SpaceX's Block 5 Falcon 9 Rocket To Undergo Test Launch Tomorrow

A used Falcon 9 rocket blasted off on Thursday from Space Launch Complex 4E at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base

A used Falcon 9 rocket blasted off on Thursday from Space Launch Complex 4E at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. Wikimedia Commons

The Block 5 Falcon 9 is scheduled to take off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The total cost of one of its Falcon 9 launches is estimated to reach £44 million ($61m), while each of its larger Falcon Heavy flights costs £65 million ($90m). It's the newest version of the booster.

This will be the first time the company will use its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, making it more reliable and easier to reuse.

It's all a part of founder Elon Musk's vision to lower the cost of access to space by reusing parts of the rocket.

Human casualties would be avoided by the rocket's abort system, SpaceX has previously said, and thorough testing is conducted in the days ahead of take-off. But with these upgrade, SpaceX wants to recycle these rockets possibly up to a hundred times. In 2014, both SpaceX and British aerospace company Boeing were awarded a shared $6.8 billion contract by NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

NASA has slammed Elon Musk's space company for using unsafe fuelling processes that could put lives at risk. This is the final iteration of the Falcon 9 rocket, one that could possibly be reused up to 10 times before needing refurbishment.

SpaceX is set to debut the latest, most advanced version of its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket this Thursday (May 10).

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An investigation into the incident showed that the super cold oxygen reacted with the carbon fiber composites within the fuel tank and exploded.

The practice shrinks the propellant physically and makes room for adding more fuel into the tank and increasing the vehicle's power. That increases the rocket's efficiency.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president for build and flight reliability, stated that fueling the rockets takes approximately half an hour and said it is a, "relatively quick procedure, and we believe that this exposure time is the shortest and therefore the safest approach". The practice, called "load and go", is considered risky by NASA's human spaceflight standards.

But NASA safety advisers have described the move as "potential safety risk", and members of the US Congress have also raised alarms.

The two-stage Block 5 Falcon 9 is created to take reusability to new heights.

The launch window for the first mission of the Falcon 9 Block 5 from the Kennedy Space center in Florida opens on Thursday. As the cost of launches drops, more budding space programs can get a leg up when it comes to getting satellites into space.

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