SpaceX, a privately-owned California-based space transportation firm, said in a statement that the satellite would provide telecommunications coverage for Bangladesh and surrounding nations, and would also allow Bangladeshis living in remote, previously-unreached areas to receive internet and phone service.
The new "Block 5" Falcon 9 rocket took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida at 4:14 p.m. EDT (20:14 GMT) and performed a flawless satellite launch that erased the memory of yesterday afternoon's boggled attempt.
Minutes later, the rocket's main-stage booster flew itself back to Earth to achieve a safe return landing on an unmanned platform vessel floating in the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX CEO and Founder Elon Musk spoke to his anxieties about the launch. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. As the second stage continued to power Bangabandhu-1 to a high geostationary transfer orbit, the first stage maneuvered its way back to Earth, pulling off a pinpoint touchdown on a robotic SpaceX "drone ship" stationed in the Atlantic Ocean almost 400 miles (630 kilometers) southeast of KSC.
If for some reason, the release will experience slow down, the backup launch window will open at 4:15 pm, Saturday, May 12, Eastern Time. Eventually, SpaceX is slated to have "30 to 50" of these rockets in its fleets, though the final number "totally depends" on how many "customers insist on launching a new rocket".
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The Falcon 9 Block 5 first stage moments after landing. It is expected to be the first SpaceX vehicle to satisfy NASA's standards for its Commercial Crew Program to carry agency astronauts to the International Space Station.
It is expected to have a 15-year lifespan and will help save money for the Dhaka government, which now spends $14 million annually to rent from the services of foreign satellites, government officials said.
SpaceX has delayed the launch debut of its upgraded workhorse rocket.
The Block 5 sports numerous upgrades created to make the rocket easier to reuse. It's the first satellite belonging to Bangladesh. You can watch the entire thing in SpaceX's video below.
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