SpaceX launches Bangabandhu-1, Bangladesh's first satellite on 10 May

SpaceX set to launch Falcon 9 rocket that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station

SpaceX's next-gen 'Block 5' Falcon 9 ready to pave the way for company's future

SpaceX (SPACE) is set to launch a Bangladeshi satellite today atop a Falcon 9 Block 5 - the latest and final major upgrade to the rocket.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX will look to make yet another space-flight advancement Thursday when it attempts the first launch of its refurbished Falcon 9 rocket created to make it more durable for re-use in future missions. The Block 5 has many upgrades that will allow greater reusability and up to 10 launches (the Block 4 was limited to two launches.) With some refurbishments, the Block 5 might be able to have up to 100 launches, the company has said. Liftoff is now targeted for 16:12 EDT (20:12 UTC) on Thursday, 10 May, the opening of a 2hr 10min launch window that closes at 18:22 EDT (22:22 UTC). There's just a 20 percent chance that bad weather will spoil the attempt, officials with the U.S. Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron said on Monday (May 7). And the two-stage rocket's first stage will attempt to land on a robotic "drone ship" off the Florida coast shortly after liftoff. It's a routine mission in nearly every way except that this particular Falcon 9 pushes the new era of reusable rockets to a higher level. The other big competitor working under NASA's crew contract is Boeing, whose crewed missions are slated to follow SpaceX's. It's the first Falcon 9 Block 5, the most powerful, most reusable, and most likely last version of SpaceX's workhorse orbital launcher.

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The best previous example of re-usability was the space shuttle, before SpaceX started recovering booster rockets in 2015; the company also began recovering Dragon space capsules in 2010 and re-flew one in 2017.

The first Block 5 Falcon 9 ascends into the Florida sky with Bangabandhu-1 for Bangladesh. It was designed and built by Thales Alenia Space with a lifetime service design of at least 15 years.

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