SpaceX yesterday broke ground on a launch site at Vandenberg AFB's Space Launch Complex 4 East for its Falcon Heavy rocket. Falcon Heavy is set to be the world's most powerful rocket, with what the California, US-based launch vehicle manufacturer claims will provide more than twice the payload-to-orbit capacity of the space shuttle at only a third the cost of the Boeing-Lockheed Delta IV Heavy.

SpaceX chief executive and chief rocket designer Elon Musk - the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who made a fortune as a founder of the PayPal online payment system and went on to start SpaceX and the Tesla all-electric sports car company - promises the Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket to break the $1,000-per-pound-to-orbit barrier, less than one-tenth of the cost of the Space Shuttle.

With 3.8 million lb of thrust from 27 engines, Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket to fly since the Saturn V, which took the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon.

Source: Flight International