If development can be done for half a billion, this number is cut in half. If early on we increase the strength of the tether or lift up parts to make another tether, this number would also go down. If the market size is smaller, then we amortize over fewer lbs of payload and the capital cost per lb goes up.
This flight rate relys on two way tourist traffic. If the flight rate is only one flight per day, the capital cost is still under $35/lb. If the flight rate were once per week, the capital cost contribution is up to $250/lb. At once per month, capital costs would be about $1,000/lb.
The above direct cost estimate comes to $30,000. For 8000 lbs this gives to $3.75/lb. This is about 500 times cheaper than current prices. You could charge customers less than current prices and still have a substantial profit margin.
Again note the impact of flight rate. At one flight per day or less, the capital costs are much larger than per flight costs. Only at high flight rates does the cost of fuel become the major cost.
With 14 flights per day, 10 tourists per flight, we would send 51,100 tourists per year. Surveys indicate the market is larger than this at $50,000 ticket price. At this price, the gross income would be $2.5 billion/year. This is not all profit, as we have to cover the capital costs, launch costs, and the staff, food, and services at the hotel.
Price is a response to demand. At first when the novelty factor is high, and supply is limited, the tickets could probably sell for more than $50,000 each.
If the business plan offered here is successful, building another tether (or two or three), a larger payload tether and SSTT combination, or both will follow. Many investors are eager to be the second investor to get rich on an idea.
However, if we have a stronger tether, it could be better use of resources to sping it faster so the rocket would have a smaller delta-V and larger payload, and pickup a larger payload. So while bringing the rocket around the Earth once is an interesting idea, the company probably makes better profits by just flying the rocket back by either jet or its own propulsion.
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Copyright (c) 2002, 2003 by Vincent Cate. All rights reserved.