|3,000kg DirecTV 12 Sat|
But how large of a GEO satellite would be possible using the Falcon 9/Transfer Tug architecture? And how expensive would that satellite be to launch?
Such a Falcon/tug system could launch a 10,000 kg satellite (an increase of ~59% over the current maximum comsat size) into GEO for $171-235M. The price/KG savings is significant ranging from 26-46% over the Delta-IV Heavy. In addition to cost/KG savings, no other commercial launcher can lift 10,000kg to GEO.
Here are my Assumptions:
- Tug is launched on Falcon 9 with a dry mass of 3,000kg.
- Tug is co-manifested on a Falcon 9. Launch cost $20M.
- Tug Development paid for under contract and not a part of this analysis.
- Tug Manufacturing Costs: $50M
- Tug refuels itself as needed in LEO from additional Falcon 9 launches (10,000 kg of prop for $50M: $5,000 per kg).
- Tug lasts five years with amortization factored into price.
- Tug breakeven price listed in this analysis.
- Two missions per year assumed (8% Market Share).
- Operating Cost per year: $10M.
- LEO to GEO: 4200 m/s of delta-v required.
- GEO to LEO (with aerobraking): 1500 m/s of delta-v required.
- Use aerobraking from GEO to LEO.
- Satellite launched to LEO on a Falcon 9.
LOX/Kerosene Tug – 10,000kg to GEO details:
LOX/Hydrogen Tug 10,000kg to GEO Details:
Click here to play with the interactive spreadsheets.
In Part 3 of this series, I will discuss if a Falcon/Tug system could be used to take a Bigelow Sundancer Module to EML1.