Private spaceflight concern SpaceX has been teasing the public for more than a week with rumblings of a big announcement today. Indeed, that announcement is big: about 22 stories big. SpaceX founder Elon Musk today unveiled the company's next big thing, the Falcon Heavy rocket, a massive launch vehicle with a cargo capacity of 117,000 pounds.
SpaceX already has a deal inked with NASA to become the first private space agency to resupply the International Space Station using its smaller Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule.The 27-engine Falcon Heavy, however, is aimed at hurling large government and commercial payloads into Earth orbit, and to do it on the (relatively) cheap.
By large payloads, we mean very large. The 227-foot Falcon Heavy booster is currently under construction at SpaceX's California HQ, and when complete it will dwarf anything rivals can throw at it. The closest U.S. analog from NASA's heavy-lift heyday would be the Saturn V, the rocket that carried the Apollo program to the moon. The closest thing the private sector can offer by way of comparison is United Launch Alliance's Delta IV, a 50,000-pound capacity booster which currently launches the Pentagon's heavy payloads for up to $275 million per launch.
The Falcon Heavy, SpaceX says, offers a clear-cut cost advantage. For just $80-125 million, customers can get more than twice the payload into orbit aboard a Falcon Heavy. That, according to Musk, is a new world record for cost per pound to orbit.
Of course, it's easier to name a competitive price point before your rocket is completed than afterward when all the costs are tallied. Still, with a capacity like the Falcon Heavy's SpaceX should have no problem selling cargo space assuming costs don't spiral wildly out of control. That's exciting, not only because it bodes well for the private space industry and for companies looking for a lower cost of entry into Earth orbit, but because for the first time in a long time we're going to see something as awesomely powerful as the mighty Saturn V take to the launchpad.
When will that be? SpaceX aims to launch their new heavy-lifter in a demo flight from California's Vandenberg AFB by end of next year.
This is the future of space..private industry. This is a good thing...the only thing governments do in space is militarize it.
P.S No need to lie to us about NASA going to the moon, everyone knows it's a lie.
Go back into the woodwork there, Buzz.
@aldrons last hope...wow, been awhile since i saw something that intelligent written followed by something so incredibly unintelligent, bravo
oops, *intelligently written...privatization of earth orbit is the way of the future and about time...great news
Im With Aldrons Last Hope. Moon landing was fake. Put it this way we landed on a moon with technology that is less then that of an iPhone. Think about it, we want to check for water on the moon but have no way to do so other then blow an area of it up and hope a robot collects the dust... If we landed there back then why not send up a crew with todays technology to have a mission there and be able to go back and forth between the space station. We have not visited the moon in all these years because we clearly cant.
noooo! the troll's are multiplying.
Now we can finally build a cheap Bio-Dome on the moon!
It is neat that the space race is going private. I'd hopefully look to see a greater push towards non-research related flights.
I won't comment on weather or not we ever made it too the moon... can't prove a negative and all that... I hope we did what with all that ongoing research on lunar rock samples and the mirror that the astronauts (allegedly) left behind BUT...
I will point out that it is rather expensive... to travel to the moon... and is only done for more or less compelling reasons.
We'll be going again soon enough and for military reasons which is a good thing because...
If we don't "they" (Insert your favorite evil empire, dictator, country, mother-in-law... what have you.) will.
One side of the gun is better than the other and it is not enough to be intellectual... one has to live in the real world of human motives and aspirations... not all of which are motivated by cooperation.
My favorite part about Aldrons hilarious comment is the part where EVERYONE knows moon landing was a lie. You know, because conspiracy theorists do not believe reality exists outside of abovetopsecret.com
Can we leave all the stupid people on an asteroid and hurdle them into the sun?
The ignorance of people when it comes to the subject of Science and Space makes me sad. I hope this problem gets fixed in my lifetime. Putting that aside, I'm very happy to hear the private industry is moving forward.
