Newest SpaceX booster flies again with Indonesia satellite
09 August, 2018, 08:42 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
Merah Putih translates into "red and white" and is a reference to the colors on Indonesia's national flag.
It's also the first re-flight of the company's new, recyclable Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which had its first launch back in May.
In the tiny hours of Tuesday morning, SpaceX launched an Indonesian satellite in its 15th flight this year.
The launch marked the first time that the Falcon 9's new "Block 5" booster had been recycled following the improved rocket's maiden launch on May 11.
According to SpaceX representatives, 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.
With the aid of grid fins, rocket thrust and four landing legs, the first stage touched down on SpaceX's landing barge around eight minutes into the mission.
The Falcon 9 was deployed from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:18am local time.
After separating from the satellite, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
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Around the same time, the Falcon 9's upper stage shut down and entered a preliminary orbit before a almost 20-minute coast across the Atlantic.
The 60-transponder, all C-band satellite separated from the rocket's upper stage nearly 32 minutes later. The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years, ' as stated in a mission description. Rather, it really is the case that the first Block 5 reuse is one of the most important things ever done by SpaceX. 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. And the structure that holds the engines to the rocket's bottom is bolted down now, not welded, to make it easier to take apart and inspect.
He said the Block 5's first stage booster is created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment".
SpaceX hopes to continue to reduce the cost of space travel by reusing key parts of the rocket's design.
Liftoff came on time at 1:19 a.m. ET Tuesday (10:19 p.m. PT Monday) after a trouble-free countdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Though SpaceX hasn't released much about what they found when they did take the Block 5 apart, the quick turnaround between launches indicates that Block 5 seems to be living up to that promise.
Block 4-generation Falcon 9 boosters could only be reused once.
The new telecom craft, designed for a 16-year life, was built by SSL in Palo Alto, California.
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