SpaceX set for over 300 missions in 5 years: Musk

The Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket is hauled up pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center for an engine test firing

The Stage 5 of the Falcon 9 is to be the last version of the rocket that has come to impress the world ever since 2010.

According to Elon Musk, the Block 5 rockets will be able to fly up to 10 times with zero maintenance, and up to 100 times in total. "And I think our most conservative customers would agree with that".

"That is the design intent", he said.

- SpaceX has launched a satellite for Bangladesh using an upgraded rocket designed for dozens of repeat flights. The rocket took off effectively Might 11 at 4:14 p.m. EDT, landed its first stage 11 minutes later on and released Bangladesh's very first telecom satellite, Bangabandhu-1, to geostationary transfer orbit simply under 34 minutes later on.

Another improvement is the redesigned composite over wrapped pressure vessels, used to store helium for pressurizing the propellant tanks in the second stage. In September 2016, a Falcon 9 blew up throughout preparations for a fixed fire test and damaged a telecom satellite for Israeli fleet operator Spacecom.

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"I'm not predicting that we're about to enter a Dark Ages, but that there's some probability that we will, particularly if there's a third world war", Musk said in March. More importantly, the launch of the Falcon 9 may bring us one step closer to the manned trip to Mars - one of Musk's ultimat goals for his company.

The Block 5 is a big deal for SpaceX because it's the culmination of the entire Falcon 9 project. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, said the launcher is built to be the most powerful, reusable, and affordable version of his company's workhorse orbital rocket. The Merlin engines on that very first variation had 95,000 pounds of thrust for each first-stage engine and 92,500 pounds of thrust for the second-stage engine.

"In principle, we can refly Block 4 likely upwards of 10 times, but with a reasonable amount of work involving every flight", Musk said.

The first stage of Block 5 rockets are developed to be much more recyclable than previous variations which up until now have actually just flown two times prior to retirement. "The secret to Block 5 is that it's developed to do 10 or more flights without any fix in between each flight".

Ironically, the first zero-maintenance rocket is going to have to be torn apart to prove that it can fly again without intervention.

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But the real star of the mission was a newly designed rocket called Falcon 9 Block 5.

Musk said the Falcon 9's octaweb structure, supports all nine first stage engines and provides compartmentalization in case one or more fails, is now much stronger. SpaceX includes a contingency layout that would entail shifting from high-strength carbon fiber using an aluminum lining into the superalloy Inconel, but this is "unlikely to become mandatory", Musk said.

"Obviously, aesthetics are a minor factor in rocket design, but I still like the fact that we've returned for nostalgic reasons to having a black interstage", Musk said.

"We expect this to be the mainstay for SpaceX business", Musk said.

The Block 5 also features many reliability upgrades, which were implemented to meet NASA's stringent crew-carrying requirements.

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