Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

SpaceX to Attempt First Launch of Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX to Attempt First Launch of Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket

The satellite will be transferred into a geostationary orbit approximately 33 minutes after launch, according to SpaceX.

Nothing unusual in that, but today's launch is special given that SpaceX is using an uprated "Block 5" first stage for its Falcon 9 rocket, its most advanced to date, for the launch.

By shortening the turnaround time back into space and reducing the preparations needed for a new mission, SpaceX could lower the cost of launches even further.

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Standing more than 20 stories tall, the Falcon 9 Block 5 is the latest, and SpaceX says the final, major upgrade to the workhorse commercial rocket.

Why it matters: Previous incarnations of the Falcon 9 could be relaunched two times. As such, Block 5 rockets have been created to conform to NASA's crew-carrying requirements.

Musk said he was proud of the SpaceX team who worked hard prior to the launch to make it a successful one.

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

Fueling of densified LOX (Liquid Oxygen) into the first stage will also begin at T-35mins.

Once Falcon 9 is away, the first stage will burn for 2mins 31secs before all nine Merlin 1D engines shut down in preparation for stage separation at T+2mins 33secs.

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Bangabandhu-1 will separate from the top of the Falcon 9 at 33mins 38secs after launch. The 8,000-pound spacecraft is expected to spend up to 15 years in orbit serving countries ranging from Turkmenistan to the west and the Philippines to the east, giving the Bangladesh Communications Satellite Company a digital foothold in the region. Thales Alenia Space, a French company, designed and built the satellite, which already underwent several test runs. "Please keep us in your prayers so that we can safely launch our first satellite of Bangladesh".

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