The moon landing was not a fake, and Myth Busters proved it. Each of the moon missions left a device that looks like a bicycle reflector on the lunar surface. Any organization with the right kind of laser and telescope can reflect a laser beam off the lunar reflector and measure the returning beam. The main purpose of this was to allow for very precise measurements of the moon's orbit, but it also proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a man made object safely landed on the moon exactly were NASA said they landed.
Why we have not returned to the moon is not an issue of technology, it is a matter of political will and infrastructure. Most of the infrastructure used for Apollo has been lost time. Yes most of the building are still there, but the people who made it happen are gone alone with their undocumented knowledge and skills. When we do return to the moon, there are a lot of things that will need to be rebuilt, and a lot of skills relearned. Before that happens we need the political will and a boat load of money (both of which are short supply right now).
The mission that Splus03 is referring to used a spent boaster to create a debris plum that could be scanned for water ice. This was a bonus/free bee not the main mission. We could have landed a probe in that area to look for water, but that would be a mission unto its self and would cost a lot of money-there are still a few folks at NASA that know what they are doing.
Not, Ares V Colonial Class but will do for LEO and one off Asteroid mission. If you can't lift 200MW Nuclear reactor for Ad Astra Rocket Company's VASIMR plasma rocket NO MOON BASE, NO MARS.
Great news, it is about time we have a good heavy lift rocket available. With that being said the Saturn V had twice the capacity, 220,000 lbs as Falcon heavy lift is 117,000 lbs to low earth orbit. We already have a heavy lift capable rocket system that we are mothballing, Space Shuttle External tanks and the solid rocket boosters have the capacity to lift over 200,000 lbs into low earth orbit if modified without the Space Shuttle. Remember the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters are recyclable. Will Space-X recycle their booster, by the cost estimate Space-X gives to launch the new heavy lift rockets, it seems that they will be reused? Of course there is the Ares IV and Ares V but those seem to be on the chopping block, NASA seems to have given up on developing them.
Another thought is a new extra-heavy Lift Delta IV in the works???
"Possible future upgrades for the Delta IV include adding extra strap-on solid motors to boost capacity, higher-thrust main engines, lighter materials, higher-thrust second stages, more (up to six) strap-on CBCs, and a cryogenic propellant cross feed from strap on boosters to the common core. These modifications could potentially increase the mass of the payload delivered to LEO to 100 tonnes.
The possibility of an extra-heavy variant was indicated in a 2006 RAND Corporation study of national security launch requirements out to 2020, which noted, "...only the Delta IV Heavy has the performance to lift the ten NSS launch requirements that require a heavy-lift capability... the production capacity for Delta IV, with one possible exception, can satisfy the entire projected NSS launch demand. The exception involves the requirement to increase the Delta IV Heavy lift capability to accommodate a single NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) payload. The best solution to this requirement is currently under study."
If they can keep the cost down as low as they claim then the new Falcon heavy-lift will be a game changer???
this is great news. glad to hear the private space industry is really taking off (no pun intedned. really). trying to ignore the "moon trolls" in the above comments. I had a chance to stand next to a old Saturn V rocket laying on its side. It is awe inspiring. I stood in front of just one of the its rocket booster noozles and was in awe thinking it shooting off from Earth. I think it at the Huntsville space and rocket center. that is where I fell in love with the sr-71 too.
@Aldrons last hope
HOw dumb do you have to be to believe the landing was faked honestly dude.
Just watch "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon" totally proves my point.
If man could go to the moon the Russians would have done it first. But the Russians couldn't and neither can the U.S...even up to this day.
We can't make it past the Van Allen radiation belts yet :-(
Mythbusters proved they are shills...was that supposed to be objective?? They were wearing Nassa suits and kissing nassa's ass the whole time for a trip on the zero-g plane..LMAO
I think private industry will solve this problem
For all those who think the Lunar landing was faked, consider this:
There were literally over a thousand individuals involved with the Apollo missions. Thats is a lot of people that had inside info and had to be kept silent.
