SpaceX relaunches the final Falcon 9 rocket design

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 7, 2018

This rocket was used to place Indonesia's Merah Putih satellite into orbit and that payload was offloaded 32 minutes after launch, heralding the mission a complete success.

SpaceX has successfully reused the first Falcon 9 Block 5 booster less than three months after the rocket's major reliability and reusability upgrade debuted. The new satellite will replace Telkom 1, which failed in a mysterious debris-shedding event in geostationary orbit past year. The first stage successfully landed on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, which was waiting in position in the Atlantic Ocean (a camera feed loss at the moment of landing created a bit of extra drama).

As noted by webcast host and engineer Lauren Lyons, the second successful drone ship recovery of Falcon 9 Booster 1046 (B1046) paves the way for the SpaceX's first-ever third launch of the same rocket.

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.

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. "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.

Update 1:50 AM ET: Merah Putih is in position. The satellite is owned by PT Telcom, the largest provider of telecommunications services in Indonesia. The spacecraft will be positioned in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator at 108 degrees east longitude. "We look forward to traveling to Florida to see the satellite launch later this summer". The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

With the third reuse now explicitly on the table for B1046 "later this year", Falcon 9 has broken a two-launch ceiling that long loomed over its older predecessors.

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). That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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