SpaceX fans eager to watch the second launch of the company's massive Falcon Heavy rocket should forget about witnessing a second spectacle in June and sit tight for a few more months. A press release issued by the company said it would be the first-ever launch using the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket - the last in the series of SpaceX's workhorse orbital launcher. The rocket will also attempt to land on a droneship off the coast of Florida about 8 minutes after launch. Liftoff is now targeted for 16:12 EDT (20:12 UTC) on Thursday, 10 May, the opening of a 2hr 10min launch window that closes at 18:22 EDT (22:22 UTC).
See our Mission Status Center for updates and details on the launch.
One of the most significant changes is the use of stronger high-pressure helium tanks, known as composite overwrapped pressure vessels, or COPVs, that are submerged in the rocket's liquid oxygen propellant tanks.
With any luck, the rocket can be reused up to 100 times.
The Block 5 was also created to meet NASA's stringent crew-carrying requirements.
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Next year, the company plans to re-launch a Block 5 rocket within 24 hours, said company Chief Executive Elon Musk.
According to sources at SpaceX, the satellite will be launched early May 11 in-between 2:12 to 4:22 am (BST).
The Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 will be the first true test of SpaceX's reusable spacecraft.
The upgraded Falcon 9 represents that rocket's final iteration, said Bill Ostrove, aerospace and defense analyst at Forecast International. The new tanks are created to eliminate that failure mode and are required for NASA's commercial crew program.
-Retractable black landing legs, compared to the Block 4's white ones.
The new rocket is SpaceX's latest innovation to increase the reusability of its launching system. It's also created to be safer and more reliable for astronauts who will be launched to the space station by SpaceX within the next year.