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Bangabandhu-1 launch to continue SpaceX's goal of affordable access to space
11 May 2018, 12:56 | Clyde Nash
SpaceX's first Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket rolls to its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit Elon Musk Instagram
The rocket set to carry Bangladesh's Bangabandhu Satellite-1 to orbit Thursday could be the first orbital rocket ever to blast off three times. If it does go as planned, you can watch the launch via Space.com or directly via SpaceX's website. The rocket was also created to meet NASA's stringent crew-carrying requirements.
The launch window, as mentioned above, opens at 4:12 pm EDT and will run until 6:22 pm EDT. There's just a 20 percent chance that bad weather will spoil the attempt, officials with the U.S. Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron said on Monday (May 7). Poised for launch atop the Falcon 9 rocket is Bangabandhu 1, Bangladesh's first communications satellite.
The satellite, which has cost the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission USD 250 million, was made by Thales Alenia.
Space.com reports that, while SpaceX has landed and a re-launched a number of Falcon 9 first stages, none has been launched more than twice.
It will be the first mission for the upgraded rocket.
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If the mission succeeds, SpaceX's engineers will carefully examine the entire rocket to confirm that their design succeeded in surviving the rigors of space travel, no worse for the wear.
SpaceX also launched its first Falcon Heavy rocket earlier this year, with the test flight laying the foundations for ambitious future missions.
Elon Musk's rocket company is about to move one step closer to launching astronauts into space. The helium is used to pressurize the propellant tanks and provide the muscle needed for steering.
The SpaceX boss has said that cutting down on labor costs could also reduce the cost of each rocket, perhaps by as much as 30%.
Other changes include improved heat shield insulation at the base of the rocket, a tougher "octaweb" first stage engine mounting framework, redesigned turbopump machinery to minimize or eliminate small cracks in critical components and improved insulation in other areas of the rocket.
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