SpaceX has set May 10 from 4:12pm to 6:22pm (Florida time) for the launch of Bangabandhu-1, which is 2:12am to 4:22am Friday in Bangladesh. The launch has been tentatively recycled for May 11 and the new window opens at 4:14pm EST. This wont be the first time SpaceX attempted a successful landing (and subsequent re-use) of a rocket, but it will be the first attempt by a Falcon 9 Block 5 as such.
The fun doesn't end with takeoff.
The first payload to launch on SpaceX's debut Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket will be Bangabandhu Satellite-1, the first communications satellite for the country of Bangladesh. The action will also feature a landing attempt by the Falcon 9's first stage, which will try to touch down on a robotic SpaceX ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. But what else makes the Block 5 exciting is that it meets NASA's requirements for carrying crew, and this might happen sometime this year.
Once SpaceX proves the Block 5 design, its next challenge is expected to be a 24-hour turnaround of the rocket booster for a new mission. It will ultimately replace all other SpaceX rockets, as it will be relatively low-priced to launch and reuse - at least in theory. Block 5 will take that concept to a new level and make successive missions not only easier, but cheaper. At the time of this update, the rescheduled time for liftoff was aimed at 5:47 PM Eastern Time (that's 21:47 GMT).
Engineers have steadily improved the rocket over time, making it taller, shaving unnecessary weight, and giving the engines more power.
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The inaugural satellite is named after Bangladesh's founding father, Sheikh Majibur Rahman, popularly known as Bangabandhu, which translates as "friend of Bengal".
However, the launch time slipped before being scrapped on Thursday entirely.
Billionaire Elon Musk suffered another setback Thursday when SpaceX, the company he founded, scrubbed a Falcon 9 launch attempt.
"Departing for Florida to witness historic Bangabandhu Satellite-1 launching", Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for the country's Information and Communication Technology Division, said via Twitter on Monday.
The launch was halted after a last-minute automatic abort, Spaceflight Now reported.