Government shutdown: SpaceX can't test fire Falcon Heavy rocket

by Antonio Miles January 30, 2018, 1:22
Government shutdown: SpaceX can't test fire Falcon Heavy rocket

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that he is confident that the launch will be successful but remained cautiously optimistic saying that with such heavy duty technology anything can go wrong.

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy will be able to launch 63.8 tons to low earth orbit. "Easy viewing from the public causeway", founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted. The Falcon Heavy is regarded as one of the most powerful rockets in the world and it promises to revolutionize space travel over the coming few years. On January 24, the company ignited all 27 engines for the first time in a static fire test, burning the rocket engines for about 12 seconds while the rocket was held in place on the pad. From the sound of it, Musk expects the auto to be in orbit around Mars for "millions of years", potentially being discovered at some point in the future by an alien race once our own species has long since died off.

However, two days later Musk confirmed the February 6 launch date, while Chris Gerbhardt, assistant managing editor, journalist, and writer for @NASASpaceflight, said the 7th would be a back-up day. A couple of months ago Musk had announced that his cherry red Tesla Roadster sports vehicle would be the dummy payload aboard the Falcon Heavy.

Falcon Heavy was first announced in 2011 with a planned demonstration flight in 2012.

According to Musk, Falcon Heavy's first flight will take place on February 6.

"Twenty-seven engines are firing simultaneously", Musk said at the March press conference.

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But the Falcon Heavy is essentially three Falcon 9s strapped together, and it'll boast about three times the thrust of the Falcon 9. Falcon Heavy was built using the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. During the first launch, Falcon Heavy's engines will be throttled to 92 percent of full power. After blasting off from NASA's historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, all three will attempt vertical landings, two on land and one on a floating offshore platform.

It should also be noted that the Falcon Heavy will out-power the Delta IV Heavy by a factor of two.

SpaceX is taking its sweet time preparing for launch. This makes it 45% more expensive than the Falcon 9, a rocket that has been traditionally used by SpaceX for most of its missions. But if there are delays beyond that, all bets are off - the federal government is now funded through February 8, and a government shutdown could stall the launch, since the US Air Force must oversee rocket launches from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX will test-fire the rocket's 27 engines at the pad Monday.

The launch can be watched live.

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