SpaceX Breaks Ground on Vandenberg Launch Complex

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.—SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) today took another major step toward the first launch of the Falcon Heavy. This will be the world’s most powerful rocket, with more than twice the payload-to-orbit capacity of the space shuttle, but at only one third the cost of the Boeing/Lockheed Delta IV Heavy. The Falcon Heavy will be the first ever rocket to break the $1,000-per-pound-to-orbit barrier, less than a tenth as much as the Shuttle.

SpaceX CEO and chief rocket designer Elon Musk was joined by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, 30th Space Wing Commander Colonel Richard W. Boltz and Lompoc Mayor John Linn to break ground on a new launch site for the Falcon Heavy—Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Falcon Heavy, along with SpaceX’s medium-lift Falcon 9, offers the next generation of launch capability to the US Air Force, NASA, and commercial satellite companies at revolutionary costs. With a launch site at Vandenberg and the world’s largest rocket, SpaceX will be ready to compete for the full range of US government business, provided competition is allowed. Currently, United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed, has a sole-source monopoly contract for Defense Department business.

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SpaceX to Break Ground on Falcon Heavy Launch Pad on Wednesday

SpaceX Groundbreaking at Vandenberg Air Force Base Wednesday

WHAT:  

In April 2011, SpaceX announced its plans to design, build and launch the Falcon Heavy – the world’s largest launch vehicle since the Saturn V moon rocket. The Falcon Heavy should arrive at Vandenberg by the end of 2012 and launch soon thereafter.

On Wednesday, July 13th, 2011, Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s newest launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Falcon Heavy will have the ability to carry payloads weighing over 53 metric tons to orbit, offering more than twice the performance of other commercial providers at one-third of the cost. SpaceX save the Department of Defense at least one billion dollars annually in space launch services with such a rocket, while providing an independent family of vehicles to provide assured access to space.

WHO:   

Elon Musk, SpaceX Founder, CEO & Chief Technology Officer
Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California
Colonel Richard W. Boltz, Commander, 30th Space Wing and Western Range, Air Force Space Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base
Mayor John Linn, Lompoc

WHERE:

Vandenberg Air Force Base (Space Launch Complex 4-East)

WHEN:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 1:00 PM