The cost of reaching orbit: Ground-based launch systems Academic Article uri icon


  • The high cost of launching payloads into orbit - roughly $20,000/kg - continues to deter large-scale exploration and exploitation of space. Ground-based launch systems may radically reduce costs to $200/kg, drastically altering the economics of spaceflight. Low costs will encourage the creation of new markets, including solar-based power satellites and disposal of nuclear waste. The US government should establish a goal of $200/kg by 2020 and provide the resources needed to develop such systems. 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 28

author list (cited authors)

  • Coopersmith, J.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Coopersmith, Jonathan

publication date

  • January 2011