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.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
New evidence suggests Earth is product of two-planet collision
The physics of pancakes informs glaucoma treatments
New species of fluorescent polyps light up gastropod shells
Expedition finds lost lion population in Ethiopia
Scientists identify butterfly-like insect from the Jurassic age