Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

SpaceX's New Falcon 9 Rocket Block 5 Debuts Today

SpaceX's New Falcon 9 Rocket Block 5 Debuts Today

The Block 5, however, is created to fly up to 100 times, although this will involve some refurbishment and inspections after every 10 flights.

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. Still, that's a massive improvement over what we've dealt with previously in terms of space travel.

The Block 5's launch window opens at 4:12 p.m. EDT on Thursday, although adverse weather or technical problems could see takeoff delayed to another day.

Ten flights of an individual booster would be hugely significant, as SpaceX has thus far only ever reused each of its Falcon 9 rockets a single time.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sitting on the pad at Kennedy Space Center doesn't look too different from its predecessors, but it represents the culmination of two decades worth of rocket engineering at Elon Musk's space company.

This launch is a series of firsts, with the Bangabandhu 1 also being Bangladesh's first communications satellite.

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

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

Bangabandhu 1 is an advanced communications satellite that SpaceX is launching for the government of Bangladesh.

The company hasn't publicly released any official specifications for the new rocket, and SpaceX representatives did not respond to Business Insider's request for them.

Boeing also holds a NASA crew contract.

The new Block 5 rocket is created to be sturdier, so that it can be flown up to 10 times with minimal mechanical refurbishment - a big leap forward in efficiency and cost reduction.

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