Comparison of Current and Planned Heavy Space Launch Systems

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

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