Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fuzzy Accounting Math

What's up with the $10M cost of flying the space shuttle from CA to FL? As Nancy Pelosi said about cutting costs in the auto industry, it seems NASA "needs a haircut."

All the infrastructure is in place and was paid for years ago. The custom 747 is built.

So we only have to really think about those things that occur for this flight only — mainly the cost of labor and fuel. For a week's work, you need to pay the pilots and any engineers on-board. There are the folks that have to mount it on the 747 in CA and take it off in FL. The price of fuel is at an all-time low.

Where's that $10M going? Doesn't anyone in our government ask questions when they see this? No wonder this country is broke.

While I'm talking about fuzzy cost accounting, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced it would cut 1,400 U.S. jobs — or another 6% of its U.S. work force — to help save the world's largest brewer at least $1.5 billion a year.

Really? 1,400 jobs will save $1.5B/yr? Yeah, if everyone was making $10M/year.

Update: Alan (in comments) corrected me that the price of relocating the shuttle is $1.8M, not $10M.


Alan said...

Just because I'm geeky and tend to know stuff like this for no reason whatsoever....

It's actually about $1.8 million, not $10 million.

It takes about 200 people nearly a week of 12 hour days to mate up the shuttle with the 747. Those folks are based at Kennedy, have to fly to CA, and lodge there, so a large proportion of that $1.8 million is in their salaries and travel.

Also, I believe the 747 can only travel 1000 miles in this configuration and must stop for fuel. This uses an enormous amount of fuel, much more than transporting passengers. In fact, it travels about the length of a 747 on one gallon of fuel.

In addition, the 747 is escorted by a C-141, which flies about 30 mins ahead of the 747 to look for turbulence or bad weather that could damage the shuttle.

Y | O | Y said...

Alan...$1.8M makes a lot more sense. Still expensive but much more reasonable. I just did a google search and that's what I found, too. I'm not sure where I heard the $10M figure. It must have been on TV since I can't find it online. I'd blame FOX News but everyone knows I don't watch it!

Alan said...

That's ok, blame Fox news anyway. :)