The new rocket comes with a host of upgrades: More powerful engines, more resilient hardware to survive the harsh conditions of reentering the atmosphere and landing, less weight and a more easily produced structure.
"This rocket is really designed to be the most reliable rocket ever built," Musk said.
Reliability is crucial to the next milestone for SpaceX: Putting astronauts on top of Falcon 9 in the company's Crew Dragon capsule. NASA requires SpaceX fly the same design of Falcon 9 seven times to certify it for human flight.
"The first, most important thing was addressing all of NASA's human-rating requirements," Musk said.
Musk, describing the "thousands and thousands and thousands of requirements," said Falcon 9 Block 5 is built to sustain multiple failures during a launch in order to ensure the utmost degree of safety possible.
"It's really designed like a commercial airliner," Musk said.
Even with the intense standards, Musk said NASA and the U.S. Air Force, SpaceX's "most conservative customers," both "feel good about the design intent of this rocket."
SpaceX is set to complete testing over the next 12 months for its Dragon capsule built to carry humans. With SpaceX nearing the crucial final tests, Musk stressed how the long road the company traveled to get to where it is today.
"It's taken us, man, from 2002, 16 years of extreme effort and many, many iterations, and thousands of small but important development changes to get to where we think this is even possible," Musk added. "Crazy hard. And, of course, we still need to demonstrate it. So it's not like we've done it. But it can be done."