After an updated version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral carrying Bangladesh's first communications satellite into orbit, its Founder and CEO Elon Musk on 13 May said his company is set for over 300 missions in five years.
SpaceX had previously planned to launch the satellite using Falcon-9 rockets on December 16, 2017, but the launch was postponed due to damage from Hurricane Irma. The Block 5 is the final upgrade of the Falcon 9, making it capable of 10 or more flights with only inspections and limited refurbishment in-between.
The rocket's initial stage was efficiently recouped, touchdown on the "Naturally I Still Love You" offshore droneship, concerning 8 mins after the launch, at an unmanned system vessel in the Pacific Sea. Launching almost every other week - while developing a huge reusable Mars rocket and a constellation of 4,425 broadband satellites - SpaceX has become one of the most valuable private companies in the world, worth almost $28 billion.
The Block 5 additionally marks another milestone for Musk's California-based company. It also has less weight and a more easily produced structure. SpaceX tweeted a photo of the Falcon 9 as the rocket's first and second stage parted ways.
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The glitch forced the one-day delay in the launch, but Friday's mission went off without a hitch.
Palak also confirmed the satellite had been successfully deployed at Bangladesh's specified orbit slot "within 36 minutes" of the launch. The company also arranged for the spacecraft's launch on the Falcon 9. The launch was scheduled on Thursday, but last minute abort alert compelled the scientists to cancel its launch plans.
By the end of 2017, Musk aims to launch two missions with the same rocket in the span of 24 hours.
SpaceX has signed a United States dollars 2.6 billion contract with the NASA to complete development of Crew Dragon, a capsule to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
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The achievement was hailed by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a livestream appearance from her country's capital, Dhaka.
"I would like to thank Thales Alenia, the satellite manufacturing company of France, for building the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, and Space-X, the US, which were responsible for launching the Bangabandhu Satellite-1".
Renting out broadcasting capacity will be one of the main goal of the satellite as Bangladesh now meets its demand for satellite connectivity renting from foreign operators spending about $14 million a year.
Located at 119.1° East, Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will provide direct-to-home (DTH) services, video distribution and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) communications across Bangladesh.
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