Government shutdowns are never a particularly pleasant experience. The suspension of certain government programs and the furlough of numerous non-essential government employees are just a couple examples of this.
While the company initially planned to test fire their Falcon Heavy rocket on January 10, those plans have been repeatedly delayed with a final test date initially set for January 20. Unfortunately, due to the lack of government support, the test fire has been put on hold indefinitely.
"We remain hopeful that the Congress will quickly resolve their differences and put our partners in the Air Force and NASA back to doing their important work as soon as possible. This shutdown impacts SpaceX's Falcon Heavy demonstration, which is critical for future NSS missions," SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said in a statement. "It also impacts critical missions for our customers, including important international allies scheduled to launch shortly from Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base..."
"All SpaceX launches that require government assistance will be delayed, including critical International Space Station supply deliveries."
Ordinarily, SpaceX would work together with members of the Air Force's 45th Space Wing to ensure launches go smoothly and safety protocols are followed - an impossible task at the moment, according to a Space Wing spokesperson. "Due to the shutdown removing key members of the civilian workforce, the 45th Space Wing will not be able to support commercial static fires taking place on KSC. Without our civilian workforce, the 45th SW is unable to support launch operations as well."
Unfortunately for SpaceX, it's not just the test fire that's being put on hold. All SpaceX launches that require government assistance will be delayed, including critical International Space Station supply deliveries. If the government shutdown runs longer than a few weeks, it could present serious problems for the company.
A bill that could provide temporary government funding is set to be voted on today by the Senate. The vote, if it passes, could buy SpaceX some time but it's still only a temporary fix. As previously stated, Congress will need to come to an agreement for things to truly return to business as usual for the company.