SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Bangladesh's first communication satellite

  • SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Bangladesh's first communication satellite

SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Bangladesh's first communication satellite

But the monstrous rocket is slated to put a couple hefty satellites into orbit in the near future, according to the company's launch manifest. Although he expressed the usual pre-flight jitters and did not want to take anything for granted, Musk said that after slogging through the Block 5 development process he is now convinced that rockets can be flown, landed, and flown again within 24 hours.

The rocket is the latest version of the company's Falcon 9 platform and its design is very easy to refurbish and reuse.

According to SpaceX, the new Block 5 rocket will be able to fly 10 times with only inspection and minimal maintenance between launches, and 100 times in total before needing to be replaced.

"In the continuous advancement of Bangladesh another milestone is added today", said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a video address aired on SpaceX's launch webcast. Scheduled to launch Thursday, the launch got unexpectedly scrubbed within a minute of its expected launch.

SpaceX recovered the first stage of the rocket, and it touched down cleanly on the Atlantic Ocean barge "Of Course I Still Love You".

Bangabandhu Communications Satellite-1will provide broadcasting and telecommunication services to rural areas and introduce direct-to-home television programming across Bangladesh and neighboring countries.

There was additional element of stress on Musk and the SpaceX team, as the payload was the $250 million Bangabandhu satellite. The new Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket landed in space for the first time. 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.

SpaceX has no plans to use its Falcon Heavy, which is now the most powerful rocket in operation, to fly humans. NASA requires seven flights before the vehicle can be certified for human spaceflight. As such, Block 5 rockets have been created to conform to NASA's crew-carrying requirements.

The launch is a big deal for SpaceX because it moves the company closer to Elon Musk's dream of launching astronauts for NASA.

The Falcon 9 will eventually transport astronauts to the ISS under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

Musk says he hopes to produce 30 to 50 Block 5s for the Falcon 9.