There has been no shortage of news about the Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX. Elon Musk gave us a glimpse of the rocket when it was nearing completion and he told us about the unusual cargo it would be carrying. Furthermore, Musk confirmed the launch of the rocket at the end of this month but it looks like that the rocket which has been plagued by delays has another holdup.
The company was expected to complete a test fire of the rocket’s engines this week but the ongoing government shutdown seems to have postponed all activity until further notice. Even though the Senate voted in favour of resuming the activities, it is still unclear when the activities will resume.
As the Congress is unable to fund the day-to-day operations of the federal government, SpaceX can’t complete the Falcon Heavy test. The company relies on personnel from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the US Airforce’s Space Wing to oversee operations. As long as the government shutdown continues, companies like SpaceX are grounded.
“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,” said SpaceX spokesperson John Taylor in a statement. “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 has won two national security space contracts or NSS missions that Taylor mentions in his statement. The shutdown has not affected SpaceX but has also impacted NASA operations. The official NASA Twitter and other accounts run by US agencies have tweeted that they are on a hiatus during the shutdown.
This is not the first time Falcon Heavy has been delayed but Musk was finally on track to launch it at the end of this month to start the new year strong but if the government shutdown persists, there is no telling how much the maiden flight of the Heavy rocket will be pushed back.