The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket looks amazing as it towers over Cape Canaveral, but its debut may be delayed after the Falcon 9 launch with the mysterious Zuma payload was again pushed back.
The Zuma mission, which was initially scheduled to launch in November, is still keeping details a secret, raising various theories on what the Falcon 9 will send up to space.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Ready For Debut Launch
SpaceX recently uploaded a drone video on Twitter that shows off the Falcon Heavy rocket as it was raised on the historic Apollo mission launchpad, ahead of engine tests that are expected to start in days.
With more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff-equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power-Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. https://t.co/NneqPRPr46 pic.twitter.com/oswCUreG6i
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 3, 2018
Several Apollo launches originated from mission launchpad 39A, including the first manned moon mission, Apollo 11, in 1969. Falcon Heavy will not carry any men in its debut launch, but it will have a very special passenger: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster.
Musk initially said in December that he will send the luxury electric vehicle up in space while playing "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. He later backtracked on his statements, but recently revealed pictures that showed the Tesla Roadster being fitted onto the Falcon Heavy.
SpaceX will be conducting some tests on Falcon Heavy in preparation for its launch. There is no specified launch date yet, but it the rocket's debut may possibly be delayed because of the decision to again push back the launch of the Falcon 9's Zuma mission.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Zuma Mission Delayed Again
SpaceX will kick off 2018 with the secretive Zuma mission that will have the Falcon 9 deliver a mysterious payload to low-Earth orbit.
The launch was delayed from November last year to Jan. 4 due to undisclosed reasons, and then again delayed due to issues with the Falcon 9's nose. The target launch date for the first SpaceX rocket launch of the year is now Jan. 7, attributing the additional delay to extreme weather.
Not much is known about the Falcon 9 Zuma mission, which will blast off from launchpad 40. All that is known is that it is a national security mission, and the launch was requested by Northrop Grumman, a defense company, in behalf of the United States government.
The assumption is that the Zuma payload is a national security satellite, but the secrecy surrounding it is certainly intriguing.