(CNS) – Hawthorne-based SpaceX announced today a contract to shoot an Intelsat satellite into orbit with a Falcon Heavy rocket — a first.
“The Falcon Heavy has more than twice the power of the next largest rocket in the world. With this new vehicle, SpaceX launch systems now cover the entire spectrum of the launch needs for commercial, civil and national security customers,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive.
Only the Apollo-era Saturn V moon rocket produced more lift. The Falcon Heavy is capable of carrying 117,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit and more than 26,000 pounds into geosynchronous orbit, the destination of the Intelsat satellite, according to SpaceX.
Details of the contract were not announced.
On Friday, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft — it was shot into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket — made history when the unmanned vehicle docked at the International Space Station with a load of cargo. The Dragon is designed to carry astronauts, but only cargo deliveries are scheduled so far.
The Falcon Heavy also meets NASA and Air Force requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, according to SpaceX.