May 27, 2018

Falcon 9 Block 5 poised for launch at Kennedy Space Center

11 May 2018, 04:19 | Antonio Miles

NASA Astronauts

Two NASA Astronauts to Take Live Spacewalk Week

The company had planned to test out the newest version of the reusable Falcon 9 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday afternoon. SpaceX officials worked to determine the cause of the abort, then opted to scrub the launch for Thursday and reschedule it for 1:14 p.m. Friday.

Bangabandhu-I, Bangladesh's first ever high-orbit communications satellite, will be launched today by SpaceX.

SpaceX is scheduled to debut its latest and most advanced version of the Falcon 9 rocket Thursday.

The Block 5 rocket is the final upgrade for SpaceX's Falcon 9 fleet. For Musk, rocket reusability is the key to SpaceX's long-term ambition of colonizing Mars.

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

The Falcon 9 Block-5 comes equipped with about 100 upgrades for greater power, safety, and reusability than its Block-4 predecessor.

Engineers have steadily improved the rocket over time, making it taller, shaving unnecessary weight, and giving the engines more power.

The upgrades are all created to make Falcon 9 rockets, which SpaceX has already been recovering and reusing to cut costs on future missions, more durable. Once in place, the satellite will provide telecom services for Bangladesh and the surrounding region.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft on board, launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 3, 2017. The legs had to be removed in previous versions of the rocket before a recovered booster could be hauled away for post-flight processing.

The intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, according to USA officials.

What is Block 5?

The launch of Bangladesh's first satellite, Bangabandhu-1, will have to wait another day at least, after it was aborted with under a minute left in the countdown to takeoff. Block 5 has more powerful engines, much more resilient components to survive the harsh requirements of re-entering the air and landing, less weight (notably by its unpainted components, like the dark interstage) plus a easily generated arrangement.

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