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SpaceX's New Falcon 9 Rocket Block 5 Debuts Today

SpaceX's New Falcon 9 Rocket Block 5 Debuts Today

SpaceX is scheduled to launch an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center Thursday, to boost Bangladesh's first communications satellite into orbit.

The first stage will coast upward from its shutdown point before beginning its descent toward the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. While Elon Musk claims that the craft can be used up to 100 times, most industry experts estimate the reusability at more like ten different times.

Reusing the rockets is a major cost-saving step for space travel.

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.

Impressively, Bangladesh was able to afford its satellite and launch contract with SpaceX before meeting the eligibility requirements for "Developing Country" status by the United Nations, a status it only achieved two months ago on 17 March 2018. The launch window opens at 4:12 p.m. EDT and closes at 6:21 p.m. EDT.

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As of Wednesday, the 45th Weather Squadron said the probability for good launch weather Thursday at the Cape as 80 percent.

While the first-ever communication satellite of Bangladesh remains an intriguing aspect, observers are also keen to watch out the 23-story rocket, which is the "the final version" of Falcon 9.

The Block 5 was also created to meet NASA's stringent crew-carrying requirements. Nowadays, NASA sends astronauts to the International Space Station using Russia's Roscosmos space program.

SpaceX is planning to launch a satellite for Bangladesh later today (May 10th).

The block 5 Falcon 9 features a variety of upgrades to improve reliability and performance and to make it easier for SpaceX to refurbish the first stages for additional flights. The military had said earlier this year that it was targeting June, but the date has been pushed back due to ongoing qualification testing and engineering review.

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