SpaceX's Block 5 lands safely, delivers Bangabandhu 1 into orbit


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.

A backup launch window opens on Friday, May 11 at 4:14 p.m. EDT, or 20:14 UTC, and closes at 6:21 p.m. EDT, or 22:21 UTC.

SpaceX boss Elon Musk said Block 5 will be the last major upgrade to the Falcon series, and any changes in future will be incidental and minor. The much-awaited launch had to be pushed back nearly 24 hours, until the next launching opportunity became available. The upgraded model, which can be reflown about a hundred times, carried Bangladesh's Bangabandhu satellite-1.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 launched the Bangladesh Communications Satellite Co.'s first orbital satellite, dubbed Bangabandhu-1, into orbit.

The iconic slogan - "Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu" was also chanted at places across the country while Bangabandhu-1 was rocketing Bangladesh's flag into space. Eventually, SpaceX is slated to have "30 to 50" of these rockets in its fleets, though the final number "totally depends" on how many "customers insist on launching a new rocket".

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The rocket's first stage was successfully recovered, landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" offshore droneship, about eight minutes after the launch, at an unmanned platform vessel in the Pacific Ocean.

The updated rocket is created to be reusable, which would drastically reduce costs of trips to space.

Bangabandhu Communications Satellite-1will provide broadcasting and telecommunication services to rural areas and introduce direct-to-home television programming across Bangladesh and neighboring countries. It is the first launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket. The upgraded version boasts a series of important advantages over the previous "Block 4" model and is created to maximize the rocket's reusability. Falcon 9 Block 5 is created to be capable of "10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment", according to SpaceX.

About a half hour after launch, live images showed the satellite drifting into the inky blackness of space, as cheers and screams erupted at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Those modifications could make designers much easier to recondition its initial stage for even more trips.

Its engines have up to eight percent more thrust than its predecessors, the flight controls allow for a better angle of attack to conserve fuel, there is a heat shield at the base of the rocket to protect it during reentry, and the guidance vanes are now made of titanium for better heat resistance.