SpaceX is about to test its new rocket for astronauts

Cesar Mills
May 11, 2018

On Thursday, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, Bangladesh's first communications satellite, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The backup window for the launch set was set for 4:14 p.m. EDT Friday.

The launch window for today is from 4:12 p.m.

Block-5 marks the final version of the iconic Falcon 9 lineup before SpaceX introduces its super heavy-lift launch vehicle, dubbed the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, which will be created to send manned missions to Mars.

The fun doesn't end with takeoff. SpaceX will have its drone ship, called "Of Course I Still Love You", stationed in the Atlantic Ocean to catch it.

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.

Reusing the rockets is a major cost-saving step for space travel. SpaceX will also be using titanium grid fins (which deploy during and help control reentry), rather than aluminum.

SpaceX's YouTube live broadcast, embedded below, should begin about 20 minutes before launch. If the "unequivocal intent" of the upgraded rocket's design translates into operational reality over the next several months, Musk frankly stated that the vehicle will be the most reliable rocket ever built while simultaneously paving the way to aircraft-like reusability and a price floor as low as $5-6 million per launch. SpaceX will check everything and attempt the launch again tomorrow at the same time.

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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 Falcon 9 Block 5 will deliver the Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite into orbit. There is an 80 percent probability of acceptable weather conditions.

The inaugural satellite is named after Bangladesh's founding father, Sheikh Majibur Rahman, popularly known as Bangabandhu, which translates as "friend of Bengal". The helium is used to pressurize the propellant tanks and provide the muscle needed for steering. But NASA still requires seven successful flights before the new rocket receives final certification for a manned mission.

With just 58 seconds remaining in the countdown, Falcon 9 threw an abort just as the vehicle took over the countdown.

The rocket's first stage - the section that returns to Earth for reuse - is where most of the shielding improvements were made.

Even the landing legs have been redesigned to allow engineers to retract them after touchdown. The previous versions of the first stage booster have flown twice at most.

Other reports by GizPress

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