Thursday, 24 May, 2018

SpaceX to Attempt First Launch of Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX launch for first Falcon 9 Block 5 set for Thursday evening SpaceX's second Falcon Heavy rocket spectacle slips to October
Delores Daniels | 11 May, 2018, 00:58

On board the rocket is the country of Bangladesh's first communications satellite.

However, in order to obtain the desired savings, SpaceX will not only have to operate rockets that are easy to overhaul but also to reduce the workforce involved in the rockets' overhauls.

Concept image of the spaceship portion of SpaceX's "Big Falcon Rocket", or BFR, blasting off from the surface of Mars.

While the Falcon 9 is created to be reusable, none of the previous rockets have been launched more than twice so far.

It's created to reduce the country's digital divide in both big cities and rural areas by providing internet, television and other communication services.

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. The rocket was also created to meet NASA's stringent crew-carrying requirements.

Possible launch dates have been pushed back several times. That's more than half of the estimated overall $62 million price of the Falcon 9, according to various trade publications. Bangladesh's launch is likely to start a price war in the region.

The first step toward that goal begins today.

The second stage's MVac engine - a vacuum-optimized Merlin 1D - will ignite at T+2mins 36secs to take the Bangabandhu-1 satellite to its initial orbit. The rocket will also attempt to land on a droneship off the coast of Florida about 8 minutes after launch. SpaceX said its drone ship, called "Of Course I Still Love You", will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean to catch it. The first is the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) and the second one is Satellite in Orbit. The satellite is called Bangabandhu-1, meaning "Friend of the Bengals", a reference to Mujibur Rahman, who led the country to independence in 1971.

Bangabandhu-1 will have a primary service area encompassing Bangladesh and the surrounding region and will offer Ku-band coverage over Bangladesh and its territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal, as well as India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

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