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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Comparison of Current and Planned Heavy Space Launch Systems

•, brian wang

Falcon Heavy has successfully launched and will be able to lift 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.

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