On Wednesday, SpaceX successfully fired all 27 engines of its Falcon Heavy rocket booster while it was secured to its launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
This static fire test — or powering all of the engines of a rocket but not actually launching it — was conducted as a precursor to the Falcon Heavy’s maiden voyage, which Musk stated will be in “a week or so,” on Twitter. No official launch date has been set by SpaceX, but the completion of this test suggests the company will announce something soon.
The test was conducted on SpaceX’s launch site, LC-39A and this was the first time all of the Falcon Heavy’s engines were powered up at once. This pre-launch process is meant to check if the engines are truly ready for a full-fledged voyage.
Multiple videos of the test seem to show the Falcon Heavy firing up without any problems, but we’ll have to wait for an official statement from SpaceX to see if there were any outstanding issues. Here’s one video from spaceflight reporter Robin Seemangal.
This test has supposed to happen earlier in January but was postponed multiple times over the course of the month, the most recent reason being the latest U.S. government shutdown.
It seems like things are finally moving forward for a mission that has been delayed for five years now. The most recent launch date was expected to be some time at the end of January, based on previous comments from SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell. At the time of writing the aerospace company has seven days to make good on that approximate date.
When it launches, the Falcon Heavy will the be most powerful rocket ever launched with engines capable of producing 5.1 million pounds of thrust at full power. SpaceX is also planning on recovering the rocket cores after they’re launched. This way the company can reuse them for future missions to the moon and Mars.
Every space travel fanatic will be waiting an the edge of their seats for a notice from SpaceX about an official launch date.
This SpaceX animation shows what the Falcon Heavy launch might look like when it finally happens: