SpaceX pushes rocket launch back to Sunday

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If that demonstration mission is a success, SpaceX has at least two more Falcon Heavy launches planned for 2018, of the Arabsat 6A communications satellite and the Space Test Program 2 mission for the U.S. Air Force, although the timing of those missions is uncertain. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Musk' Jan. 4 Instagram post points towards a static fire "next week", sometime between January 8-15.

When Falcon Heavy lifts off in 2018, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. The launch of Zuma is clearly the company's main priority, at the moment. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9.

Elon Musk's Roadster seen before being encapsulated in Falcon Heavy's massive 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. 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. The rocket was lowered and rolled back to its hangar the next day.

For the first time since the February 2003 disaster of NASA's Columbia space shuttle, the United States unilaterally topped the list for the number of successful orbital launches in 2017.

The launch on SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9 rocket on Friday had sparked concerns on the U.S. West Coast due to its glowing trail, according to media reports.

Musk, though, has lowered expectations for the first Falcon Heavy launch, something he also did in his Instagram post.

And it looks like SpaceX is just getting started.

Launches, for the goal of this story, refer to the country where the rocket was built, and not from where it was launched.