SpaceX launches updated Falcon 9, nails landing and delivers Bangabandhu in orbit

Stepping into the future

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 ideal satellite launch that erased the memory of yesterday afternoon's boggled attempt.

The rocket's first stage was successfully recovered, landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" offshore droneship, about eight minutes after the launch, at an unmanned platform vessel in the Pacific Ocean.

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.

Visitors cheered and shouted slogns as the Falcon 9 Block 5, the latest version of SpaceX, was launched on its maiden mission As the countdown began, Bangladeeshi-Americans sang national anthem and shouted " Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu".

The rocket is created to require far less maintenance and refurbishment between flights, and is certified to carry humans to space later this year when SpaceX launches its Dragon crew capsule to the International Space Station.

Bangabandhu Satellite-1 has a primary service area encompassing Bangladesh and the surrounding region.

The launch made Bangladesh the 57th nation in the world and fourth in South Asia after India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to own a satellite. It will also provide C-band capacity for the entire region.

The two ground stations received the test signals from the country's first ever communications satellite after 6:25pm US Eastern Time (BDST 4:25am), reports UNB. It is expected to have a lifespan of 15 years.

In November 2015, Bangladesh signed a 19.51-billion-taka (about 248 million U.S.dollars) deal with French firm Thales Alenia Space for the satellite project. Then again, the notoriously fickle chap has also said he wants to begin retrieving the second stage of the Falcon, which would entail some major design changes in the future.

Two ground stations for controlling the satellite have already been built at Joydebpur of Gazipur and Rangamati's Betbunia.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, thanked all the countries and companies involved in making the satellite a success, as well as "Russia for leasing its orbital slot to Bangladesh".

The satellite is named after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first President and the founding father of Bangladesh.

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