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SpaceX announces Falcon Heavy rocket
Posted: Tue, Apr 5, 2011, 7:06 PM ET (2306 GMT)
Falcon Heavy illustration (SpaceX) SpaceX announced Tuesday plans to build a rocket more powerful than any other launch vehicle currently in service. The Falcon Heavy rocket features three nine-engine cores based on the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket, generating 16.9 million newtons (3.8 million pounds-force) at liftoff. The rocket will be place to place 53,000 kilograms into low Earth orbit, more than double the Space Shuttle or Delta 4 Heavy. The rocket will be able to tolerate the failure of up to several of its 27 first-stage engines and still reach orbit, according to the company. SpaceX is planning a demonstration launch from a new launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in 2013, with launches from Cape Canaveral to begin in late 2013 or 2014. The company is pricing the Falcon Heavy at $80-125 million, significantly less that existing large expendable rockets.
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