After scrubbing its first attempt, SpaceX plans to launch the Falcon 9 'Block 5' rocket today
12 May, 2018, 07:45
"It's not like we've done it". SpaceX plans to succeed the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy with the BFR, and is targeting a cargo mission to Mars with the larger rocket in 2022.
"This is a ridiculously hard thing", Musk told reporters before Thursday's postponement.
The Block 5's upgrades take another step in this direction.
So far, the first-stage boosters have been recycled once, for a total of two flights apiece. The first crewed flights of the Block 5-Dragon system could come as early as this year, SpaceX representatives have said.
The heat shield at the bottom of the rocket, which surrounds the engines and takes the brunt of heating during atmospheric reentry, has been changed from a "composite" structure to a "high grade titanium" structure. These upgrades provide the rocket with about 8 percent and 5 percent more thrust, respectively, compared to the "Block 4".
"I'm certain we can achieve reusability of the upper stage, the question is simply what the mass penalty is", he said. They now have 190,000 lbf of thrust at liftoff.
Once the block 5 Falcon 9 is certified after a rigorous series of tests and requirements, the company will be able to fly people to the International Space Station and other destinations sometime in the next few years. That's more than half of the estimated overall $62 million price of the Falcon 9, according to various trade publications.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the "Block 5" is capable of performing 10 or more times without being refurbished between launch and landing. His goal is to launch the same booster twice within 24 hours, perhaps next year.
Return the first stage for up to ten launches without repairs after returning to Earth, as well as a resource to hundreds of competitions at carrying out of all necessary repairs. Propellant costs a negligible $300,000 to $400,000, he said. After this time, he expects the Big Falcon Rocket now under development to supersede the smaller booster. Falcon 9 Block 5 is created to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability. The company has also talked about retrieving the upper stage instead of letting it burn up over the Pacific Ocean. "Second stage and satellite now in coast phase".
Still, Musk believes the Falcon 9 will get to full reusability. The company will take apart the rocket now that it has landed; the inspection will confirm that SpaceX doesn't have it take it apart after every launch.