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SpaceX to test Falcon Heavy rocket Monday at Kennedy Space Center

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2018 @ 5:48 PM

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is scheduled to lift off Monday from Kennedy Space Center. (Photo: WFTV.com)
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is scheduled to lift off Monday from Kennedy Space Center. (Photo: WFTV.com)

SpaceX plans to test its Falcon Heavy rocket on the Space Coast Monday, company officials said. 

The time window for the static-fire test starts at 4 p.m. 

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Crews have already loaded fuel onto the rocket, which stands on launch pad 39-A, at Kennedy Space Center. The Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket to launch from there since the 1970s. 

SpaceX hopes to launch the rocket by the end of January. The company unveiled the Falcon Heavy rocket in December.

Photos posted by SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk then showed the new rocket inside its Florida hangar. Musk has said the Falcon Heavy will launch his own cherry-red Tesla Roadster into space.

SpaceX will test-fire the rocket's 27 engines at the pad Monday.

Falcon Heavy is essentially the company's Falcon 9 times three. It features three Falcon 9 first-stage boosters joined together with a second-stage on the middle one. It also has three times as many engines.

The Falcon 9 is now used to hoist satellites and supplies to the International Space Station. The Heavy is intended for super-big satellites, as well as cargo destined for points far beyond, like Mars.

Musk has repeatedly warned there's a good chance the new rocket could blow up, thus, his own personal property will be aboard. He heads the Tesla electric car company, as well as SpaceX and several other companies.

If all goes as planned, Musk's Roadster will wind up in a long, elliptical orbit around the sun, stretching as far out as the orbit of Mars. He laid out the jaw-dropping plan in a series of tweets earlier this month. Last week, a SpaceX manager said the company will meet all necessary government requirements.

"I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future," Musk wrote.

The Falcon Heavy will be without its featured load for the test. That's been customary ever since a Falcon 9 exploded during a 2016 practice engine firing, destroying both rocket and satellite.

The Falcon Heavy will have double the thrust of the next biggest rocket out there today, according to Musk. "Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another," he promised.

SpaceX advertises that the Falcon Heavy will be able to lift 140,660 pounds of cargo to low-Earth orbit, 37,040 pounds to Mars, and 7,720 pounds to Pluto.

NASA's Saturn V moon rocket, used during the late 1960s and early 1970s, will still top the charts. But none of it was reusable. NASA introduced reusability with its space shuttles in 1981, reflying the orbiters as well as booster segments and main engines until their retirement in 2011.

SpaceX has paved the way for rocket reusability in commercial orbital flight. Two of the Heavy's three first-stage boosters have flown before. After blasting off from NASA's historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, all three will attempt vertical landings, two on land and one on a floating offshore platform.

SpaceX is working on an even bigger rocket that would replace the Falcon line.

NASA is also working on a megarocket, the Space Launch System or SLS. So is United Launch Alliance, a venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, with its next-generation Vulcan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Small earthquake detected in Mexico City after national team beats Germany 

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 6:20 PM

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - JUNE 17: Mexicans celebrate at the Angel of Independence after the Mexico National Team victory over Germany in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia on June 17, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images)
Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - JUNE 17: Mexicans celebrate at the Angel of Independence after the Mexico National Team victory over Germany in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia on June 17, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images)(Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)

Fans cheering the national team’s win over Germany created an “artificial quake” that tipped the Richter scale, according to reports

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Seismologists at two monitoring stations in Mexico City picked up readings when Hirving Lozano scored 35 minutes into Mexico’s 1-0 upset over defending champion Germany Sunday, according to USA Today

Officials at the California Earthquake Center told USA Today the induced quake likely generated a 2 on the Richter scale and would have gone unnoticed by the public if it were a typical earthquake. 

Germany became the third defending champion to lose in its opening match in the last 16 years. Mexico next plays Korea Republic June 23. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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2 dead after Osaka hit with massive 6.1 magnitude earthquake

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 10:55 PM

Smoke rises from a house blaze in Takatsuki, Osaka, following an earthquake Monday, June 18, 2018.  A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (Kyodo News via AP)
Yohei Nishimura/AP
Smoke rises from a house blaze in Takatsuki, Osaka, following an earthquake Monday, June 18, 2018. A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (Kyodo News via AP)(Yohei Nishimura/AP)

A massive 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck outside Osaka Monday morning, leaving at least two dead and 41 injured.

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The quake registered around 8 a.m. with an initial strength of 5.9, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

There was no tsunami threat however morning commutes were disrupted as trains were not running and power was out to many homes, according to the Japan Times

Kansai Electric Power Co. said nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture were operating normally.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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23-foot python swallows woman whole, reports say

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 8:42 AM

Woman Swallowed Whole By Python

A 54-year-old Indonesian woman is dead after villagers say a 23-foot python swallowed her whole.

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According to The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, Wa Tiba of Muna Island disappeared Thursday after leaving her village, Persiapan Lawela, to tend to her garden. The next day, searchers discovered a "snake with a bloated belly" and some of Tiba's things near the garden, said the village's chief, known by the single name Faris, the AP reported.

Faris said villagers killed the python and cut it open, the AP reported. They then "found Tiba's body still intact with all her clothes," Faris said.

Graphic photos and videos posted online appeared to show the woman's body being extracted from the dead python.

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This isn't the first time a python has swallowed a person in Indonesia, where such snakes are common, AFP reported. A farmer died under similar circumstances in March 2017 on the island of Sulawesi, according to the news service.

Read more here or here.

Dangerous Snakes

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2 people shot at Washington Walmart

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 9:24 PM

File photo. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Police are responding to reports of a shooting inside the Walmart Supercenter in Tumwater, Washington. 

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The fire department told KIRO7.com they are calling it a "mass casualty incident" and confirmed at least two people were shot.

The Walmart is about 62 miles from Seattle.This is a developing story. Check back with KIRO7.com for updates.

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