I suppose that (especially space) telescope costs is dominated by design and development, not by material and manufacturing. So once a telescope has been developed and designed, how much extra would it cost to build a second copy of it? It seems as if spy satellites are built in batches of similar designs.

Would the science value of a second similar telescope be modest, compared to a unique instrument, or improvements on the single telescope, for the same cost?

I suppose that using two telescopes as an interferometer would be quite a different instrument design to begin with than just two of the same.

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    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but related: atlasobscura.com/places/large-binocular-telescope $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Apr 26 '16 at 8:47
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    $\begingroup$ It depends if there are any limitations on the observational parameters of the first, that a second one could lift. Simple example: The HARPS instrument can only observe on the southern hemisphere, so HARPS-North was built. Otherwise it would be hard to justify against just observing longer with only one scope/instrument. $\endgroup$ Jan 29 '19 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ @userLTK "Today the telescope is busy taking stereoscopic images of spiral galaxies, the crab nebula..." It isn't really doing that is it? If so I'd expect Brian May to be all over it! I'd asked What are the raisons d'être for the Large Binocular Telescope “binocularity”? earlier because I don't really understand the choice of that configuration. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 2 '19 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ Well, with two identical telescopes, even sitting next to each other, you can observe two objects at the same time, so twice as many observation programs… $\endgroup$ Nov 22 '20 at 22:47

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