SpaceX successfully launched Bangladesh's first-ever geostationary communications satellite, called Bangabandhu-1, into space on Friday. But the real star of the mission was a newly designed rocket called Falcon 9 Block 5. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, said the launcher is built to be the most powerful, reusable, and affordable version of his company's workhorse orbital rocket.
What's more, Musk said Falcon 9 Block 5 will usher in a new era of spaceflight records. "I believe Falcon 9 was the most-launched rocket worldwide in 2017," he said on a call with reporters Thursday afternoon. "If things go well - big caveat - SpaceX will launch more rockets than any other country in 2018." Musk added that in 2019, SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 mission, land the booster, inspect it, and get it back out to a launchpad in 24 hours or less.
"This is a ridiculously hard thing that has taken us, man, since 2002 - 16 years of extreme effort and many, many iterations, and thousands of small but important design changes to get to where we think this is even possible. Crazy hard," he said. "And of course we still need to demonstrate it, it's not like we've done it. But it can be done."
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