Beautiful Blastoff of Bangabandhu-1 for Bangladesh on 1st New and Improved SpaceX Falcon 9: Photos

Beautiful blastoff of Bangabandhu-1
geostationary communications satellite
for nation of Bangladesh on 1st
new and improved Block 5 version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 11, 2018 at
4:14 p.m. EDT from
Launch
Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida – as seen from the pad
crawlerway.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken Kremer 
  
SpaceUpClose.com     11 May 2018



KENNEDY SPACE CENTER,
FL –  Bangabandhu-1 the first ever
geostationary communications satellite for the nation of Bangladesh provided a
beautiful blastoff experience as it was carried to orbit on the first new and
improved SpaceX Falcon 9 booster Friday afternoon May 11 from the Florida Space
Coast.  This revamped version of the Falcon 9 will also
launch US astronauts back to space from US soil soon.  



The Bangabandhu-1
geosatcom will greatly improve internet and TV connectivity in Bangladesh and benefit
peoples lives across Asia – especially in rural areas.

Following a 24 hour delay
caused by a last second technical glitch that halted the countdown at T Minus
45 seconds, the upgraded 23 story tall Falcon 9 lifted off right on time at
4:14 p.m. EDT
(2014 GMT) from historic Launch Complex 39A at
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.





The 229
foot tall (70 meter)
Falcon 9 soared off seaside pad 39A into
brilliant blue skies mixed in with wispy clouds that afforded an absolutely
gorgeous sky show for spectators gathered from across the globe to witness the
spectacle.






Beautiful blastoff of Bangabandhu-1
geostationary communications satellite
for nation of Bangladesh on 1st
new and improved Block 5 version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 11, 2018 at
4:14 p.m. EDT from
Launch
Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida – as seen from the KSC
press site.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The two stage Falcon 9 liftoff off roared off
pad 39 after all 9 Merlin 1D engines ignited to generate about 1.95 million
pounds of liftoff thrust- roughly 8 percent higher than the prior Block 4
version of the booster.

Beautiful blastoff of Bangabandhu-1
geostationary communications satellite
for nation of Bangladesh on 1st
new and improved Block 5 version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 11, 2018 at
4:14 p.m. EDT from
Launch
Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida – as seen from the KSC
press site.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The flawless launch delivered Bangabandhu-1 to its intended geostationary
transfer orbit after launching right at the opening of the over two hour long
launch window.





The nearly 4 ton satellite separated from the
Falcon 9 second stage for deployment 33 minutes after liftoff – as seen on the SpaceX
hosted webcast which transmitted all events live. 







Eight minutes after blastoff, SpaceX engineers also successfully completed
a precision guided landing and recovery of the 156 foot tall revamped first
stage booster on the OCISLY drone ship prepositioned at sea in the Atlantic
Ocean some 400 miles (600 km) off the east coast of Florida.

This marked the 25th successful landing – 14 on drone ships
at sea and 11 on ground landing pads. 




The launch was contracted the governmental Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory
Commission (BTRC) at a cost of approximately $50 million.



Wide angle view of beautiful blastoff of Bangabandhu-1 geostationary communications satellite
for nation of Bangladesh on 1st new and improved Block
5 version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 11, 2018 at 4:14 p.m. EDT from
Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s
Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida – as seen from the KSC press site with
the famous countdown clock with water reflection in the turn basin.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Friday afternoons launch was the first for the upgraded Falcon 9 booster built by Elon
Musk’s SpaceX.  

Watch this launch
video from colleague Jeff Seibert:








Video Caption:  4K SpaceX ‘Block 5’ Launch Debut with
Bangabandhu-1
. Credit: Jeff Seibert
This newest and last
major upgrade to the Falcon 9 is dubbed the Block 5 version. The rocket on pad
39A is the first built Block 5 rocket manufactured by SpaceX after years of
painstaking and cutting edge internally funded research and development (R
& D) effort.  



At a prelaunch media
telecon SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says numerous improvements built onto the Block 5
Falcon 9 will significantly increase the reliability and reusability of the
Falcon 9 including faster turnaround with less maintenance and fewer
refurbishments.

Musk expects each Block 5 rocket to launch 10 times before
requiring any appreciable maintenance or refurbishments – thereby drastically
slashing the cost of access to space.  

He also hopes to demonstrate the relaunch the same rocket twice within
a 24 hour period with two different payloads.



 Overall a Block 5 Falcon 9 could achieve a lifetime goal of 100 launches,
Musk said.  








The satellite bears the symbolic name of the Father of
the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He led the country during the
bloody war of independence from Pakistan in the early 1970s.

Rahman served as the first President of Bangladesh
until he was assassinated in 1975.  




His daughter, Sheikh Hasina is the current Prime
Minister and gave a live broadcast speech following the successful launch. 



Bangladesh
is the worlds 8th most populous country with a population of nearly
170 million p
eople. Thus indigenous satellite services are sorely needed with a giant market clearly
available to tap and serve.


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 some 22,500 miles (36000 km)
above the equator.



“This satellite
will narrow the digital divide, as it will take broadcasting and
telecommunication services to rural areas and introduce profitable services,
including direct-to-home services, across the country and over the region,’
according to the BTRC.




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.



Artists concept of Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite. 
Credit:
Thales Alenia Space


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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