SpaceX scrubs launch of Block 5 rocket, reschedules for Friday

Posted May 11, 2018

It will be the first mission for the upgraded rocket.

This event will take place at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will hopefully blast the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite into space this afternoon. It will ultimately replace all other SpaceX rockets, as it will be relatively affordable to launch and reuse - at least in theory.

According to sources at SpaceX, the satellite will be launched early May 11 in-between 2:12 to 4:22 am (BST).

With just under one minute left on the countdown, SpaceX's new Block 5 Falcon 9 was stalled by an auto-abort sequence. For comparison, older Block 4 versions flew a maximum of two missions before retirement.

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.

The launch of the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 to geostationary transfer orbit is set for 4:12pm ET (20:12 UTC) Thursday, with a launch window that stretches for a little more than two hours.

However, in order to obtain the desired savings, SpaceX will not only have to operate rockets that are easy to overhaul but also to reduce the workforce involved in the rockets' overhauls. SpaceX says it will try again Friday.

SpaceX's overall mission record to date shows a steady, reliable, and building track record of small nations coming to SpaceX and the Falcon 9 for their launch needs, and the same is true for corporations and the USA government - with SpaceX securing numerous launch contracts from SES and clandestine missions for the US government.

The rocket's first stage - the section that returns to Earth for reuse - is where most of the shielding improvements were made. Boeing also holds a NASA crew contract and will continue to fly agency astronauts to and from the International Space Station using a capsule named the CST-100 Starliner and United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets.

Falcon 9 Block 5 will also be the latest development of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as the company will focus on the development of the BFR. "We're all excited about that", Hans Koenigsmann, a SpaceX vice president, said during a press conference last month.

Block 5 represents the final suite of upgrades to its workhorse launch system that CEO Elon Musk says is created to be flown up to 100 times.