SpaceX successfully launched its upgraded "Block 5" Falcon 9 rocket Friday afternoon, carrying Bangladesh's first satellite into orbit.
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.
Los Angeles-based SpaceX on Friday launched and landed its most recoverable rocket yet - one that is expected to carry US astronauts to the International Space Station beginning later this year. 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.
That last part - the refurbishment - is going to be key, because the rocket is the first of SpaceX's Block 5 models to fly. NASA requires seven successful flights before the new rocket receives final certification for a manned mission.
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.
Space.com notes that the two-stage rocket separated about 2.5 minutes into the flight.
In addition, the new booster features a suite of reliability upgrades created to satisfy NASA's stringent crew-carrying standards, because SpaceX will use the Block 5 - as well as the company's Dragon capsule- to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Bangladesh is now a member of the satellite club.
Named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, the communication satellite is destined to provide the people of Bangladesh with a wide array of services, "including phone services, backhaul, radio, direct-to-home TV, and internet", Thales Alenia Space, the French company that built the satellite, said in a statement. Best of all? Even if you can't make it to Florida in the next few hours, you can still watch the liftoff live from SpaceX's website. Control was transferred to the designated Bangabandhu satellite geostation a half-hour later.
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