SpaceX Just Launched A Rocket With A Critical Reused Part

Enlarge Image The first Block 5 Falcon 9 lifts off. It will relaunch early Tuesday from Florida.                  SpaceX

The up-and-down journey was the second such trip for the same Falcon 9 booster, which debuted May 11 with the successful launch of Bangladesh's first communications satellite.

Merah Putih "will carry an all C-band payload capable of supporting a wide range of applications, including providing mobile broadband across Indonesia and Southeast Asia".

SpaceX is aiming for another commercial satellite launch from the Cape later this month - potentially its fourth launch in as many weeks. On that earlier flight, the Block 5, after getting the rocket soaring, landed on the company's autonomous spaceport drone ship, called Of Course I Still Love You. Due to SpaceX's success in this area, it is becoming one of the most valuable venture-backed startups in the US.

The Block 5 is SpaceX's final version of the Falcon 9, and features improvements to enable first-stage reuse 10 or more times.

Not so for SpaceX, which Monday relaunched and retrieved its block 5 Falcon 9 rocket for the first time. In March 2017, the company was able to successfully relaunch its block 4 booster rocket that had previously launched a year earlier. After the vehicle landed on one of SpaceX's drone ships on completion of its flight, the company did its inspection and refurbishment over the last three months to get it ready for flight again.

SpaceX's goal is the rapid reusability of its rockets to drive down the cost of launches. Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellite was 18 years old, operating three years past its design life.

Officials from Telkom Indonesia expected the Telkom 1 satellite, which launched in 1999, to remain operational until Merah Putih's launch.

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.

"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, Telkom's chief technology officer.

The glare of a Falcon 9 rocket launch lights up the night at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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.

SpaceX only had a two-hour launch window that opened at 1:18 am EST Tuesday in which to complete the mission.

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