Weather looks good for Thursday launch of upgraded Falcon 9

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It seems that the September 2016 explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket that occurred during fueling could be a reason behind NASA's fears.

The more powerful Falcon 9, known as Block 5, is on tap to launch Thursday from Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A with a satellite for the Bangladesh Communications Satellite Company.

The first passenger onboard the beefed-up booster will be Bangladesh's first satellite, Bangabandhu-1.

Moreover, SpaceX is planning to take astronauts to the ISS for the first time later this year aboard a Block 5 Falcon 9. The first stage of Block 5 was developed taking into account the possible use of no less than 10 times.

Between specialized equipment and the personnel required to get the rocket into space and back down safely again, the costs quickly become prohibitively expensive - something that SpaceX is hoping to address with the introduction of the Block 5 Falcon 9.

"It is the final substantial upgrade to the Falcon 9 design, although we may make minor upgrades as we continue to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability".

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When asked to provide an example of one of the Block 5's improvements, Koenigsmann cited materials in the first stage's heat shield, near the engine base. "However there's plenty of particulars right here which might be very technical", he added.

The latest changes to the Falcon 9 have been mainly driven by the need to meet NASA's requirements for its Commercial Crew Program.

While East Coast engineers were in the process of firing up the Falcon 9 in Florida, the company's 14th cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) came to a watery end in the Pacific.

SpaceX just received approval to build the BFR at the Port of Los Angeles, further setting in motion Musk's plan of making humans a "multi-planetary" species, and one day developing a colony on Mars. The corporate is growing an enormous, reusable rocket-spaceship combo referred to as the BFR, which Musk envisions serving to arrange a million-person metropolis on the Pink Planet within the subsequent 50 years or so.

'We are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and I think well be able to do short trips, short up and down flights, by first half of next year, ' Musk said at the South by Southwest technology and culture festival in Austin, Texas, last month. But every time we would mention accepting risk in human spaceflight, the NASA people would say, "But, oh, you have to remember the scar tissue" - and they were talking about the two shuttle disasters.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:10 p.m. EDT to include the targeted launch date of May 10.

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