Prof Bent Flyvbjerg, Senior Research Fellow, finds that SpaceX is 10 times cheaper and 2 times faster than NASA over a study of 203 comparable missions

Prof Bent Flyvbjerg, alongside Keble College Fellow Dr Atif Ansar, has conducted research into 203 NASA and Space X missions, finding that Space X was, overall, ten times cheaper and twice as fast as NASA on comparable missions. The research will be published this week in the article “How to Solve Big Problems: Bespoke Versus Platform Strategies”, in Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

The research paper finds that one-off major projects whose content is particularly bespoke tend to result in poorer outcomes than other projects whose platform strategies are repeatable. Repeatable projects, the research finds, are cheaper, faster, and scale in volume and variety with a much lower risk of failure. The research arrives at these conclusions by comparing 203 NASA and SpaceX missions which took place between 1963 and 2021. It fins that SpaceX’s platform strategy was ten times cheaper and two times faster than NASA’s bespoke strategy, as well as being less risky and essentially eliminating cost overruns.

The research paper goes on to show that achieving platform repeatability is a strategically diligent process which is recommended for sectors of the economy where governments find it difficult to control spending or timeframes. The research suggests that alterations to platforms could be implemented in areas of health, education, and climate defence, among other areas.

The paper can be found here: