Cost modeling considerations & challenges of the SpaceLiner: An advanced hypersonic, suborbital spaceplane

Olga Trivailo, Martin Sippel, Aron Lentsch, Y. Ahmet Sekercioglu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

3 Citations (Scopus)


The advanced, long range, hypersonic SpaceLiner concept aims to revolutionize the passenger transportation market through marrying high speed intercontinental travel with the adventure, prestige and allure of private commercial space flight. Designed to carry 50 passengers from Australia to Europe in suborbital flight, the concept itself was proposed in 2005 by the DLR. Since then, it been extensively investigated, most recently within the framework of the EU funded, international FAST20XX and CHATT collaborative projects. However, before SpaceLiner can become a reality, considerable efforts and extensive research are still needed in order to advance the concept through to a mature stage. Throughout the course of existing studies, numerous challenges and considerations spanning various disciplines and areas, including technology, structure, thermo- and aerodynamics, safety, reusability and logistics, have been encountered and explicitly identified. Another critical consideration within the scope of the early phase studies, is the question of expected program cost. In particular, the non-recurring yet prevalent development costs are of interest, with the logical question arising of whether they will be borne by private investors, industry, government institutions, or a combination of the latter. This paper therefore briefly yet categorically outlines the key existing challenges and considerations within the scope and context of the current SpaceLiner design phase. The topics of cost estimation and cost modeling for SpaceLiner are expanded upon in detail and constitute the focus of this paper. Appropriate methods, models and tools to potentially implement during early program cost estimate formulation are also proposed, and their selection justified. How to approach compiling a justifiable and structured cost estimate to address SpaceLiner vehicle development and production is addressed, and operation cost considerations explored. Furthermore, a method and software tool for identifying and establishing a viable business case involving private investment and funding of the SpaceLiner program, is presented and critically discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA SPACE 2013 Conference and Exposition
Subtitle of host publicationSan Diego, California, United States, 10-12 September 2013 [proceedings]
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9781624102394
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventAIAA SPACE 2013 Conference and Exposition - San Diego, United States of America
Duration: 10 Sept 201312 Sept 2013


ConferenceAIAA SPACE 2013 Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySan Diego
Internet address

Cite this