SpaceX's NextGen Rocket Scores a Perfect Landing

May 11, 2018

Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully launched an updated version of its Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, and moments later the first stage booster stuck its landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The launch was another in a string of resounding successes for Musk's aerospace company, whose ability to pioneer new advances in space technology have stood in contrast to the production struggles of his electric car company, Tesla.

It was the first landing of SpaceX's new Block 5 first stage and the 25th successful landing for SpaceX rockets.

The new Block 5 booster is seen as critical to SpaceX's plans to undertake crewed missions for NASA. The booster is designed to be reused up to 10 times with little maintenance between missions and up to 100 times overall.

SpaceX is also hoping that simple reusability of the booster will allow quick turnarounds with the potential of launching a Falcon 9 rocket twice within a 24-hour period.

Musk says he hopes to produce 30 to 50 Block 5s for the Falcon 9.

In Friday's launch, the Falcon 9 carried Bangladesh's first communications satellite. Thales Alenia Space, the French-Italian company that built the satellite, said it would provide citizens in Bangladesh "access to a wide range of broadcast and communications services, including phone services, backhaul, radio, direct-to-home TV and Internet."