Have Spaceship. Will travel.

Great news from the space development front. Independent Rocket company SpaceX have announced the development of the Falcon Heavy, their entry into the ‘heavy lifter’ category of launch vehicles.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Lift-off

The Falcon heavy will provide double the delivery capacity (a whopping 53 tonnes!) of  all existing systems, dwarfing both the Delta IV and the Space Shuttle. This means that the cost of delivering payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will drop significantly – in fact the company estimates that the launcher would save the US $1 billion in launch services per year.

The impact of this system when it comes on stream will be huge, providing access to space at a fraction of the current cost (something that the badly flawed shuttle was supposed to do and never achieved) and allowing the delivery of systems (Imagine a space telescope 5 times as big as the Hubble!) of previously unachievable size.

The engineering of the SpaceX fleet shows real imagination and a determination to push back the boundaries of what is possible in rocketry. We should all feel proud of the achievements that they have made and undoubtedly will achieve in the future.

No doubt they will have their share of issues in the future; as their rival Scaled Composites unfortunately showed, the path to Space is not an easy one. Nevertheless, let us hope that they (and Scaled Composites) continue the push to take us truly into space.

Nothing of any value is achieved without a cost.

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