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SpaceX's New Rocket - Most Powerful Private Rocket Ever Built

As NASA is wrapping up its space shuttle program, private space corporations are beginning to take a stronghold in space exploration. Recently, SpaceX or Space Explorations Technologies Inc. announced a new rocket called the Falcon Heavy that is only second in size to the Apollo Era's Saturn V.

The Falcon Heavy is planned to have a payload of 117 000 pounds, twice that of the Space Shuttle and rival company United Launch Alliance LLC's Delta IV. The new rocket is also much cheaper per launch, costing $ 80 - 120 million. This is a lot less than the cost of Delta IV ($ 140 - 160 million).

The first demonstration flight of SpaceX's new rocket will be sometime between November and December of 2012 at California's Vandenburg Air Force Base.

The company already has successes with its operational rockets. NASA has given SpaceX a $ 1.6 billion contract to send supplies to the International Space Station through SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft on the Falcon 9, the predecessor of the Falcon Heavy.

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