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In a statement issued to Bloomberg, the US Space Force says that SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket could still conduct its first operational launch for the military before the end of the year.

That’s a large downgrade from late 2021 and early 2022, when – lacking any new information from the US military – it appeared that SpaceX could launch up to three Falcon Heavy rockets for military customers over the course of the year. Around eight months later, the world’s most powerful and capable operational rocket – backed by a strong manifest of 11 firm launch contracts – hasn’t flown once since June 2019. At that time, the rocket’s next launch was already expected no earlier than late 2020 – a roughly 18-month gap.

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