Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

And likely final-version of SpaceX's workhorse rocket may fly today

Space X's Falcon 9 rocket Space X's Falcon 9 rocket. BRUCE WEAVER AFP — Getty Images
Kim Reese | 11 May, 2018, 04:43

SpaceX will attempt to launch an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket Thursdayafternoon from Space Coast. In the past, SpaceX rockets have been only capable of making about two trips.

Among the reusability upgrades are an improved heat shield, extra thermal protection coating to limit re-entry heating damage and a set of retractable landing legs for rapid recovery and shipping, which will help cut the turnaround time for launches.

The new Block 5 rocket is created to be sturdier, so that it can be flown up to 10 times with minimal mechanical refurbishment - a big leap forward in efficiency and cost reduction. If it does go as planned, you can watch the launch via Space.com or directly via SpaceX's website.

As of Wednesday, the 45th Weather Squadron said the probability for good launch weather Thursday at the Cape as 80 percent. But now, there will be little, if any, tweaking to the rocket during active missions.

The SpaceX boss has said that cutting down on labor costs could also reduce the cost of each rocket, perhaps by as much as 30%. But with the nature of often skewed and overambitious company launch timelines, a mid-2019 launch for crew missions is a more reasonable estimate. SpaceX has also added features to enable the rocket's 16-story booster - the largest and most expensive part, as it makes up about 70% of total launch costs - to launch, land, and be reused. That's more than half of the estimated overall $62 million price of the Falcon 9, according to various trade publications.

Cavs Head to Conference Finals for Fourth Consecutive Year
He also sank a key three-pointer - after a nifty pump fake - with eight seconds left in Game 3, to tie the game at 103-103. He's averaging 18 points per game in the series, after averaging 23 points per game during the regular season.

The space company has previously re-used first-stage and second-stage rocket boosters, in addition to one of its previously flown Dragon capsules.

SpaceX has twice reused a Falcon 9 booster.

The payload fairings are clam shell-like nose cone halves that protect the craft's payload.

The Falcon Heavy is 230 feet tall and consists of three Falcon 9 first-stage cores. It will ultimately replace all other SpaceX rockets, as it will be relatively affordable to launch and reuse - at least in theory.

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