Elon Musk, South African-born CEO and chief rocket designer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), revealed a few weeks ago that Falcon Heavy, the world’s largest rocket, will launch from the company’s Cape Canaveral complex in late 2013 or 2014. The rocket will be capable of carrying satellites or interplanetary spacecraft weighing over 53 tons – more than the maximum take-off weight of a fully loaded Boeing 737-200 with 136 passengers – into orbit.
Musk told a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC: “Falcon Heavy will carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V Moon rocket, which was decommissioned after the Apollo programme. This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions.”
See “Early adopter’s guide to space travel”, elsewhere in this issue.
- Payload: 53 000 KG
- Overall length: 69,2 M
- Width (Body): 3,6 M X 11,6 M
- Width (Fairing): 5,2 M
- Mass on lift-off: 1 400 000 KG
- Thrust on lift-off: 17 MN