And likely final-version of SpaceX's workhorse rocket may fly today

Space X's Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX's launch of a next-generation Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday will mark the beginning of the end for the rocket - but it will also pave the way for the maverick company's reusability ambitions and, ultimately, its quest to touch the surface of Mars.

The rocket has redesigned helium tanks to prevent a recurrence of the launch pad explosion of September 2016.

"The Bangabandhu satellite inscribed with Joy Bangla Joy Bangabandhu will be launched tonight as all tests are positive", Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told bdnews24.com from Florida. The company hopes to be able to fly each Block 5 first stage 10 times before significant refurbishment is required. The satellite is expected to bring Ku-band coverage to Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal in addition to surrounding countries.

SpaceX will attempt to launch an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket Thursdayafternoon from Space Coast. If Block 5 can prove its reliability, it will also be used by NASA for its future manned missions.

SpaceX tries to re-use rockets, payload fairings, boosters and other parts to try to cut down on the cost of each rocket mission.

"I think the F9 boosters could be used nearly indefinitely, so long as there is scheduled maintenance and careful inspections", Musk said on Reddit in October 2016. Right now, the GAO estimates that human certification for the Block 5 Falcon 9 won't occur until late 2019.

While the Falcon 9 is created to be reusable, none of the previous rockets have been launched more than twice so far.

The first step toward that goal begins today.

The launch window opens at 4:12 p.m. EDT, and closes at 6:22 p.m. EDT. If there's a delay, the company may try again on Friday at 4:14 p.m. ET.

Falcon 9 is the rocket that SpaceX launches most often; in fact, more than 50 of the workhorse rockets have lifted off in eight years.

Known as the Falcon 9 Block 5, the rocket includes improvements such as upgraded heat shields to protect the rocket's base during re-entry. It was originally published at 11:59 a.m. EDT on May 10, 2018.

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