| An American space company says a powerful new rocket should be ready for a test launch by the |
end of 2012. The company is Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. Its new rocket is called the
Company officials say it'll be able to transport satellites or spacecraft weighing up to 53 metric tons
into orbit. Fiftythree metric tons is 117,000 pounds. That load weight is double the capacity of NASA
space shuttles. The space agency is retiring its shuttles after thirty years.
Elon Musk is the chief executive officer of SpaceX. He says the Falcon Heavy will be the second
most powerful rocket ever. He says it was designed to carry satellites and other equipment into space.
He says the rocket was designed to meet NASA's ratings for human flight safety. So it could someday
be used to carry astronauts and other travelers into space.
Mr. Musk says the Falcon Heavy could also be used for missions(任务) like carrying a robotic lander
to collect samples from Mars. He says, "It has so much more capability than any other vehicle that I think we can start to consider missions like a Mars sample return, which requires a tremendous amount of lift
capability because you've got to send a lander to Mars that still has enough propellant(推进物) to return
The first launch is planned from the company’s launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, is expected in late 2013 or 2014.
In time, SpaceX hopes to launch ten Falcon Heavy rockets a year. It says the rocket should cut back
on launch costs to about 2,000 dollars a kilogram.
SpaceX already has a billionandahalfdollar deal with NASA to use a smaller rocket to transport
cargo(货物) to the International Space Station. The rocket is the Falcon 9, and the deal is for after the
two last shuttles-Endeavour and Atlantis-are retired this year.
1. What do we know about the feature of the new rocket from the second paragraph?
(No more than 11 words)
2. Why did SpaceX want to design the new rocket？(No more than 16 words)
3. Why can the new rocket be used to carry a robotic lander to collect samples from Mars?
(No more 6 words)
4. What will SpaceX do for the NASA after Endeavour and Atlantis are retired?
(No more than 14 words)
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