Also, the government apparantly wasn't happy with faking the landing once, so they did it 5 freakin times!
Grow up already.
drchuck1 Yo buddy if you dont like the truth then bend on over and su_ck my D1ck we all know you like a fat one in your mouth. Sad that your only response was to tell me to F off, did i hurt your feelings that your child hood memory of the space take off was a lie that you thought was true your whole life? Grow up
Watch the documentary "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Moon"
Thousands of people don't have to be involved...only the top of the pyramid.
There is a rover on Mars....how did it get there? We must have been to Mars as well!...NO the reflector on the moon was placed there via probe....the russians have one up there two.
Do you not find it a bit odd that in 1969 we went to the moon five times and 42 years later EVERY SINGLE MANNED NASA mission has not even APPROACHED the Van Allen radiation belts.
I wanted to desperately beleive we could visit or even colonize other planets...maybe one day we will, but as for now NO..we can't..live with it.
Give it up people. The kid watched a documentary! You think decades of science and proof holds a candle to that movie? That shows you guys have never watched a documentary!
It says it can take up to 117,000 pounds of cargo, but is it safe for human travel? Also, have there been any private shuttles for long-range human travel announced/released yet? (I recall Virgin had one for orbital uses) I'm pretty sure that since NASA is looking for private cargo rockets, they must also be invested in shuttles specifically for human flight.
Check out my tech blog at regiz.blogspot.com !
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon" has been complete debunked many times. You should research the topic in more depth. I suggest starting with the wikipedia article "Third-party evidence for Apollo Moon landings". There are 41 references that you can look up. Some of these contain photos taken my more resent mission that show the Apollo decent craft, rover, flag, and even foot prints.
There is plenty of evidence that Apollo did happen, and zero evidence that it didn't that can not be debunked. Stop chasing shadows and except the truth.
I never go to wikipedia...anyone can update their info..that's not a source.
I don't think it was debunked...not the part where they show the crew 2 days into the mission and they were still orbiting earth..that's pretty telling.
Don't forget NASA was founded by friggin nazi's
Besides that, it just looks fake...so so FAKE.
I hope one day the privatization of space solves this problem...but until I see a pic of someone in 2011 and beyond walking around on the moon in full 1080p...and it's not a government shill...man never walked on the moon.
For those interested, since Aldrons Last Hope has failed to do so, here are some sources of information to offer an explanation to his ... ill-informative... comments.
Van Allen Radiation Belt(s)
Moving on if, like Aldrons Last Hope has declared and, Humans cannot brave the radiation from the Van Allen Belt(s), then I ask you to take into consideration the International Space Station and the South Atlantic Anomaly.
(please note the height of orbit in the ISS and the height of the SAA)
South Atlantic Anomaly
International Space Station
Lastly, an interesting article on the Van Allen Belts vs the Apollo missions
Since I'm done feeding the troll (while also providing source information for you all to view on your own)
While I agree with rib on the fact that we have several rockets with a higher payload capacity, from a business prospective it may be cheaper to pay for this Falcon Heavy. If it costs $275 million to launch 1 Saturn V carrying 220,000 lbs, and $250 million to launch 2 Falcon Heavy, totaling 234,000 lbs then that's a savings of $25 million. Just a thought.
Upon re-reading my post, I did find a discrepancy that I wish to repair.
"If it costs $275 million to launch 1 Saturn V carrying 220,000 lbs..."
I realize that in the early part of the article it says the Delta IV can launch 50,000 lbs for $275 million. I only referred to the Saturn V, because of the cost to weight ratio. For a more informative view on the costs of Heavy Lift Flights, check out.
Thanks. Have a great day! =)
@splus03...apologies...i was a bit tired and sick of silly statements on these blogs by totally ignorant individuals, your comment fits the bill and really, me grow up, being just a little hypocritical
Wow, so many trolls on this page you'd think you were in a fantasy movie or something, lol...