Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club April 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) and Tesla Motors, held the news conference to announce SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket which could complete missions to the International Space Station and Moon and should be ready for use by the end of 2012. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) is planning on building a behemoth, 22-story-tall rocket that they dubbed the “world’s most powerful,” according to an announcement on Tuesday.
Falcon Heavy will be able to carry 53 metric tons, or 117,000 pounds, into outer spac—more than twice the Delta IV rockets that are commonly used.
The gigantic rocket “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 program,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who also founded PayPal and other ventures, in a statement.
The Falcon Heavy, which is 227-feet-tall and has 27 engines, will generate around 3.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, which is equivalent to 15 Boeing 747s taking off simultaneously. Each launch would cost $80 million to $125 million per launch.
SpaceX claims that it would far surpass Delta IV launches as it has “more than twice the payload, but less than one third the cost.”
The Saturn V rocket was used during the Apollo and Skylab programs in the 1960s and 1970s and had a payload capacity of 260,000 pounds. The first stage provided more than 7.6 million pounds of thrust.
The company said that rockets are slated to be launched in 2013 or 2014 in California. Subsequent launches will be in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Related Articles In December, SpaceX was the first company to send a spacecraft into space and have it return. They already experienced success with their smaller Falcon 9 models, which has been used by NASA.