The Space Transportation System Mixed Fleet Economics 821370
A conservative projection of future space missions indicates that in 1985 the United States will place at least 55 payloads in orbit, and that subsequent growth in launch support needs will increase at 8 percent or more per year.
As our dependence on space systems grows, so will the launch support system performance requirements grow in throw-weight capability, frequency of launch, and mission success probability.
The newly developed, recoverable space transportation system (STS) has demonstrated its feasibility and reusability. STS marks the next generation of space mission support capability with greater launch performance, manned on-orbit support capability, and increased mission success probability.
From an economic standpoint, the cost to place comparable weight payloads in orbit is shown to be less when using the STS as compared to currently operational expendable launch vehicles (ELV's). A national commitment has been made to fully utilize the STS capabilities to support the expanding national space mission requirements. This commitment to STS will result in substantial mission support savings for all users.