SpaceX Bangabandhu Satellite-1 Mission set for Thursday launch

SpaceX Bangabandhu Satellite-1 Mission set for Thursday launch

The new rocket is "designed to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment", SpaceX said ahead of the launch window, which opens at 4:12 p.m. ET and closes at 6:22 p.m. ET.

A key part of the mission will be landing the rocket's first-stage booster once it returns to Earth. The "older" version of the Falcon 9 that have flown recently were Block 3 or 4 designs and for "full thrust" operation.

The rocket, whenever it launches, is meant to carry a communication satellite for Bangladesh called the Bangabandhu 1, from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The satellite is expected to expand communication capabilities across Bangladesh and in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Bangabandhu 1 will provide broadcasting and telecommunication services to rural areas, as well as deliver direc-to-home television programming across Bangladesh.

He said Thursday that he's anxious about the launch, since a considerable number of things have the potential to go wrong.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how SpaceX can continue to advance our exploration into space and continue to make a name for themselves in the aerospace industry with the new capabilities afforded by spacecraft like the Falcon 9 rocket Block 5.

It has stronger landing legs, better landing control and is completely reusable. Block 5 is the first iteration of the booster that is meant to be used in 10 launches with only minor refurbishing between uses. In fact, rockets have to be disassembled and completely overhauled every time.

SpaceX, which holds a multibillion-dollar NASA contract to fly astonauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), wants to use its Dragon capsule and the Block 5 Falcon 9 to fulfill the contract.

Most of the changes to this final form of the Falcon 9 are created to emphasize reusability.

Musk in 2016 described the upgrades as "significantly improving performance & ease of reusability". But now, there will be little, if any, tweaking to the rocket during active missions. But with the nature of often skewed and overambitious company launch timelines, a mid-2019 launch for crew missions is a more reasonable estimate. That's more than half of the estimated overall $62 million price of the Falcon 9, according to various trade publications.

This will make it easier to certify the Falcon 9 rocket for human flight.

Before the launch, Musk said in a call with reporters that he was "stressed" and that orbital rockets are hard enough, but building one that can fly 100 times is "crazy hard". The payload fairing has also been upgraded, which will theoretically help with recovery, which SpaceX hasn't been able to do yet.

The first crew launch is tentatively planned for December 2018. The Falcon Heavy mission for the Air Force will be its first for a paying customer.

"I think the F9 boosters could be used nearly indefinitely, so long as there is scheduled maintenance and careful inspections", Musk said on Reddit in October 2016.

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