Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully re-launches rocket

Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully re-launches rocket

The company aims for the Block 5 rocket to be used as many as 10 or more times in a row, with little or no maintenance between launches.

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 rocket's first stage made a successful landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship. It became the 28th booster that SpaceX has ever recovered.

Today's launch lofted the Merah Putih satellite to a high geostationary transfer orbit.

In the tiny hours of Tuesday morning, SpaceX launched an Indonesian satellite in its 15th flight this year.

A few minutes after separation, three of the first stage's nine engines re-ignited to slow the booster for entry back into the discernible atmosphere, using four titanium "grid fins" at the top of the rocket to maintain its orientation and trajectory.

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Just by looking at the massive reduction in time, we can assume SpaceX has been working on the reusability of the blocks with good success. "We are going to be very rigorous in taking this rocket apart and confirming our design assumptions to be confident that it is indeed able to be reused without taking it apart", Musk said.

At 1:18 a.m. from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Falcon 9 rocket roared off launch pad 40. So after the May launch, Musk said, "Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm it does not need to be taken apart", as Ars Technica reports.

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. Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, California, built the satellite ahead of schedule, according to Telkom Indonesia.

"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, chief technology officer of Telkom Indonesia, in a press release earlier this year. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

SpaceX had used Falcon 9 in May to send up a large communications satellite for Bangladesh from Florida.

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).

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