Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

First SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lobs comms sat into orbit

First SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lobs comms sat into orbit

The main aim behind the launching of the Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket was to propel Bangladesh's first high-orbit communications satellite, namely, Bangabandhu Satellite-1.

The so-named Block 5 upgrade took off from the NASA's Launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Centre for its debut flight at 2:14am on Saturday Bangladesh time.

The vehicle, aiming to bring astronauts to the International Space Station in the future, came with many design changes to improve its reusability and reliability. The helium tanks were ruptured in a pre-launch test on September 1, 2016, causing an explosion.

SpaceX recovered the first stage of the rocket, and it touched down cleanly on the Atlantic Ocean barge "Of Course I Still Love You". The upgraded model, which can be reflown about a hundred times, carried Bangladesh's Bangabandhu satellite-1. All eyes were on the spacecraft because it will be the first flight of the newest version of the Falcon 9.

In addition, the upgraded Falcon 9 is more powerful than the previous versions, thanks to the nine Merlin engines in the rocket's first stage and the single "vacuum Merlin" in the second stage.

SpaceX's Block 5 rocket blasted-off successfully on Friday afternoon.

" With this historic very first satellite, Bangladesh citizens will certainly have accessibility to a large range of program as well as interactions solutions, consisting of phone company, backhaul, radio, direct-to-home TELEVISION and also net", Thales Alenia Area agents wrote in a summary of the satellite.

Enhanced rocket reusability is a core tenet of SpaceX owner and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's broader objectives of making space travel commonplace and ultimately sending humans to Mars.

The satellite launch, done on behalf the Bangladesh government, will allow internet access to all corners of the country. "There are thousands and thousands and thousands of requirements", Musk said of the rocket.

"The Bangabandhu satellite will help to make Bangladesh an advanced country", Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, which will manage the satellite, told the Dhaka Tribune.

By the end of 2017, Musk aims to launch two missions with the same rocket in the span of 24 hours.

Rahman was executed in 1975 at the age of 55.

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