Sci-tech

SpaceX aborts first 'Block 5' Falcon 9 launch

SpaceX aborts first 'Block 5' Falcon 9 launch

Today at 4:12 p.m., SpaceX will launch a new rocket from its iconic Falcon 9 fleet called the Block 5, sending into orbit a communications satellite for the Bangladeshi government.

According to a report from Reuters, a technical glitch caused the company to postpone the first commercial flight of Falcon 9 rocket's latest iteration Block 5.

The fun doesn't end with takeoff.

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The new Falcon 9 Block 5 booster is expected to careen back to Earth a few minutes after the launch and land on a droneship named "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean.

-An enhanced heat shield at the base to better survive re-entry, which gives the rocket more reusability capabilities. The satellite is the first communications station built for Bangladesh in a mission valued at some $280 million, including the cost of the Falcon 9.

The new Block 5 rocket is created to be sturdier, so that it can be flown up to 10 times with minimal mechanical refurbishment - a big leap forward in efficiency and cost reduction. Weather conditions are forecast to be 80 percent go. When Block 5 proves itself today, the USA space program will be one step closer to the first crew mission in years.

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For Musk, rocket reusability is the key to SpaceX's long-term ambition of colonizing Mars.

Therocket, which will carry a satellite for Bangladesh into orbit, is scheduled toblast off from launch pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Bangladesh was only just recognized as a "Developing Country" by the United Nations in March, which speaks to the accessibility of space launches that companies like SpaceX have provided. The helium is used to pressurize the propellant tanks and provide the muscle needed for steering. The new tanks are created to eliminate that failure mode and are required for NASA's commercial crew program. This doesn't just mean the first stages of rockets; it means everything from the payload adapter to the grid fins should be reusable not once, but multiple times with minimal maintenance and turnaround time from one use to the next.

-Retractable black landing legs, compared to the Block 4's white ones. The previous versions of the first stage booster have flown twice at most.

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SpaceX has not yet announced what exactly triggered the automatic abort.