Hunting Falcons

The Falcon 9 Heavy is the next venture to come out of SpaceX, the company devoted to turning space access on its ear (and making a profit at the same time). They plan on doing this by offering a vehicle with six times the performance of the Delta IV Heavy. Six times. It’s twice the carrying capacity at 1/3rd the cost. That means it will be able to put structures never before seen into space, and it’s already slipped out that Bigelow Aerospace is designing an ultra-large inflatable capsule that will fit snugly inside the Falcon 9 Heavy.

Now, the big question is will the Falcon 9 Heavy perform to the announced specifications? Personally, I’m inclined to believe that weight wise, it will. They’ve flown five Falcon 1s, two Falcon 9s, and managed a recovery of Dragon, so at this point I’ll assume their payload mathematics are functioning properly. Cost is where the questions arise, but given they are estimating a 1/3rd of Delta IV Heavy, even doubling the cost brings it only to 2/3rds. And at that price point, people are using the Delta IV Heavy today.

In other words, what we are looking at is a game-changer. When it becomes ready for commercial cargo launches, the Falcon 9 Heavy will outperform every other heavy lift rocket in the game, much like its smaller siblings do at their price points. SpaceX has done it again (provisionally).

Further reading.

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