Tuesday, April 5, 2011
As I always say, most problems can be solved by the careful application of rocketry. But what we need now is heavy lift, and this rocket may play an important role in providing that. The LEO payload is about 50 metric tons. This is probably big enough to launch a small ATLAST telescope, maybe even a monolithic 7 meter telescope. A few of these could even launch a Mars direct mission, in a pinch. Hopefully the costs will stay as low as predicted.
Don't let the "heavy" confuse you, this will in no way replace the Areas V or satisfy our need for a true heavy lift rocket. True heavy lift rockets, such as the Saturn V, lift more than 100 metric tons to LEO. And I would argue that some good use can be made of very large rockets, in the Sea Dragon and Nova class, that means an LEO of 500 tons.
Read more about the Falcon Heavy at TORD and TRB.