SpaceX to test new rocket for astronauts

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SpaceX to test new rocket for astronauts

The mission will launch from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and will loft Bangladesh's first satellite, Bangabandhu-1, to Geostationary Transfer Orbit. The backup window for the launch set was set for 4:14 p.m. EDT Friday.

The launch window is scheduled to open at 4:12pm EDT and will remain open for just over two hours before closing at 6:22pm EDT.

The Block 5 rocket is the final version of SpaceX's Falcon 9 fleet.

The fun doesn't end with takeoff.

Similar to previous launches, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster on its "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. This new Falcon 9 is created to capitalize on SpaceX's reusable rocket technology in a whole new way by dramatically shortening the time between uses. "The big breakthrough of Block 5 is it represents a new generation of design that they plan to re-fly 10 times", said Luigi Peluso, an aerospace and defence consultant at AlixPartners. Right now, SpaceX has data on boosters that have flown once or twice.

Musk said he was proud of the SpaceX team who worked hard prior to the launch to make it a successful one. Once in place, the satellite will provide telecom services for Bangladesh and the surrounding region. Forecasters predicted a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather. SpaceX is clearly trying to cut down the amount of time between when a rocket is first launched and when its first stage (and second stage, down the line) can be launched again.

For Musk, rocket reusability is the key to SpaceX's long-term ambition of colonizing Mars.

But Block 5 - the souped-up SpaceX rocket carrying the satellite - may be the real headliner.

A second stage COPV apparently ruptured during a pre-launch test September 1, 2016, triggering a catastrophic explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and its satellite payload and heavily damaged the launch complex.

An important part of the mission will be landing the rocket's first-stage booster once it returns to Earth.

-Retractable black landing legs, compared to the Block 4's white ones.

The launch was halted after a last-minute automatic abort, Spaceflight Now reported.

Elon Musk's SpaceX will fly Bangladesh's first satellite into orbit today in a mission that amounts to a dress rehearsal for taking astronauts into orbit.

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