Bangladesh’s first ever satellite was elevated by SpaceX into the orbit, using an enhanced and upgraded rocket designed for dozens of repeat flights including back to back same day launches.
SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said that launching the same rocket twice in a time span of 24 hours will be ‘crazy hard,’ but he is optimistic of pulling off the feat.
The final variant of Falcon 9 rocket is capable of more than 10 re-flights, made its debut on Friday. It took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, carrying a communication satellite named Bangabandhu-1.
The newest booster landed on an ocean bed following the take-off as planned. “What a great sight!” the launch commentator exclaimed in joy as cheers and applause erupt in jam packed SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne, California.
The point of re-flights is to save the launch costs.
“This is a ridiculously hard thing,” Elon Musk told reporters before Thursday’s postponement.
“It has taken us ... 16 years of extreme effort and many, many iterations and thousands of small but important development changes to get to where we think this is even possible. Crazy hard. We still need to demonstrate it. It’s not like we’ve done it. But it can be done.”
The new model carries a SpaceX enhanced engine performance, with improved landing gear system and new muscled parts. In one of the most visible changes, the segment between the first and upper stages went to black from white with new thermal insultation.
“Would you rather fly in an aircraft that has never had a test flight before or would you rather fly in an aircraft that has flown many times successfully?” he said.
Musk, on Thursday addressed safety concerns regarding SpaceX’s load and go feature. He said SpaceX could still change the procedure of loading the propellant first.
“I don’t think it’s going to be necessary any more than passengers on aircraft need to wait until the aircraft is full of fuel before boarding,” he said.
Bangladesh was thrilled to have its own satellite to expand internet throughout the land and give emergency services during natural disasters.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s ambassador to the U.S, Mohammad Ziauddin, called it a historic moment and a matter of great pride for his Bangladesh’s citizens.