The U.S. SpaceX, a company that has secured the contract to NASA cargo to the International Space Station, and has already sent into orbit the first private space capsule, is now planning the biggest rocket ever since the Americans went to the moon.
The first launch is planned for 2013, said the chairman of SpaceX Elon Mask, who had previously founded PayPal and invest today in electric cars.
The rocket heavyweight Falcon Heavy is the only missile that could in the future to carry cargo or humans to orbit the Moon, Mars or an asteroid.
Based on the design of Falcon 9, SpaceX of the rocket has made ??a total of two successful test launches.
The new model has three times as many engines (three of nine rocket cores each) and will provide take-off thrust of 1.7 million pounds, the 15 Boeing 747 at full power.
The Falcon Heavy could then transfer to low earth orbit cargo mass 53,000 kg, twice more than 22,680 pounds of the shuttle.
Even stronger was, however, the Saturn V rocket at the time Apollo, who could carry more than 200,000 pounds.
“I think it is no longer realistic to think of projects as a mission to return samples from Mars, which would require a huge capacity, after which the vessel lands on Mars should have enough fuel to return to Earth,” said Elon mask.
The SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) is one of five U.S. companies funded by NASA to supply the International Space Station (ISS) after Shuttle decommissioning of this year.
As the company, with each jet Falcon Heavy would cost only 100 million U.S. dollars, an amount two times smaller compared to the competition of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
The shuttles cost even more. Taking into account the cost of development, each jet cost about 1.5 billion dollars, according to estimates by the University of Colorado and agency Associated Press.
The price for a kilogram of launching into orbit is now around $ 20,000. O Falcon Heavy reduce costs to $ 2,000, hopes his mask.
To do this, however, that SpaceX would have to fire at least four Falcon Heavy time, which can not be certain, since the company currently has no customers other than the NASA.
It is, however, provide the launching pad Vantenmpergk Air Force Base in California as the first flight of the rocket in 2013.
On subsequent flights planned to use the launch pad that rents Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.