For a few weeks now, we all have been eagerly anticipating the static fire test of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. Unfortunately, if you thought you might get to experience that soon, you will have to wait a bit longer.
SpaceX confirmed that the static fire test will be affected by the US government shutdown, and will not take place until operations have resumed with the government. SpaceX spokesperson John Taylor gave the following statement to The Jolt Journal:
“We remain hopeful that the Congress will quickly resolve their differences and put our partners in the Air Force and NASA back to doing their important work as soon as possible. This shutdown impacts SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy demonstration, which is critical for future NSS missions. It also impacts critical missions for our customers, including important international allies scheduled to launch shortly from Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base, as well as upcoming missions this spring to resupply the International Space Station.”
SpaceX may be a private company that is working on its own rocket projects, it still has to rely on government support for tests and launches, meaning it has to adhere to government regulations on certain things. Originally, SpaceX thought that its operations may continue during the shutdown, the lack of support rom Air Force’s 45th Space Wing means that the company isn’t able to continue with the static fire test. It may not just be the test itself that’s affected. SpaceX and Air Force told The Verge that all launch operations have been affected, not just the static fire. Until all civilian employees of the 45th Space Wing get back to work, no further tests will proceed.
SpaceX was hoping to launch the Falcon Heavy by the end of January, but it appears that schedule has been pushed back further. A vote to possibly end the shutdown is coming up today at 12P PM ET, so hopefully the government can open back up and SpaceX operations can proceed.