SpaceX is about to test its new rocket for astronauts

Friday, 11 May, 2018

After several delays, SpaceX is scheduled to launch its new Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket Thursday evening from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Pictured is the Falcon 9 Block 5 on Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center ahead of its maiden static test fire on May 4. The launch windowopens at 4:42 p.m. and closes at 6:21 p.m. The rocket is created to launch twice in a 24-hour period.

Forecasters are predicting an 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch attempt. Although SpaceX has never fully divulged manufacturing costs, experts have estimated that the first stage of the rocket can cost up to $40 million alone.

Below is a summary of what to expect from the latest and last iteration of Falcon 9, based on our previous reporting, a list of changes compiled by Reddit's r/SpaceX community (which we first heard about from Eric Berger at Ars Technica), and other sources.

Impressively, Bangladesh was able to afford its satellite and launch contract with SpaceX before meeting the eligibility requirements for "Developing Country" status by the United Nations, a status it only achieved two months ago on 17 March 2018. If all goes according to plan, SpaceX hopes to fly the same rocket twice in a single day in 2019, which would be another first for the company.

Bangladesh's first satellite Bangabandhu-1 is set to start its journey to orbit on Thursday afternoon (US time). The Block 5, however, is created to fly up to 100 times, although this will involve some refurbishment and inspections after every 10 flights.

The inaugural launch of the Block 5 will mark a milestone for SpaceX and its mission to make rockets as re-usable as commercial airplanes.

Bangabandhu-1 is a communications satellite and is named after Bangladesh's founding father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The authorities concerned, including the Bangladesh delegation and SpaceX, held a review meeting in NY over the launching preparation Wednesday morning (local time).

"Block 5 is here".