SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 rocket yet
New Delhi: The California-based aerospace company, SpaceX has launched its most powerful Falcon 9 rocket, which is certified to carry humans to space later this year.
The Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket’s main goal for its maiden mission is to propel the first high-orbit communications satellite for Bangladesh, called Bangabandhu Satellite-1.
The Block 5 Falcon 9 is eventually meant to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, with the first launch tentatively planned for December 2018.
Rocket built to re-fly upto 10 times
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the rocket is built to re-fly up to 10 times with minimal refurbishment.
SpaceX has landed and reflown boosters many times before. But in the eight-year history of flying Falcon 9 rockets, SpaceX has only ever sent the same rocket to space twice.
The company says the Block 5 can be re-flown as many as 10 times and can be easily refurbished between launches, which would drastically reduce the cost of a single launch.
US stopped sending humans to space after 2011
The United States has not flown humans to space since 2011. That was the final year of NASA’s Space Shuttle program.
The latest version of the Falcon 9 will be used to carry astronauts to the International Space Station and to hoist national security satellites into space, meaning input from NASA and the U.S. military factored heavily into its design and development.
Seven successful flights are required before NASA will allow astronauts to launch aboard a Falcon 9. SpaceX plans to launch an unpiloted Dragon crew ship aboard a block 5 Falcon 9 late this summer, with a piloted test flight now expected in 2019.