SpaceX relaunches the final Falcon 9 rocket design

SpaceX relaunches the final Falcon 9 rocket design

Kenneth Drake
August 9, 2018

SpaceX on Tuesday successfully re-launched its used Block 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, deploying the Indonesian Merah Putih satellite in the orbit just over half an hour later.

Launching at 1:18 a.m. ET, the flight carried communications satellite Merah Putih, which is named for the red and white colors of the Indonesian flag. "The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission description.

Eight minutes into the flight, the booster swooped down from space to its second tail-first landing on legs on the deck of SpaceX's modified barge, the "Of Course I Still Love You", stationed 400 miles down range in the Atlantic Ocean.

The landing marked the 28th successful recovery of a stage one booster by SpaceX.

This is the first time that the Block 5 booster has been reused which means that this version of rocket could be launched as many as 10 times, with limited refurbishment between missions, as reported by Bloomberg. SpaceX's previous offering, the Falcon 9 booster, could be reused twice and cost $60 million to launch. In March 2017, the company was able to successfully relaunch its block 4 booster rocket that had previously launched a year earlier.

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Complex 40 launch pad in Cape Canaveral Fla. Tuesday Aug. 7 2018. The
A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Complex 40 launch pad in Cape Canaveral Fla. Tuesday Aug. 7 2018. The

"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 being taken apart", Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO, had said during a conference call with reporters, referring to the first Block 5 booster.

The rocket, using a first stage that flew in May with the Bangabandhu-1 satellite for Bangladesh, lifted off at 1:18 a.m. Uncrewed tests of the full human-rated launch system still have to be completed, but each successful Block 5 launch gives NASA (and SpaceX) greater confidence.

"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, Telkom's chief technology officer. The satellite will provide Internet, telephone and cellular backhaul services, according to SSL.

The glare of a Falcon 9 rocket launch lights up the night at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Another predawn Falcon 9 flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on July 25 delivered 10 Iridium voice and data relay payloads to orbit.

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