Author Topic: NASA buys 3 Orion capsules from Lockheed Martin for $2 billion  (Read 215 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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NASA buys 3 Orion capsules from Lockheed Martin for $2 billion
« on: October 25, 2022, 01:01:42 am »
Behind The Black 10/22/2022

Nice work if you can get it! Earlier this week NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a new contract worth $1.99 billion to build three more Orion capsules for its Artemis program.

    This order marks the second three missions under the agency’s Orion Production and Operations Contract (OPOC), an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract for up to 12 vehicles. A breakout of these orders includes:

        2019: NASA initiates OPOC IDIQ and orders three Orion spacecraft for Artemis missions III-V.
        2022: NASA orders three additional Orion spacecraft missions for Artemis VI-VIII for $1.99 billion.
        In the future: NASA can order an additional six Orion missions.

    Under OPOC, Lockheed Martin and NASA have reduced the costs on Orion by 50% per vehicle on Artemis III through Artemis V, compared to vehicles built during the design and development phase. The vehicles built for Artemis VI, VII and VIII will see an additional 30% cost reduction.

Lawdy me! They’ve reduced the price! Lockheed Martin is only charging NASA three-quarters of a billion dollars per capsule on this new contract (after NASA spent about $18 billion for the development of the first six capsules– that’s $3 billion each). And Lockheed Martin will only charge about a half billion per capsule for future capsules! My heart be still.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is designing, testing, building, and will likely launch its reusable Starship manned spacecraft, which could launch about 10 Orion capsules on each launch, for about $10 billion total. Once flying the expected cost per launch will likely be much less than $100 million, with SpaceX claiming it could be as low as $2 million. Even if you add the development cost for these launches, Starship will cost less than Orion by many magnitudes, on its first launch.

I wonder, which is the better bargain? NASA clearly can’t figure it out, and NASA has the smartest, most brilliant people in the universe working for it.