QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 23 2007, 07:41 AM)
And the whole issue of launch price inflation is a scary one right now, with the cancellation of the Delta II line.
I don't recall where I read this, but apparently the fear is that the switch to ELVs will put the base cost of a launch at 120 million. I think Delta II was in the 70 million range. So right there, the rise of Discovery mission cap from 350 - 425 Million just got mostly swallowed by the launch vehicle.
I have read that NASA is trying to figure out a way to mitigate that, but I don't know that they've come up with anything practical.
What is meant by "cancellation" here? Has there been a decision regarding the launchers that have been manufactured but are unassigned to missions? When the Air Force stops contributing to the launch operations infrastructure, is NASA also dropping operations? Is it public knowledge when the Air Force will cease Delta II operations?
The publicly unknown numbers here are whether the incremental costs of continued operation of the launch infrastructure exceeds those of terminating Delta II operations for a small number of launches and switching the payloads to the higher cost EELV.
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 23 2007, 10:25 AM)
Perhaps the Falcon 9 will be able to step in for that scale of launch - it has a similar performance to that of the Delta II.
I _hope_ so. It would be great to get Delta II launch capabilities for less than half the cost of a Delta II if the projected prices hold up. But considering that Falcon 1 has not had a fully successful flight, and metal has not been bent for a Falcon 9 (as far as I know), I can only hope.