SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 yet

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Yesterday was supposed to be one of the biggest launches in SpaceX history, with the new Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket heading into space for the very first time.

SpaceX has launched a satellite for Bangladesh using an upgraded rocket designed for dozens of repeat flights.

The newly minted Block-5 edition of the Falcon 9 - equipped with about 100 upgrades for greater power, safety and reusability than its Block-4 predecessor - lifted off at 4:14 p.m. EDT (2014 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center.

After liftoff, the rocket made a successful upright landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, marking the 25th successful touchdown for SpaceX.

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UPDATE 4 p.m.: Watch live as Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket launches. The communication satellite is named Bangabandhu-1 after the country's founding father.

While the Block 5 rocket launch did not carry a crew, a crew-carrying version could launch as early as this year.

So far, the first-stage boosters have been recycled once, for a total of two flights apiece. "Ironically, we need to take it apart to prove that it does not need to be taken apart", he joked. This new and improved model will be used to launch astronauts for NASA in the coming year.

Since then, the USA government has been forced to rely on Russian Federation to get astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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The updated rocket is created to be reusable, which would drastically reduce costs of trips to space.

"Would you rather fly in an aircraft that has never had a test flight before, or do you want to fly on an aircraft that has flown many times successfully?" he told reporters.

Before transporting humans, however, SpaceX will have to launch the rocket seven or more times. The satellite is expected to expand communication capabilities across Bangladesh and in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The whole point of reusability - multiple flights with swift turnarounds, aeroplane-style - is to shave launch costs. The satellite will eventually travel to a path 22,000 miles above Earth, where it will provide telecommunications coverage for Bangladesh and surrounding areas.

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