SpaceX preps for manned spaceflight with Falcon 9 satellite launch

The company will soon debut the Falcon 9 rocket that's taking astronauts to the ISS.

SpaceX has decided that the latest version of its Falcon 9 rocket is ready to take off after a static-fire test conducted on May 4th. The private corporation has revealed on Twitter that it's planning to launch Bangladesh's Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite to orbit on May 10th on top of a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket. Block 5 was designed to have greater and better landing legs, because it's the spacecraft the company will use to send astronauts to the ISS. In addition to having more power, one of its other main features is reusability: a Block 5's first stage was developed to fly 10 times or more.

Those rockets SpaceX had recovered from recent flights haven't flown more than twice -- SpaceX expects Block 5's boosters to endure up to 10 landings and liftoffs with just an inspection in between and up to 100 with some parts replacement. If the company's plans for Block 5 pan out, then it could bring down the cost of spacecraft launches even further. Before it can start flying astronauts to the ISS, though, the spacecraft has to complete seven unmanned flights. So, we'll definitely see more Block 5 launches after Bangabandhu-1 throughout the year.