SpaceX relaunches the final Falcon 9 rocket design

Katie Ramirez
August 7, 2018

"The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceX said.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the sky around Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida early Tuesday with a successful launch, placing an Indonesian telecommunications satellite into orbit and demonstrating the reusability of the company's upgraded booster. The spacecraft - whose name translates as "red and white", a reference to the colors of the Indonesian flag - will become part of the network run by PT Telkom Indonesia, the nation's largest telecommunications provider. It became the 28th booster that SpaceX has ever recovered.

The first-stage booster previously soared in May, the first time out the gate for this upgraded rocket.

At 1:18 a.m. from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Falcon 9 rocket roared off launch pad 40.

This is not the first time SpaceX has successfully relaunched one of its rockets, but it is the first time that the uber-reusable "block 5" rocket blasted off.

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The 60-transponder, all C-band satellite separated from the rocket's upper stage nearly 32 minutes later.

But SpaceX engineers needed to actually make sure that was true, that after its first use Block 5 would be ready to get out there again. "We are going to be very rigorous in taking this rocket apart and confirming our design assumptions to be confident that it is indeed able to be reused without taking it apart", Musk said. "Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart". Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida with Telkom Indonesia's Merah Putih satellite.

"Once we recover this booster, we plan to fly it a third time later this year", Lyons said.

The new telecom craft, designed for a 16-year life, was built by SSL in Palo Alto, California. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

Merah Putih's on-board propulsion system will be used to circularize the orbit at the intended 22,300-mile altitude and to maneuver it to its designated operational location at 108 degrees east longitude.

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