The SpaceX Big Bird
Yesterday, SpaceX announced that they are selling space on their HLV (Heavy Lift Vehicle) the Falcon 9 Heavy, with not only the nine Merlin engines in the rocket, but also nine more in each of two booster rockets strapped onto the sides. It is claimed to lift almost twice the load of NASA’s Space Shuttle into Low-Earth Orbit with engines to spare (in case of mishap).
If it lives up to these claims it will be one of the largest HLVs available or even in history. The Saturn V that flew astronauts to the moon in the sixties and seventies was larger.
The two boosters transfer fuel to the main rocket during flight, so that when they jettison the main tanks are totally full for the remained of the flight.
The claimed price of a lift to space on the Falcon 9 Heavy is weirdly low…just $1000 per pound. The last time I blogged about cheap lifts to space, some of the experts doubted. Either way, it’s good to see that more competition and capacity may soon be available in the heavy-lift industry. It’ll be fun to see how this works out.
- Huge Private Rocket Could Send Astronauts to the Moon or Mars (space.com)
- SpaceX reveals plans for heavy lift rocket (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- SpaceX to launch huge new rocket (bbc.co.uk)
- SpaceX’s ‘Falcon Heavy’ Most Powerful Private Rocket Ever (techland.time.com)
- SpaceX Unveils Plan for World’s Most Powerful Private Rocket (space.com)
- Spacex will have the most powerful operational rocket in 2012 (nextbigfuture.com)
- SpaceX Falcon Heavy to Launch in 2013 (FULL PRESS RELEASE) (blippitt.com)
- SpaceX unveils new Falcon Heavy rocket – WORLD’S BIGGEST (go.theregister.com)
- “SpaceX: Falcon Heavy, Falcon 9 tag team set to share 20 launches a year” and related posts (nasaspaceflight.com)