Price and unit costs comparisons between the Hubble Space Telescope and the F-35.
Hubble and the F-35: Dollars and Units
Unit costs for the F-35 came from the 2015 DoD request for F-35A fighters. Actually, the number I used was $150 million in 2015 dollars, which is $7 million (per unit) shy of the actual budget request. This allowed for a much cleaner presentation as it divides neatly into the Hubble Space Telescope’s procurement cost of $1.5 billion in 2013 dollars (which does not count operations, re-servicing missions or launch). The actual cost of the total F-35 purchasing program (not counting training and other services, just the complete aircraft) is much higher than stated here. This number is hard to pin down accurately at this time as it is a very large program spread across many contractors and subcontractors. It’s worth pointing out that Hubble’s final cost would have been equally difficult to accurately estimate while it was still being built in the 80’s.
The total number of F-35 units procured by the United States as presented below came from the same DoD request and is the sum of all aircraft requested across all branches of the military, regardless of type. Only one Hubble Space Telescope was built.