SpaceX postpones next-gen rocket launch

Two NASA Astronauts to Take Live Spacewalk Week
NASA Astronauts
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11 May, 2018

This newest version of the Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The launch window opens at 4:12 p.m. ET, or 20:12 UTC, and closes at 6:22 p.m. ET, or 22:22 UTC.

Bangabandhu Satellite-1 prepares for launch atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 Block 5. rocket at NASA at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The highlight of this flight is the debut of the Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket (which Ars previewed thoroughly last week).

The fun doesn't end with takeoff.

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But spaceflight aficionados will mostly be gawking at a brand-new rocket carrying the payload: SpaceX's most powerful, most reusable, and possibly most affordable version of its Falcon 9 rocket to date, called Block 5 "full thrust". SpaceX has also added features to enable the rocket's 16-story booster - the largest and most expensive part, as it makes up about 70% of total launch costs - to launch, land, and be reused. Weather conditions are forecast to be 80 percent go. Going into Thursday's launch, SpaceX's landing record stood at 24 successful booster recoveries, 12 on land and 12 on droneships.

With greater refurbishment, a Block 5 could be launched up to 100 times. SpaceX holds a multibillion-dollar NASA contract to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), and the company will do so using its Dragon capsule and the Block 5 Falcon 9.

The Bangabandhu-1 will provide services in three categories-broadcasting, telecommunication and data communication-and also help boost the development of the country's telecommunication sector, said Palak. The first is the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) and the second one is Satellite in Orbit.

The intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, according to U.S. officials. But so far, it has relaunched 11 of its workhorse Falcon 9 rockets, one time each.

In all, the rocket has a 130-minute launch window. Block 5 is set to alter this.


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