August 17, 2018

Watch the Debut of SpaceX's New Falcon 9 'Block 5' Rocket

11 May 2018, 01:01 | Ross Houston

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Bangabandhu Satellite-1, the first geostationary communications satellite of Bangladesh, will be launched from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA. A backup window for launch opens at the same site on Friday, the 11th of May, at 4:14 PM Eastern Time, closing 2-hours thereafter.

Block 5, however, will be the final version of the workhorse Falcon 9 family, now the most popular rocket in the world and priced at about $60 million per launch.

The flight marks the debut of the "Block 5" version of the Falcon 9 rocket, intended by its designers to be the final iteration, suited for flying ten times or more and carrying humans to the International Space Station.

The fun doesn't end with takeoff. A landing attempt will occur at 8 minutes and 10 seconds after launch, aboard the Of Course I Still Love You droneship. In the past, SpaceX rockets have been only capable of making about two trips. The satellite will help maintain communications during natural disasters if telecommunication fails. The hope is that the Block 5 will be able to lift off 10 times, with just inspections between landing and launch, and up to 100 times with occasional refurbishment.

Its recoverable main-stage booster is created to be reused at least 10 times with minimal refurbishment between flights, allowing more frequent launches at lower cost - a key to the SpaceX business model. Forecasters predicted a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather.

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Part of SpaceX's goal is not just the highly publicized eventual colonization of Mars but the proliferation of access to space in general - regardless of nation, geopolitics, and economic development status.

The launch of SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 rocket will have to wait another day before launching from the Kennedy Space Center. Thales Alenia Space, a French company, designed and built the satellite, which already underwent several test runs. The helium is used to pressurize the propellant tanks and provide the muscle needed for steering.

A second stage COPV apparently ruptured during a pre-launch test September 1, 2016, triggering a catastrophic explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and its satellite payload and heavily damaged the launch complex.

F9 B1046 offers a glimpse of its Block 5 Merlins, octaweb, and heat shielding.

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