SpaceX’s giant ‘Falcon Heavy’ mega-rocket launch, initially scheduled for April 7th will not now happen until April 9th.
The launch is already being described as one of the most important in the life of SpaceX, as it is the first commercial cargo being carried on the massive 27-engined rocket. The rocket made its debut flight more than a year ago in February 2018 when it famously carried Elon Musk’s Tesla sports car into space.
The rescheduled launch is scheduled for 6.36pm (Florida time, 22.36 GMT) on on April 9th from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre.
The rocket had a successful test firing of its engines on April 5th. Musk tweeted that all was well, although warned that the launch date might still move because the engineers and technicians are being “extra cautious”. The rocket itself has been modified over he past year and now delivers an extra 10 per cent of thrust compared with the debut test flight of a year ago.
That caution is expected by any client, but the prospects for future NASA and US Air Force contracts depends on everything performing nominally.
The SpaceX team is also planning to recover much of the rocket after launch, and the design improvements are intended to see each rocket fly up to 10 times with the bare minimum of refurbishment. The rocket’s two ‘side boosters’ are planned to land back at Cape Canaveral, while the central \portion of the rocket will land at sea on one of the SpaceX drone barges.