One Small Step, One Giant Rocket

Space Exploration Technologies broke ground on a new launch site for its Falcon Heavy rocket at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Falcon Heavy, the most powerful launch vehicle envisioned since Saturn V, is slated to make its inaugural flight from Vandy in 2013. “We’re really super excited . . . about the fact that the Falcon Heavy will first launch from Vandenberg,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, at last week’s ground-breaking ceremony at Space Launch Complex-4 East, reported the Santa Ynez Valley News. The Air Force used SLC-4E from 1964 to 2005 to launch Titan rockets. According to the newspaper, SpaceX is set to invest upwards of $30 million rebuilding the site. The company will construct a 30,000 square-foot vehicle-integration building, while retaining the complex’s existing concrete pad. SpaceX asserts that Falcon Heavy will lift double the space shuttle’s payload for one-tenth of the cost. (Includes SpaceX release)