SpaceX pushes rocket launch back to Sunday

SpaceX pushes rocket launch back to Sunday

SpaceX pushes rocket launch back to Sunday

Zuma payload was prepared by Northrop Grumman with SpaceX on behalf of the USA government. This gives it three times as many engines as the company's Falcon 9 rocket, a class which delivers Dragon cargo crafts to the International Space Station.

2017 was also the year when SpaceX flew its first reused rocket, and the company has done so many times since.

Musk's company didn't have all the fun in 2017, however: the remaining American space missions were dominated by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

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It is expected to continue doing that in 2018, and later in January, it will also test its Falcon Heavy rocket. SpaceX later released photos of the vehicle being encapsulated in the rocket's payload fairing. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars. The aerospace giant completed 18 American missions with its Falcon 9 rockets. If this procedure fails to produce any unwanted surprises or insurmountable bugs, it's probable that the WDR flow will transfer smoothly into static fire procedures. Similar analysis will undoubtedly occur after the first static fire to verify that Falcon Heavy is still flight-worthy and its Tesla Roadster payload is in good condition.

The Kennedy Space Center lists January 2018 as the earliest possible slot for the launch. In the meantime, antsy fans can bask in the beauty of a timelapse Elon Musk recently posted, showing Falcon Heavy being lifted into a vertical orientation during its first pad-fit checks several days ago.

The September 2016 accident that blew up a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket does not count as a failed mission, since the rocket blew up while it was on the launch pad, and not during a mission. But don't get too excited just yet: SpaceX has a history of delays.

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