SpaceX launches Indonesian comsat with 'used' booster

Ismael LynchAug 07, 2018

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

Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket for a second time early Tuesday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, according to a statement from the company. Less than 9 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first stage came back to Earth for a vertical touchdown on SpaceX's "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship, which was stationed a few hundred miles off the Florida coast.

The landing marked the 28th successful recovery of a stage one booster by SpaceX. The launch was used to deliver the Merah Putih satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit.

The second stage stayed in orbit and deployed a communications satellite that will provide service to Indonesia and other areas of South and Southeast Asia.

"The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceX said. Meanwhile, the second stage continued onward and went through its own follow-up firing to send Merah Putih into its intended orbit.

Just by looking at the massive reduction in time, we can assume SpaceX has been working on the reusability of the blocks with good success.

Just three months separated today's mission from the first launch of the same Block 5 booster.

SpaceX hopes to continue to reduce the cost of space travel by reusing key parts of the rocket's design.

"Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart", Musk said during a May 10 call with reporters.

Update 1:50 AM ET: Merah Putih is in position.

Launch commentator Lauren Lyons said the booster would be prepared for its third launch later this year.

The next launch from Cape Canaveral is scheduled for Saturday at 3:33 a.m. EDT (0733 GMT), when a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket is set to loft NASA's Parker Solar Probe on a seven-year mission to fly through the sun's corona.

SpaceX's next mission is set for launch no earlier than August 23 with the Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications satellite to provide broadcast, enterprise and government communications services over parts of India, China, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ocean region.

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