SpaceX is making history again today as it prepares for its first Falcon 9 Block 5 launch. This newest version of the Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 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. But what else makes the Block 5 exciting is that it meets NASA’s requirements for carrying crew, and this might happen sometime this year. You can watch the launch on the live stream video below.
The launch window for today is from 4:12 p.m. Eastern to 6:22 p.m. Eastern. Currently, SpaceX is scheduling the launch today for 5:47 p.m. Eastern.
Approximately 33 minutes after the launch, the satellite will be deployed into a geostationary orbit, SpaceX has said. If the launch window today is missed, a backup launch window is scheduled for Friday, May 11, at 4:14 p.m. Eastern – 6:21 p.m. Eastern.
After the launch, SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket’s first stage on a drone ship (called “Of Course I Still Love You”) off the Florida coast. Fairing 2 is also on the launch vehicle, but it won’t be recovered because right now, the only recovery boat is in California, reported NASA Spaceflight.
We have another live stream for you to watch below. This one is provided by Everyday Astronaut.
In total, about 30 to 50 Block 5s are planned, SpaceX has said, but the exact number depends on how many customers they have. The Block 5 exceeds all NASA requirements for crew and meets all Air Force requirements, Elon Musk said.
Ultimately, they may be able to get even more power out of the engines than what we will see today.
Here’s the timeline for today’s launch:
COUNTDOWN Hour/Min/Sec Events Before Launch
- 00:38:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
- 00:35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway
- 00:35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway
- 00:16:00 2nd stage LOX loading underway
- 00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
- 00:01:00 Flight computer commanded to begin final prelaunch checks
- 00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
- 00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
- 00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
- 00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff
Hour/Min/Sec Events After Launch
- 00:01:14 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
- 00:02:31 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
- 00:02:33 1st and 2nd stages separate
- 00:02:36 2nd stage engine starts
- 00:03:37 Fairing deployment
- 00:06:15 1st stage entry burn
- 00:08:10 1st stage landing
- 00:08:19 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
- 00:27:38 2nd stage engine restarts
- 00:28:37 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-2)
- 00:33:38 Bangabandhu Satellite-1 Deployment
In other news, the South Texas launch site is now going to be dedicated to the BFR.
This is a developing story.