First SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lobs comms sat into orbit

Falcon 9 Block 5 rolling onto launch pad as seen in Instagram post by Elon Musk

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. The Block 5 is created to be used at least 10 times with only minimal refurbishment.

The newly minted Block-5 edition of the Falcon 9 - equipped with about 100 upgrades for greater power, safety and reusability than its Block-4 predecessor - lifted off at 4:14 p.m. EDT (2014 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center.

"I would like to thank Thales Alenia, the satellite manufacturing Company of France, for building the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, and Space-X, the United States of America, which were responsible for launching the Bangabandhu Satellite-1".

It is created to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability, according to SpaceX's news release.

It will mark the first time since the end of the U.S. space shuttle program in 2011 that a rocket has left USA soil carrying people to space.

Musk says he hopes to produce 30 to 50 Block 5s for the Falcon 9. "Second stage and satellite now in coast phase". BTRC estimates Bangabandhu-1 will save the country around $14 million now spent leasing capacity from foreign operators.

The Falcon 9 will eventually transport astronauts to the ISS under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

The payload of the launch is the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, Bangladesh's first geostationary communications satellite. "This rocket is really created to be - the intent is to be the most reliable rocket ever built". Pacific time, lofting a satellite for Bangladesh.

"Once Bangabandhu Satellite-1 is operational, Bangladesh will be autonomous in terms of telecommunications and broadcasting services, being able to offer communications services to many foreign countries, such as Nepal, Myanmar or Bhutan under its coverage area", the representatives added. Best of all? Even if you can't make it to Florida in the next few hours, you can still watch the liftoff live from SpaceX's website.

The satellite is named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is regarded as the founding father of Bangladesh.

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