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Regulatory Development Study: Cost Estimation

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Cost Estimation of Small and Medium Payload Commercial Spaceflight Launch Systems

Evaluating costs and price points of future space transportation systems, in particular launch vehicles, is an important capability required by the UK Space Agency. The Agency’s Office of the Chief Engineer OCE has a core task to progress research into space systems, support activities such as planning future programmes and assure in the form of technical oversight of the different projects and programmes. Over 100 small companies claiming to be developing new launch systems are currently identified, many have indicated an interest in operating from the UK through launch, spaceport operations and Earth return (re-entry) licenses under the 2021 Space Industry Regulations. In the study, we assess and compare the basis and credibility of launch prices quoted across the industry and evaluate the competitiveness of commercial spaceflight offerings based on multiple horizontal and vertical launch sites requiring end-to-end modelling of launch system costs.

UKLSL were awarded a small study by the UKSA’s Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE) to help establish methodologies and tools for estimating costs associated with the development and operation of small and medium launch systems. The project involved critically reviewing previous and existing tools and methodologies, determining their ability to meet the objectives of the OCE. Following this a simple new tool and associated methodology was defined by UKLSL which allowed the OCE to perform cost estimation to the level desired.

Keywords: Transportation, Vehicle, Parametric, Modelling, Tool, UKSA


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