The commercial space company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, held out hope of launching the first Falcon Heavy test flight before the end of December until recently. The delay to early 2018 was first reported Tuesday by Aviation Week and Space Technology, and SpaceX confirmed the schedule slip to Spaceflight Now.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer, told Aviation Week that the launch will follow the Falcon Heavy's static fire, which is set to occur in December, by a few weeks.
SpaceX is poised to move launches of its single-core Falcon 9 rockets to pad 40 at neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, beginning with a Dec. 8 flight to send cargo to the International Space Station, freeing up pad 39A for final upgrades and outfitting to support the Falcon Heavy.
Workers at pad 39A this week are reconfiguring the base of SpaceX's mobile strongback transporter and erector tower for the Falcon Heavy, which is made of three modified Falcon 9 first stage boosters arranged in a side-by-side configuration.