While initial testing of the Block 5 Falcon 9 has proven positive the launch tomorrow will be the first real demonstration of the rocket's ability to be reused as needed and perhaps make commercial - and even space tourist - travel in the future much more economical.
SpaceX's first Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket rolls to its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy House Middle in Florida. It's the newest version of the booster. Most of the recent Falcon 9 rockets that have managed to land and then fly a second mission after reconditioning have been Block 3 or Block 4 (sometimes called "Full Thrust") rockets. Going into Thursday's launch, SpaceX's landing record stood at 24 successful booster recoveries, 12 on land and 12 on droneships. But with these upgrade, SpaceX wants to recycle these rockets possibly up to a hundred times. It plans to soon launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and is now on a road to colonize Mars with the help of BFR, a powerful, 348-foot-long spaceship created to ferry people and cargo between Earth and Mars.
Lightfoot stated that NASA was in deep talks with SpaceX to decide on the safest course of action: "It's a matter of having a good risk discussion so that we understand that", he said. SpaceX will need to launch about a half-dozen of the Block 5 rockets for NASA's stamp of approval.
This, according to safety advisers at NASA, is quite unsafe as it puts the lives of astronauts at risk.
Weather forecasts are in favor of SpaceX's plans to launch its new upgraded Falcon 9 rocket Thursday afternoon with a communication satellite.
But there is a catch: to keep the propellant at such extreme temperatures, it would have to be loaded just before takeoff with the astronauts onboard. That increases the rocket's efficiency.
However, SpaceX, on its part, considers the "load-and-go" method to be safer compared to the one used by NASA. SpaceX said that it takes human safety seriously and will meet and exceed any safety standards set by NASA ahead of uncrewed and crewed test flights later this year.
The goal of the flight is to launch the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space in France to provide Ku-band and C-band television and data services across Bangladesh. As the cost of launches drops, more budding space programs can get a leg up when it comes to getting satellites into space.