The lighter side of real estate

Real Estate’s Final Frontier: Be the First to Launch Your Home into Space

Find out how much it would cost to launch your home into space with Movoto's latest calculator.

David Cross

Content Editor

232 articles, 24 comments

Once you get your result, scroll down on the infographic to see how we figured it out!

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This week SpaceX crept ever closer to making commercial space travel a reality when it announced it successfully test-fired the engines for the rocket it plans to launch October 7. The launch will march the company’s first cargo delivery. This is good news for wannabe astronauts with dreams of taking their own spacewalks.

Located in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX’s success got the Movoto Real Estate blog team interested in space travel–not that it took much effort. But it wasn’t long before imaginary spacewalks around our HQ turned into one of our flights of fancy.

If well-funded men and women might soon find their way into orbit, there will be a need for more housing–outside of cramped sleeping quarters. This led the Movoto team to ask: How could we get a house into space? The more important question, however, was how much would it cost to shoot a house into space?

Mission: Space House

Turns out it would cost $640 million to shoot a house into space. To put this in perspective, American Samoa has a gross domestic product of $462.2 million. So it’s going to take a hefty hunk of change.

If you’re still interested, the good news is you won’t have to host family get-togethers.

Two Asteroids to Dodge

There were two major hurdles we needed to overcome. We needed to figure out:

  • How to deliver a house into space
  • How to calculate the weight of a house

Both of these, while daunting at first, were easily accomplished after we sent our chief rocket scientist, otherwise known as our tidbit finder, to figure it out.

Space the Final Frontier

Courtesy of Falcon Heavy

To deliver a house into space, the Movoto team needed a vessel. While we thought about strapping rockets to a house’s foundation, we were worried it would break apart on liftoff. To prevent this dilemma, we went with the headline-making SpaceX program for transport.

Recently, SpaceX, one of the world’s premiere private spaceflight companies, engineered a new vessel called the Falcon Heavy, which can deliver 53 metric tons (116,845 lbs) of material into low earth orbit. This became the vessel needed for Mission: Space House. It also gave us a starting point to calculate the enormous $640 million price tag.

According to SpaceX, Falcon Heavy’s commercial missions are divided into two categories, both of which are dependent on weight.

  • A spaceflight of up to 6.4 tons costs $83 million.
  • A spaceflight that exceeds 6.4 tons costs $128 million.

With these numbers in hand, we moved on to calculating the weight of a house. This gave us an estimation for how many trips it would take to rocket Space House into low earth orbit.

The Perfect Home–to Shoot into Space

To shoot a house into space, you actually need a house. For Mission: Space House we chose a respectable 2,500-square-foot single-story house. This allowed our team to dig into the larger question of how to get this house into Falcon Heavy.

This House Weighs a Ton

There is disagreement over how much a house weighs, but The Seattle Times took a stab at the question and came up with a basic guide.

The newspaper claims a house weighs:

  • 200 pounds per square foot for a single level
  • 275 pounds per square foot for two levels
  • 300 pounds per square foot for three levels

This means our example house would weigh 500,000 pounds (2,500 x 200 lbs), or 227 metric tons. This includes the foundation.

By our calculations, if we chose to use weight as the key figure for Mission: Space House, it would take five trips at $128 million apiece to reach space.

In other words, it would cost $640 million to finagle Space House into a fancy flying machine and launch it out of Earth’s orbit.

The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

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posted on: October 3, 2012
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