SpaceX delays launch debut of upgraded Falcon rocket

SpaceX set for over 300 missions in 5 years Musk

SpaceX set for over 300 missions in 5 years Musk

"What a great sight!" the launch commentator announced as cheers and applause filled SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne, California.

Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will be deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) approximately 33 minutes after launch. "I think that's really a key milestone".

It 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, according to SpaceX's news release.

To date, SpaceX has landed and re-flown 11 Falcon 9 rockets.

It is the first launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5, which is the final substantial upgrade to SpaceX's Falcon 9 vehicle.

"Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart", Musk said. That means that this rocket probably won't return to the skies for another couple months.

Musk estimated the Falcon 9 Block 5 will make "something on the order of 300 flights", before retiring.

It wasn't just any Falcon 9 either. Moments later, the second stage cut its burn.

Upper stage recovery is a longer-term goal. And this boost was achieved without an increase in mass, Musk added.

In addition, the upgraded Falcon 9 is more powerful than the previous versions, thanks to the nine Merlin engines in the rocket's first stage and the single "vacuum Merlin" in the second stage. By using 7000 series aluminum (instead of 2000 series), the Octaweb has a "much stronger" structure, Musk said, and it also has additional thermal protection.

"Since the standard terrestrial system was automatically suspended in T-1 minutes, it stood up today", the company released a tweet soon after launch. "And then as our launch rate increases, we can further optimize the per-launch costs".

According to the company, the Block 5 variation of the Falcon 9 can safely be re-flown as many as 10 times - not including refurbishment between launches.

The Block 5 rocket will probably fly about 300 missions over its lifetime, Musk said. He likened the rocket's reusability to an airplane - capable of landing, refueling and flying again on a quick turnaround.

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