Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

SpaceX to launch 'Falcon 9 Block 5' on Thursday

SpaceX to launch 'Falcon 9 Block 5' on Thursday

"Targeting Falcon 9 Block 5 launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 on May 10 from Pad 39A in Florida", the company wrote on its official Twitter account, following a successful static fire test on May 4.

It will be just another routine launch, but should serve as a proving ground for the Block 5, which Musk has referred to as the "finished version" of its reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

SpaceX recently got a permit to begin constructing the first BFR spaceships in the Port of Los Angeles, about a dozen miles south of the company's headquarters.

Eventually, the rocket is slated to launch humans to the International Space Station, aboard SpaceX's Dragon crew capsule, still under development. Afterwards, the two-stage rocket's first stage will make an attempt to land on a drone ship off the Florida coast.

"The Bangabandhu Satellite-1 mission will be the first to utilize Falcon 9 Block 5, the final substantial upgrade to SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle", SpaceX said in a press release.

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This goal can only be achieved if the new Falcon 9 version can really be reuse faster and easier. There is a 20 percent chance that bad weather will scotch the attempt, however.

The latest changes to the Falcon 9 have been mainly driven by the need to meet NASA's requirements for its Commercial Crew Program.

The launch window opens at 4:12 p.m. EDT, and closes at 6:22 p.m. EDT.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 includes improvements such as upgraded heat shields to protect the rocket's base during re-entry.

The rocket will deliver the satellite to geostationary transfer orbit a half hour after launch. Additionally, the company hopes to reduce the turnaround time between launches of a Falcon 9 booster, now several months, to a matter of weeks. It was originally published at 11:59 a.m. EDT on May 10, 2018.

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