Newest SpaceX booster flies again with Indonesia satellite

Enlarge  A Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9 rocket launches

A Block 4-core was used to launch the SES-10 satellite, the Block 4's first journey was 12 months previous.

State telecommunications company PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) witnessed its newest satellite, Satelit Merah Putih, launched into space from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the United States, at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday, or around midday in Jakarta. Merah Putih translates into "red and white" and is a reference to the colors on Indonesia's national flag.

On board was Merah Putih, a communications satellite for Indonesia.

"The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceX said. A final single-engine burn put the brakes on for landing on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed several hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral.

Reportedly, SpaceX has boasted that the new Block 5 first stages should be able to launch 10 times with just inspections between landing and liftoff, and 100 times or more with some minor refurbishment involved.

REUSE, REUSE, REUSE. This launch is the first to employ a reused Block 5 - the first stage of the rocket.

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A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Complex 40 launch pad as seen through a time exposure in Cape Canaveral, Fla., early Tuesday. This milestone may feel small in the shadow of SpaceX's accomplishments over the last ~18 months but make no mistake: the second flight of a Block 5 booster is by far the company's most significant achievement in recent years.

The Merah Putih satellite then was released into an elliptical transfer orbit, the normal first step in getting a communications satellite into its intended orbit 22,300 miles above the equator.

Until now, SpaceX has retired rockets after two launches. Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellite was 18 years old, operating three years past its design life.

The new satellite will replace the aging Telkom 1 satellite, which has been in operation since 1999. The satellite will provide Internet, telephone and cellular backhaul services, according to SSL.

In December 2015, the Falcon 9 rocket achieved the first ever orbital class rocket landing after returning from delivering 11 communications satellites and this year, it launched Falcon Heavy, the heaviest rocket in use.

A 65-minute launch window opens up at 3:33 a.m. on Saturday.

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