The Falcon Heavy is currently undergoing testing at Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A, which SpaceX is leasing from NASA. The hold-down test firing, according to the previously-linked article, may occur as early as Monday (tomorrow, as of posting).

At the same time, the current shutdown of the U.S. government may well continue through Monday. The last time this happened, 97% of NASA employees were furloughed.

It appears that SpaceX conducted fueling tests on the Falcon Heavy on Saturday (yesterday), which would indicate that they are able to access KSC facilities despite the shutdown. However, if the hold-down firing requires any coordination with NASA (and the launch certainly does), could the shutdown delay further testing and possibly delay the launch?

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    $\begingroup$ Questions about the future, especially depending on politicians doing their job, are very difficult to answer with reasonably high confidence. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2018 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ yes $\endgroup$
    – Wilf
    Jan 22, 2018 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Wilf that source would make a good answer, it's the first post-shutdown statement from SpaceX I've seen $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2018 at 23:15

3 Answers 3


Currently unclear

According to the Verge:

It's possible that the [static fire] test could come early next week. But the Falcon Heavy’s launchpad is located at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and limited staffing at the site could pose a problem. SpaceX told The Verge on Friday that the company is not expecting the shutdown to affect its operations.

However, the 45th Space Wing says it will not be able to support commercial static fires at KSC during the shutdown. It’s unclear if that means the static fire can’t happen or if SpaceX can still do the test without the 45th’s support. We’ve reached out to both SpaceX and the 45th for further clarification and will update the story when we find out more.


Yes, some testing and all launches except for those critical to national security have to be postponed.

By now, I’m sure you are well aware that a budget agreement was not reached last night resulting in a government-wide shutdown effective today. Many in our workforce recall the impacts of the 2013 shutdown, and now 5 years later, we find ourselves in a similar situation.

The unfortunate reality of the current situation is that lives and operations are disrupted. That said, I want you to know I am committed to each and every one of you and believe that communication will be the key to working through this together. I encourage you to read this page as it contains information on the current shutdown, how it will impact base resources, and what financial resource options you have, should you need them.

If the government does not reopen by the end of the weekend, everyone will report at their regularly scheduled times on Monday, and we will begin carrying out an orderly shutdown and doing official furlough notifications. This day will be difficult on all of us, but know that I value all of you for the effort you make day in and day out. We simply cannot accomplish our primary mission of assured access to space without our incredible civilian workforce. This challenging time should not divide but unite us. My hope is that the furlough’s duration will be brief and become a mere speed bump in our Drive to 48 launches a year.

According to discussions over at NasaSpaceflight, test firings and launches are affected. For the Falcon Heavy mission, there was a wet dress rehearsal over the weekend.

45th cannot support SpaceX commerical static fire tests

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    $\begingroup$ In this context I would think that "civilian workforce" refers to non-military civil servants and the Air Force's civilian contractors; and I don't think SpaceX would be included, since the Falcon Heavy launch is not being funded by NASA or the U.S. military (i.e. they are neither government employees or contractors). So then the relevant question is, does SpaceX depend on services provided by furloughed employees for their testing? $\endgroup$ Jan 21, 2018 at 22:41
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    $\begingroup$ for some tests, yes. I've expanded my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Jan 22, 2018 at 7:05

Yes, it will.

SpaceX will be unable to test fire its three-core Falcon Heavy rocket at Kennedy Space Center because of the government shutdown, further delaying checkout operations ahead of the rocket's demonstration flight, the 45th Space Wing said Sunday.


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