SpaceX is set to launch its first Falcon 9 rocket which is the most advanced version of its workhorse to space. The launch will be taking Bangladesh’s first communications satellite which will be set on the top of the Falcon 9 rocket. The launch was scheduled for Thursday. SpaceX confirmed that the launch window would be starting at 4:12 PM EDT and will be extended till 6:22 EDT.
The crew members of launch had done a fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket without the satellite payload on Friday at Pad 39A at NAS’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After the test, workers lowered the Falcon 9 horizontally to prepare for a rollback to a nearby hanger. The Bangladesh satellite Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite will be attached to rocket’s second stage.
After analyzing all the data from the test launch, the company has said that the first Falcon 9 “Block 5” booster is now ready to go on Thursday.
Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket is two-stage designed rocket which can take the reusability to new heights. SpaceX has already landed and reflown these Falcon 9 first stages rockets for past few years. Block 5 boosters are designed in such a way that they will fly about ten times with just inspections between landing and liftoff, and about 100 times with some refurbishment.
The newly upgraded Falcon 9 rockets which are known as Block 5 have gone through various configuration changes. They also have some modifications in safety, redesigning of helium pressurant tanks to eliminate the cause of Falcon 9 rocket explosion on Cape Canaveral launch pad in 2016.
The communication satellite was built in Cannes, France, by Thales Alenia Space. Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite which weighs about 4 tons will provide Ku-band and C-band television broadcast and data relay services throughout the Bangladesh and its surrounding regions.
Thales Alenia Space will be handing over the management of the spacecraft to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission after the launch of the satellite.
The weather condition for the launch on Thursday is favorable with an 80 percent probability of acceptable conditions for liftoff of the Falcon 9 rockets. The only weather conditions that concern officials are thick clouds.
A forecaster wrote in a weather synopsis on Monday that, “Clear skies abound in Central Florida as the frontal boundary has pushed south of the area. On Thursday, low-level winds become more easterly, signaling the high-pressure ridge is reorienting north. This opens the door for a tropical wave propagating along the periphery of the ridge to move towards the spaceport. Upper-level clouds associated with the easterly wave begins to move over the spaceport on Thursday.”