SpaceX successfully launches satellite with new upgraded 'Block 5' Falcon 9 rocket

12 May, 2018, 00:55 | Author: Enrique Watson

The Block 5 is a big deal for SpaceX because it's the culmination of the entire Falcon 9 project. It's the last and most powerful version of the Falcon 9 that SpaceX plans to make, as the company switches its focus to developing a new giant rocket and spaceship combo, the BFR.

Friday's launch occurred at 1:14 p.m. California time.

The first crew launch for SpaceX is tentatively planned for December 2018. And this particular rocket will be showing off its landing skills after the flight.

The successful takeoff comes one day after the company was forced to abort its first launch attempt.

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Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will be deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) approximately 33 minutes after launch.

The satellite will offer video and communications coverage over Bangladesh and its territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal, as well as in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

While the Block 5 rocket launch did not carry a crew, a crew-carrying version could launch as early as this year. Thanks to the changes, the Block 5 shouldn't require as much time or effort to be made flight-ready again once it lands.

The rocket is created to require far less maintenance and refurbishment between flights, and is certified to carry humans to space later this year when SpaceX launches its Dragon crew capsule to the International Space Station. That's more than half of the estimated overall $62 million price of the Falcon 9, according to various trade publications. Although SpaceX has never fully divulged manufacturing costs, experts have estimated that the first stage of the rocket alone can cost up to $40 million.

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