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SpaceX might fire up Falcon Heavy's 27 engines Monday

Elon Musk's next big thing will get fully lit up for the first time as soon as next week.

falconheavy

SpaceX shows off the Falcon Heavy rocket on the launchpad.

SpaceX

The first demonstration launch of the new biggest rocket in the world could still be weeks away. But first, SpaceX is planning to test fire Falcon Heavy's 27 engines on launch pad 39-A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center as soon as Monday.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said Falcon Heavy, which is basically three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together and attached to a single upper stage, will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V beast that took Apollo astronauts to the moon. It will also pack more than twice the punch of the next largest rocket system currently in use today.

Heavy has been in place at KSC for several days, undergoing preparations for the planned demo that will lift Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster out of Earth's gravity well, and on to a symbolic journey toward Mars. That is, if it doesn't explode first, as Musk has warned it might

Before launch, though, a number of tests have to be completed. Perhaps the most dramatic is the static fire test in which Falcon Heavy is clamped in place and all 27 of its Merlin engines are fired. It's kind of like flooring the gas pedal of a muscle car for just a few seconds with a super heavy-duty parking brake engaged. 

SpaceX had hoped to conduct a static fire test last week, but the window was moved to Tuesday, then Friday. Now, Monday, Jan. 22 is the target date. The date has been slipping for unspecified reasons. President Gwynne Shotwell has said the recent mysterious loss of a top secret spacecraft that was launched aboard a Falcon 9 will not affect plans for Falcon Heavy.

SpaceX will not be livestreaming the test firing, but it'll be possible to watch via Spaceflight Now's subscription webcam.

We'll also be watching and will let you know how the test goes or update this post if the date slips again. 

First published June 15, 1 p.m. PT. 
Update, June 16, 1:40 p.m. PT: The earliest date SpaceX may perform the static test fire of Falcon Heavy has slipped to Friday.
Update, June 19, 3:45 p.m. PT: The earliest test fire date has now slipped to Monday.  

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