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What will be the heaviest payload put into LEO by a launch vehicle that is in service at start of 2050?

As of 2018, the Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful (highest total impulse) rocket ever brought to operational status, and holds records for the heaviest payload launched and largest payload capacity to low Earth orbit (LEO) of 140,000 kg (310,000 lb), which included the third stage and unburned propellant needed to send the Apollo Command/Service Module and Lunar Module to the Moon.

Currently, the world's most capable rocket is the Falcon Heavy with an advertised LEO payload capacity of 63,800kg (140,660 lb).

On January 1 2050, what will be the highest payload delivered to LEO (in kilograms) of a launch vehicle in service?

This question applies only to the payload delivery of vehicles physically launched into space (regardless of their propulsion method) and not to the capacity of any hypothetical and currently unrealized systems such as space elevators, space towers, space guns, skyhooks or other unconventional systems that may be developed by 2050. The vehicle class must have delivered the payload in question and be arguably in service in that future flights of the same or similar vehicle are anticipated.

Resolves ambiguously if there are no qualifying launch vehicles on January 1 2050.


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