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Nodir Adilov, Peter Alexander, Brendan Cunningham and Nikolas Albertson
''An analysis of launch cost reductions for low Earth orbit satellites''
( 2022, Vol. 42 No.3 )
We explore launch-cost reductions for satellites in low-Earth orbit and find that from 2000 to 2020 per-kilogram launch costs decreased at an average annual rate of 5.5%, while altitude-adjusted average launch costs per kilogram decreased by 4.4% annually. The altitude-adjusted annual rate of decrease was 7.5% for commercial satellites and 3.6% for non-commercial satellites. Regression analysis reveals that declining satellite mass induced an annual 10.4% reduction in average per-satellite launch costs over the period under study. At these rates, average launch costs to low-Earth orbit will fall below $1000 per kilogram between 2045 and 2076 and $100 per kilogram by the next century.
Keywords: launch cost, satellites, economics of space, space commerce.
JEL: L9 - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities: General
O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development: General
Manuscript Received : Mar 11 2022 Manuscript Accepted : Sep 30 2022

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