Wikipedia has a comparison of orbital launch systems. A heavy-lift launch vehicle, HLV or HLLV, is an orbital launch vehicle capable of lifting between 20,000 to 50,000 kg to low Earth orbit (LEO).
Falcon Heavy has successfully launched and will be able to life 64-tons into low earth orbit for $90 million. Competing vehicles certified for heavy lift launches, like the Delta IV Heavy, Russia’s Proton, or Europe’s Ariane 5 no longer make economic sense.
As of November 2014, the Ariane 5 commercial launch price for launching a “midsize satellite in the lower position” is approximately US$60 million, competing for commercial launches in an increasingly competitive market. The Ariane 5 can launch 16 tons to low earth orbit but there is a configuration for 20-ton launch.
The heavier satellite launched in the upper position on a typical dual-satellite Ariane 5 launch is priced higher, on the order of €90 million. Total launch price of an Ariane 5—which can transport up to two satellites to space, one in the “upper” and one in the “lower” positions—is around 150 million Euro as of January 2015.
China is planning to develop the Long March 8 by 2028.
Space Launch System development is a waste of billions of dollars. It will take another $40-80 billion to develop Space Launch System and it will cost 10-20 times more for each SLS launch compared to the Falcon Heavy.
The Delta 4 Heavy was last launched in 2016. It can launch 28 tons into LEO. This is less than half the SpaceX Heavy. The Delta 4 Heavy costs $400 million to launch.
The Delta 4 Heavy has 7 planned launches over the next 5 years.
Date Payload Launch site July 2018 Parker Solar Probe Cape Canaveral SLC-37B 2018 NROL-718 Vandenberg SLC-6 2019 NROL-448 Cape Canaveral SLC-37B 2020 NROL-82 Vandenberg SLC-6 2021 NROL-68 Cape Canaveral SLC-37B 2022 NROL-70 Cape Canaveral SLC-37B 2023 NROL-91 Vandenberg SLC-6
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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