clear sign of progress, much of which can be attributed to the SpaceX effect, ULA still receives a very large annual subsidy from the U.S. Air Force, (more than $880 million for FY 2016) which is not available to other vendors, and must be factored in to any analysis regrading the actual cost of an Atlas V launch.

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2 Comments on "More Evidence of the SpaceX Effect: ULA Prices Coming Down"

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  1. Just sitting in as a huge space fan I am enjoying all things space related (except the politics). I had a thought about funding and I haven’t seen any mention of it on any forums.
    When they had that huge loss at the cape and that explosion that did so much damage,I read that congress was passing a certain bill and someone tacked on twenty million for cleanup. How does that factor into pricing? if the same thing had happened to Space X they would have been expected to pay for all damage. What did I miss here?

  2. PK Sink says:

    ‘The SpaceX Effect’…I just like the way that sounds.

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