Elon Musk Launches the Brand-New SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 Rocket This Afternoon – Here's How to Watch

Thursday, 10 May 2018 - 12:47PM
Technology
SpaceX
Thursday, 10 May 2018 - 12:47PM
Elon Musk Launches the Brand-New SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 Rocket This Afternoon – Here's How to Watch
< >
SpaceX/Public Domain
In thirty years, we'll look back on these days and say to the grandkids "I remember when everybody used to watch the new SpaceX launch online! It was big news! Was the rocket going to blow up? No one knew!" By that point, rocket launches will have become so commonplace that we'll be treating them like FedEx delivery shipments or exceptionally expensive buses to the Moon. In fifty years, we'll laugh at the idea that one failed launch could set back human space exploration for years.

In any case, today is still a historic day: it's the launch of SpaceX's first Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which kicks off a new chapter in the company's efforts to make safe, cheap, reusable (and potentially crew-carrying) rockets a reality. The new Falcon 9 is carrying Bangladesh's first communications satellite, Bangabandhu 1, built by the company Thales Alenia. According to an official statement:

Opening quote
"The Bangabandhu Satellite-1 mission will be the first to utilize Falcon 9 Block 5, the final substantial upgrade to SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Falcon 9 Block 5 is designed to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9's first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean."
Closing quote


Fun fact: that drone ship takes its name from the work of sci-fi author Iain M. Bank's novel Player of Games, which features a giant, sentient starship of the same name. Elon Musk named another drone ship after a different starship of the same book: "Just Read the Instructions." (Because nobody out-nerds Elon Musk. Nobody.)

According to SpaceX, the window for the Falcon 9 launch today opens at 4:12 p.m. EDT, or 20:12 UTC, and closes at 6:22 p.m. EDT, or 22:22 UTC. You can watch the live webcast on the embedded video below!

Science
Science News
Technology
SpaceX
No