SpaceX launch for first Falcon 9 Block 5 set for Thursday evening

11 May, 2018, 04:45 | Author: Kristi Owen
  • SpaceX Is On The Right Track To Becoming The 3rd Biggest Private Tech Company In The US

What's essentially different with the upgraded Block 5 first stages, however, is that they are deliberately created to fly 10 times with just brief inspections between landing and lift-off, and up to 100 times with some refurbishment involved. The rocket was also created to meet NASA's stringent crew-carrying requirements.

Most of the changes to this final form of the Falcon 9 are created to emphasize reusability.

Known as the Falcon 9 Block 5, the rocket was about 60 seconds from launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida when its ground system went into an "auto-abort" mode due to an unknown technical issue.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket is built to re-fly up to 10 times with minimal refurbishment, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters ahead of the launch.


Poised for launch atop the Falcon 9 rocket is Bangabandhu 1, Bangladesh's first communications satellite. It will ultimately replace all other SpaceX rockets, as it will be relatively affordable to launch and reuse - at least in theory.

If Elon Musk's space company also achieves this goal, the substantial savings made over this time should help the company finance its future projects such as the mission to Mars and the construction of the new BFR rocket. There's just a 20 percent chance that bad weather will spoil the attempt, officials with the U.S. Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron said on Monday (May 7). If there's a delay, the company may try again on Friday at 4:14 p.m. ET.

The Falcon 9 block 5 is meant for quicker reuse and reportedly will have a stronger heat shield and new landing legs, among other improvements. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will be deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) approximately 33 minutes after launch.

The best previous example of re-usability was the space shuttle, before SpaceX started recovering booster rockets in 2015; the company also began recovering Dragon space capsules in 2010 and re-flew one in 2017.

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