SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Bangladesh's first communication satellite
12 May, 2018, 23:11 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
After a series of postponed, SpaceX has finally delivered the first Bangladeshi communications satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1, into space. "Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart", Musk said. The much-awaited launch had to be pushed back nearly 24 hours, until the next launching opportunity became available.
The Bangabandhu Satellite-1 mission is the first to utilize Falcon 9 Block 5, the final substantial upgrade to SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Main engine shutdown was at two minutes and 31 seconds with first stage separation two seconds later.
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.
"Bangladesh started a glorious chapter in the history with the launching of Bangabandhu-1 satellite as it has become a proud member of the satellite club from today", the President said in a message as quoted a saying by The Daily Star.
"Once Bangabandhu Satellite-1 is operational, Bangladesh will be autonomous in terms of telecommunications and broadcasting services, being able to offer communications services to many foreign countries, such as Nepal, Myanmar or Bhutan under its coverage area", stated Thales Alenia Space representatives.
The new Block 5 booster is seen as critical to SpaceX's plans to undertake crewed missions for NASA. The Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket launch is now scheduled for May 11, with a launch window that starts at 4:14 p.m. ET and ends at 6:21 p.m. ET.
It is created to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability, according to SpaceX's news release.
The Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket features several upgrades that include an improved heat shield, a helium tank, and retractable landing legs. These upgrades provide the rocket with about 8 percent and 5 percent more thrust, respectively, compared to the "Block 4".
"Block 5 is capable of at least 100 flights before being retired", Musk told reporters on a prelaunch conference call. This work is a key priority of SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, who has said that such technology could slash the cost of spaceflight and make ambitious goals such as the colonization of Mars economically feasible.
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