SpaceX plans to launch the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket today

SpaceX plans to launch the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket today

The Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket's main goal for its maiden mission was to propel a communications satellite for Bangladesh, called Bangabandhu Satellite-1, to a geostationary transfer orbit roughly 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) above Earth.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched a newly upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida Friday, carrying a Bangladesh communications satellite toward orbit, then landed the rocket's first stage on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean for its 25th successful rocket recovery.

The company says the Block 5 variant can be re-flown as many as 10 times and can be easily refurbished between launches, which would drastically reduce the cost of a single launch.

The booster's first stage executed a ideal touchdown nine minutes after the launch and landed, just as planned, on SpaceX's "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Friday's flight marked the ninth SpaceX launch so far this year, compared to five orbital-class missions the company had logged at the same point in 2017, according to Musk.

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SpaceX provided viewers with brief play-by-play updates on its Twitter account where it eventually shared an image (above) of the first stage successfully touching down on the droneship. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will provide direct-to-home services, video distribution and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) communications across Bangladesh.

SpaceX has landed and reflown boosters many times before. Ultimately, Musk hopes to have 30 to 50 Block 5 rockets in SpaceX's fleet, capable of running hundreds of missions per year.

The redesigned engines are at the core of the Block 5 Falcon 9. Block 5 is set to change that. Not only is it the most powerful version of the Falcon 9, it's also the most highly reusable model, and it's going to be the rocket that takes humans to space for NASA.

"This rocket is really created to be - the intent is to be the most reliable rocket ever built".

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