Bangabandhu Satellite-1 Mission

Alicia Guzman
May 12, 2018

This is the most powerful version of the private space company's Falcon 9 rocket, one featuring upgrades that enhance its reusability.

The new "Block 5" Falcon 9 rocket took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida at 4:14 p.m. EDT (20:14 GMT) and performed a flawless satellite launch that erased the memory of yesterday afternoon's boggled attempt.

SpaceX has landed and reflown boosters many times before.

"Successful deployment of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 to geostationary transfer orbit", SpaceX said on Twitter.

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Today's launch was originally scheduled for yesterday (May 10), but a "ground system auto abort" scuttled that attempt with just 58 seconds left on the countdown clock.

Such activities are part of the company's efforts to develop fully and rapidly reusable rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX CEO and Founder Elon Musk spoke to his anxieties about the launch.

The Block 5's upgrades take another step in this direction. 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. And this boost was achieved without an increase in mass, Musk added. It's predicted to function as first SpaceX motor vehicle to satisfy NASA's standards for its Commercial Crew method to hold agency astronauts into the International Space Station. BTRC estimates Bangabandhu-1 will save the country around $14 million now spent leasing capacity from foreign operators.

The Block 5 is the last version of the Falcon 9 that SpaceX will produce. The Block 5 is also outfitted with improved navigation fins - which help guide the rocket's first stage back to Earth after delivering a satellite into orbit - made from fire-resistant titanium. "I would like to greet and congratulate the people of the country on this glorious occasion", she said in a message on Saturday marking the launching of the country's first satellite.

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The Falcon 9 Block 5 carried Bangladesh's first geostationary communications satellite toward orbit on Friday.

SpaceX, a privately-owned California-based space transportation firm, said in a statement that the satellite would provide telecommunications coverage for Bangladesh and surrounding nations, and would also allow Bangladeshis living in remote, previously-unreached areas to receive internet and phone service.

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