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SpaceX targeting late January for Falcon Heavy debut

05 January 2018

One of them is a time-lapse video that shows the Falcon Heavy going vertical at the 39A launchpad, the very same launchpad at Nasa's Kennedy Space Center that saw the historic launch of the Apollo 11 moon rocket. The launch will take place from launch pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. "Launch end of the month", he wrote. The rocket was lowered and rolled back to its hangar the next day. The delay was caused by "extreme weather", likely the result of storm Grayson, which appears to have left the U.S. to deal with freezing cold temperatures. Then, on Instagram, Musk said a hold-down test fire for the rocket was happening next week, with plans to launch by the end of the month. That statement came despite forecasts that had, in recent days, offered a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather for a launch previously scheduled for January 4 and 5. With the ability to lift into orbit over 54 metric tons (119,000 lb)-a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel-Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.

"There's a lot of risk associated with the Falcon Heavy", he told SpaceNews.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy
SpaceX shows off its Falcon Heavy rocket vertical on the launchpad

SpaceX does have some customers for the Falcon Heavy queuing up, however. In December, Musk announced the rocket would carry his own Tesla Roadster sports auto on a trajectory that would take it past the planet Mars.

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SpaceX targeting late January for Falcon Heavy debut