Bangabandhu Satellite-1 Mission

Stepping into the future

Late Friday afternoon, SpaceX successfully launched and landed the Block 5 upgrade of its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time.

The "Block 5" booster, the final substantial upgrade to SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle, was launched at 4.14 p.m. from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre, starting its maiden flight, Xinhua reported.

Shortly before the second stage separation, the first stage executed a controlled landing back on SpaceX's drone ship in the Atlantic, the company's 25th recovered first stage. For these missions, the Falcon 9 must be certified as man-rated.

The satellite launch, done on behalf the Bangladesh government, will allow internet access to all corners of the country.

It came a day after the original launch countdown was halted one minute before blastoff time due to a technical problem detected by the rocket's onboard computers. That's more than half of the estimated overall $62 million price of the Falcon 9, according to various trade publications. They also intend to do that with future rockets.

Ground stations in Gazipur and Betbunia have received test signals from the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, said the state minister for ICT division Junaid Ahmed Palak. This goal will be reached sometime next year, as Musk said that he expects the rocket to have flown at least 10 times by the end of 2019.

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SpaceX successfully launched the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 on the maiden voyage of its new and improved Falcon 9 rocket. If all goes as planned, SpaceX would fly the same rocket twice in a single day in 2019, which would be another first for the company. The company seeks to reduce cost with the new Block 5.

"I would like to thank Thales Alenia, the satellite manufacturing company of France, for building the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, and Space-X, the USA, which were responsible for launching the Bangabandhu Satellite-1".

The Block 5 launch is expected to be the last major upgrade to a workhorse rocket.

SpaceX has signed a United States dollars 2.6 billion contract with the NASA to complete development of Crew Dragon, a capsule to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

"Once Bangabandhu Satellite-1 is operational, Bangladesh will be autonomous in terms of telecommunications and broadcasting services, being able to offer communications services to many foreign countries, such as Nepal, Myanmar or Bhutan under its coverage area", stated Thales Alenia Space representatives.

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