Latest victim of the #SchumerShutdown : SpaceX

23 Enero, 2018, 01:08 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • SpaceX's three-core 27-engine Falcon Heavy launch vehicle sits on pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in December 2017

While SpaceX is a wholly private space launch company, it relies nearly unilaterally upon launch support and range expertise provided by NASA and the US Air Force, both in Cape Canaveral, FL and Vandenberg, CA. That engine test is a prerequisite for launching the rocket for the first time.

SpaceX confirmed that the static fire test will be affected by the United States government shutdown, and will not take place until operations have resumed with the government.

Such an extended shutdown would be utterly unprecedented, but if 2017 and 2018 have done anything at all, they've tempered tendencies towards knee-jerk claims of "that'll never happen!"

Private space launch company SpaceX is the latest victim of the Democrat-led government shutdown. Because of the pad's location, SpaceX relies on support from the Air Force's 45th Space Wing, which oversees launches and operations at both KSC and the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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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.

In a statement to news site The Verge on Monday, the Air Force's 45th Space Wing, which is tasked with keeping the public safe during launches, said that the shutdown has caused it to remove "key members of the civilian workforce" from its efforts. "Without our civilian workforce, the 45th SW is unable to support launch operations as well".

If the shutdown continues, it may also affect the launch of a SpaceX communications satellite which is scheduled for January 30 launch from Cape Canaveral.

"This shutdown impacts SpaceX's Falcon Heavy demonstration, which is critical for future [national security space] missions", John Taylor, a SpaceX spokesperson, said in a statement. 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 worldwide allies scheduled to launch shortly from Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base". SpaceX and Air Force told The Verge that all launch operations have been affected, not just the static fire. The Senate was scheduled to vote on reopening the government today at noon, ET.

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