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SpaceX announces new Falcon Heavy rocket

April 5, 2011 at 8:58 PM

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- Commercial spacecraft company SpaceX said Tuesday it plans to build a new rocket that will lift more tonnage into low Earth orbit than any rocket in existence.

SpaceX, based in California, has successfully flown two rockets, the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, and has a NASA contract to deliver cargo to the International Space Station with the Falcon 9 and the company's Dragon space capsule.

The new rocket, dubbed Falcon Heavy, was announced by SpaceX head Elon Musk in Washington, a company release said.

The Falcon Heavy will take 53 tons into Earth orbit, more than any other rocket currently being launched, NewScientist.com reported Wednesday.

"This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions," Musk said.

The company says it plans an inaugural test launch of the Falcon in 2013 or 2014.