SpaceX Bangabandhu Satellite-1 Mission set for Thursday launch


The rocket, whenever it launches, is meant to carry a communication satellite for Bangladesh called the Bangabandhu 1, from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The rocket is created to launch twice in a 24-hour period.

"With this historical first satellite, Bangladesh inhabitants will have access to a wide range of broadcast and communications services", Thales Alenia Space, the company that designed and built the satellite, said in a statement. The 8,000-pound spacecraft is expected to spend up to 15 years in orbit serving countries ranging from Turkmenistan to the west and the Philippines to the east, giving the Bangladesh Communications Satellite Company a digital foothold in the region.

But most eyes will be focused on the shiny new 23-story rocket carrying the satellite.

SpaceX has also enabled Taiwan to launch its first indigenously built satellite, Formosat-5, into orbit last year and also permitted the Luxembourg government to launch its first military satellite, GovSat-1, earlier this year as part of the country's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation obligations - with the low price point of the Falcon 9 stated as a direct reason for the mission's economic affordability.

The Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 is scheduled to launch the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite for the government of Bangladesh later today at 4:12 pm EDT from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As has become common for SpaceX, the Falcon 9's first stage will attempt to fly itself back to a landing on an offshore droneship after boosting Bangabandhu 1 out of the thick lower atmosphere.

That's a stark distinction from all other orbital rockets in use today, which are used once and then discarded in the ocean.

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With greater refurbishment, a Block 5 could be launched up to 100 times.

"I think the F9 boosters could be used nearly indefinitely, so long as there is scheduled maintenance and careful inspections", Musk said on Reddit in October 2016.

The first Block 5 Falcon 9 ascends into the Florida sky with Bangabandhu-1 for Bangladesh.

SpaceX is readying an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket for launch Thursday - the first of its kind. But first it needs at least 7 successful launches before NASA will approve the rocket for human cargo. SpaceX has its eye on bigger ambitions: The 350-foot-tall Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, which will help the company reach the red planet and was recently approved for production at the Port of Los Angeles. The launch window was set to stay open until 6:21 p.m. EDT, according to SpaceX. There is an 80 percent probability of acceptable weather conditions.

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Until now, SpaceX has managed to land propellants after each launch but reusing the rockets is a very expensive procedure.

Approximately 33 minutes after the launch, the satellite will be deployed into a geostationary orbit, SpaceX has said. It was originally published at 11:59 a.m. EDT on May 10, 2018.