SpaceX Re-Launches 'Block 5' Rocket for 1st Time, Nails Landing Again

  • SpaceX Re-Launches 'Block 5' Rocket for 1st Time, Nails Landing Again

SpaceX Re-Launches 'Block 5' Rocket for 1st Time, Nails Landing Again

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. The name refers to the red and while colors of Indonesia's flag.

The satellite is expected to reach its orbit at about 32,000 kilometers above sea level within the next 11 days before its full operation in the third week of September.

Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9's first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

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.

The block 5 is the rocket SpaceX founder Elon Musk is counting on to launch astronauts to the International Space Station starting next year, the centerpiece of the company's drive to lower launch costs while improving reliability.

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. Although the rocket had to be torn down and refurbished between flights, there's been some clear improvement in that turnaround time for the block 5. Block 5 is different, and that's by design. The new telecom craft was built by SSL in Palo Alto, California. The satellite is owned by PT Telcom, the largest provider of telecommunications services in Indonesia.

Merah Putih will be located at 108 degrees east longitude.

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. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service.

APT Satellite of Hong Kong has an agreement to use capacity on Telstar 18 VANTAGE, which is also known as Apstar 5C.

The mission got underway at 1:18 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) when the Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1D engines ignited and throttled up to full thrust, producing a brilliant plume of fiery exhaust that instantly turned cooling water into billowing clouds of steam.