Printing-ink veterans don't take cyberspace journalists too seriously - Roy Greenslade, Guardian Online
SPACE LAUNCH FIRM Space Exploration Technologies has revealed the final specifications and launch date for what it claims is the world's largest rocket, the Falcon Heavy.
The rocket weighs 53 metric tons, which is more than a Boeing 737-200 with 136 passengers and a full cargo bay. This means it could fly a large crew into space, which might become an option in the future with plans for space tourism.
The Falcon Heavy will also carry a higher payload than any other space lift in history, aside from the Saturn V rocket, which the US decommissioned after the Apollo project ended. The rocket will be able to carry satellites and interplanetary spacecraft matching its own weight into the vast depths of the starry sky.
The Falcon Heavy initially will have three nine-engine cores, powered by upgraded Merlin engines designed by Space Exploration Technologies. This will allow it to generate 3.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, comparable to 15 Boeing 747s taking off at once.
It will have a length of 69.2 metres and a width of 11.6 metres. It will feature additional safety features, such as an engine protective shell and the ability complete a mission even after multiple engine failure.
The rocket can also carry astronauts because it complies with NASA human rating standards.
The Falcon Heavy's maiden launch will be from Cape Canaveral in late 2013 or 2014. µ
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