SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral on Friday, heading due east over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite into orbit around 33 minutes later.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket is poised for launch from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:14 p.m. EDT (2014 GMT) Friday at the opening of a 127-minute launch window.
It will be the first launch of SpaceX’s upgraded “Block 5” version of the workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, featuring changes to make the vehicle easier to reuse and more reliable.
Perched atop the rocket is the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite, a spacecraft made by Thales Alenia Space for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Bangabandhu 1 is the country’s first communications satellite, and it is named for Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the Bangladeshi nation.
The timeline below outlines the launch sequence for the Falcon 9 flight with Bangabandhu 1.
Taking aim on the International Space Station, nine kerosene-burning rocket engines powered a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher into a clear sky over Florida’s Space Coast on Friday night to begin the final flight of the first version of the company’s Dragon cargo ship.
SpaceX’s fired the engines of its Falcon Heavy rocket at launch pad 39A at 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT) on Wednesday. The crucial pre-launch engine test has been repeatedly delayed since the rocket returned to the launch pad earlier this month.
SpaceX, the upstart rocket company that has shaken up the launch industry with low-cost reusable boosters and ambitious long-range plans to carry people to Mars and beyond, plans to reduce its workforce by about 10 percent, company sources said late Friday.