How Much Does It Cost To Build A Space Rocket?

When it comes to the timeline of human history, space exploration has been a mere blip — and an expensive one, too. But humanity is determined to move forward. From the first rockets in the "space race" of the 1960s to the moon landing of 1969 and beyond, per Space, it has been a goal to get humans into and beyond that final frontier. Yes, space flight is a wonderful thing and is a testament to human ingenuity, but it can be quite costly to get these things into earth orbit and beyond. 

How expensive? Rockets can cost in the realm of hundreds of millions to build. However, regular space is not for the ordinary citizen. As far as the space rocket industry goes, and outside of highly-trained astronauts, it seems to be becoming more the realm of billionaires like Elon Musk (SpaceX), Richard Branson per CNN, and Jeff Bezos via AP News. NASA is still working on some things too, like getting to the moon (again) and beyond ... like Mars. 

The question on many people's minds is: "How much does it cost to make these things?" The answer, however, is dependent on a few different factors. 

Getting the rocket to the launch pad is only part of the cost

Like many other large-scale projects, it is often difficult to get an accurate assessment of what it will initially cost. Why is that? There are often things that happen to cause the initial budget to be overrun by a significant margin. More work may need to be done, a wrong material might have been used and a more expensive replacement option may need to be brought in. There are so many different variables that can cause things to go awry. People who lived in Boston during the Big Dig are surely nodding their heads slowly in sad understanding (via 

It can also depend on who is building the rocket in the first place. Private companies tend to be tight-lipped about what they paid to have their rockets built. SpaceX, though, does save some cash by reusing certain parts, whereas NASA tends to build rockets that are used only once, which can have an effect on their overall budget. But to get a general idea, NASA says that it could cost as much as $1.6 billion to make the next moon rocket (per CNN). 

Basically, it's going to cost in the hundreds of millions to build, bare minimum.