SpaceX says that Falcon Heavy will debut at January end

The Falcon Heavy in all its glory

The long-delayed inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy - the company said in April 2011 that the vehicle would be ready for a first launch in 2013 - is a demonstration mission without a paying customer. "Launch end of the month".

SpaceX also announced the delay of its mysterious Zuma mission - the fourth such delay to occur over the past year.

In September, the US Air Force's X-37B program launched a secret robotic mini-shuttle via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX has said that the rocket will be capable of carrying 140,000 pounds of cargo into space.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, took to social media Thursday to share posts of the company's rocket going vertical and an update on when it's expected to be launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

'Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks, ' Musk said.

Musk announced back in December that the rocket will carry his sports vehicle Tesla Roadster and will orbit past Mars.

The Tesla Roadster prepped for launch
The Tesla Roadster prepped for

Once Zuma is on its way to orbit, part of the reusable rocket will fly back down to Earth, landing on a pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida around 10 minutes later.

The Falcon Heavy has been in development for the last several years.

The rise stems entirely from the private space industry, in particular SpaceX. As SpaceX has pointed out, getting all 27 Merlin engines to ignite in unison is vital to the success of the launch. The Falcon Heavy is like a Falcon 9 rocket on a double dose of steroids.

The $200,000 (£151,000) sports auto - an updated version of Tesla's first production vehicle - can seat four and travel 620 miles (1000 km) on a single charge, a new record for an electric vehicle.

Musk, who aspires to colonize the "Red Planet" in the coming decade, wants to land at least two of the spacecraft on Mars by 2022, according to CNN. Most importantly to SpaceX, the cores have been created to safely come back to Earth, where they can be reused for future missions.

Traditionally, rockets that have been launched into space are used just once and are left to burn up in the atmosphere after a mission.

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