SpaceX launches new Falcon 9 rocket

12 May, 2018, 04:25 | Author: Grady King
  • Falcon 9 Block 5 rolling onto launch pad as seen in Instagram post by Elon Musk

The rocket has redesigned helium tanks to prevent a recurrence of the launch pad explosion of September 2016.

The Falcon 9 Block 5, as the new version is called, is poised for launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As the second stage continued to power Bangabandhu-1 to a high geostationary transfer orbit, the first stage maneuvered its way back to Earth, pulling off a pinpoint touchdown on a robotic SpaceX "drone ship" stationed in the Atlantic Ocean almost 400 miles (630 kilometers) southeast of KSC.

"In the continuous advancement of Bangladesh another milestone is added today", said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a video address aired on SpaceX's launch webcast.

After the March 2017 launch of a previous Falcon 9 rocket, Elon Musk said that, "The most important part of Block 5 will be operating the engines at their full thrust capability, which is about 7 or 8 percent nearly 10 percent more than what they now run at". If all goes as planned, SpaceX would fly the same rocket twice in a single day in 2019, which would be another first for the company.

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The company's goal has always been to make rocket launches more affordable by bringing rockets back from space and then launching them again on new missions.

SpaceX recovered the first stage of the rocket, and it touched down cleanly on the Atlantic Ocean barge "Of Course I Still Love You". The first crewed flights of the Block 5-Dragon system could come as early as this year, SpaceX representatives have said.

SpaceX blasts off its powerful Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the first high-orbit communications satellite for Bangladesh.

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SpaceX has safely return-landed 24 of its boosters and reflown 11 of them.

Another first for the launch was its Bangabandhu Satellite-1 payload, which is Bangladesh's first geosynchronous communications satellite.

These improvements are not only aimed at making the Falcon 9 more reliable and reusable, but is also in anticipation of the first flights of the Crew Falcon, which will carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will provide broadband connectivity to rural areas throughout the country and is expected to last at least 15 years, according to a SpaceX statement.

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