SpaceX Falcon 9 Lifts Off In Florida, Places Indonesian Satellite In Orbit

A commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station blasted off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April.                  NASA

A commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station blasted off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April. NASA

That now paves the way for SpaceX to launch the block 5 rocket for a third successive launch - which would be the first time in history a booster was used three times.

B1046's second suborbital jaunt and landing aboard drone ship Of Course I Still Love You will nearly undoubtedly be a turning point in the future history of SpaceX.

The Merah Putih satellite will provide C-band telecommunications services over Indonesia and India. A Block 4-core was used to launch the SES-10 satellite, the Block 4's first journey was 12 months previous.

But for SpaceX aficionados, the most exciting part of this launch is that we've seen part of it before.

First and foremost, this is by no means meant to demean the awe-inspiring reality of what SpaceX has managed over the last several years, which includes the first successful Falcon 9 landing, the first commercial orbital-class rocket reuse (also Falcon 9), and the first commercial reuse of an orbital spacecraft (Cargo Dragon), and many others. If SpaceX has its way, this won't be the last mission for this Block 5, either. The Block 5, unlike previous models, is created to need little taking-apart and refurbishment in between launches.

By 2019, SpaceX founder Elon Musk believes that the company will be able to launch and land a Falcon 9 booster, then launch it again 24 hours later. "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", according to The Verge.

The rocket, using a first stage that flew in May with the Bangabandhu-1 satellite for Bangladesh, lifted off at 1:18 a.m.

The new satellite will replace the aging Telkom 1 satellite, which has been in operation since 1999.

If launch remains set for August 23, liftoff is scheduled for a window opening at 11:33 p.m. EDT (0333 GMT on August 24).

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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