US Air Force and NASA refused to use Falcon Heavy
SpaceX offered NASA and the US Air Force to use the first launch of the Falcon Heavy superheavy rocket to launch a scientific or military payload free of charge, according to a former NASA Deputy Administrator, Lori Garver, in his column on The Hill.
According to her, NASA saw in the commercial use of Falcon Heavy competition and refused to offer SpaceX. In her Twitter, Garver said that earlier, talking with NASA representatives, she often heard skeptical statements about Falcon Heavy.
According to her, instead of the NASA's super-heavy SLS (Space Launch System), it's better to use Falcon Heavy, which is ten times cheaper than the first one. "SpaceX and NASA are considering missions to Mars as their goals, but only one can really get there at a sustainable price," the former deputy administrator believes.
In comments to Garver's post, network users note that in Motor Trend's story of how SpaceX chose Tesla Roadster as the payload for the first launch of Falcon Heavy, there is no mention of NASA and the US Air Force.
GeekWire assumed that NASA and the US Air Force declined the proposal of the head of Elon Musk, because they did not want to risk their own satellites during the pilot launch or did not have at their disposal suitable spacecraft. The German engineer Michael Khan believes that the second stage used at Falcon Heavy was not designed to accurately excrete the spacecraft.
SpaceX was the first in the world for the last 30 years to develop and launch a superheavy vehicle on February 6th. The cost of launching Falcon Heavy, in the maximum configuration capable of delivering to low Earth orbit up to 63.8 tons of cargo, starts at $ 90 million.
In 2018, two more Falcon Heavy launches are planned, the rocket should bring a telecommunications satellite to a near-Earth orbit for a customer from Saudi Arabia and a spacecraft in the interests of the Pentagon. Previously, the US military has repeatedly stated its interest in Falcon Heavy.
Currently, NASA as a vehicle for sending astronauts to the Moon and Mars is considering the creation of a super-heavy SLS rocket.