SpaceX successfully launches satellite with new upgraded 'Block 5' Falcon 9 rocket

Muriel Hammond
May 13, 2018

Last year, the company recorded 18 successful launches.

Besides missions to the space station, the new rocket will be used to launch U.S. Air Force global positioning satellites and other high-value, military and national security payloads.

The California-based aerospace company SpaceX on May 11, 2018 launched its most powerful rocket yet "Falcon 9", which is expected to carry humans to space later this year. The much-awaited launch had to be pushed back nearly 24 hours, until the next launching opportunity became available.

The historic event took place at 2:14am (Bangladesh time) on Saturday when the country's first geostationary communication satellite started its voyage towards orbit from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA. If things happen as planned, it will be the first time that a rocket will carry people to space since the end of the United States space shuttle program in 2011.

The booster's first stage executed a flawless touchdown nine minutes after the launch and landed, just as planned, on SpaceX's "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX provided viewers with brief play-by-play updates on its Twitter account where it eventually shared an image (above) of the first stage successfully touching down on the droneship.

SpaceX's Block 5 rocket blasted-off successfully on Friday afternoon. Officials in that area expect Bangladesh's first satellite to improve telephone, data, television, Internet, and emergency communications throughout Bangladesh and beyond - going as far as Indonesia and the Philippines.

The satellite is named after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first President and the founding father of Bangladesh.

That last part - the refurbishment - is going to be key, because the rocket is the first of SpaceX's Block 5 models to fly. The upgraded version boasts a series of important advantages over the previous "Block 4" model and is created to maximize the rocket's reusability.

The recoverable Block 5 booster is meant to be reused at least 10 times with minimal refurbishment involving flights, so allowing more typical rods at lower price tag - a secret into the SpaceX firm version. SpaceX says it will try again Friday. Main engine shutdown was at two minutes and 31 seconds with first stage separation two seconds later. These upgrades provide the rocket with about 8 percent and 5 percent more thrust, respectively, compared to the "Block 4".

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