SpaceX debuting newest Falcon 9 rocket during launch Thursday

Ismael LynchMay 11, 2018

If the launch window today is missed, a backup launch window is scheduled for Friday, May 11, at 4:14 p.m.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 meets the standards for crewed space missions and its hardware upgrades dramatically improve upon SpaceX's goal to make rocket reusability and reliability a cost-effective routine.

FUN FACTS: With this launch, Bangladesh will be the 57th country with a geostationary communication satellite in space, orbiting our Earth.

Although SpaceX fully intends to recoup its considerable investments (likely approaching $2 billion for Falcon 9 and Heavy) and ensure that a reliable stream of income is available for BFR, Starlink, and other R&D projects, the cost of a flight-proven booster is now reportedly down to roughly $50 million per launch, almost 20% lower than the listed base price of $62 million.

Importantly, it will be a Block 5 design that will be used to carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

The launch window for today is from 4:12 p.m. There's only a 20 percent chance that bad weather will spoil the event, so it's likely that the launch will go off without a hitch.

"The Bangabandhu satellite inscribed with Joy Bangla Joy Bangabandhu will be launched tonight as all tests are positive", Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told from Florida.

Similar to previous launches, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster on its "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. Going into Thursday's launch, SpaceX's landing record stood at 24 successful booster recoveries, 12 on land and 12 on droneships.

The rocket has redesigned helium tanks to prevent a recurrence of the launch pad explosion of September 2016.

Musk conceded that NASA concerns led the company to develop a contingency plan to use a different kind of vessel to hold the pressurized gases needed to operate the rocket, but didn't think it would be necessary.

Just seconds before liftoff from Launch Complex 39-A, the Falcon 9's flight computer stopped the countdown. The new tanks are created to eliminate that failure mode and are required for NASA's commercial crew program. SpaceX engineers have also included extra shielding at the base of the rocket to protect the booster's propulsion systems as they reenter the atmosphere. In fact, rockets have to be disassembled and completely overhauled every time.

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