Company planning biggest rocket since man on moon
2011 04 07
By Seth Borenstein | YahooNews.com
A high-tech entrepreneur unveiled plans Tuesday to launch the world’s most powerful rocket since man went to the moon.
Space Exploration Technology has already sent the first private rocket and capsule into Earth’s orbit as a commercial venture. It is now planning a rocket that could lift twice as much cargo into orbit as the soon-to-be-retired space shuttle.
This undated artist rendering provided by Space Exploration Technologies (Space X), shows Space Exploration Technology’s new rocket Falcon Heavy. On Tuesday, Elon Musk, CEO and chief rocket designer of Space X unveiled plans to launch the world’s most powerful rocket since man went to the moon.
(AP Photo/Space Exploration Technologies)
The first launch is slotted for 2013 from California with follow-up launches from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Space X’s new rocket called Falcon Heavy is big enough to send cargo or even people out of Earth’s orbit to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. Only the long retired Saturn V rocket that sent men to the moon was bigger.
"This is a rocket of truly huge scale," said Space X president Elon Musk, who also founded PayPal and manufactures electric sports cars.
The Falcon Heavy could put 117,000 pounds into the same orbit as the International Space Station. The space shuttle hauls about 54,000 pounds into orbit. The old Saturn V could carry more than 400,000 pounds of cargo.
The old Soviet Union had a giant moon rocket bigger than the Falcon Heavy, but it failed in all four launch attempts. Another Soviet rocket, also bigger than Falcon Heavy and designed to launch its version of the space shuttle, had one successful flight more than 20 years ago.
While the new Space X rocket is designed initially for cargo, it satisfies NASA’s current safety requirements for carrying humans and after several launches could carry people too, Musk said. He has said that if NASA does buy rides on commercial rockets, he would be able to fly astronauts to the space station in his smaller Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule within three years.
Potential customers for the new larger rocket are NASA, the military, other governments and satellite makers.
Musk said Falcon Heavy will be far cheaper than government or private rockets. Launches are about $100 million each. He said the Air Force pays two older more established aerospace firms about $435 million for each of its launches. Over its 40 year design history, the space shuttle program has cost about $1.5 billion per launch, according to a study by the University of Colorado and an Associated Press analysis of NASA budgets.
Musk, who has a contract to supply the space station with cargo using the smaller Falcon 9, said his pricing is more fixed than traditional aerospace firms. He joked: "We believe in everyday low prices."
To get costs that low, Musk said he needs to launch about four Falcon Heavy rockets a year but plans on launching about 10. He doesn’t have a paying customer for his first launch, but is in negotiations with NASA and other customers for flights after his company proves the new rocket flies.
"It would be great if it works, if it’s safe," said Henry Lambright, a professor of public policy and space scholar at Syracuse University. "I don’t want to come across as skeptical, but I am."
Lambright said companies have often made big claims about private space without doing much. But, he added, Musk has some credibility because of his successful Falcon 9.
If Musk’s plans work, it will give President Barack Obama’s space policy a needed boost, Lambright said. Obama has been battling some in Congress over his plans to use more private space companies, like Space X, for getting people to orbit with NASA concentrating on missions to send astronauts to new places, such as nearby asteroids.
Several companies are vying to launch private rockets that could replace the shuttle. NASA is now paying Russia to send astronauts to and from the space station on Soyuz spacecraft.
Howard McCurdy, a space policy expert at American University, said of Musk: "If he’s not in the lead, he’s well positioned for the finish."
McCurdy said NASA’s space shuttle was a technological marvel, but had a bad business model and wasn’t cost effective. He said Musk, who is using his own money in his privately held firm, has incentive to be more financially savvy.
rticle from: news.yahoo.com
SpaceX announces the Falcon Heavy rocket
Video from: YouTube.com
Contesting Abundance: Shared for the Common Good or Monopolized for Private Profit?
Private space capsule launched
UFO Spotted Over Australia "Likely a Private Rocket"?
Montana Town Occupied By Private Paramilitary Security Force - Check the Symbolism
NASA tests Mars space suit in Argentine Antarctica
The Alien Moon - Why NASA Never Returned To The Moon
NASA sells shuttle PCs without wiping secret data
To Boldly Go to New Worlds, NASA Announces ’100-Year Starship’
NASA gives up trying to make Mars rover mobile again
Obama’s NASA Budget: So Long, Moon Missions; Hello, Private Spaceflight
Latest News from our Front Page
Tiny Micro Robots Build Things in ‘Microfactory’
2014 04 17
The teenie-weeniest robot uprising ever might be sooner rather than later due to the work of research institute SRI.
Don’t let these microbots’ size fool you, there is power in numbers and thousands of the robots can work together to perform tasks at dizzying speed.
SRI International has developed a new generation of ant-like robots that can work as ...
’We are not dead yet’: Heartbreaking text messages sent from schoolchildren trapped aboard South Korean ferry
2014 04 17
Passengers on board the South Korean ferry sent heartbreaking messages to their family members just moments before it sank.
Children waiting to be rescued frantically reached for their phones as the boat began to list in a bid to communicate with their loved ones a final time.
Twenty-four people, including five students and two teachers, have been found dead, but 272 are ...
"A world of pure imagination": How Occupy turned to "anarchy"
2014 04 17
In the closing ceremonies of London’s 2012 Summer Olympics, comedian Russell Brand, perched atop the Beatles’ "Magical Mystery Tour" bus, opened his performance by singing the first lines of "Pure Imagination" from the movie Willy Wonka:
Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of
Artists ’have structurally different brains’
2014 04 17
Artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists, a study has found.
Participants’ brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery.
The research, published in NeuroImage, suggests that an artist’s talent could be innate.
But training and environmental upbringing also play crucial roles in their ability, the authors report.
As in many areas ...
NSA-proof email service goes online
2014 04 17
A new email service that protects its users from the prying eyes of the NSA and other spy agencies has gone online. The service’s creators say it will make encrypted messaging accessible to all and curtail internet snooping.
Germany-based Lavaboom was inspired by Lavabit, the encrypted email service that was believed to have been used by whistleblower Edward Snowden before it ...
|More News » |