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Elon Will ‘Eat His Hat’ If A Rocket Is Launched By Any Competitor Before 2023

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CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, discussed the performance of Falcon Heavy rocket on Monday. Musk was irritated with the comparisons between the Delta IV Heavy rocket which is manufactured by United Alliance. Doug Ellison, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory Visualization producer, shared some calculations on Twitter last week which was showing that in some aspects the Delta IV Heavy Rocket can match the performance of Falcon Heavy for certain missions to the Solar System.

Elon Musk responded to that comparison by saying that the data shared by Ellison’s was flawed. Musk also said that the Falcon Heavy also costs a lot less than the competition. Tory Bruno, the chief executive of United Launch Alliance, also joined in the discussion.

Musk did not believe these numbers and he also did not believe on the higher forecast of the Delta IV Heavy’s cost which is $400 million. While replying to David Legangneux’s tweet he said, “Just under $400M for Delta IV Heavy, not over. The cost of the Parker Solar Probe launch is $389.1M (contract announced in 2015). That was three years ago before ULA canceled all medium versions of Delta IV. Future missions have all Delta fixed costs piled on, so their cost is now $600M+ for missions contracted for launch after 2020. Nutty high.”

When talking about United Launch Alliance’s plan to replace the Delta and Atlas rockets with a new & more powerful booster called the Vulcan rocket. He said, “Maybe that plan works out, but I will seriously eat my hat with a side of mustard if that rocket flies a national security spacecraft before 2023.” Vulcan rocket was planned to be launched in 2019, however, the plan of launch has now slipped into mid-2020. Musk believes that the test flight and Air Force certification process might cause further delay in the launch. Musk said that the Falcon Heavy will help with interplanetary exploration and assist the NASA’s missions.

The world’s most powerful space rocket in operation will work towards returning to the moon for the first time since 1972. It is designed to eventually land humans on Mars before the middle of the century. The Falcon Heavy’s upper stage contains a $100,000 Tesla Roadster sports car and a dummy sitting in the driver’s seat called Starman. Musk announced the plans for the heavy-lift rocket in 2011. He built the rocket by putting together three boosters from the company’s smaller Falcon 9 rockets.