SpaceX’s Falcon 9 ‘Block 5’ Rocket Model Sends Comms Satellite Into Orbit

An updated configuration of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Friday from a launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to bring into orbit Bangladesh’s Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite, Spaceflight Now reported Friday.

The first-stage booster of the rocket’s Block 5 version landed on SpaceX’s drone ship approximately 400 miles east of Cape Canaveral after separating from the space vehicle’s upper stage nearly three minutes following launch.

The satellite that Thales Alenia Space built for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to deliver data relay and television services made contact with ground controllers in France after takeoff.

Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and CEO, said Thursday the rocket’s Block 5 model will eventually be replaced by the Big Falcon Rocket by 2020s and perform approximately 300 flights prior to retirement.

SpaceNews reported that Musk intends for the company to perform two launches of the same Falcon 9 rocket within a day in 2019.

Musk noted that the company has offered some customers a cost reduction in Falcon 9 rocket launches that use previously flown first stages.

SpaceX reduced prices for launches from “about $60 million to about $50 million for a reflown booster,” he said.

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