Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

SpaceX Launches its Final Version of its Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX Launches its Final Version of its Falcon 9 Rocket

Last month, NASA's following planet-hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Study Satellite (Tess), was effectively introduced on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Flying Force Terminal in Florida.

Falcon 9 took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 4:15 p.m. Flight controllers watched as the rocket took off without a hitch, successfully completing each stage of the mission. But the monstrous rocket is slated to put a couple of hefty satellites into orbit in the near future, according to the company's launch manifest.

The first stage later successfully landed on an autonomous barge in the Atlantic ocean.

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SpaceX has no plans to use its Falcon Heavy, now the most powerful rocket in operation, to fly humans.

A few minutes after blast-off was aborted, mission controllers for billionaire Elon Musk's private launch company, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies, said they would try again today.

Subscribe to Times of San Diego's free daily email newsletter! . The upgraded version boasts a series of important advantages over the previous "Block 4" model and is created to maximize the rocket's reusability. The Block 5 is the final upgrade of the Falcon 9, making it capable of 10 or more flights with only inspections and limited refurbishment in-between. Employees reduced the Falcon 9 horizontal last week in groundwork to a nearby hangar for rollback, where Bangabandhu 1 (the communications satellite) will be equipped to the second stage of the rocket.

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The Block 5 additionally marks another milestone for Musk's California-based company.

Space X tweeted: "Successful deployment of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 to geostationary transfer orbit confirmed". SpaceX made the whole thing look easy, but it took the company 51 flights to engineer the likely final version of the booster. In the most visible change, the segment between the first and upper stages went from white to black with the addition of new thermal insulation.

The Block 5 has new, black landing legs that are retractable. The rocket's recoverable booster is created to be reused at least 10 times.

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In addition, the new booster features a suite of reliability upgrades created to satisfy NASA's stringent crew-carrying standards, because SpaceX will use the Block 5 - as well as the company's Dragon capsule- to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

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