The Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 will be making its debut today, May 10, and you’ll be able to watch the liftoff and landing attempt live.
The Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 is scheduled to launch the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite for the government of Bangladesh later today at 4:12 pm EDT from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Afterwards, the two-stage rocket’s first stage will make an attempt to land on a drone ship off the Florida coast.
The Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 will be the first true test of SpaceX’s reusable spacecraft. While Elon Musk claims that the craft can be used up to 100 times, most industry experts estimate the reusability at more like ten different times. Still, that’s a massive improvement over what we’ve dealt with previously in terms of space travel.
The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 is a monumental event and may change the trajectory of space travel if the mission goes as expected. If you’d like, you can be a part of this occasion by tuning into the live video broadcast at the SpaceX website.
The launch window, as mentioned above, opens at 4:12 pm EDT and will run until 6:22 pm EDT. There’s only a 20 percent chance that bad weather will spoil the event, so it’s likely that the launch will go off without a hitch. If weather is to cause problems, the launch will likely be delayed but not for too long.
The Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 is designed to be reusable, with the first stage being limited to two launches while the first stage is expected to list off up to 10 times with just inspections between landing and launch and up to 100 times with refurbishment.
In addition to being reusable, the Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 is built to the utmost quality – meeting NASA’s stringent crew-carrying requirements and now holding a multibillion-dollar NASA contract to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Moving forward, these missions will likely be carried out by the reusable Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 – further reducing cost.
SpaceX representatives have come forward with a statement that flights using the Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 and carrying human passengers could come as early as this year – bringing us one step closer to economical space travel to and from the International Space Station – and eventually even further beyond.
While SpaceX is a little bit ahead of the game, they’re not the only player in the industry when it comes to private contracts to ferry NASA scientists. Boeing also holds a NASA crew contract and will continue to fly agency astronauts to and from the International Space Station using a capsule named the CST-100 Starliner and United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets.
This launch is a series of firsts, with the Bangabandhu 1 also being Bangladesh’s first communications satellite. Once launched, the spacecraft will provide broadcast and communications services to the residents of the South Asian nation – as reported by French company Thales Alenia Space which built the satellite.
It’s clear that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 launch is going to be a major step forward for the company, and may serve to finally establish the company as a provider of economically viable spaceflight.
At this point, it still costs millions and millions of dollars for each space launch due to the costs of building new equipment, but if SpaceX is able to invest their time in just a few different reusable parts they may be able to significantly cut down on the costs of launches and landings.
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.
As mentioned above, you can watch the new SpaceX launch on their website – scheduled to start at 4:12 pm EDT this afternoon.