SpaceX aborts first 'Block 5' Falcon 9 launch

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Today at 4:12 p.m., SpaceX will launch a new rocket from its iconic Falcon 9 fleet called the Block 5, sending into orbit a communications satellite for the Bangladeshi government. Liftoff is targeted for 5:47 p.m. EDT, or 21:47 UTC.

The launch window opens at 4:12 p.m. EDT and runs until 6:22 p.m. EDT (2222 GMT). The "older" version of the Falcon 9 that have flown recently were Block 3 or 4 designs and for "full thrust" operation. The company is set to launch the latest version of the Falcon 9 on Thursday. Block 5 is the first iteration of the booster that is meant to be used in 10 launches with only minor refurbishing between uses. For SpaceX to become cost-effective, as it has aimed to do since the company was first founded, it has to make as many components on its rockets as reusable as possible.

Although the company hasn't outlined all the changes, there will be a stronger heat shield for the trip back through the Earth's atmosphere and new retractable landing legs.


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.

Atop the Falcon 9 rocket will be the Bangabandhu 1, Bangladesh's 7,700lb communications satellite.

The total cost of one of its Falcon 9 launches is estimated to reach £44 million ($61m), while each of its larger Falcon Heavy flights costs £65 million ($90m).


The Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 will be the first true test of SpaceX's reusable spacecraft.

The first crew launch is tentatively planned for December 2018. Boeing also holds a NASA crew contract and will continue to fly agency astronauts to and from the International Space Station using a capsule named the CST-100 Starliner and United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets.


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