An artist's depiction of the Falcon Heavy rocket

NASA is going through one of it’s hardest periods ever, but that doesn’t mean that the space research and industry is too; take a look at SpaceX, a private company that already successfully launched a rocket, Falcon, into outer space last year. Now, they’re planning something even bigger.

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Falcon Heavy has about twice as much lifting capacity as the soon to be retired shuttle, which makes it the most powerful rocket on the face of the Earth, and SpaceX sees here a great chance to fill in for NASA’s future space missions, especially as the rocket has been constructed to meet NASA’s requirements.

At $80 to $125 million per launch, Falcon Heavy will be 3 or 4 times cheaper than a conventional NASA space shuttle, and it will be capable of regular ISS transport, trips to asteroids, or even an unmaned mission to Mars. SpaceX says they expect Falcon Heavy to be ready next year, and the first launch will probably take place in 2013.

It’s great to see a private company doing things like this, and if NASA knows how to collaborate with them, it will definitely go a long way towards getting out of the crisis they seem to be stuck in.