KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: In a call with media today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discussed upgrades to the Falcon 9. The first Block-5 Falcon is set to launch today with the Bangabandhu Satellite.
Musk: “This is SpaceX 9th launch of 2018. By this time last year, we had only done five missions. We are on track to be double our launch rate from last year. Falcon 9 was the most-launched rocket of any company in 2017.
“The goal with Block 5: this is the arguably Falcon 9 Version Six. This will be the last major version of Falcon 9 before BFR. There might be small improvements to assist manufacturabality. But those will be minor changes: 6.01, 6.02.
SpaceX’s first Block 5 Falcon 9 at LC-39A. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Jelen / We Report Space
“This will be the mainstay of SpaceX. We expect 300 flights of Falcon 9 Block 5 before retirement. One of the biggest goals os Block 5 is the ease of reusability. We are planning 10 flights with no refurbishment between flight. We have to re-load propellant. There will be moderate scheduled maintenance after 10 flights. Each core should be able to fly 100 times before being retired.