SpaceX has unveiled a new version of the Falcon 9 rocket, designed for astronauts in a bold move forward for space travel.
SpaceX has just unveiled a reusable and more powerful version of the Falcon 9 rocket, a formidable development that could one day lead to a new future of spaceflight for humanity. The Falcon 9 rocket sent Bangladesh's first communications satellite into orbit after launching off the coast of Florida on Friday.
The launch is a big deal for SpaceX because it brings closer Elon Musk's dream of launching astronauts for NASA. These astronauts would fly on the same block 5 model of the Falcon 9 rocket that launched on Friday. One day, Musk hopes to launch astronauts all the way to Mars.
Musk also says the upgraded launcher will be reusable, which will cost a lot less to launch astronauts in the future. The Falcon 9 rocket landed on SpaceX's maritime drone ship "Of course, I love you" about 400 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral.
The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the rocket.
Falcon 9 Full Thrust (also known as Falcon 9 v1
December 2015 The Full Thrust version of the Falcon 9 family was the first orbital trajectory launcher to successfully land a first stage vertical and rocket after a comprehensive technology development program that ran from 2013 to 2015. such as landing legs, were introduced in the version Falcon 9 v1.1, but this version was never landed unscathed. From 2017, first-stage flown boosters have been reused to bring new payloads into orbit.
Falcon 9 Full Thrust is a significant improvement over the previous Falcon 9 v1.1, which flew its last mission in January 2016. With first and second-stage performance enhanced engines, a larger second stage propellant tank, and fuel compression, the vehicle can bring significant payloads to geostationary orbit and perform a propelling landing for recovery.
SpaceX announced in 2017 that another series of Incremental Enhancements were under development, a Falcon 9 Block 5 version that has now succeeded in transitioning Block 4. The biggest changes between Block 3 and Block 5 are higher thrust on all engines and improvements on the landing legs. In addition, numerous minor changes will help to improve the recovery and reusability of first-stage boosters. Changes focus on increasing production speed and reusability efficiency. SpaceX aims to fly each Block 5 booster ten times with only inspections between and up to 100 times with overhaul.
Block 5's design changes are driven primarily by upgrades to the US Government's Commercial Crew program and the National Security Space Launch requirements. They include performance improvements, manufacturing improvements and "probably 100 or so changes" to increase the margin for demanding customers.
In April 2017, Elon Musk said that Block 5:
For increased payload:
7-8% more thrust by increasing engines (from 176,000 pounds to 190,000 pounds per engine);
An improved flight control system for an optimized angle of descent, which reduces fuel consumption.
For reusability duration:
a reusable heat shield that protects the engines and piping at the base of the rocket
more temperature resistant cast and machined titanium lattice fins;
a heat protection coating on the first stage to limit reentry heating;
Revised and requalified valves for higher levels and significantly longer life.
For fast reusability:
a set of retractable legs for fast salvage and shipment
The interstage structure connecting the first and second tier is black and unpainted.
On May 11, 2018, the maiden flight launched the Bangabandhu-1 satellite. Block 5 is to start at the end of 2018 for the first time the astronauts. NASA needs seven flights before the vehicle can be certified for manned space flight.