Falcon 9 Block 5 poised for launch at Kennedy Space Center

Two NASA Astronauts to Take Live Spacewalk Week

NASA Astronauts

The reason Musk calls Falcon 9 Block 5 the "final version" is that SpaceX's 6,000 employees are shifting almost all of their engineering efforts to focus on the company's Big Falcon Rocket.

Similar to previous launches, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster on its "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Block 5 has new, black landing legs that are retractable.

This goal can only be achieved if the new Falcon 9 version can really be reuse faster and easier.

The latest changes to the Falcon 9 have been mainly driven by the need to meet NASA's requirements for its Commercial Crew Program. Moving forward, these missions will likely be carried out by the reusable Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 - further reducing cost.

Elon Musk has referred to Block 5 as the "finished version" of its reusable Falcon 9 rockets. In the past, SpaceX rockets have been only capable of making about two trips. Also, the grid fins, which are used to guide the rockets, are now made of titanium so they won't catch fire on their way back to Earth.

SpaceX recovered a payload fairing for the first time in 2017.

But most eyes will be focused on the shiny new 23-story rocket carrying the satellite. Having a reusable rocket isn't super cost effective if it takes months to perform the maintenance needed before it can be used again.

If the launch goes as planned, it will be a promising sign for SpaceX's wider plan of conducting manned missions with rockets that can be reused up to 100 times in a single lifespan.

The next launch opportunity at Cape Canaveral, Florida opens Friday, with a slightly more than two-hour window starting at opening at 4:14 pm (2014 GMT) and ending at 6:21 pm. The weather is 80% favorable.

The first Block 5 Falcon 9 at Kennedy Space Center.

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