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SpaceX ramps up rollout of its new Falcon 9 rocket fleet

Elon Musk's radically reusable rockets mean more dramatic droneship landings are in our future.


A Block 5 Falcon 9 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


SpaceX plans to launch its second "block 5" Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, during the early morning hours on Sunday and land it on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic a short time later. 

The rocket will be conducting a fairly routine commercial mission, delivering the Telstar 19 Vantage communications satellite to orbit to provide broadband internet for customers in the Americas. 

Block 5 represents what Elon Musk has called the final iteration of the Falcon 9, with improvements to boost power and make it easier to reuse the booster up to 10 times without refurbishment and perhaps 100 times over its full lifetime. The first of these new rockets launched in May and a third is set to launch a set of 10 Iridium communications satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Wednesday.

SpaceX is planning to perform all launches going forward using block 5 rockets, and after next week it'll have placed three new boosters in rotation. It's not yet clear when a block 5 Falcon 9 will be relaunched for the first time.

Sunday's launch is set for 1:50 a.m. Eastern Time and will be streamed live via the embed below.