Falcon Heavy launch delayed?


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In quelling a false rumor that said NASA was forcing SpaceX to change the launchpad location for its Falcon Heavy (it is not), SpaceX noted that Falcon Heavy’s first launch will occur “no earlier than the end of 2017.”

Previously they have said that they are aiming for November 2017, following the reconfiguration of the 39-A launchpad from Falcon 9 launches to Falcon Heavy launches. This statement suggests that a November launch is now considered unlikely. The reconfiguration will take 60 days, and cannot occur until SpaceX switches its Falcon 9 launches from launchpad 39-A back to launchpad 40. Since a Falcon 9 launch is presently scheduled for launchpad 39-A this Saturday, that reconfiguration cannot begin before then. Moreover, the launchpad for an October 30 Falcon 9 launch remains unnamed, suggesting that launchpad 40 might not be ready by then and therefore forcing SpaceX to use 39-A for Falcon 9. This would in turn delay the first Falcon Heavy launch to the very end of December, at the earliest.

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3 comments

  • Richard M

    Is there any clue as to why repairs to LC-40 are taking longer than expected?

  • Richard M: I think the hurricanes that moved through the area in August and September might explain everything. Also, I think they planned to use 39A for this upcoming launch, and since it has been pushed back because of those hurricanes they can’t start the reconfiguration until it flies.

  • mkent

    The NASAspaceflight.com SpaceX manifest lists the 30 October launch for Koreasat-5A as occurring from pad 39A. 60 days of pad upgrades will then occur. After that, fit checks, wet dress rehearsals, and static fires for Falcon Heavy. I suspect it will be February or March before Heavy flies.

    Elon Musk said early this summer that pad 40 would ready by August. It, like everything Elon says, will take more time. When he originally announced Falcon Heavy he said it would launch by the end of 2012, so he’s quite a bit behind schedule.

    Still, it should be grand when it finally flies. I’m looking forward to it.

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