1st Upgraded SpaceX Block 5 Falcon 9 Poised for Blastoff May 10 from KSC Carrying 1st GeoComsat for Bangladesh: Watch Live

First upgraded SpaceX Block 5 Falcon 9 booster stands erect
beside a recovered Falcon Heavy side boost and poised for blastoff on May 10,
2018 with Bangabandhu-1, the
1st ever geostationary communications satellite for the nation of
Bangladesh from Launch
Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. 
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken Kremer 
  
SpaceUpClose.com     10 May 2018

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER,
FL –  The first upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5
booster built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX is poised for blastoff today May 10 from
the Florida Space Coast with the 1st ever geostationary communications
satellite for the nation of Bangladesh – and the weather outlook is excellent!

Liftoff from historic
seaside Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida is slated
for Thursday afternoon, May 10 following a review of the engine test data by
SpaceX engineers.

The May 10 launch window extends
slightly over two hours; opening at 4:12 p.m. EDT
(2012 GMT) and closing at 6:22 p.m. EDT (2222
GMT). 

Check out my gallery of photos taken this morning during our media
camera set up.

In a double sweet treat, one the two recovered SpaceX Falcon Heavy
side boosters from February’s maiden launch made a brief appearance at the pad –
see photo above!

First upgraded SpaceX Block 5 Falcon 9 booster stands erect
poised for blastoff on May 10, 2018 with Bangabandhu-1, the 1st ever geostationary
communications satellite for the nation of Bangladesh from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space
Center (KSC) in Florida. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
SpaceX announced the
May 10 launch date in a tweet posted on May 7- three days after engineers
completed the brief, approximately three second long engine test at sunset on
May 4 – witnessed by Space UpClose.

“Targeting
Falcon 9 Block 5 launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 on May 10 from Pad 39A in
Florida,” SpaceX tweeted.


You can watch the launch live at a SpaceX hosted webcast starting about 15
minutes before opening of the nominal launch window
at – spacex.com/webcast

SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage booster on the
OCISLY droneship prepositioned at sea in the Atlantic Ocean some 400 miles (600
km) off the east coast of Florida.

Bangabandhu-1 is the first geostationary communications satellite for the nation of Bangladesh – 
making it the 58th country to own such a satellite.
 

First upgraded SpaceX Block 5 Falcon 9 booster stands erect
poised for blastoff on May 10, 2018 with Bangabandhu-1, the 1st ever geostationary
communications satellite for the nation of Bangladesh from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space
Center (KSC) in Florida. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The satellite bears the symbolic name of the Father of
the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The 3.7-ton satellite was built by prime contractor Thales Alenia
Space, a satellite manufacturing company based in France in their Cannes
facility for the governmental Bangladesh
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

Bangabandhu-1 will be positioned at 119.1° East longitude.

The satellite arrived by plane at Cape
Canaveral on March 30 for processing by SpaceX.

Bangabandhu1
is equipped with fitted with 26 Ku-Band and 14 C-Band transponders. The
satellite’s coverage zone encompasses Bangladesh and the surrounding region.
This system will offer capacity in Ku-Band over Bangladesh and its territorial
waters of the Bay of Bengal, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Philippines and
Indonesia; it will also provide capacity in C-Band over the whole region.



This launch is also of
extremely great importance and significance to NASA because the Block 5 Falcon
9 will be used by SpaceX to launch American astronauts back to space and the
International Space Station (ISS) from American soil and thereby end our 100%
dependence on the Russian Soyuz for seats to orbit and back. 

Thus a lot is riding
on the upgraded Falcon 9 – which is also the final upgrade for this rocket,
according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and VP Hans Koenigsmann. The upgrades
increase the reliability and reusability of the Falcon 9 including faster
turnaround with less maintenance and fewer refurbishments.

The weather outlook is currently favorable. The official forecast issued
today by the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron indicates an 80% chance of
favorable weather conditions at launch time.

The primary concern is for the Thick Cloud Layer Rule.

In case of a 24 hour delay, the forecast drops to a 60% chance of
favorable weather conditions at launch time. The primary concern remains for
the Thick Cloud Layer Rule.

The fully integrated Falcon 9 rocket
with the Bangabandhu-1 payload encapsulated inside the nose cone was rolled
back out to pad 39A overnight but only raised erect this morning at about 8
a.m. EDT.  

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX,
ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more
space and mission
reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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