Falcon Heavy completes static fire test

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The exercise, known as a static test fire, is created to test the Heavy engine's health, and collect data on its flight readiness.

There was smoke, there was fire-and, most importantly, nothing on the launch pad appeared to blow up.

There has been no shortage of news about the Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX. Musk's company is launching a red Tesla Roadster blasting the song "Space Oddity" out into the solar system.

When launch time does arrive, it will be a nail-biting moment.

The long-anticipated test flight will carry Musk's Tesla Roadster. "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". After launch, SpaceX plans to land two boosters back at Cape Canaveral Landing Zone 1 and one on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

If the launch is successful, the Falcon Heavy will be open for business. That will be a quite a show.

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For 14 of the launches, SpaceX landed the boosters, to be reused for future flights. One more Falcon 9 launch was supposed to blast off from pad 39A in mid-November, but the mission with a classified US government payload named Zuma was grounded almost two months until it finally launched from pad 40 earlier this month. That's the rocket SpaceX has used since 2012.

But first, the Falcon Heavy has to get off the ground. That's a joint venture between legacy aerospace firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Preceded by a series of dry fit checks, wet propellant loading tests, and many other bug-fixing operations at Pad 39A, today's inaugural Falcon Heavy ignition has been years in the making.

The Falcon Heavy will also be able to carry more payload into orbit than any other rocket in the world - and the most by and launcher since the Saturn 5 - a more important measure of the rocket's lifting capacity.

As every space enthusiast remembers, the government was shut down for several days over the weekend, forcing SpaceX to delay the static fire tests. The test fire was potentially delayed even more thanks to the government shut down over the weekend.

The rocket is, in fact, years overdue.

After first being announced in 2011, the rocket's first flight was set for 2013.

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