An updated version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, tailored for eventual crewed missions into orbit, was set for its debut commercial launch on Thursday from Florida's Cape Canaveral carrying a communications satellite for Bangladesh.
Following a first stage engine test firing last week, the revamped booster's first flight is targeted for liftoff from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 5:47 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) Thursday, after slipping from the original time of 4:12 p.m.
Thursday's launch window at Launch Complex 39A is from 4:12 p.m. until 6:22 p.m. The satellite will be transferred into a geostationary orbit approximately 33 minutes after launch, according to SpaceX. Forecasters are predicting an 80 percent chance of acceptable weather.
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. Now, with the Block 5 version of its rocket, SpaceX finally hopes to close the loop-build a rocket, fly it multiple times with a short turnaround, at a relatively low cost.
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Today, SpaceX Falcon 9 will carry out a new launch. In the past, SpaceX rockets have been only capable of making about two trips.
Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9's first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The countdown for the much-sought launch of Bangladesh's first satellite, Bangabandhu-1, has begun as all the necessary preparations in this regard have been completed.
With Block 5, that track record is very likely to not only continue but to expand as well, as one of the stated goals of offering discounted flight rates with flight-proven (reused) Falcon 9s will come to much larger fruition than it already has with the cadre of boosters that have been re-flown to date. It will be the first Bangladeshi communications satellite put into space.