SpaceX is set to debut the latest, most advanced version of its Falcon 9 rocket this Thursday (May 10) from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch window opens at 4:12 p.m. EDT (2012 GMT) and extends until 6:22 p.m. EDT (2222 GMT).
The company determined that its first Falcon 9 “Block 5” booster is ready to go, after analyzing data from a routine prelaunch static-fire test that occurred Friday (May 4) at historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The rocket will hoist the Bangladesh Communications Satellite Company’s first satellite to geostationary orbit, expanding coverage of Asia ranging from Turkmenistan all the way out to the Philippines.
This mission, known as Bangabandhu-1, marks the first-ever Block 5 launch for SpaceX, which has been constructed with lessons learned from two years of launching, landing and re-launching rockets.
The upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, known as the “Block 5” configuration, features changes that SpaceX says will make the launcher’s first stage easier to reuse multiple times with minimal refurbishment.
“Block 5 basically summarizes all that we learned on reusability,” Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX vice president of build and flight reliability, said last month during a news conference before the launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.