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ULA Unveils Website That Lets You Price Out a Rocket 'Like Building a Car' (theverge.com) 58

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: This morning, United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno unveiled a new website that allows satellite makers to figure out what it will really cost to launch a vehicle on one of ULA's rockets. It's like going to "Ford or Chevy and building your car," Bruno said, except in the end you wind up with a more than $100 million rocket that can take cargo to space. And just like checking out on Amazon, the website allows you to save your rocket and submit it to ULA to start the process of finalizing a launch contract. The site, called RocketBuilder.com, looks to be ULA's attempt to further infiltrate the commercial satellite market, after launching mostly government satellites and NASA missions for the past decade. Bruno says the site is meant to provide an "unprecedented level of transparency" to commercial customers about the true cost of launching a satellite with ULA. "The sticker price on the rocket is just the tip of the iceberg," Bruno said at a press conference this morning in Washington, DC. "There is a whole host of other costs." The site is supposed to give potential customers an idea of what those costs might be. Rocket Builder allows you to pick when you want to launch and what orbit you want your satellite to go to. And then, depending on its destination and how big the satellite is, the site will help you calculate the size of your payload fairing -- the nose cone that encases the satellite on the top of the rocket -- as well as how many additional boosters you're going to need for thrust. Customers even have the option of picking customizable "service options," which include adding an onboard video system to the rocket, or conducting "expanded mission rehearsals." There's even the option of purchasing a VIP experience, where you can invite 100 customers or investors to come watch the launch as a marketing tool.
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ULA Unveils Website That Lets You Price Out a Rocket 'Like Building a Car'

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  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @03:25AM (#53399833)
    Are their discount codes? Should I be looking in my junk mail for coupons?

    Maybe Kim Jong-Un can use this to put some spy satellites into orbit rather then use his hit-or-miss rocket program. If Kim can get the right rate on multiple launches maybe he can use ULA to nuke the US. Remember ULA is really an international organization and the main stage engines are from Russia. Putin might give ULA a discount for helping North Korea nuke the United States, and Trump might be willing to partner up with his bromance pal to seal the deal.

    • Remember ULA is really an international organization and the main stage engines are from Russia.

      ...scheduled to get a nice domestic methane upgrade Real Soon Now...

    • Are their discount codes?

      Are their discount codes what?

    • There's something about ULA added value that's supposed to bring the "Cost" down $65M below the "Purchase Price" - I don't know if this is "money in your pocket" discount, or just things that ULA is doing "for you" that some customers do for themselves and an approximate cost.

  • Do you accept payment in cash?

  • shields? cloaking device? transporters?

    Also, they should have a 1-click to calculate how many parasecs it would take to make the Kessel Run.

  • I walk away from my desktop for FIVE minutes, and my 5 year old has ordered a $100 million rocket launch to crash a load of honey ham into the Moon, because the moon-men apparently want a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Can I contest this with Visa?

  • Surely this should have been a plug-in for Kerbal Space Program. Fly your rocket in the game, order the real thing. Not holding my breath for same-day delivery though...

  • ____ Office of Donald J. Trump President-elect of the United States
  • 2400kg to GEO for $151M (includes $65M of ULA "services").

    So, where's the business plan that makes $63K/kg by being in geostationary orbit? Something involving a network of 240 10kg mini-sats would be interesting.

    Unfortunately, if you're splashing out $151M on the launch vehicle, and probably at least another $20M building the payloads, the political red tape will likely run another $80M or so to "get permission" for your plan - unless you are providing a tax revenue stream of $100M or more... so, we're

  • Just modeled an Earth-escape mission. Was pleasantly surprised at the low sticker price of $59M. Then I saw that the real sticker price was $100M+ and that they were subtracting the value of some of their support services as "added value."

    Hmm, it really is like a car dealership.

  • Owning my own company, I am not as tied down as many people and frequently make the 4-5 hour drive to Lompoc to see Vandenberg launches. Here's my last one. [perens.com]

    At Lompoc, you have the choice of viewing ULA launches from Ocean Avenue (2.8 miles from Pad 3) or from Hawk's Nest, the official viewing spot 8 miles away which might be out of the fog when other spots aren't. I once went to a SpaceX launch where it was so foggy on Ocean Avenue that I only heard it.

    At Kennedy Space Center, you have the option of viewin

  • Price out a rocket like buying a car? Seriously? You patterned your buying experience after the worst buying experience known to man? The one everybody in the country loathes? And your competitor also happens to run the only US auto manufacturer that doesn't put you through the horror that is the traditional auto buying experience? I don't even...

  • Cool, but I shouldn't have to plug in a variety of different options to see how they affect the price. What if I'm flexible on launch-date, and want to optimize for cost? What's the largest payload I can put on a short rocket in a given orbit?

  • When I read the article, it reminded me the "get the facts" campaign of Microshaft, when they were saying that Windoze has lower cost than Linux. Right...

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.

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