SpaceX to launch 'Falcon 9 Block 5' on Thursday

SpaceX to launch 'Falcon 9 Block 5' on Thursday

The Block 5 was also created to meet NASA's stringent crew-carrying requirements.

The launch was set to send Bangladesh's first communications satellite into orbit. The spacecraft was built by the Franco-Italian company Thales Alenia Space, and will provide TV broadcasts and telecom services throughout southeast Asia. SpaceX rescheduled the launch for about the same time window on Friday.

Musk said he'd like to see a single Block 5 rocket fly three or four times by the end of 2018.

It has stronger landing legs, better landing control and is completely reusable.

Reusing the rockets is a major cost-saving step for space travel.

However, Andy Lambert, vice president of production for SpaceX, pointed out in a Reddit post that an upwards of 10 times is probably more achievable for now.

By comparison, SpaceX's Block 3 and Block 4 rockets have only been able to fly a second time after undergoing refurbishment.

The newly minted Block-5 edition of the Falcon 9, equipped with about 100 upgrades for greater power, safety and reusability than its Block-4 predecessor, was scheduled for liftoff at 4:12 pm EDT from the Kennedy Space Center. The Block 5 is also outfitted with improved navigation fins - which help guide the rocket's first stage back to Earth after delivering a satellite into orbit - made from fire-resistant titanium. "It's a reliability upgrade that combines reliability and reusability".

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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.

If they cut down on the cost of each rocket, that could enable SpaceX to complete launch missions more often.

The first stage will coast upward from its shutdown point before beginning its descent toward the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

A second stage COPV apparently ruptured during a pre-launch test September 1, 2016, triggering a catastrophic explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and its satellite payload and heavily damaged the launch complex. In 2014, both SpaceX and British aerospace company Boeing were awarded a shared $6.8 billion contract by NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Until now, SpaceX has only ever used any of its boosters twice.

Below is a summary of what to expect from the latest and last iteration of Falcon 9, based on our previous reporting, a list of changes compiled by Reddit's r/SpaceX community (which we first heard about from Eric Berger at Ars Technica), and other sources.

The payload fairings are clam shell-like nose cone halves that protect the craft's payload.

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