SpaceX Successfully Launches Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket

TODAY: SpaceX makes second attempt to launch Block 5

SpaceX halts countdown of first commercial launch of updated Falcon 9 rocket in Florida

But late this afternoon, Elon Musk's rocket company successfully launched and landed a Block 5 Falcon 9, the newest, most powerful, and most important version of SpaceX's flagship rocket. Called Bangabandhu-1, the satellite is riding into space on top of SpaceX's Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket.

By now, SpaceX landing one of its Falcon 9 rockets (or even landing two, for that matter) is barely worthy of a headline.

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The satellite will offer video and communications coverage over Bangladesh and its territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal, as well as in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

"We expect there would be literally no action taken between flights, so just like aircraft", Musk said, describing the many years of effort that went into the rocket as "crazy hard".

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Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9's first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 includes improvements such as upgraded heat shields to protect the rocket's base during re-entry.

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But the primary goal of the mission is to get Bangabandhu-1 into orbit. The Block 5 is also outfitted with improved navigation fins - which help guide the rocket's first stage back to Earth after delivering a satellite into orbit - made from fire-resistant titanium. It's the first time the country will send a communications satellite to this high of an orbit. SpaceX originally tried to take off on Thursday, but the flight was aborted just a minute before launch due to an issue with ground systems. That's how the company intends to shave launch costs.

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