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SpaceX unveils Falcon, announces larger vehicle
Posted: Fri, Dec 5, 2003, 2:43 AM ET (0743 GMT)
Elon Musk and Falcon launch vehicle (J. Foust) Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) unveiled its Falcon launch vehicle Thursday night as the company announced plans to develop a larger version. SpaceX put the vehicle on public display for the first time outside the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. During a press event Thursday evening SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced plans to build the Falcon 5, a larger version of the Falcon. The Falcon 5 will use five engines in its first stage, all versions of the single Merlin engine used in the first stage of the current Falcon. The Falcon 5 will be able to put up to 4,200 kilograms into LEO for $12 million a launch. Musk said the Falcon 5 will be available starting in 2005. The first launch of the smaller Falcon displayed Thursday in Washington is planned for late March of 2004 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California; it will carry the TacSat-1 experimental satellite for the US military. Musk, who created SpaceX 18 months ago, is best known for co-founding the online payment service PayPal, which he sold to eBay last year for $1.5 billion.
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