Government Shutdown Delays Falcon Heavy Static Fire

The federal government shutdown that began on Saturday morning will postpone the Falcon Heavy static fire that SpaceX until there is an agreement between Congress and the White House to reopen the government. The impasse will result in the 45th Space Wing furloughing key civilian workers needed to support the static fire.

The shutdown will also prevent any launches until it is resolved. The next U.S. launch is scheduled for Jan. 30 from Cape Canaveral. A SpaceX Falcon 9 is set to launch a communications satellite for the Luxembourg government.

  • JS Initials

    I’ve read suggestions posted on Nasaspaceflight.com forum suggesting that SpaceX bring in their own people to do both the SF and launch. A good idea? Or a bad idea?

  • Michael Halpern

    Its the FAA people i believe that are missing and the tracking equipment that’s shut down as well as range safety

  • therealdmt

    Oh man, this thing ain’t ever gonna go, is it, lol

  • JS Initials

    That would affect launch, but what about SF?

  • Pete Zaitcev

    The sad part is, FAA is going to be involved into Boca-Chica too.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Actually, that will change in the near future (already started). Large push to block grant mission types, such as GTO, for a given launch site. Also work on the FCC side to have standing permits rather than per flight paperwork. The launch rates are making the one off paperwork very burdensome. This work has already started.

  • ThomasLMatula

    And yet the airlines are still flying. Wonder how long before someone realizes rocket launches are also essential?

  • Kirk

    They need range support for a static fire in ways they don’t need for wet dress rehearsals (though I’ve yet to see it well explained), so the shutdown is affecting both static fires and launches.

  • Michael Halpern

    Range safety personnel

  • Michael Halpern

    If something goes boom you need people to make sure no one is in the blast radius. more likely to happen in static fire.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Yup, no sense of a roadblock without a GS-7 and a box of doughnuts. On the other hand someone has to man that EOC in case a COPV decides to make a run for it.

  • Michael Halpern

    LOL way to live up to your username there.

  • Michael Halpern

    Yeah the FAA and FCC are tired of being flooded with launch and satellite paperwork…

  • Michael Halpern

    it will, just got to be patient

  • Robert Gishubl

    You have to laugh, from any other organization delaying the USA from testing or using the most powerful rocket in the world would be treason or an act of war. But it’s government so it’s ok.

  • Jeff2Space

    Yeah, considering something could go “boom” during a wet dress rehearsal, the difference in danger between a wet dress rehearsal and a static fire test seems quite small.

  • Jeff2Space

    From what I’ve read, only commercial launches are impacted. Launches for the US Government are, of course, considered essential.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Actually the entire licensing process needs an updating as a result of the Commercial Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015. Hopefully it’s on the Space Council’s to do list.

  • Michael Halpern

    Yeah and FAA and FCC are pushing for it, because the offices that handle the space stuff can’t keep up without budget increases that they won’t get.

  • Michael Halpern

    In that respect its mostly fine print somewhere or law makers not understanding rockets

  • Steve Ksiazek

    The Wet Dress is just fuel loading / unloading procedures.

    I assume the static fire includes testing everything required for launch, they just shutdown the engines early and don’t let go the launch restraints. Since the AF civilian personnel are required for launch, they are also required to perform their part in the SF.

  • Michael Halpern

    Fortunately this isn’t an “operational” FH launch, if any mission is to be delayed because of political stupid, FH maiden flight is probably best one to be delayed.

  • JS Initials

    Wake up! In the past 50 years we’ve had all sorts of ‘progressives’ twisting and warping social values and promoting it in academia, politics, law, media, arts, etc; so now millions of snowflakes and generation Y, etc view what was good as bad, bad is good, truth are lies, lies are truth, treason is virtue, loyalty is evil…No wonder society is marching like lemmings to the edge of a cliff.

  • ReSpaceAge

    And here comes the fake news blaming SpaceX for the government baring them from Static fires and launches.
    http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/01/22/spacex-claims-it-cant-test-fire-rocket-due-to-government-shutdown-despite-billions-in-taxpayer-funding/amp/

  • Douglas Messier

    For some perspective, for the 2013 shutdown Obama signed a bill that kept military paid and also kept nearly half the civilian support staff on the job. Democrats proposed similar bill this time but Senate Republicans rejected the idea. They complained about unpaid military but refused to do anything about it.

    In any event the delay has not been significant and we’re talking about a program that is 5 years behind schedule.

  • therealdmt

    I’M TRYING!!!

    Om, om, om…..

    Chamomile tea, anyone?

  • Paul451

    The Wet Dress is just fuel loading / unloading procedures.

    The Amos 6 accident happened during fuelling, long before the engines were due to fire. It was the fuelling that was the problem.

    Rule 1 is to always treat the splodeys like they gonna splode. No exceptions.

    Rule 2 is See Rule 1. Rules 3 through 150 are variations on Rule 2.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    The difference is, they weren’t practicing a launch operation, so no AF personnel were required to participate during the wet dress. That didn’t mean that SpaceX couldn’t still make the launcher go boom due to a combination of the COPV design and fuel loading procedure.

  • Paul451

    When Congressmen have to fly rockets to go home for holidays.