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SpaceX announces first Falcon 5 sale
Posted: Thu, May 6, 2004, 10:12 AM ET (1412 GMT)
Falcon 5 illustration (SpaceX) Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced this week the first sale of its medium-lift Falcon 5 launch vehicle. Company founder and CEO Elon Musk said that SpaceX has sold the first Falcon 5 launch to Bigelow Aerospace, a company developing inflatable structures that could be used as commercial orbital habitats. The payload, identified in a SPACE.com report as Genesis Pathfinder, is designed to test inflatable modules based on technology developed for NASA's TransHab, a project the agency supported for several years before canceling. The launch is currently scheduled for November 2005 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The value of the deal wasn't disclosed, although the company previously reported that it would sell Falcon 5 launches for $12 million each. The Falcon 5 is a larger version of the Falcon 1 the company is currently developing, using five of the Merlin first-stage engines developed for the Falcon 1. The inaugural launch of the Falcon 1, carrying an experimental military satellite, is tentatively planned for August or September, also from Vandenberg. In testimony before the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Musk said SpaceX also had plans to develop heavy and "super-heavy" vehicles, depending on customer demand.
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