Falcon 9 Block 5 is created to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability.
An updated version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, tailored for eventual crewed missions for NASA, made its debut launch on Friday from Florida's Cape Canaveral carrying a communications satellite for Bangladesh into orbit.
The rocket's payload, the Bangladeshi government's first communications satellite, Bangabandhu-1, was placed into Earth orbit at 4:47 p.m. EDT, just 33 minutes after launch, according to SpaceX. The satellite was successfully deployed into geostationary transfer orbit; the Block 5, meanwhile, landed on SpaceX's "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship in the Atlantic.
The Falcon 9 Block-5 comes equipped with about 100 upgrades for greater power, safety and reusability than its Block-4 predecessor.
It's the last and most powerful version of the Falcon 9 that SpaceX plans to make, as the company switches its focus to developing a new giant rocket and spaceship combo, the BFR. "Ironically, we need to take it apart to prove that it does not need to be taken apart", he joked.
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Since then, the USA government has been forced to rely on Russian Federation to get astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Reusing rockets is key to Musk's grand strategy of lowering the cost of access to space and eventually making it possible to send thousands of settlers to Mars, thus turning humanity into a multiplanetary species.
"Would you rather fly in an aircraft that has never had a test flight before, or do you want to fly on an aircraft that has flown many times successfully?" he told reporters.
SpaceX has no plans to use its Falcon Heavy, now the most powerful rocket in operation, to fly humans. That's how the company intends to shave launch costs. The satellite will also provide broadband connectivity to rural areas throughout the country. It is expected to be the first SpaceX vehicle to satisfy NASA's standards for its Commercial Crew Program to carry agency astronauts to the International Space Station.