Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

The government shutdown is delaying SpaceX's Falcon Heavy test and other launches

SpaceX Can't Perform Its Falcon Heavy Test Fire Because of the Government Shutdown US government shutdown ruins SpaceX plans for a Falcon Heavy test fire
Frank Williams | 23 January, 2018, 01:11

"Due to the shutdown removing key members of the civilian workforce, the 45th Space Wing will not be able to support commercial static fires taking place on (Kennedy Space Center)", the Wing said, further noting that launch operations at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station also are on hold until the shutdown is resolved. In its first flight, the rocket and its 27 engines will push towards the heavens and, as Musk has stated multiple times, the rocket isn't expected to survive its trip. Sadly, the Air Force personnel SpaceX depend upon to conduct launches, static fires, and other ignition tests at its launch pads are not considered "essential" under regulations that prevent the federal government from coming to a complete halt in the event of a funding-related shutdown.

Government shutdowns are never a particularly pleasant experience.

The U.S. government shutdown has forced SpaceX to delay the launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket.

The 45th Space Wing is a department of the Air Force supporting space missions.

The Falcon Heavy, which will carry Elon Musk's own Telsa Roadster skyward whenever it's finally ready for its maiden flight, was slated for a test firing of its engines in advance of its expected debut launch.

White House Changes Public Voice Mail To Blame Democrats For Shutdown
Staffers forced to stay home have auto-response emails blaming Democrats for the shutdown, which is now in its third day. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.

The launch of the Falcon Heavy will represent a watershed moment in spaceflight history. Until all civilian employees of the 45th Space Wing get back to work, no further tests will proceed.

But the 45th says it can't do these crucial tasks during the shutdown. Nevertheless, SpaceX will be able to continue some level of testing with Falcon Heavy, if needed.

"This shutdown impacts SpaceX's Falcon Heavy demonstration, which is critical for future [national security space] missions", John Taylor, a SpaceX spokesperson, told the Verge. SpaceX really needs to do the static-fire in January, but depending on how long the government is shut down, it is foreseeable the tests won't be done until sometime in February.

"It also impacts critical missions for our customers, including important global allies scheduled to launch shortly from Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base, as well as upcoming missions this spring to resupply the worldwide Space Station", he added. Its two side boosters will land at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1 while the center stage will descend on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship.

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