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Technology SpaceX aborts first 'Block 5' Falcon 9 launch

02:05  11 may  2018
02:05  11 may  2018 Source:   cnet.com

Elon Musk says SpaceX will launch rocket to Mars in 2019

  Elon Musk says SpaceX will launch rocket to Mars in 2019 "I think we'll be able to do short flights, sort of up and down flights, probably some time in the first half of next year"NEW YORK -- Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, says the company is planning to launch a spacecraft to Mars and return it to Earth as soon as early 2019. "I can tell you what I know currently is the case is that we are building the first ship, the first Mars interplanetary ship right now," Musk told a crowd during a surprise appearance at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, on Sunday.

a large ship in the background: block5 © Provided by CNET block5

The first Block 5 Falcon 9 at Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX

SpaceX got very close to launching the final "Block 5" version of its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time Thursday, but the mission is now delayed until Friday afternoon at the earliest. 

Just about a minute before scheduled liftoff at 5:47 p.m. ET, the launch computer aborted blastoff shortly after it entered its startup mode. We're still waiting to find out the cause, but such an error is a safeguard and not that unusual. 

The rocket was set to carry the Bangabandhu satellite-1, the first satellite for Bangladesh, into orbit from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX just launched, did it land the nose cone on a boat?

  SpaceX just launched, did it land the nose cone on a boat? SpaceX likely made another experimental attempt to safely recapture the rocket's nose cone after launch. Liftoff occurred just after 7 am PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is delivering a group of satellites into orbit for communications firm Iridium.

Block 5 represents the final suite of upgrades to its workhorse launch system that CEO Elon Musk says is designed to be flown up to 100 times.  

Before the launch, Musk said in a call with reporters that he was "stressed" and that orbital rockets are hard enough, but building one that can fly 100 times is "crazy hard."  

Musk said he'd like to see a single Block 5 rocket fly three or four times by the end of 2018. The SpaceX founder also said he hopes to demonstrate that the same rocket can be launched, landed and then launched again with 24 hours.   

Such turnaround time would be unprecedented, like much of what SpaceX has accomplished in the past few years.  

Whether a single Block 5 rocket ever does fly 100 times remains to be seen. Musk says the model will likely be retired after about 300 flights and that SpaceX plans to build 30 to 50 Block 5 rockets. With that many laying around, it seems unlikely any will need to fly 100 times before the company moves on to its next big thing, the "BFR" rocket Musk hopes will take humans around the world, to the moon and Mars

But for this week, SpaceX and Musk are focused on just getting Block 5 off the ground the first time. They'll have a chance to try again Friday, when the launch window of about two hours opens at 4:14 p.m. ET. 

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