Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) already made history in December 2010 when their Dragon space capsule became the world’s first commercial spacecraft to launch into orbit and return to Earth safely. Not stopping there, on Tuesday the company announced plans to construct the most powerful rocket the world has seen since the manned moon missions.SpaceX has named this new rocket Falcon Heavy, and the rocket will reportedly be able to carry roughly 117,000 pounds of cargo into orbit—twice as much as the current space shuttle. The rocket has been designed to carry cargo, but because it satisfies NASA’s current safety requirements, the rocket could be used to carry humans into space as well.
And SpaceX is looking to reduce the cost of space flights too. SpaceX’s president, Elon Musk, says that Falcon Heavy will be substantially less expensive than government or private rockets. Where space shuttle launches have reportedly cost roughly $1.5 billion per launch, Falcon Heavy launches will run approximately $100 million per launch.
The company is aiming to launch Falcon Heavy in 2013 from California, with follow-up launches taking place in Cape Canaveral, Florida.