Contribution to Long-Range Plans
Section 5.5.2.
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Lunar Sample Return Financial Impact on Manned Lunar Landing

The Lunar Sample Return Mission lays the groundwork for the Artemis Project manned lunar landing missions:

Value to
Launcher $110 M $0 M $110 M $5 M [1]
Carrier Spacecraft $50 M $30 M $20 M $7 M [2]
Robotic Element $70 M $50 M $20 M $68 M [3]
Mission Control Element $40 M $35 M $5 M $36 M [4]
Recovery Operations $30 M $2 M $28 M $0 [5]
Marketing $50 M $40 M $10 M $5 M [6]
Program Wraps $70 M $32 M $38 M $0 [7]
Total $420 M $189 M $231 M $121 M

1. Launcher

This hardware is not transferable to the Artemis Project because we will be renting other peoples' facilities and launcher. This will, however, train 20 people, previously worth $50/hour, to be worth the equivalent of a consultant at $100/hour. For 3 years of employment until the launch of the manned mission, this amounts to, assuming 20% raise over the period leading to launch, an increased value of personnel of $4.8 million dollars.

2. Carrier Spacecraft

40% of this category is production cost. If we farm the spacecraft construction work out to McDonnell Douglas or some other aerospace company, there would be no direct benefit to the Artemis Project.

The other 60% of the Carrier Spacecraft category is development. Assume 80% of the cost is skilled labour, the other 20% being workstations, models, software, etc. If 10% of the engineering work is transferrable to the manned project, $3 million dollars would be saved.

The rest of the development cost, being computer workstations and expensive engineering software, is mostly reusable. The models and such would not be, but at least 70% of the non-labor expenditures should be reusable. This represents $4.5 million.

        Development Labor       $3   M
        Development Equipment   $4.5 M
        Total                   $7.5 M

3. Robotic Element

Developing the robotic element will cost us $50 million, with 70% of the telerobot development engineering transferable to the nearly identical lunar base telerobots, That accounts for $35 million worth of work and experience will be recovered for the Artemis Project reference mission.

Here, because the tasks are nearly identical, 30% of the non-labor production costs are reusable. This makes $3 million worth of computers, telerobot models, and mockups resusable on the manned mission.

Finally, there is no reason not to land the robots at the site of the manned landing. This would leave two perfectly good telerobots for use at lunar base, each having a value of $20 million, plus another $10 million in the cost of getting those robots to the moon.

        Development Engineering $35 M
        Development Equipment   $ 3 M
        Reusable Telerobots     $30 M
        Total                   $68 M

4. Mission Control Equipment

Ground communications stations, sample processing, and computer equipment would all be reusable. All of the initial acquisition cost can be used for the manned flight. Assuming 95% of the equipment can be adapted for the manned flight, we can reduce estimates for the first manned lunar landing by $33.3 M.

The recurring costs include manpower to operate the mission support equipment. Operating under similar conditions is excellent training for tracking station operators. Assuming this raises their hourly rate from $40 to $70, and 80% of the recurring cost is labor, we avoid $2.7 M of the training costs applicable to the manned lunar landing mission.

       Equipment               $33.3 M
       Training                 $2.7 M
       Total                   $36.0 M

5. Recovery

We haven't identified a dollar value for transferring experience from recovery of the robotic spacecraft to recovery of the crew and samples from the manned lunar landing. The basic scenarios for this phase of the mission are entirely different.

6. Marketing

Although the marketing expenditures would focused specifically on the Lunar Sample Return project, it will be valuable for any space-related marketing. The mission makes the public more aware of the moon and the new dawn of space flight, and helps them get past the concept shock inherent in commercial space flight. We estimated that 10% of the Lunar Sample Return marketing budget would be directly transferable to the manned lunar mission.

Also, marketing plans can blow up just like rockets can, and do far more financial damage. The Sample Return Mission will provide valuable experience that will make later efforts much more popular. This will directly increase the profitability of the Reference Mission, as with experience the next marketing campaign wil undoubtedly be more safe, effective and efficient. What we don't know about this market could cost us, both in terms of marketing mistakes and missed opportunities.

7. Project Wraps

The Project Wraps are mostly labor, so we can't estimate how much money would be saved from the manned landing; however, the early sample return mission does provide us with background knowledge on how to calculate and control overhead costs.

Business Development

The Sample Return Mission will generate a list of contacts that, itself, will be of great value. More importantly, efficient business dealings depend on accurate information. Many businesses these days are spending a great deal of effort learning as much as they can about their customers (particularly their larger customers) so that they can better meet their customers' needs (and keep the competition at a distance). The Reference Mission benefits us both as a customer whose suppliers will have obtained better information about it, and as a supplier who will learn a great deal about its customers (video production companies, retail outlets, etc.). No doubt, some of this education will result in changes in the Reference Mission, which in turn will improve the way we do the first commercial manned landing on the moon.

Contribution to Long-Range Plans

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