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NASA Space Science

World's Most Powerful Rocket Ready In 2012, SpaceX Says 251

Velcroman1 writes "Elon Musk, the millionaire founder of private space company Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX for short) said the long-planned Falcon Heavy vehicle would be ready for lift off at the end of 2012. The rocket, which he called the most powerful in the world, would be capable of taking men to the International Space Station, dropping vehicles and astronauts on the moon — and maybe even cruising to Mars and back."
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World's Most Powerful Rocket Ready In 2012, SpaceX Says

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  • Leave it Fox.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Necron69 ( 35644 ) <.jscott.farrow. .at.> on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @01:22PM (#35722388)

    What an amazingly inaccurate summary. The rocket will be left to fall back into the ocean/atmosphere, while it has enough cargo capacity (2X that of the space shuttle to LEO) to launch something that could, conceivably, go to Mars and back.

    Personally, I'm expecting Bigelow to be the first customer.


  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @01:25PM (#35722434) Homepage Journal

    Call me when we have something that can out lift the Saturn V. Yes I know they say this will cheaper but still I expected us to be much farther along than we are.

  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @02:00PM (#35722780) Journal

    No, we're talking about reality. In reality, unlike in theory, it takes a lot more to get a rocket to Mars than engineering and sufficient power and fuel. It takes massive funding, political will, and the sustained support of both for several years. There's no engineering equation you can use to calculate if you'll make it to Mars -- the equation will only tell you whether you can do the easy part...

    Actually, SpaceX's first demo launch of the Falcon Heavy in 2013 doesn't have a customer and they're self-funding it, so if they want to they can send it to pretty much anywhere in the inner solar system that they want. Heck, Elon Musk could even get part of his team to assemble his old Mars Oasis [] greenhouse project and try to land it on Mars if he wanted. Since it's self-funded, it's purely an engineering problem (perhaps with some PR thrown in for good measure).

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @03:01PM (#35723376) Homepage Journal

    The Saturn V was produced in small numbers and using 1960s cost was no option development. Using modern production methods the cost should be much lower if they produced it today. Frankly the only parts I would keep from the old Saturn program would be the F-1A which they never flew and the J-2 which we just developed new versions of. Use LiAL for the tanks and user modern electronics and it could cost a lot less.
    The Falcon 9 Heavy is really cool. It is the hype that is rubbing me the wrong way.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.