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Falcon Heavy rocket ready for fueling, static fire test
by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) Jan 24, 2018

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket -- the self-proclaimed "most powerful rocked in the world" -- is preparing to conduct a static fire test on Wednesday afternoon.

The static test will feature the ignition of all 27 engines at once. The engine test must prove successful before the aerospace company can proceed with the inaugural test flight of Falcon Heavy, originally scheduled for late January.

The massive rocket is currently on its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But before a static fire test can take place, the rocket must be fueled.

"With no obvious sign or confirmation that fueling is underway, it is unlikely that Falcon Heavy will static fire at the opening of its 6 hour window," Chris Gebhardt, assistant managing editor at NASASpaceFlight.com, wrote on Twitter. "This is not unexpected. That's why it's a 6 hour test window."

The window officially opens at 12:00 p.m. ET, but as Gebhardt's tweet suggests, the actual test may not happen until much later -- if at all.

Gebhardt said he will live stream the static fire test.

SpaceX and science reporters teased the possibility of a static fire for more than week, but the test has been routinely scrubbed and delayed -- frustrating those who are trying to document the event.

The Falcon Heavy engine test and subsequent test flight are expected to kick off a busy year for SpaceX. The company has 30 flights planned for 2018.

The world's largest rocket is essentially a trio of Falcon 9 cores bound together. The three boosters can generate 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff -- equivalent to eighteen 747 aircraft.

"Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost," the company claims on its website.

SpaceX expects the Falcon Heavy to eventually ferry crew and cargo between Earth and Mars. Elon Musk has also said the rocket will carry a pair of civilians on a week-long trip around the moon.

The Falcon Heavy's first stage was successfully tested last year, but the forthcoming static fire will mark the first time the full compliment of the rocket's engines have been tested.

SpaceX says rocket worked fine as spy satellite reported lost
Miami (AFP) Jan 09, 2018
A SpaceX rocket worked fine in its weekend launch of a secretive government satellite, named Zuma, the company said Tuesday after reports the payload did not make it into orbit. "For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night," said Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of California-based SpaceX. "If we or others fin ... read more

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