The Navy's LaWS system cost $40 million to develop and build, so we'll peg the sticker price at maybe $15 million per unit, for a total cost of $90 million for all six. The Navy's been tight-lipped about how much they weigh though, so we'll have to pull something really iffy out of the air and say each is about as heavy as a radar-guided Phalanx machine-gun bank just because that looks kind of similar-ish. So that's 13,600 pounds each, or 81,600 pounds of gear (total) to blast into space.


Phaser Bank Cost: $171,600,000

Running Total: $474,654,611,160

Man Up

And what good is any of this if the ship is a ghost town? While it's technically not a cost of building the Enterprise per se, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least briefly consider the cost of manning this beast. Who knows exactly how many people man the Enterprise, including all the (hundreds of?) low-level nobodies, so we'll just set it up with a skeleton command crew.


Photo: Paramount

Going by a list of notable crew members, we can figure we need—at minimum—11 people on this thing. Luckily for us, a recent agreement between NASA and Russia pinpoints the cost of flight-training a 'naut and shooting him/her into the great void at $70.7 million. So assuming our cadets already know how to do their jobs, and only need a little space-training, that gives us a transportation cost of $777,700,000


Of course, you also have to pay these guys and keep them alive. Recent estimates put the cost of keeping a soldier in Iraq for a year at between $850,000 and $1.4 million, so let's go with the higher end of that spectrum since we're talking exclusively about officiers and they are also going to space. That nets us a $15,400,000 additional personnel cost.

Lastly, they've got to be fed and watered and whatnot. In 2008, NASA awarded a roughly $3.5 billion dollar contract to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp to perform that very same job of ferrying cargo, except to the ISS. That seems like a perfect estimate so let's just steal that wholesale as our supply cost.


Personnel and supply cost: $4,293,100,000

Running Total: $478,947,711,160

To boldly go...nowhere

Now that our Enterprise can defend itself, the only think left is to make it move. Unfortunately, that's pretty impossible under even the vaguest realism constraint. Warp drives, while they are being researched, aren't close to existing. And impulse drives—essentially fusion rockets—aren't much closer; we almost had a fission rocket once, but it got mothballed.


More recently, there's also been discussion of an impulse drive that could actually run on something stunningly like dilithium crystals: deuterium (a stable isotope of hydrogen) and Li6 (a stable isotope of lithium). This engine doesn't exist yet though. And it'd likely require some very delicate orbital-construction that we can't really hack yet.


That being said, we're going to have to call it quits here, with our weaponized, Enterprise-shaped space-station, which is pretty damn cool in its own right.

Grand Total: $478,947,711,160

(Or: 12.59 percent of 2013 US Defense expenditure total budget)