Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

SpaceX Launches its Final Version of its Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX Launches its Final Version of its Falcon 9 Rocket

The first stage of the Falcon 9 will return to Earth following launch and attempt a touchdown on one of SpaceX's autonomous drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean. Stage 1 and 2 were separated within 2.5 minutes of the launch.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 launched the Bangladesh Communications Satellite Co.'s first orbital satellite, dubbed Bangabandhu-1, into orbit. The recoverable Block-5 booster is created to be reused at least 10 times with minimal refurbishment between flights, allowing more frequent launches at lower cost - a key to the SpaceX business model.

SpaceX plans to reuse the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket as many as 10 times, compared with previous versions that only lasted two trips.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Shahjahan Mahmood earlier said Falcon-9 will pull the 3.7-tonne satellite vertically up to 36,000km from the launch pad before making adjustments for orbit.

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Tuesday night, expect a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a low of 66, according to the weather service. One severe weather report has been a measured 61 miles per hour gust at the South Haven Regional Airport at 8:16 p.m.

Friday's launch occurred at 1:14 p.m. California time. But the U.S. space agency wants to observe at least seven launches before it agrees to use the rocket system for manned spacecraft.

"With this historical first satellite, Bangladesh inhabitants will have access to a wide range of broadcast and communications services, including phone services, backhaul, radio, direct-to-home TV and internet", Thales Alenia Space representatives wrote in a description of the satellite. "I would like to greet and congratulate the people of the country on this glorious occasion", she said in a message marking the launching of the country's first satellite.

However, this is the first time that an enhanced version of the Falcon 9 rocket, known as "Block 5", has flown.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a Bangladesh telecommunication transmission company Sumon Ahmed Sabir said the country was so far largely unfamiliar with businesses involving its own satellites.

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Ku-band covers Bangladesh and its territorial area of the Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.

It soared from NASA's Kennedy Space Center into a hazy afternoon sky, carrying a communication satellite named Bangabandhu-1 after the founding father of Bangladesh.

Elon Musk's company managed to launch its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket without any incidents, acing both the liftoff and the landing of the booster's first stage, Space.com reports.

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